pretonic lengthening of vowels
peterarkadiev at YANDEX.RU
Tue Feb 21 14:35:55 UTC 2012
I suggest that Henning Andersen's description of Russian is qualified against existing published sources and judgment of the specialists in Russian phonetics. I find this description of my native language rather surprising (though I must confess that I am bad at phonetics). At least, it is incorrect to claim that pretonic vowels escape reduction, since they actually don't - only their degree of reduction is not as great as those of other unstressed syllables. For sure, the pretonic syllable can be lengthened for expressive purposes, but I am sure that normally it is shorter than the tonic one. I will forward both the initial question and Henning Andersen's answer to an expert on Russian phonetics, who will be able to give an empirically supported answer.
21.02.2012, 12:57, "andersen at UCLA.EDU" <andersen at UCLA.EDU>:
> Kaan'echn@! Standard Russian is a language that distributes its stress
> over accented and pretonic syllable, the latter typically being as
> long or longer than the accented syllable (and often heard as the
> accented syllable by foreigners), By being long(er) pretonic vowels
> escape the vowel reduction that affects all other unaccented
> syllables—with the exception of vowels in absolute initial position.
> Hence osnova [asn'ova], osnovnoj [asnavn'oj], obosoblenie
> [ab at sablenie], etc.
> This iambic distribution of duration in feet is actually a
> commonplace. Your key word is metrical phonology.
> Good luck with your work!
> Henning Andersen
> Quoting Sergey Lyosov <sergelyosov at inbox.ru>:
>> Dear typologists,
>> could somebody answer a question related to historical phonology?
>> The vocalism of the Hebrew Bible displays what is called
>> “Vortondehnung,” lengthening of a short vowel in the pretonic open
>> syllable. Admittedly, the language did so in order to “save” the
>> respective vowel from the deletion that came about at a certain time
>> point. Note that the pretonic [a] is usually lengthened, while the
>> pretonic [i] and [u] are deleted. A simplified example is as
>> follows: the Proto-Semitic *kabíd ‘heavy’ (the stress is on the last
>> syllable) appears in Biblical Hebrew as kaabíd, while in Biblical
>> Aramaic it is kbid.
>> Do we know, cross-language, more cases of vowel lengthening
>> meant to save a pretonic open-syllable short vowel from deletion?
>> With all best wishes,
>> Sergey Loesov
>> Oriental Institute
>> Russian State University for the Humanities
>> 6 Miusskaya pl. Moscow 125267, Russia.
Peter Arkadiev, PhD
Institute of Slavic Studies
Russian Academy of Sciences
Leninsky prospekt 32-A 119334 Moscow
peterarkadiev at yandex.ru
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