A matter of time tense, mood and aspect in
Spontaneous Spoken Israeli Hebrew
This study presents a new analysis of tense, mood and aspect (TMA) categories
in the verb system of Spoken Israeli Hebrew (SIH).
The Israeli Hebrew verb system is generally perceived as a tense-based system,
and is so presented in most of the traditional literature, as well as in a majority
of textbooks. This analysis has been commonly accepted and has seldomly
The research underlying this thesis was motivated by the fact that the traditional
analysis of the verb system of Hebrew has to specify a large number of
exceptions, and by the fact that many of the analyzed forms are inexplicable
in terms of the tense-based analysis to Israeli Hebrew native speakers. It was
therefore suspected that the verb system of SIH is not tense-based, but is rather
based on other grammatical properties.
The study is based on a corpus of ongoing spontaneous conversations in
Spoken Israeli Hebrew that were recorded in real-time. It contains authentic
Israeli Hebrew speech as used by native speakers in everyday conversations.
Based on these conversations, an alternative analysis of the SIH verb system as
aspect-based is proposed in this study. This alternative covers all the exceptions
that cannot be explained within the traditional approach. Further, several
additional points are observed in this study regarding the verb system of SIH:
the absence of passive forms from the verb system, the derivation of imperative
forms, the distribution of verbal patterns, and the presence of many
concatenated verb constructions.