University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Palestinians in Israel are typically bilingual in Palestinian Arabic and Modern Hebrew. Two pharyngeal segments exist in both languages, exhibiting different variation patterns. Most Jewish speakers of Hebrew replace them with non-pharyngeals, whereas Palestinian speakers generally do produce pharyngeals in Arabic. We analyze the Hebrew component of an Arabic/Hebrew bilingual corpus of sociolinguistic interviews with Palestinian speakers from Jaffa, who produce some pharyngeals in their Hebrew. A multivariate analysis of the Hebrew data shows that higher rates of pharyngeal production in Arabic do not predict higher rates of pharyngeals in Hebrew, suggesting that the Hebrew patterns cannot be attributed solely to linguistic transfer. Taking into account social factors such as medium of education, we argue that the use of pharyngeals is not simply a carryover from Arabic, but rather a socially meaningful resource indexically linked to the speakers’ Arab identity.



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