ходить, шел - change in stem

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by adventrue, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. adventrue Banned

    In Russian the "kh" sound at the beginning of the verb 'khodit' changes to 'sh' in the past tense 'shol'. What is this process called?
  2. timofei Senior Member

  3. adventrue Banned

    Ok thanks, I see. So this is actually a historical grammatical question, since "sh'ol" comes from "ходить", right? In this case my question is however, how come it 'had' to palatalize? I don't see a rule that a vowel in the past tense somehow had to be suddenly iotised (which Шёл still is by spelling rules and used to be in pronunciation in history I guess).
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    At first sight this is true guess: х > ш because хё is impossible in Russian. Ходить - *хёл > шёл. And the very process х > ш is typical for Russian (ворох - ворошить).
    However, etymologists (Vasmer, Chernykh) reckon [х] appears first only after the prefixes: приходить, уходить, etc., i.e. after i, e, r.
    The primary consonant was as in PIE *sed (meaning "to move sitting in the cart", whence both ходить and сидеть origin).
    Therefore in fact the process was reverse: с/ш > х.

    As for the "iotacizing" in the past tense, this is only a visual effect:
    вести - вёл, плести - плёл, ходить - шёл -- in all these pairs consonant is soft and therefore [ё] instead of [о] is nothing more than an orthographical norm. Real vowel sound is [о].
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  5. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    You are mistaken; this is not a case of sound change (thus no palatalisation of "x") - but a case of suppletive stems. So there is no sound change rule which you could apply here - the rule is that you use a different stem for different use (present vs. participle).

    In Russian (and all other Slavic languages for that matter) the present tense stem "ходить" is replaced by "шёл" with past participle.

    (Your native language German also has some suppletive stems - just think of verb "sein" which is "war" and "gewesen" in past tense. :))
  6. Maroseika Moderator

    Sorry, but according to the etymologists шел and ходить have the same stem - unlike шел and идти. Just ш was substituted with х in some position as shown above.
  7. adventrue Banned

    If I am not mistaken you seem to be contradicting yourself: At first you say "хё is impossible" and then you say the "хё" is merely optical; "xo" of course is possible.
  8. Maroseika Moderator

    No contradiction. I meant хё or шё is not what is really called iotisizing, because there is no phonetical yota. Though the letter ё itself = йо, in such combinations like шёл or вёл there is no йо, but just an [o] after soft consonant, grafically designated by ё - unlike such cases like бельё, свинья or Кьеркегор where we really have ioticized vowels.
    As for хё = [х'о] it's just atypical for Russian phonetics and this could be the reason of х > ш (вести - вёл, ходил - хёл). But as we see, in this case the reason was different.
  9. adventrue Banned

    Please, I find this fact very interesting, but I cannot find it in the online Vasmer dictionary. Could you post a source?
  10. Q-cumber

    Q-cumber Senior Member

    A bit on the side
    The Russian spelling of his German surname is Fasmer (Фасмер). Here's the link. You can either use the dictionary online or download it in PDF format....
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  11. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Sorry, and thank you for the correction - I wrote the above in a hurry; here's the Vasmer link where he says that "ш" developped with prefixed verbs (x > ш): this isn't one of the typical palatalisation processes in Slavic languages but seems to be an irregular one.

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