Amanthis Miller writes:
We are happy to invite you to come see Professor Bolozky at Ling Club speaking on "Two recent phonological phenomena in Israeli Hebrew phonology and their possible implications". He was kind enough to write an abstract, which is down there below the dotted line. All are welcome to come, there will probably be pizza!
When: Wednesday 10/3 at 5.20 PM
Where: 301 South College - Partee Room
If you have any questions, please email Jeremy or me! See you there!
Two phonological phenomena in Israeli Hebrew (IH) will be introduced, pre-tonal lengthening (PTL) and i > e centralization (CENT), both of which had precedents in Ancient Hebrew. Both have recently been observed in IH in generally-similar environments, but their scope of application is limited to certain colloquial registers and to some groups of speakers, and even then the processes involved are not applied consistently. Still, the motivation for each could be similar, at least in part, to what it was in ancient Hebrew.
Historical PTL was probably intended to distinguish Hebrew lexical items from comparable Aramaic ones among the predominantly bilingual population; in IH it may signal a general rhythmic change, but may also constitute an attempt to avoid opacity-causing qualitative vowel reduction (as in English). CENT was and is just an “ease of articulation” phonetic process. Both apply to unstressed vowels.
Since PTL generally applies in open syllables, and CENT in closed ones, a single possible explanation is suggested --- in terms of syllable structure --- that can account for both.