I am a linguist and psycholinguist working on Hebrew language acquisition and the development of linguistic literacy in a usage-based framework. I am interested in understanding the emergence and consolidation of the lexicon and grammar across infancy, childhood and adolescence in the context of diverse linguistic typologies and communicative settings. I find statistical learning and Construction Grammar extremely helpful in accounting for the structural and semantic patterning found in my studies.
Much of my work revolves around the acquisition of Hebrew morpho-syntax. In inflection, I have studied the development of Hebrew noun and adjective plurals, optional possessives, preposition structure, and the binyan verb paradigm, including temporal stems and agreement markers. In derivation, I have studied nominal and adjectival morphology, the binyan system, and morpho-semantic verb, noun, and adjective classes. I have examined the acquisition of specific Hebrew systems such as derived nominals, passive forms, denominal and resultative adjectives, diminutive structures, and compounding. A central theme of my work on derivational morphology has been the structure and semantics of the Semitic root.
I have reason to believe that language knowledge encompasses both spoken and written linguistic modes in literate language users. I have thus applied linguistic methodology and theory to studying Hebrew spelling at the interface of phonology, orthography, and morphology. A major thrust of my scientific work concerns the development of spoken and written text production in different genres – mainly narratives and expository texts – across the school years, with special focus on mature discourse abilities in adults.
Although my chief research interest is language in typically developing populations, collaboration with colleagues and students has generated studies of language learners with various disorders such as language and learning impairment, dyslexia, attention disorders, hearing impairment, central auditory disorder, cleft palate, and cerebral palsy. I am deeply committed studying the causes and effects of low socio-economic background on the development of language and literacy skills.