Why is the Russian ë always stressed?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Encolpius, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Hello, are there any historical etymological responds why the Russian vowel ë is always stressed? Thanks.
     
  2. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Yes, in the area around Moscow the original "e" shifted to "o" only in stressed syllables.
     
  3. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    Just to add: in OldSlavic, there was no O sound after a soft consonant and thus there was no such a vowel like ë.
     
  4. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    It really depends on what you mean by "ë". If you are referring to the grapheme that is sometimes used to indicate a stressed [o] sound, then the answer is that it is always stressed by definition. If you are referring to the phoneme that is realized as [o] in stressed position, but as reduced /[ɨ] or [ə] in unstressed positions, then the answer is that it is not always stressed.
     
  5. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member


    These "phonemes" are merely linguistic abstractions of little practical value. There was a historical sound "e" that, when stressed, shifted to "o" (usually when not before a palatalized consonant) or preserved as "e" (before a palatalized consonant or in a number of bookish words), and underwent a reduction (not only to i/ɨ) when unstressed.
     
  6. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    They have as much practical value as the details of the phonological history of Russian… :rolleyes:
     
  7. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Fine, could you please explain then how this profound explanation

    answers the poster's question?
     
  8. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    If the poster has difficulty understanding my answer, he can ask a follow-up question. If he finds it irrelevant, he can ignore it. And so can you.
     
  9. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    By the way, what phoneme is this? Do you postulate that there are two phonemes "realized as [o] in stressed position" — the one in «стол», which is reduced to [ʌ]/[ǝ] when unstressed, and another one in «сёла», which is reduced to /[ɨ]? Or is it a single phoneme with a different behavior depending on the preceding consonant? And what about the nuances of reduction — here in St. Petersburg the unstressed «и» and «е» do not necessarily merge, so that e. g. I pronounce «Вася», «Васе» and «Васи» differently? With all these, and several other, peculiarities, how parsimonious becomes the concept of "phoneme" which is aimed at simplifying the language description?
     
  10. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Yes, two phonemes. That correspond exactly in this case — and this is no accident — with the historical sounds and with the written forms.
    Parsimonious compared to what? Compared to saying that the root vowel in сёла is completely unrelated synchronically to the root vowel in село?
     
  11. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Well, since all the scenarios have been discussed to death since the 19th century, I cannot tell anything new here. I just want to say that the concept of phoneme is of interest of theoretical linguists but requires too much abstracting when applied to practical matters, even for fellow linguists. Since it is an etymology forum, I readdress you to the works on the history of languages — very few people find it practical to operate with phonemes when describing the historical phonology (except for a couple of decades in the middle 20th century when it was popular): instead, you just find statements like "a sound 'x' shifted to 'y' when stressed and to 'z' when unstressed", and this would be much more transparent for an average human.
     
  12. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    The scope of this forum officially includes discussions of general and theoretical linguistics, and in my opinion most of the participants are "above average" humans capable of understanding that diachronic and synchronic explanations are complementary, not mutually exclusive. And that "abstract" is not a four-letter word.

    That said, Encolpius did ask specifically about historial/etymological explanations so it could be the case that he doesn't care at all about the status of alternations involving ë in the morpho-phonology of contemporary Russian.
     
  13. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Prague
    Hungarian
    Yes, I was interested in the grapheme, so the stressed OldSlavic e made the present ë...
     
  14. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You all seem to focus on a vowel part of it but no-one said anything about the consonant. Excuse my ignorance but I thought it was [jo], not [o]. Let's take the example of Gorbachev. Shoulldt it be Gorbachyov?
     
  15. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The vowel is "o". The letter "y" before vowels in the English transcription most often is used to convey the Russian palatalization, i. e. not a separate sound but a palatalized pronunciation of the preceding consonant. Since "ch" in Russian is palatalized by itself, "Gorbachov" and "Gorbachyov" stand for the same pronunciation, closer to the English "cho" but more palatalized. There is no non-palatalized "ch" in Russian and thus a separate marking of the palatalization of this sound is redundant.

    Likewise, before "e", most Russian consonants become palatalized and there is an artificial rule not to mark this palatalization in the foreign transcription, so the real "dyelo" becomes "delo", "styenye" becomes "stene" and so on. Just to save the paper or screen space.
     
  16. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The letter itself was introduced in the 18 century as a merger of "е" and "ö". It was facultative most of the time until the WWII when Stalin ordered to use it in all appropriate cases to avoid troubles with surnames and toponyms, which was important at the war time. After Stalin's death, "ё" became facultative again, but started to gain prominence in the computer era. I use "ё" in all cases since, I guess, the middle nineties.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  17. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    If, as you say, 'ё' is simply an /o/ that causes palatalization of a preceding consonant, (and 'я' a consonant-palatalizing /a/, etc.), one would expect word-initial 'ё' and 'я' to be pronounced /o/ and /a/, since there is no preceding consonant to palatalize. In fact, however, they're pronounced /jo/ and /ja/ (as in "ёлка" and "ясно"). I don't know what the theoretical significance of this is, but I find it interesting, and it means that the statement that 'ё', 'я', etc. are just consonant-palatalizing equivalents of the corresponding non-palatalizing vowels doesn't tell the whole story.

    Returning to the OP's question, my reaction was similar to CapnPrep's, but not on the kind of theoretical grounds that ahvalj seems to object to (which I am not qualified to discuss in any case).

    In textbooks for foreigners, all stresses are indicated: мáльчик/мáльчики, окнó/óкна, селó/сёла (the two-dot symbol on 'ё' distinguishes it from the other stressed 'e'). This serves two purposes for the learner:
    - indicates which syllable to stress
    - helps with pronunciation, since unstressed vowels tend to be pronounced differently from stressed vowels written with the same letter.

    One might then say that, as opposed to material for learners, in more standard Russian orthography, all stress marks are omitted, except for the two dots in 'ё' (reasons for which ahvalj has given): thus мальчик/мальчики, окно/окна, but село/сёла. In this view (which has nothing to do with theoretical concepts like phonemes), the answer to the OP question is similar to the one CapnPrep gave: it's not that all 'ё' is stressed; rather one writes 'ё' only when it (the first vowel of "сел-", for ex.) is stressed. Again, I'm not making any theoretical claims here; I'm just stating things in a way that I find useful as a student of Russian.
     
  18. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    This is the major confusing point of the Russian orthography. Initially, one thousand years ago, there was a special way to mark the initial "y" — a vertical line before the vowel that preserves in the modern letter "ю", so the modern «ясли, ядро, ель, юный» were written «ꙗсли, ѩдро, ѥль, юуныи» (though the initial vowel in what is now «еда» was written without that sign, i. e. «ҍда», even then). That was inherited from the Old Church Slavonic orthography, which was based on the Slavic dialect of Thessaloniki of the 9th century. The palatalization opposition was only developing in Slavic at that period and the necessity to convey the palatalized consonants orthographically was lesser than in the following centuries. As the palatalization was becoming less conditioned in Russian, the orthography had to invent ways to express the palatalized consonants in places were they didn't exist before, so the scribes eventually agreed on the confusing system we use now.
     
  19. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Actually, my main objection against this approach is that it (whether introducing the concept of phoneme or just saying the same in plain words) implies that there is an "o" after palatalized consonants, which is manifested as such under stress but reduced when unstressed. This is acceptable for every other Russian vowel in similar circumstances but not for "o" since the historical vowel here was "e", which shifted to "o" when stressed and experienced reduction when unstressed, and there never existed any unstressed "o" after palatalized consonants (well, in the last 15 centuries anyway). So, the first vowel in «село» was always "e" since the IE times and it would be a violence over the language to operate with the opposite scenario even for didactic purposes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  20. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    A somewhat similar example in English: is in "fifteen" the same phoneme as [ai] in "five"? Both originate from the Old English "i:" from "im", but in "fifteen" that vowel became short in an unstressed closed syllable, whereas in "five" it developed into a diphthong in an open syllable under the stress. One may regard the diphthong reflex as the strong position for this phoneme and the simple vowel variant as representing the weak position, and I may imagine some contexts when it would be useful, but in most cases it will just complicate understanding.

    Update: sorry, "i:" instead of "y:", I was hypnotized by the German word, corrected.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  21. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The shortening of /i:/ to /ɪ/ in early modern English fifteen is a phonemic split and unrelated to stress (fifty underwent the same shortening). Of course you could argue that stress and unstressed vowels constitute distinct phonemes in Russian, i.e. that your language has 10 or 12 rather than 5 or 6 (depending whether you accept the central <i> as a phoneme in its own right) vowel phonemes. But then you are at odds with the entire learned literature about Russian phonology. Maybe you are right and all the others are wrong, I don't know, I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact.
     
  22. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I understand all of this, I just want to point out that the very concept of phonemes, as any model, is of unequal usefulness: there are (numerous) contexts when it complicates the picture more than elucidates. The case we are discussing here is pretty illustrative: the harmony of the synchronous picture requires interpreting the language facts in the way that contradicts the actual (well-known) history of that aspect of the language. Unfortunately, though, this is a standard approach.

    Yes, I thought about "fifty" shortly after having written that post. Well, then that was dependent of the kind of the syllable.
     
  23. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    You are right to say that introducing the concept of phoneme sometimes complicates the picture, but then abstract theoretical concepts are not "aimed at simplifying the language description" (as you said above). They are aimed at making the description as precise and complete as possible, both historically and synchronically, and they make predictions about speakers' behavior. This is a lot to ask for from a single analysis, and it is appropriate to point out an analysis's shortcomings. But simply saying that it seems "complicated" is not in itself a valid counter-argument.
    First of all, a language's phonological system can change over time, so the phonemic analysis of the modern language may very well be inapplicable to earlier stages of the language. But there is no "contradiction" there.

    Second, in the case at hand, the phonemic analysis exactly mirrors the historical development, so I'm not sure how your complaint applies here.
     
  24. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I would say, for current Russian speakers, the phonetic system is largely based on the written form of words: the (historical) forms reflected in the orthography serve as idealized underlying forms of words, to which assimilations, stress position and vowel reductions are applied on the fly when the word is pronounced (I guess, the same is true for nests of related Latin and Greek borrowings in English, like "divide" — "division" or "the access" — "to access"). This can be seen e. g. from that the hypercorrections like «плачу» — «плотит», once pretty widespread, have disappeared with the rise of literacy in the first half of the 20th century. Also, the stress vacillations, which can strongly modify the phonetic aspect of a word (for a foreigner, or in case of an unknown term or toponym for a native speaker), do not cause problems with familiar words, as speakers keep in mind their written form. How is it all related to phonemes is not quite clear to me.
     
  25. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    Russian

    That depends on how you define Russian phonemes. The St.Petersburg phonological school, for instance, postulates that /o/ phoneme just doesn't exist in unstressed positions, undergoing the /o/->/a/ shift there.
     
  26. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    In other words, Russian orthography is… phonemic. :rolleyes: It puzzles me that you refer to "idealized underlying forms of words" in your own analysis, but then you claim to reject abstractness and the concept of phonemes. What you are describing is an abstract phonemic analysis; what needs to be tested (maybe someone has already done this) is whether these patterns of alternation can be elicited in the absence of written forms.
    OK, in this sort of approach (if I understand correctly), the /ë/ phoneme doesn't exist in unstressed positions, and undergoes (or underwent) the /ë/ → /e/ shift. The crucial question is to what extent this is still productive for Russian speakers today.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  27. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    ,-) The difference is that the written forms reflect the actual history on the one hand and are effective instructions for speakers on the other, while phonemes are scientists' inventions that have complicated relations with the living language. Seriously, there is obviously no easy answer to all that and we may roam in this forest the rest of our lives, as philosophers do. In my initial reply to your post I just wanted to ask for a simple explanation. OK, let Encolpius decide.
     
  28. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Do illiterate Russians (for example, young children) manage to acquire the pattern [sʲɪˈlo]/[ˈsʲolǝ]? Are they following instructions from the orthography? Or applying university-level knowledge of Russian historical phonology?
     
  29. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I think they learn it as any ablaut. Somehow, the modern Russian has managed to preserve alive the pattern о/а in secondary imperfective verbs, so from a layman's point of view such spoken neologisms as «вёрнутый» (Past Passive Perfective participle from «вернуть», literary «возвращённый») and «обуславливать» (an imperfective from «обусловить», literary still «обусловливать») are just examples of vowel altenations active in the language. If, however, a word is unknown, many people make mistakes in е/ё or in stress. The check player known as Алёхин was actually Алехин, and the matematician Чебышев was Чебышёв. A colleague confessed that when she was a small girl, she pronounced the word «гипотеза» as «гипотёза». I myself recall that during my entire childhood I read e. g. Jules Vernes' Гленарван as Гленаварн. So, the more alien the word, the more efforts are required. As everywhere. The same as with the Latin and Greek layer in English.
     
  30. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    By the way, this pattern is not automatic, so in any case a future speaker has to learn words and morphemes that change "е" to "ё" («сёла» — «село») and those that don't («место» — «места»).
     
  31. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I've just thought that this situation with the Russian vowel alternations and reductions within paradigms and during word formation somehow recapitulates the origin of the IE ablaut: at least I am aware of no other attested post-PIE language that would combine a free stress, an inflexional morphology and such pronounced positional vowel alternations. The difference is that Russian has more vocalic phonemes and doesn't delete unstressed vowels (so far, at least), but otherwise students of the origin of the IE morphophonology should pay attention. Even this e/o is similar ,-)
     
  32. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Those are the phonemes /o/ and /e/ the stressed allophones of which are distinguishable ([o̞] and [ɛ], respectively) and the unstressed allophones of which are merged (both [ɪ̈]). This is easily explained by the standard phonological theory of Russian.
     
  33. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Yes, it's almost as if speakers were relying on some sort of abstract, underlying phonological objects that could have different surface realizations in different contexts… ;) But that would be too complicated, wouldn't it?
     
  34. punctuate Senior Member

    Russian
    Hi CapnPrep,

    Sorry for a layman's intervention, but does that matter that if I am asked to pronounce the last five "letters" of the surname Терёхина, the result is nothing like охина? Does it matter that in childhood, I was not able to pronounce the vowel ё in an unstressed way, and I had to try hard enough before I succeeded in pronouncing words with ё as what I felt as the same sequence of sounds but with different stress?

    Encolpius has not asked for clarifications, but I do ask you for this favor: what exactly predictions about the users of the language are operated with the concept of a phoneme? Are these predictions relevant for an answer to the question why is the vowel [letter] ё (and the corresponding sound that I hear very well and distinct from any other sound) always stressed, in other words, why in Russian it is impossible to pronounce such stemming from [o] sound, placed after a soft consonant, unstressed, except in names of some towns somewhere far away that I used to use as my testing device? Abstraction is certainly not a four-letter word, but it is a good thing to manage on every occasion without abstractions when it is possible to, because abstractions are always arbitrary. Thank you.
     
  35. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Nobody doubts that such models can be built and satisfy the minds of people with a more abstract way of thinking. The question is whether they may serve good answers to simple questions. Well, anyway, both approaches have been formulated during the discussion and from my side I have nothing to add to the topic question.

    By the way, I had mentioned this a couple of days ago and would like to repeat: the reduced vowels, especially in the endings, are more nuanced that some manuals prescribe. As I had written, I distinguish, except for the allegro speech, three unstressed vowels in the case forms «Вася», «Васе» and «Васи», which complicates somewhat the "standard phonological theory of Russian". Also, I am not sure that the unstressed vowels in «село» and «лило» are always identical in my speech. Likewise, I cannot say I am able to discern two degrees of reduction of the unstressed "o" when I pronounce e. g. «дорогого», I would say they all are pronounced as "ʌ". Does my case (the St. Petersburg speech, which is no way less literary than the Moscow one) require another "standard theory"?
     
  36. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Saying that сёла and село are two forms of the same lexeme is an abstraction. Case, gender, number, tense, aspect, etc. are all abstractions. The concepts "vowel" and "stress" and "word" are abstractions. You can say that an abstraction is more or less motivated, more or less useful, and some abstractions may turn out to be unnecessary or incorrect. But they are not "always arbitrary".

    I'm afraid I don't understand your questions enough to respond to them. If you are saying that the letter ‹ë› represents a sound distinct from all other vowels in the same contexts, then it is obvious that it must correspond to a distinct phoneme. However, descriptions of Russian phonology generally agree that ‹ë› and ‹о› represent the same vowel sound in stressed syllables (ignoring the nature of the preceding consonant and possible iotation).

    But distinct phonemic status for /ë/ is still motivated by the fact that in unstressed syllables, ‹ë› no longer patterns with ‹o›, but with ‹e› (so much so that people don't normally use the letter ‹ë› in this context, but simply ‹e›).
     
  37. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    Russian
    Basically, yes. However, there is also a minor tendency to create /'о/ in plural even where it shouldn't be, just by analogy. One historical example is "звезда"/"звёзды" (naturally /'o/ wouldn't appear here, since the root originally conained /ѣ/, not /e/; so that plural was created some time after /ѣ/ and /e/ already merged). Another, apparently more recent one, is "пизда"/"пёзды" :)warn::warn::warn:) in colloquial speech; that variation has clearly originated among dialects that don't make any difference between unstrassed /e/ and /i/, like in Moscow or Southern Russia.
     
  38. Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    Russian
    Articulation of vowels that appear after palatalized/palatal consonants in Russian is noticeably shifted forward, most noticeably between such consonants. Still they're just allophones, not separate phonemes (because there is naturally no minimal pairs for them, let alone one normally cannot just cut them off from the corresponding consonants and pronounce them separately).
     
  39. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    Not an answer to Encolpius's question, but I think not OT:

    This e/o alternation exists in other Slavic languages as well, though not necessarilly connected to the stress. Examples:

    - "bee" in standard Slovak is včela, but in some Eastern dialects it is pčola
    - the diminuitive ending -ček in some Slovak dialects is -čok (e.g. chlapček/chlapčok - "little boy")
    - declension: tomu/toho (dative/accusative from the demonstr. pronoun to - "this"), našému ("to ours" - dative), jeho ("his, him" - accusative, genitive), etc ... in some dialects have the form temu/teho, našomu, joho ...
    etc...

    And also cross linguistically, i.e. the standard Slovak "o" often corresponds to the Czech or Polish "e".
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  40. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The latter is a Ukrainian borrowing. The Ukrainian e>o shift is related to the Russian/Belarusian one but eventually occurred under different circumstances (mostly after old palatals).

    Not related. Slovak has varying reflexes of the Common Slavic vowel "ъ", partly confined to different dialect groups (Central vs. Western/Eastern).

    Not related. Here "o" is ancient, and "e" after old palatals is Common Slavic. "temu/teho, našomu, joho" are secondary in-Slovak forms.

    The same as with chlapček/chlapčok.
     
  41. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    My intention was not to say that my examples were directly related to the Russian e/ë phenomenon, rather I wanted to say that the phonetical realization of ë as o (and not something else), i.e. the alternation of e/o, is present in other Slavic languages too, whatever be the reason for it. (Finally, the e/o alternation is present in other languages as well, of course in different "circumstances", e.g. Italian domandare < demandare etc...)

    I don't know if I understand you well ... What were the "original" Slavic forms of these words?
     
  42. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    tomu, togo, našemu, jego
    "o" was original (well, then it was "å" or even "a"), whereas "e" developed after palatals in the Common Slavic.
     
  43. francisgranada Senior Member

    Slovakia
    Hungarian
    Does it mean that e.g. temu (originally tomu) comes from a secondary"těmu/ťemu" that was later "re-depalatilzed" to "temu" ? ...

    (if the initial "t" were palatal, it's "modern" realization/pronounciation should be ť, c, ć ... according to the region/dialect/language, but not "t")
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  44. punctuate Senior Member

    Russian
    I agree I formulated incorrectly. By 'always arbitrary' I mean this: unlike direct observations of things that cannot be not observed (like the feelings that I experience and the thoughts that I have when I either hear a word said, say it myself, or pronounce it to myself while thinking), abstractions (word, language, sound, phoneme) are not chosen by the nature of things, they are chosen by people. This is where their inherent arbitrariness lies; and since they are chosen by people, there is no bad luck in choosing each time such set of abstractions that incorporates only the facts that are relevant to the problem in question, abstractions are not things to conserve. What facts are relevant to our current question? The current question is why the sound that is represented by the letter ё is always stressed in Russian words.

    The prediction that people write the same letter in the roots of the words во'да and 'водный and say (when trained) that these words share the same root is not relevant to this question. The observations (I don't know anything about the history of the Russian language, I just repeat ahvalj's words), that the sound [e] turned into the sound [o] only in the stressed positions, and that only sounds like [e] had the ability to soften the previous consonant while the sounds like [o] had not, and so [o] might appear after a softened consonant (our case) only where it appeared as a result of turning [e] into [o] and thus only in the stressed position, are relevant. So, there is a reason to pick the abstraction of sound to answer this question, but there is no reason to pick the abstraction of phoneme, it can just rest in peace for a while.
    Yes, it does sound its own way for me, but [ё] and [o] don't appear in the same contexts to distinguish two different words ([ё] appears only after a soft consonant, [o] appears only after a hard consonant), so of course it is useful sometimes to combine them in the same unit for further discussions, called a phoneme as a good name. My point now is that the question when it is and when it is not useful to do so is not always relevant; it looks to be irrelevant to the original question, as an instance. Those statements in the form of questions were made to say that the question about a distinct sound represented by the letter ё makes sense to me, so they were auxiliary.
    It depends on who is one. The man from the theory cannot. I can. ;-)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  45. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    No, these were morphological levelings in opposite directions — either "e" was generalized (hence "teho"), or "o" (hence "našomu"). "Temu" is non-palatalized because it is influenced by the adjective declension, where e. g. "sytého" is a result of a post-Common Slavic contraction from "sytajego" (attested in OCS), where "t" remained hard.
     
  46. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Sorry, I hadn't understood your question. My previous post was about the development within Slovak. Concerning the Common Slavic — in the 1st millennium, several centuries before the first written attestation, it had a phonetic rule responsible for the fact that the modern Russian has no unstressed "ё": the original Slavic middle/lower back vowel (which was developing from the reconstructed "*a" to the attested "o") shifted to the front after "j" and later also after the newly developed palatalized "k'" of the third palatalization, so instead of the etymologically expected "o" and "ъ" in "*tvojo", "*tvojomu", "*znanьjo", "*znajomъ", "*starьk'ъ", "našъ" etc. the early attested Slavic forms of the 9–11th centuries had "e" and "ь", i. e. "tvoje", "tvojemu", "znanьje", "znajemъ", "starьcь" and "našь". This tendency was later reversed in all languages but Czech, which continued to move back vowels to the front after palatalized consonants ("znají" instead of the older "znajú" etc.) for several centuries.
     
  47. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Just a passing comment, but not to break the thread. Though many theories acquaint ë and o, my Russian teacher, if her speech is typical, pronounces ë very differently from /o/. For example, the way she pronounces тётя is about like /'t'œ-t'ɐ/ not /'t'o-t'ɐ/ and щётка /'ɕœt-kɐ/ instead of /'ɕot-kɐ/, I mean the vowel is rather more like the vowel in French soeur than sort.
     
  48. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Yes, the Russian back vowels get fronted after palatalized consonants, and even more so between two palatalized consonants. This seems to be an automatic process related with palatalization since the Lithuanian vowels behave the same way.

    When the Russian ё (о) appears after a dispalatalized consonant (e. g. "шёл, жёсткий, порошок"), it is pronounced as any "о".
     
  49. CitizenEmpty Senior Member

    English & Korean
    From what I know, the Russian "ё" is a mid-central rounded vowel (aka a rounded version of schwa) and it doesn't use a lot of the tongue muscles compare to other Russian vowels. Maybe the ease of producing this kind of pronunciation made it stressed in any situation.
     
  50. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Macedonian
    I don't know if it's still productive, but I've noticed that Russian speakers carry it over when speaking English; e.g. pronouncing burn as бё(р)н.
     

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