How does the Russian speech keep its rhythm?

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C.S.Hy

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
Note:
'=stress, (')= weakened stress=non-stress, S=stressed syllable, u=unstressed syllable

We know that English and Chinese speeches have their rhythm for conveniece of speaking and understanding, and for the consequent naturalness and beauty.

The rhythms are basically presented by stress.

For example, in this English sentence

--She pu'blished the fir'st two' cha'pters on Tu'esday.--

you have 11 syllables, 3 consecutive stressed ones within.

But you do not usually put equal stress on each.

Differently you probally speak like this:

-- She pu(')blished the fir'st two(') cha(')pters on Tu'esday.

Now you get a type of rhythm in English:

-- u u u u S u u u u S --, with every 4 unstressed syllables before a stressed one.

And for other sentences, you will naturally adjust your stresses in specific context so that your speeches meet a rhythmic type such as

" uuS uuS/uSu uSu/ Suu Suu", and so on.

To keep the rhythm, sometimes the stress may "flow" or "shift". That is, an unstressed syllable may obtain the stress and an adjacent stressed syllable lose its stress.

In the weakened(faded/lost) stresses, the vowels do not essentially change their values or realizations, but are pronounced with a little lighter strength. Likely, the shifted stresses do not cause a notable sound-value change either.

I would like to suppose that every language has its own rhythm and particular rhythmic types.

So what does the thythm of Russian speech look like?

Can you please explain it to me?
 
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  • Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    There is no such thing as "word-stress shift for the sake of sentence rhythm" in Russian, C.S.Hy.
    So, stress patterns of sentences turn out to be of different kinds - both "rhythmic":
    uuuuSuuuuS ("сколько ни проси, больше он не даст")
    uuS uuS ("не хочу говорить")
    uSu uSu ("заметил ошибку")
    Suu Suu ("многие видели")
    ...and "non-rhythmic":
    uuSuSu ("каковы их шансы?")
    My example sentences could be read differently, e.g.:
    uuSuuu ("не хочу говорить")
    But they could never be read in a way that would alter the established stress of any individual word (with some weird exceptions occurring only in rap music or in poetry in general). Note that some words in Russian differ in stress only:
    писа́ть (to write)
    пи́сать (to pee)
     
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    C.S.Hy

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    There is no such thing as "word-stress shift for the sake of sentence rhythm" in Russian, C.S.Hy.
    So, stress patterns of sentences turn out to be of different kinds - both "rhythmic":
    uuuuSuuuuS ("сколько ни проси, больше он не даст")
    uuS uuS ("не хочу говорить")
    uSu uSu ("заметил ошибку")
    Suu Suu ("многие видели")
    ...and "non-rhythmic":
    uuSuSu ("каковы их шансы?")
    My example sentences could be read differently, e.g.:
    uuSuuu ("не хочу говорить")
    But they could never be read in a way that would alter the established stress of any individual word (with some weird exceptions occurring only in rap music or in poetry in general). Note that some words in Russian differ in stress only:
    писа́ть (to write)
    пи́сать (to pee)
    Helpful! Thank you so much,vovan.

    With no response for long, I had feared that I had put it unclearly. It is nice to see you've got me.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Russian isn't actually overfilled with monosyllabic words, and a great deal of those are normally clitics (like the absolute majority of prepositions, which form a single phonetic unit with the following word and therefore either don't have any stress of their own or, on the contrary, attract the stress from the word they precede) or prone to clitization (like, for example, "я" or "ты"). If it isn't the case, we can only talk about a more or a less intensive stress.
     

    C.S.Hy

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Russian isn't actually overfilled with monosyllabic words, and a great deal of those are normally clitics (like the absolute majority of prepositions, which form a single phonetic unit with the following word and therefore either don't have any stress of their own or, on the contrary, attract the stress from the word they precede) or prone to clitization (like, for example, "я" or "ты"). If it isn't the case, we can only talk about a more or a less intensive stress.
    Thank you awwal12. But I did not get you well.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thank you awwal12. But I did not get you well.
    Clitics (in the broad meaning of the word) are words which demonstrate morphological but not phonetic independence. For example, the Russian prepositions are morphologically independent (they occur before noun groups no matter what is the first word), but usually form a single phonetic complex with the following (morphological) word. The most obvious element of such phonetic dependency is that these complexes normally have only one stress, with all the vowels reacting accordingly to its position. E.g.:
    на Красной площади [nɐ'kɾasnəɪ̯'pɫoɕɪdʲɪ]
    на селе [nəsʲɪ'lʲɛ]
    (But cf. "не в Москву́, а и́з Москвы́", where the preposition is logically stressed and thus becomes phonetically independent.)

    In English a lot of monosyllabic auxiliary words similarly have stressed and unstressed (essentially, clitized, since English words normally do have at least one stress) forms: "of" (['ɒv] and [ə(v)]), "the" (['ði:] and [ðə]), etc.
     

    MIDAV

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Note:
    We know that English and Chinese speeches have their rhythm for conveniece of speaking and understanding, and for the consequent naturalness and beauty.
    Not sure about Chinese, but what makes you think Russian is that different from English in terms of rhythm?

    Considering your English example, I could put together a Russian phrase with similar meaning that would essentially have the same rhythm.

    Cf: She pu'blished the fir'st two' cha'pters on Tu'esday
    and Он дЕлал две пЕрвые кнИги во втОрник (for lack of a short word for published).

    Someone with a background in phonology, please correct me if I'm wrong but I can't see much difference.
     

    MIDAV

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hell, let's make it sound like a poem:
    Он дЕлал те пЕрвых две чАсти во втОрник.

    Where's the difference to the original rhythm?
     
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