Belarusian: не-ня без-бяз


New Member
Dutch, French

I’m not super familiar with Belarusian but as a global language enthusiast and lover of learning songs by heart in foreign languages I came across this in Belarusian and fail to easily find much information about it and particularly its pronounciation.

As the title gives away what’s the deal with не and ня in Belarusian? Are they distinct spelling forms or are they used in different contexts? But even more, what about their pronounciation? I’m well aware in е is ye and я is ya but for example in this song “pahonia” they’re both used and both pronounced the same. Is this a mistake in the lyrics or not? I know for instance the Russian я is pronounced something inbetween ye and ya in some occasions.
  • agcnec

    New Member
    This phenomenon is known as yakanye. Underlying /e/ and /o/ become /a/ in an initial pretonic syllable after a palatalised consonant; e.g. ве́цер 'wind' and вятры́ 'winds', сёлы 'villages' vs. сяло́ 'village'.


    Senior Member
    Following the orthography reform of 1933, the words не and без are aways written like this even though they are sometimes pronounced ня and бяз.

    The old orthography (pre-1933) which writes ня and бяз is still used informally and also by Belarusian diaspora.


    New Member
    Vowels in the Belarusian language by Stress automatically change their sound. There is a standard language, and there will always be if before Stress e - я. In practice, the Belarusians wider open mouth when they pronounce е. and e - я. But the Belarusian language is not usually standard, there are dialects. There is absolutely no e - я dialects - in the south. There are e - я transitions depend on the Stress sound. Stress "а" and е -> і. When you listen to folk songs, you can quite easily tell where it came from.
    Галосныя гукі ў беларускай мове у залежнасці ад націску аўтаматычна змяняюць сваё гучанне. Ёсць стандартная мова, і там будзе заўсёды калі перад націскам е - я. На практыцы беларусы шырэй раскрываюць рот калі яны вымаўляюць е . Вось і атрымліваецца гук я. Але беларуская мова звычайна не стандартная, а дыялектная. Ёсць дыялекты зусім без яканья - на поўдні. Ёсць дзе е - я пераходы залежаць ад націскнога гуку. Там калі націскны а тады е - і - на поўначы. Калі слухаеш фальклорную песню, то досыць лёгка можна сказаць адкуль яна.
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