Acute Accent In Russian

lluvioso1

Senior Member
Türkçe
Hi, I am a beginner learner. My friend, who had taken an Russian course, told me that; there is only one special accent ( like spanish acute accent "' "), which works for stressing the letters, in Russian and he also told me followings:

  • In one syllabled words there is no need any acute accent. (actually being acute accentless is obligatory for those words---i.e.:век)
  • Any word that has more than one syllable needs an acute accent, unless other the unique, accented, letters are present(such as:й or ё ) i.e.: па́па; but then, I cannot see any accent on words, having more than one syllable, on many pages like wikipedia. i.e: алфавит (from this link: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Русский_алфавит
  • Also he told me; a more-than-one-syllabled word can ONLY get one accent upon one of its letters. (including unique accented letters, too) i.e.:Русский

    but again from the same wiki link: (just below the head)-- Ру́сский
  • Any of the accents only comes to vowels. (I know telling this is dummy, but bear with me)


-What I need is true evaluations of these tips from my friend. I mean, for each one please, are they TRUE or FALSE?, if FALSE; can you explain to me why?


Thank you so much in advance.
 
  • bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    The stressed syllables are marked out only in the Russian dictionaries and textbooks. In most cases the Russians need not it as Russian is their mother tongue. They know how to pronounce the Russian words. Although there can be ambiguities in some rare cases.

    It is similar situation like in Latin. The ancient Romans did not mark out stress and vowel length as Latin was their mother tongue.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Hi, I am a beginner learner. My friend, who had taken an Russian course, told me that; there is only one special accent ( like spanish acute accent "' "), which works for stressing the letters, in Russian and he also told me followings:

    • In one syllabled words there is no need any acute accent. (actually being acute accentless is obligatory for those words---i.e.:век)
    • Any word that has more than one syllable needs an acute accent, unless other the unique, accented, letters are present(such as:й or ё ) i.e.: па́па; but then, I cannot see any accent on words, having more than one syllable, on many pages like wikipedia. i.e: алфавит (from this link: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Русский_алфавит
    • Also he told me; a more-than-one-syllabled word can ONLY get one accent upon one of its letters. (including unique accented letters, too) i.e.:Русский

      but again from the same wiki link: (just below the head)-- Ру́сский
    • Any of the accents only comes to vowels. (I know telling this is dummy, but bear with me)


    -What I need is true evaluations of these tips from my friend. I mean, for each one please, are they TRUE or FALSE?, if FALSE; can you explain to me why?


    Thank you so much in advance.
    Accents are almost never written. They indicate the stress in a word and are only used in dictionaries and learning material. In one-syllable words, the accent mark is unnecessary to indicate stress, but is sometimes included. Also, sometimes two or more words are pronounced as one and one stress mark is used (e.g. на́ голову). The letter ё is the only automatically accented letter. The letter "й" is not a vowel and cannot be stressed, and thus there must be another vowel in the word with stress (e.g. ру́сский). Sometimes long words can have more than one stress (e.g. четырёхуго́льник, пяти́уго́льник).
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Accent in Russian (beyond dictionaries and educating texts) is marked in the following cases (according to the grammar reference of Lopatin):

    - To avoid ambiguity: большая часть (a big part) and бо́льшая часть (a bigger part); or вороны (crows) and во́роны (ravens). In such cases accent is usually marked when a rarer of two words is used and only if the conext is really ambiguous.
    - To distinguish е and ё when the latter is written without dots: все́ (Plural of весь) and всё (Singular Neuter of весь); бере́т (beret) and берет (=берёт - takes).
    - To avoid erroneous reading of rare words.
    - To distingusih relative pronoun что́ from the conjunction что:
    Рассказать, что отовсюду
    На меня весельем веет,
    Что не знаю сам, что́ буду
    Петь, — но только песня зреет (Фет).
     

    igusarov

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The thingy that you call "the acute accent" is actually called "ударение", which means "the stress", "the stress mark". The concept of stressed syllables surely exists in Turkish because that Wikipedia page has a link to a corresponding Turkish article.

    The stress mark is there to facilitate the pronounciation. Although stressed and unstressed vowels could be pronounced differently, we never consider them to be different letters. The stress mark is never written in most books, official documents, street signs, handwritten texts, etc. Why should it? The readers are supposed to know the pronounciation of each word, so the stress mark would serve no purpose. Even the Russian PC keyboard have no means to type that stress mark conveniently.

    As was explained in previous posts, there are certain cases (dictionaries, books for the beginners, ambiguous words) where the stress mark can make a difference. Then it is used.

    The acute accent is not the only practical way to mark the stressed syllable. In some electronic texts you may see the stressed vowel typed in capital or bold font: "большУю", "большую". The idea is to make the stressed vowel stand out in some way.

    So the short answers to your assertions are:
    1. True, one-syllable words do not need the stress mark. False, one-syllable words may have the strerss mark.
    2. False, "й" (consonant) and "ё" (vowel) have nothing to do with the stress mark. However, in simple native words (not adopted from other languages) "ё" is always stressed.
    3. Mostly true, with the exception of long words composed from several base words, or acronyms.
    4. True, consonants cannot be stressed.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    I always wonder why the accent mark is placed so strangely in the Russian texts on the web.
    In our Russian printed textbooks the accute accent is placed in a "normal" position:

    О́канье, моско́вское произноше́ние (from Russian Wikipedia)

    Óканье, москóвское произношéние (our textbooks and dictionaries)
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    I always wonder why the accent mark is placed so strangely in the Russian texts on the web.
    In our Russian printed textbooks the accute accent is placed in a "normal" position:

    О́канье, моско́вское произноше́ние (from Russian Wikipedia)

    Óканье, москóвское произношéние (our textbooks and dictionaries)
    But aren't these two variants identical? At least I can't notice any difference.
    Or you mean that sometimes the accute mark is placed before the stressed vowel? In such an event, this is just a problem of the browser or scripts.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    But aren't these two variants identical? At least I can't notice any difference.
    I can notice a visible difference on my screen. In the first case the acute mark is placed much higher than in the second case. There is an excessive space between the acute mark and the vowel character.
    Or you mean that sometimes the accute mark is placed before the stressed vowel? In such an event, this is just a problem of the browser or scripts.
    I also noticed that sometimes the acute mark is placed above the preceding (or perhaps following?) consonant. Also the acute mark is mostly an independent character. You can delete it independently, but I never know which character I am deleting as the cursor is under the vowel character. In other languages (e.g. French, Spanish, Czech, etc.) the accent mark is a part of the vowel character and cannot be deleted independently.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    So all this just a script issue. In Russian it is always above the vowel, on the same height above the letter like in case of other "marked" letters and like it is provided at WordReference: а́и́о́у́е́ы́э́ю́я́.
     

    Gerasim

    Member
    Russian
    First of all foreigners should learn by heart short words with correct accentes.Especially pronouns.If you tell somebody Мо́я insted of Moя́(my,mine) nobody would get it.And such words as (for example) электрооборудование or предупреждение or smth else like these ones it´s easy to understand without any accents.Just advice.
     

    lluvioso1

    Senior Member
    Türkçe
    Thank you for your responses. But I have also one little question:
    Русский = Russian

    but also;

    Ру́сский= Russian

    Well, why don't we use an accent over the "y" in the former?Is it because that the former was written by majuscule letters?So, can I interpret it as: "Majuscule letters never get " ' " accent?? "

    Again, from the same site: https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Русский_язык( I know that I bored you ,but do me a favor :) )
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    In Ру́сский язы́к on the provided site, the acute accents are written because it is an entry in an encyclopaedia (Wikipedia in this case). The entries in (nearly) all Russian dictionaries and encyclopaediae are printed with the marked stress.

    I have Enciklopedičeskij slovaŕ (Mockva 1953, B. A. Vvedenskij). All entries are in upper-case letters (majuscules) and with the marked stress.
     

    lluvioso1

    Senior Member
    Türkçe
    In Ру́сский язы́к on the provided site, the acute accents are written because it is an entry in an encyclopaedia (Wikipedia in this case). The entries in (nearly) all Russian dictionaries and encyclopaediae are printed with the marked stress.

    I have Enciklopedičeskij slovaŕ (Mockva 1953, B. A. Vvedenskij). All entries are in upper-case letters (majuscules) and with the marked stress.
    This explanation makes things much more clear now. bibax, you're great. So it is possible for a beginner to write ПÁПA instead па́па,if some wanna write with upper-case letters in Russian. :tick:

    awesome;)
     
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    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    This explanation makes things much more clear now. bibax, you're great. So it is possible for a beginner to write ПÁПA instead па́па,if some wanna write with upper-case letters in Russian. :tick:

    awesome;)
    In general, you should not write the accent at all ever, unless you are specifically trying to indicate where the stress is.
     

    Miralasa

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Textbooks are usually composed with custom fonts, where letter with (manually placed) accents are separate characters.
    Stressed texts in Wikipedia and elsewhere in the Net relay on OS capability to place combining accent marks. As most fonts of those included with Windows do not contain the necessary information for correct accent attachment they are looking strange indeed.
     

    mcorazao

    Member
    English, USA
    I know this is an old thread but just a minor comment for anybody who might come read this later.

    For what it is worth, the reason some languages like Spanish have accept marks as part of the orthography is that they are tonal. That is to say that changing the stress or pitch on particular syllables changes the meaning of the word. By contrast Russian, like English, and most languages, is not really very tonal. So in Russian changing the stress on a syllable may not be correct, but it does not change the meaning of the word. As result the Russian language (like English or Latin mentioned above) does not actually have accent marks as part of the orthography because they are not strictly necessary for a native speaker. But there is a convention for using the accent marks to teach foreigners how to pronounce things correctly.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    So in Russian changing the stress on a syllable may not be correct, but it does not change the meaning of the word.
    A minor correction: although this is true for the majority of Russian words, there is still quite a lot of so called homographs, differing only by stress (две зимы́ - долгие зи́мы; вкусное жарко́е - жа́ркое лето etc). However the meaning of the word is usually clear from the context.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So in Russian changing the stress on a syllable may not be correct, but it does not change the meaning of the word.
    I am sorry?..
    Мо́ю (I wash) vs. мою́ (my, fem. acc.sg.);
    ро́га (of a horn) vs. рога́ (horns);
    си́нее (blue, neut. sg.) vs. сине́е (more blue),
    etc.
    Only the context helps to decide what is what.
     

    mcorazao

    Member
    English, USA
    A minor correction: although this is true for the majority of Russian words, there is still quite a lot of so called homographs, differing only by stress (две зимы́ - долгие зи́мы; вкусное жарко́е - жа́ркое лето etc). However the meaning of the word is usually clear from the context.
    Oh, this is interesting. My knowledge of Russian is limited and I was not familiar with this type of problem. So perhaps it is fair to say that Russian is somewhere in between Spanish and English in terms of tonality? In Spanish it is not necessarily possible to infer the meaning of a word if you do not have the accent correct. Though perhaps in typical cases you could glean the intended meaning from context, it is certainly possible to misinterpret the meaning of a word in some cases if the accentuation is not correct (e.g. "mi papa está aquí" My potato is here, vs. "mi papá está aquí" My dad is here). Is it fair to say that in Russian it would be virtually impossible to misunderstand the intended meaning of a word without the accent information provided which is why it is not a standard part of the orthography?
     
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    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I am sorry?..
    Мо́ю (I wash) vs. мою́ (my, fem. acc.sg.);
    ро́га (of a horn) vs. рога́ (horns);
    си́нее (blue, neut. sg.) vs. сине́е (more blue),
    etc.
    Only the context helps to decide what is what.
    Even the context can't help in certain notorious cases:
    Бо́льшая часть vs. Больша́я часть, for example.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Actually, I would say that Russian and Spanish would be on a similar level in terms of understanding words without stress marks. Of course with Spanish people simply aren't used to reading without stress marks so they would tend to think it would be more of a problem than it really would be. Now if you looked beyond just comprehension, I would actually say that stress marks would actually be more useful for Russian than for Spanish, simply because in Russian stress is much less predictable for unfamiliar words than in Spanish.

    Anyway, the real reason that Spanish writes stress, but Russian does not, is simply because of tradition.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    There's also the even more extreme examples of Lithuanian and Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian that have the unpredictability and mobility of Russian stress, but the stressed syllables can also have 3 kinds of intonation which changes the meaning, and even unaccented vowels can be long or short. Yet, not a single thing out of the above is marked. So it really is nothing more than tradition.
     

    Xavier61

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Is it fair to say that in Russian it would be virtually impossible to misunderstand the intended meaning of a word without the accent information provided which is why it is not a standard part of the orthography?
    Thank you. You rephrased your message, now I can understand it. The answer is, as you can expect, the opposite: it would not be fair to say that, if you want to be fair in any reasonable degree, as Maroseika and Awwal12 have already pointed out in his posts about homophones.
    Regarding the second part of your sentence, the why, maybe others can answer. Why questions are not easy to answer.
     
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    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    • In one syllabled words there is no need any acute accent. (actually being acute accentless is obligatory for those words---i.e.:век)
    Not exactly. In sentences one-syllable words are usually pronounced jointly with neighbouring words. So phonetically several words make one multi-syllable word with one acute accent.
    For example "дай бог" (pray heaven, I wish, hopefully), "на два" (for two, into two), "во сне" (in one's sleep), etc.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    Getting back to my initial comment that caused an off-topic discussion.... The topic starter asked to confirm the statement that one one-syllable words don't need the stress marks, as they are always stressed by default. So the question was actually about practice of usage of the stress marks, if I got the author right. Considering what I said above, a one-syllable word in a sentence might be stressed or unstressed. Accordingly, the stress mark is used over one word in a group only, as demonstrate the following examples:
    О́н был жена́т на бе́дной дворя́нке...
    Ну что́ ж? Пра́вда ли, что о́н так хоро́ш собо́й?
    Пусть две́ из вас возьму́т в свои́ клю́вы пру́тик... etc.

    Some stress-marked texts can be found here Категория:Тексты с ударениями — Викитека
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Since this post got moved to a new thread, I will repost it, because it is still relevant to this thread (note that there was a dispute as to the validity of the example "на голову", but all that matters here is that at least in some expressions this stress pattern exists):

    It's not about the number of syllables, it's just about what type of word it is and whether a phrase has been lexicalized and become a sibgle stress unit. The latter is the case for дай бог, because in ordinary circumstances both дай and бог would be stressed (not necessarily equally, however, because of sentence-level stress rules). Meanwhile you have multisyllable prepositions that have no stress, for example передо мною (I used мною instead of мной to demonstrate that even the following word need not have only one syllable), not to mention cases where a preposition steals the stress from a multisyllable noun, for example на голову.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    Since this post got moved to a new thread, I will repost it, because it is still relevant to this thread (note that there was a dispute as to the validity of the example "на голову", but all that matters here is that at least in some expressions this stress pattern exists):

    It's not about the number of syllables, it's just about what type of word it is and whether a phrase has been lexicalized and become a sibgle stress unit. The latter is the case for дай бог, because in ordinary circumstances both дай and бог would be stressed (not necessarily equally, however, because of sentence-level stress rules). Meanwhile you have multisyllable prepositions that have no stress, for example передо мною (I used мною instead of мной to demonstrate that even the following word need not have only one syllable), not to mention cases where a preposition steals the stress from a multisyllable noun, for example на голову.
    All this is true, but I was commenting on the particular sentence regarding one-syllable words.
     
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