pronunciation of курение

stego

Member
Italian
Hi guys. I'm still trying to get used to Russian pronunciaton. According to Wiktionary, курение is pronounced [kʊˈrʲenʲɪje], though what I hear in the recording on the same page is [kʊˈrʲenʲɪjə]. The word is also pronunced on Forvo. Here is what I hear from two of the speakers:

Mageerka: [kʊˈrɪnʲja] / [kʊˈrɪnʲjɐ]
Mshak: [kʊˈrenʲɪjə]

Do I hear it right? From my understanding and also based on this thread, accented /e/ is either [je] or [e]. However, it seems to me that Mageerka's pronunciation of that mid-word /e/ is much closer, basically [ɪ] - the same pronunciation I'd get on unstressed /e/. Is this common?

As for the final /e/, which I variously hear as [a] / [ɐ] / [ə]: does anyone actually say [e]? It this a matter of personal preference? Does it depend on accuracy/speed of articulation? Is it a regional difference? I hear the same realizations of /e/ in second-person plural verbs (e.g. даёте): I don't quite hear [e].
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    According to Wiktionary, курение is pronounced [kʊˈrʲenʲɪje]
    Well, that's simply impossible, you cannot have post-tonic [e]. At any rate, even transcribing it as [-ɪjə] is half-phonemic, as there is no intervocalic sound that could be really described as [j] in that position, and the whole post-tonic combination is rather something closer to [ɪə̟].
    Here is what I hear from two of the speakers:

    Mageerka: [kʊˈrɪnʲja] / [kʊˈrɪnʲjɐ]
    Mshak: [kʊˈrenʲɪjə]
    Mshak pronounces it unnaturally slow and clear, almost syllable-by-syllable (a pretty widespread problem on Forvo). Mageerka's pronunciation is good and natural, although I'm a bit surprised that you (as Italian speaker) didn't recognize the typical close [e] there in the stressed position (maybe palatalization of the surroinding consonants affects the perception, or maybe it just isn't sufficiently fronted).
    Tunnercod's pronunciation is also good. 1640max isn't bad too, although he seems to over-emphasize /u/ somehow.
    accented /e/ is either [je] or [e]
    "E" letter basically stands for /e/ or /je/, just if it's not that "ё in disguise" (then it's /o/ or /jo/ respectively). That's the orthographic part.
    The stressed /e/ phoneme after a consonant is basically pronounced as [ɛ] sound; it gets a bit closer (an potentially slightly diphthongized) after a soft (palatalized or palatal) consonant; between two soft consonants it becomes sufficiently close to be described as [e] proper (that's exactly what you hear in Mageerka's record).
     

    stego

    Member
    Italian
    @Awwal12 thanks, great explanation! I guess Wiktionary isn't always to be trusted... and neither is Forvo!
    a bit surprised that you (as Italian speaker) didn't recognize the typical close [e] there in the stressed position
    Indeed, I am a native Italian speaker and as such I am pretty familiar with the phonemic pair /e/~/ɛ/. Yet Mageerka's /e/ sounds closer (higher) than Italian /e/, at least to me.

    Another example I came across is печь as pronounced on Wiktionary: to me, it definitely sounds more like [ɪ] as in English 'pitch' than Italian /e/. That is very clear to me. I'd bet an Italian person not familiar with English hearing печь would say that's /i/, because it souns more like Italian /i/ than Italian /e/. Here is the entry for печь on Forvo. Here as well, Stuffer's /e/ sound like [ɪ] to me. Vladimir's /e/ is the one that sounds more [e]-like. Indeed, as you say, /e/ here is between soft consonants.

    This happens a lot less with (most) other words, such as олень, where I just hear [e] (especially clear with Bomorda, dimagor555 and Bonduelle).

    Maybe Italian /e/ is recognized as such in a slightly lower-toungue acceptable range of openness than Russian /e/, so high Russian /e/ ends up not sounding like /e/ to me?

    Let me ask you one final question to really clarify: does the e in печь and the first e in четыре sound different to you?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Let me ask you one final question to really clarify: does the e in печь and the first e in четыре sound different to you?
    In четыре it tends to experience strong reduction (qualitative as well) to begin with - probably stronger than usual due to the word's frequency (it's almost "чтыре" in usual speech). At any rate, it's the position of phonological merger with /i/ - both phonemes in Standarn Russian become indiscernible here, producing identical allophones (~[ɪ]). The resulting sound is expected to be shorter and more centralized than [e] or [i]. Note that perception of the natives isn't something to strongly rely upon when it comes to unstressed, reduced vowels (since precise articulations become phonologically irrelevant and, as a result, difficult to evaluate); I'd trust spectrograms and X-ray imaging more than my own ideas about the subject.
     

    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, that's simply impossible, you cannot have post-tonic [e]. At any rate, even transcribing it as [-ɪjə] is half-phonemic, as there is no intervocalic sound that could be really described as [j] in that position, and the whole post-tonic combination is rather something closer to [ɪə̟].
    I would even say that it's essentially a monophthong that gets bent due to the difference in the quality of the consonants (or their lack) around it. If it was surrounded by consonants with a similar place of articulation, it would be represented by a vowel between the allophones of /i/ and /e/ in that exact position, but shifted more towards the back, e. g. "обедает" would be pronounced like [ɐˈbʲe̞dɘt].
     

    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Maybe Italian /e/ is recognized as such in a slightly lower-toungue acceptable range of openness than Russian /e/, so high Russian /e/ ends up not sounding like /e/ to me?
    Does this work with other vowels as well? Do you perceive /a/ in "мять" like [a] or more like [ɛ]?

    Let me ask you one final question to really clarify: does the e in печь and the first e in четыре sound different to you?
    The Russian vowel inventory is heavily reduced in unstressed positions, so "е" in "четы́ре" is no different from "и" in "читать" or "а" in "часы́" (the latter is a result of a historical change rather than a synchronical limitation, as pretonic /a/ after soft consonants still occurs in the preposition "для" and some loanwords).
     

    stego

    Member
    Italian
    @Eirwyn thank you!

    For the record, I asked four Italians to listen to Forvo's six recordings of печь. Two of them hear [ i ] in all the recordings; one mostly hears [ i ] with a couple of [ e ]; one (my grandma) mostly hears [ e ] with a couple of [ i ].

    Does this work with other vowels as well? Do you perceive /a/ in "мять" like [a] or more like [ɛ]?
    I tend to hear [a] (based on this). I asked two more Italians: one hears [a], one hears [ɛ].
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I would even say that it's essentially a monophthong that gets bent due to the difference in the quality of the consonants (or their lack) around it. If it was surrounded by consonants with a similar place of articulation, it would be represented by a vowel between the allophones of /i/ and /e/ in that exact position, but shifted more towards the back, e. g. "обедает" would be pronounced like [ɐˈbʲe̞dɘt].
    I don't think this is true. These vowel combinations do regularly lose the [j] but remain two segements. This what your transcription sounds like, which to me is an unacceptable pronunciation.

    These two segments have been reduced to a long vowel and afterwards shortened to /a/ in many Northern Russian dialects in the same development as most Slavic languages, via [aɛ > a:] (Czech on dělá, Bulgarian той дяла etc.). But in these Northern Russian dialects I believe this resulted in homophony with the infinitive (буду делать, он делать). Since in Modern Standand Russian /e/ is neutralised to /i/ and reduced to [ɪ] and not [ɛ] or [ə], no monophthongisation can normally result; on the other hand, the endings -ая and the plural -ие (not the singular! - which is phonemically /ije/, phonetically [ɪ(j)ə], as the OP rightly observes) get habitually reduced to a single long vowel because they consist of two identical, non-contrasting vowels /aja/ and /iji/.
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I don't think this is true. These vowel combinations do regularly lose the [j] but remain two segements. This what your transcription sounds like, which to me is an unacceptable pronunciation.
    It certainly must be longer and somewhat more fronted than the sound in your recording. Even if I was able to pinpoint the exact spot on the vowel chart, there simply aren't too many symbols to choose from.

    Since in Modern Standand Russian /e/ is neutralised to /i/ and reduced to [ɪ] and not [ɛ] or [ə], no monophthongisation can normally result;
    Even if we assume that the starting point of the monophthongization was [əɪ], I don't see what should stop it from gradual smoothing into an intermediate sound.

    on the other hand, the endings -ая and the plural -ие (not the singular! - which is phonemically /ije/, phonetically [ɪ(j)ə], as the OP rightly observes)
    Considering what you wrote above, it would make much more sense for the singular ending to be interpreted as /ijo/ rather than /ije/ (which is supposed to be equal to /iji/ in pronunciation). I can believe that some people might have a distinction between o/a and e/i in this position (which is clearly reconstructed since unstressed /e/ and /a/ had been merged in the standard pronunciation centuries ago), but in my speech all historical post-tonic vowels except for /u/ are merged into the same neutral unrounded phoneme, so it doesn't really matter which one comes before or after the /j/.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    It certainly must be longer and somewhat more fronted than the sound in your recording. Even if I was able to pinpoint the exact spot on the vowel chart, there simply aren't too many symbols to choose from.
    There's no symbol for it because it's two consecutive vowels. If you disagre, I would like some recordings.
    Even if we assume that the starting point of the monophthongization was [əɪ], I don't see what should stop it from gradual smoothing into an intermediate sound.
    There's no point speculating about what should stop it if it doesn't happen; specifically in the case of the sg. ending -ие, which this thread is about, no forvo recording even approaches what you describe; same for обедает - two distinct vowels in all the recordings, although verbina's can be described as /ай/ with loss of syllable.
    Considering what you wrote above, it would make much more sense for the singular ending to be interpreted as /ijo/ rather than /ije/ (which is supposed to be equal to /iji/ in pronunciation). I can believe that some people might have a distinction between o/a and e/i in this position (which is clearly reconstructed since unstressed /e/ and /a/ had been merged in the standard pronunciation centuries ago), but in my speech all historical post-tonic vowels except for /u/ are merged into the same neutral unrounded phoneme, so it doesn't really matter which one comes before or after the /j/.
    It's unthinkable to me pronounce an [o] in курение when hyper-articulating the word. An unstressed [o] after a soft consonant doesn't occur outside of borderline cases like borrowings. /ku'rʲenija/ is somewhat more thinkable because курение~курения often get neutralised in speech. But I think you're mistaken when you suggest that in your own speech курение is homophonous with о курении unless the latter is homophonous with курения, and красная армия with красные армии.

    To me, no native speaker of Russian can possibly talk like that, and I'm sure that if try listening to yourself, or make some recordings, you will find that you don't talk like that either. I don't believe that there's any variety of native Russian that doesn't phonemically contrast солнце and солнцы, армия and армии. You can speed up your speech to such a slurry that even unstressed /u/ doesn't contrast with anything, but if you articulate it properly, nobody will write армия if they hear /ar-mi-ji/.

    The Russian vowel "reduction" has two levels: phonemic neutralisation, like /a, o > a/ (akan'ye) and /i, e, a > i/ (ikan'ye), and phonetic reduction, like /а, э, ы/ [ə], /i/ [ɪ]. You write меломан, but the target vowel phonemes in it are /mila'man/, and that is how it sounds when hyper-articulated. Inside inflectional paradigms that have the vowel /i/, there is no phonemic neutralisation /i~e/, and the target phonemes of the singular ending -ия /ija/, -ие /ije/ and the plural -ие /iji/ contrast, although phonetic reduction often eliminates the contrast between /ija/ and /ije/ in phonetic output. This is also why смотреть на поле, на море /-e/ can contrast with о поле, о море /-i/.

    I would also like to point out that in absolute final position, /a/ is not normally reduced all the way to [ə] - this sounds like a speech mannerism to me, perhaps characteristic of the Old Moscow standartd.
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    There's no symbol for it because it's two consecutive vowels. If you disagre, I would like some recordings.


    Doesn't sound or look like a diphthong to me, at least.

    It's unthinkable to me pronounce an [o] in курение when hyper-articulating the word. An unstressed [o] after a soft consonant doesn't occur outside of borderline cases like borrowings.
    I didn't say it is pronounced as [o], I said it should be interpreted as /o/ (assuming that we're using the МФШ notation right now). The reason you pronounce the last vowel in "курение" (nom) and "последние" differently might be because you unconsciously align it with other nominative neutral forms such as "бельё", "село́", "стекло́" which all use the /-o/ ending. Since /a/ and /o/ are always realized the same way, it would make sense for "поле" (Nom) /пол'о/ to be pronounced as "поля" /пол'а/ rather than "поле" (Prep) /пол'э/.

    To me, no native speaker of Russian can possibly talk like that, and I'm sure that if try listening to yourself, or make some recordings, you will find that you don't talk like that either.
    Okay, let's make a small blind test. What do you hear on these recordings? курениj?, рож?
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Doesn't sound or look like a diphthong to me, at least.
    I was asking for audio recordings that sound to you like one long vowel. I can't read waveforms and don't know what a diphthong is supposed to look like, but I don't know which recordings these are from anyway. I don't think this being my native language is the reason I hear a change of articulation - I'm very attuned to listening to sounds instead of phonemes.
    I didn't say it is pronounced as [o], I said it should be interpreted as /o/ (assuming that we're using the МФШ notation right now). The reason you pronounce the last vowel in "курение" (nom) and "последние" differently might be because you unconsciously align it with other nominative neutral forms such as "бельё", "село́", "стекло́" which all use the /-o/ ending. Since /a/ and /o/ are always realized the same way, it would make sense for "поле" (Nom) /пол'о/ to be pronounced as "поля" /пол'а/ rather than "поле" (Prep) /пол'э/.
    I see; I'm not convinced this is a productive notation because its level is undefined - it's like a pre-generativist underlying representation. /a/ and /o/ are not realised the same way: радио, поэт, Рональдо. They are simply phonemically neutralised in favour of /a/ in the vast majority of the vocabulary, as I describe above. /a/ is the phonemic notation, and IPA [ä] is the target articulation that you will hear in hyper-articulated speech - never [o]. Hyper-articulating поле with an [ɛ] sounds perfectly fine and not like a spelling-out pronunciation as when saying [boɫoto].
    Okay, let's make a small blind test. What do you hear on these recordings? курениj?, рож?
    More likely курение than курения (all three); рожа (all three). Certainly you don't mean to say that this is also your normal pronunciation of курении and рожи?
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I was asking for audio recordings that sound to you like one long vowel.
    Just click on the picture.

    I see; I'm not convinced this is a productive notation because its level is undefined
    Well, it's quite useful to explain the situation you described above. These phonemes are virtual, of course, but they might represent how it's actually processed in the speaker's head, although I don't think it works throughout the entire language, rather only in flection and closely connected words (or even forms of the same word).

    радио, поэт, Рональдо.
    By the way, I would certainly never pronounce the last vowel in "Рональдо" as /o/. This sound does exist in pretonic syllables (although not in the case of "поэт" which is pronounced like "паэт") and after orthographic vowels, but otherwise there simply isn't enough time to pronounce a clear fully distinct vowel.

    More likely курение than курения (all three); рожа (all three). Certainly you don't mean to say that this is also your normal pronunciation of курении and рожи?
    Why would I even post an audio if none of the recordings contained these forms? Normally even in an isolated pronunciation the double vowel would be a bit shorter, and the last vowel in рожа/роже/рожи would be almost inaudible, but the vowels in the recordings would also work for any of those.

    Until I first saw the term "алгоритм Дейкстры" written on paper, I believed the name of the scientist was "Дейкстр". Same with the noun "пени", which turned out to be female and have /a/ on the end. Final vowels are not normally confused in speech because they almost always represent noun endings which often can be deducted from the context, not because they're naturally immune to vowel reduction.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Just click on the picture.
    Whatever is wrong with the waveform, nobody can possibly not hear two distinct sounds in those endings, the second being a high front glide or vowel.
    Well, it's quite useful to explain the situation you described above. These phonemes are virtual, of course, but they might represent how it's actually processed in the speaker's head, although I don't think it works throughout the entire language, rather only in flection and closely connected words (or even forms of the same word).
    Well, that's underlying representation, which just not helpful in a discussion about phonetics. In Russian, the unstressed phoneme /o/ doesn't normally occur, but when it does occur it gets pronounced [o]. I'm talking about target articulation here that is liable to duration-dependent phonetic reduction.
    By the way, I would certainly never pronounce the last vowel in "Рональдо" as /o/. This sound does exist in pretonic syllables (although not in the case of "поэт" which is pronounced like "паэт") and after orthographic vowels, but otherwise there simply isn't enough time to pronounce a clear fully distinct vowel.
    Рональдо can be pronounced both ways, but surely you won't pronounce Отелло Джулиано as Ателла Джулиана. поэт [по] with an /o/ is the traditional, literary pronunciation. I too pronounce it with an /a/.

    I don't understand what you mean by the last sentence. There simply exist some words with unstressed /o/ in Russian for sociolinguistic, cultural etc reasons that as far as I can see have nothing to do with pretonic syllables and orthographic vowels.

    With "there simply isn't enough time to pronounce a clear fully distinct vowel" you seem to be giving a naturalistic, cross-linguistically valid explanation for the Russian /a~o/ neutralisation. I could understand such linguistic universalism from a monolingual speaker, but surely you've heard languages like Spanish, Italian, Finnish and Japanese? Even Bulgarian and Portuguese reduce /o/ to [u], and that also not everywhere but dependent on linguistic structure. The Russian akan'ye is in fact very peculiar cross-linguistically and in Slavic is mirrored only in one Lechitic variety iirc (though early Northern PIE, incl. Slavic, Baltic and Germanic shows something similar, but independent of stress). The extreme phonetic reduction is likewise very un-Slavic.
    Why would I even post an audio if none of the recordings contained these forms? Normally even in an isolated pronunciation the double vowel would be a bit shorter, and the last vowel in рожа/роже/рожи would be almost inaudible, but the vowels in the recordings would also work for any of those.

    Until I first saw the term "алгоритм Дейкстры" written on paper, I believed the name of the scientist was "Дейкстр". Same with the noun "пени", which turned out to be female and have /a/ on the end. Final vowels are not normally confused in speech because they almost always represent noun endings which often can be deducted from the context, not because they're naturally immune to vowel reduction.
    So Дейкстра vs Дейкстры? I've experienced similar confusions myself, which is not surprising in a large university classroom. But this is different from the phonemic neutralisation of the contrast between /a/ and /o/; instead it's phonetic reduction that depends on speech tempo and formality. The longer and with the greater energy the vowels get pronounced, the closer they are to their target articulations. I don't believe anyone is likely to start misspelling экстренные меры as экстренная мера and без крыши as без крыша any time soon. I don't undestand your пени example, the Russian masc. and fem. plurals are the same, and this word is very rare in the singular.
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Whatever is wrong with the waveform, nobody can possibly not hear two distinct sounds in those endings, the second being a high front glide or vowel.
    I think you're a bit overconfident about the objectivity of your perception.

    Well, that's underlying representation, which just not helpful in a discussion about phonetics. In Russian, the unstressed phoneme /o/ doesn't normally occur, but when it does occur it gets pronounced [o]. I'm talking about target articulation here that is liable to duration-dependent phonetic reduction.
    It's much easier to come up with a virtual "non-reducible" /o/ for such exotic cases, than to explain why the endings are all of a sudden shifted in unstressed position.

    How comes that in stressed nouns the endings are /o/ - /a/ - /e/:

    Nomбельё /bilʲjo/лицо /liʦo/
    Genбелья /bilʲja/лица /liʦa/
    Prepо белье/a bilʲje/о лице /a liʦe/

    but in unstressed nouns they shift into /e/ - /a/ - /i/, contrary to both the orthography and the morphology?

    Nomполе /polʲe/солнце /sonʦe/
    Genполя /polʲa/солнца /sonʦa/
    Prepо поле /a polʲi/о солнце /a sonʦy/

    This simply does not correspond to anything in the modern language. I wonder how it works for other paradigms. Do you normally say
    дыня /dynʲa/, дыне /dynʲi/ and дыни /dynʲi/
    or
    дыня /dynʲa/, дыне /dynʲe/ and дыни /dynʲi/?

    Рональдо can be pronounced both ways, but surely you won't pronounce Отелло Джулиано as Ателла Джулиана.
    You're right. That would be Атэл Джʷлеанə ;)

    There simply exist some words with unstressed /o/ in Russian for sociolinguistic, cultural etc reasons that as far as I can see have nothing to do with pretonic syllables and orthographic vowels.
    Maybe in your speech, but definitely not in mine. For me pronouncing [o] in "окей" and "радио" is natural and automatic, but in "лечо" or "Рональдо" it isn't. With a bit of effort you can pronounce pretty much everything, of course, but it can't be an integral part of your phonology if you need to control yourself when you speak.

    So Дейкстра vs Дейкстры? I've experienced similar confusions myself, which is not surprising in a large university classroom. But this is different from the phonemic neutralisation of the contrast between /a/ and /o/; instead it's phonetic reduction that depends on speech tempo and formality.
    This can be said about the elision of unstressed vowels and /v(ʲ)/, but not about the merger of unstressed a/e/i. Consistent differentiation of the latter would sound weird even in the most formal type of speech.

    I don't undestand your пени example, the Russian masc. and fem. plurals are the same, and this word is very rare in the singular.
    Is it? I saw it used both in singular and plural, and Google also shows both. Nonetheless I din't have a chance to hear its non-homophonic forms, so I believed it to be an undeclinable neuter noun like "пенальти" or "виски" (or "вече", by the way).

    Another good example would be "дёсны" vs "дёсна". It's indeed quite difficult to misspell singular and plural forms, but once the morphological guideline is lost, you can easily forget what vowel is implied. "О господя" with /a/ instead of /и/ at the end rather represents a chanting pronunciation, but it's still quite interesting that such a change was possible.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I think you're a bit overconfident about the objectivity of your perception.
    I don't believe I am - I've had plenty of opportunities to train and check its reliability, and was always reassured. I speak languages that have both long vowels and diphthongs (in addition to critically listening to many that I don't speak). There are two distinct articulations in your recordings. I don't think anyone pronounces курение with a long mid vowel, instead it gets reduced to куренье.
    It's much easier to come up with a virtual "non-reducible" /o/ for such exotic cases, than to explain why the endings are all of a sudden shifted in unstressed position.
    I think you're failing to grasp the difference between phonemes and underlying representation. The /o/ and /a/ of the UR are neutralised to the phoneme /a/, with some lexical exceptions.
    I wonder how it works for other paradigms. Do you normally say
    дыня /dynʲa/, дыне /dynʲi/ and дыни /dynʲi/
    or
    дыня /dynʲa/, дыне /dynʲe/ and дыни /dynʲi/?
    I'm not sure and I don't think these are mutually exclusive. Ikan'ye may be non-categorical because /e/ may suffer phonetic reduction. Here's a study that finds that
    According to the other three measures, some speakers likely maintain a perceptible distinction between /i/ and /e/ in Prestressed (but not in unstressed) position, and some in both non-Stressed positions, contrary to the described neutralization.
    Therefore it may or may not neutralise, and it may or may not phonetically reduce.
    Maybe in your speech, but definitely not in mine. For me pronouncing [o] in "окей" and "радио" is natural and automatic, but in "лечо" or "Рональдо" it isn't. With a bit of effort you can pronounce pretty much everything, of course, but it can't be an integral part of your phonology if you need to control yourself when you speak.
    You're concluding from just the two words "окей" and "радио" that the pronunciation [o] is limited to 1) pre-stressed position and 2) after a vowel. I don't think one needs to study statistics to know that this is sampling bias and that no linguistic generalisation can be made on one sample.
    This can be said about the elision of unstressed vowels and /v(ʲ)/, but not about the merger of unstressed a/e/i. Consistent differentiation of the latter would sound weird even in the most formal type of speech.
    I have explained in every reply that there are two phenomena at play in Modern Standard Russian: phonemic neutralisation of /e~i/ and phonetic reduction. Not all unstressed /e/ and /i/ undergo neutralisation, and where they don't, consistent differentiation of them will not raise an eyebrow.
    Is it? I saw it used both in singular and plural, and Google also shows both. Nonetheless I din't have a chance to hear its non-homophonic forms, so I believed it to be an undeclinable neuter noun like "пенальти" or "виски" (or "вече", by the way).
    If you saw it written in the singular and still couldn't tell its gender, what does this have to do with homophony?
    Another good example would be "дёсны" vs "дёсна". It's indeed quite difficult to misspell singular and plural forms, but once the morphological guideline is lost, you can easily forget what vowel is implied. "О господя" with /a/ instead of /и/ at the end rather represents a chanting pronunciation, but it's still quite interesting that such a change was possible.
    I'm not aware of О господя in any chanting pronunciation. If it existed, this would not point to a phonetic change - OCS is a different language from Russian, and я был is not a phonetic development of аз бѣх. If this form is dialectal, then this is morphophonemic loanword adaptation, which is normal in Slavic. дёсна seems to me to be a plural-only formation. Recently I watched a video where a person wasn't even sure the singular of "gums" existed in their native Romance dialect - they logically concluded it must because there's two of them. Thus, both these examples would be morphological change.
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think you're failing to grasp the difference between phonemes and underlying representation. The /o/ and /a/ of the UR are neutralised to the phoneme /a/, with some lexical exceptions.
    I'm not sure and I don't think these are mutually exclusive. Ikan'ye may be non-categorical because /e/ may suffer phonetic reduction.
    The problem is that your pronunciation in fast speech doesn't seem to be predictable from your pronunciation in slow speech. The same phoneme /e/ merges with either /a/ or /i/ depending on which morpheme it belongs to. If you don't like the idea to use /o/, you could at least add some hints to the letter "e" to show what it's supposed to change into.

    For example:
    поле (Nom): /polʲe₁/ > /polʲa/
    дыне: /dynʲe₂/ > /dynʲi/

    Also could you please clarify the following examples?

    поле (Prep): always /polʲi/?
    последние: always /paslednʲii/?
    богаче: ?
    средне: ?
    тоже: ?
    на стуле: ?

    Therefore it may or may not neutralise, and it may or may not phonetically reduce.
    I can easily believe that some people may differentiate more vowels in unstressed positions than I do, but the approach used in this paper doesn't seem to be very productive:
    some in both non-Stressed positions, contrary to the described neutralization.
    It will be seen that about half the speakers are not from Russia: 3 are from China, 1 is from Ukraine (Kiev), and another had spent time in Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Moscow. The two students who had spent time in Ukraine said they were fluent in both Ukrainian and in Russian (related East Slavic languages).
    The descriptions you can find in phonology books are most commonly based on the speech of educated people from Moscow. Why on Earth would you expect them to be fully represantative for a speaker from Kiev? Russian is a very homogeneous language, but it's not that homogeneous that you could describe everyone's speech in a single set of rules. There are audible differences among the regions.

    You're concluding from just the two words "окей" and "радио"
    Not really. You've just come up with it yourself.

    I have explained in every reply that there are two phenomena at play in Modern Standard Russian: phonemic neutralisation of /e~i/ and phonetic reduction. Not all unstressed /e/ and /i/ undergo neutralisation, and where they don't, consistent differentiation of them will not raise an eyebrow.
    I've read what you wrote. It's just that I don't think you're authorized to tell what my pronunciation and perception is like.

    As for the Standard pronunciation, they usually say that the final /a/ and /i/ remain distinct, but /i/ and /e/ merge into one vowel, as far as I can remember.

    If you saw it written in the singular and still couldn't tell its gender, what does this have to do with homophony?
    The first sentence is a response to your incorrect statement "this word is very rare in the singular". The second one is a descritpion of what I thought before I saw it written.

    I'm not aware of О господя in any chanting pronunciation. If it existed, this would not point to a phonetic change - OCS is a different language from Russian, and я был is not a phonetic development of аз бѣх.
    That was propably a poor choice of a word. What I meant to say was "скандирующее произношение". "Господя" is written the way it's written because it represents the pronunciation with a clear stretched /a/ on the end, but the fact that it managed to replace /i/ in this word is quite interesting.

    If this form is dialectal, then this is morphophonemic loanword adaptation, which is normal in Slavic. дёсна seems to me to be a plural-only formation. Recently I watched a video where a person wasn't even sure the singular of "gums" existed in their native Romance dialect - they logically concluded it must because there's two of them. Thus, both these examples would be morphological change.
    Apparently I should've described the situation in more details. I thought that what I wanted to say was quite obvious from the context of our discussion.

    Once I caught myself on a thought that I simply don't know how to write the word "дёсн/ə/", the same way one might not know how to write the words "к/а/тёл" or "т/ɪ/перь", for example. It just feels like it can correspond to both "дёсны" and "дёсна" equally. If final unstressed /a/ and /ы/ were differentiated more or less consistently, this wouldn't be possible, just like it's impossible to write "месты́" instead of "места́".
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    The problem is that your pronunciation in fast speech doesn't seem to be predictable from your pronunciation in slow speech. The same phoneme /e/ merges with either /a/ or /i/ depending on which morpheme it belongs to. If you don't like the idea to use /o/, you could at least add some hints to the letter "e" to show what it's supposed to change into.
    I can agree wit that.
    поле (Prep): always /polʲi/?
    последние: always /paslednʲii/?
    богаче: ?
    средне: ?
    тоже: ?
    на стуле: ?
    на поле, стуле can and usually do get neutralised with /i/ for me (на пол[e] = accusative); последние has /i/ and contrasts with последнее; богаче has /e/ that can reduce, as also in выше, сильнее; средне has /i/ and with /e/ sounds, umm, South Russian.
    I can easily believe that some people may differentiate more vowels in unstressed positions than I do, but the approach used in this paper doesn't seem to be very productive:
    That's a good spot, I had only skimmed it. I did read more of this paper by Bethin 2012 which you can find on SciHub/LibGen which is less phonetic and more generative morphophonology - it illustrates how the paradigms work, but it uses a non-committal ə to describe the non-neutralising sound, which to my knowledge doesn't exist in Russian either as a phoneme or underlyingly.
    Not really. You've just come up with it yourself.
    These two words were the only reason you gave for your generalisation, and that's what I used. If this is not how you came to your genralisation, then please explain how you did, because I'm not convinced it's correct.
    I've read what you wrote. It's just that I don't think you're authorized to tell what my pronunciation and perception is like.
    Naturally I'm not, it's just that I'm not convinced that what you report is objectively correct.
    As for the Standard pronunciation, they usually say that the final /a/ and /i/ remain distinct, but /i/ and /e/ merge into one vowel, as far as I can remember.
    That does sound like the standard description, but the paper above argues that that isn't what's actually happening, and there's paradigmatic mophology at play.
    The first sentence is a response to your incorrect statement "this word is very rare in the singular". The second one is a descritpion of what I thought before I saw it written.
    This doesn't explain how homophony is involved.
    That was propably a poor choice of a word. What I meant to say was "скандирующее произношение". "Господя" is written the way it's written because it represents the pronunciation with a clear stretched /a/ on the end, but the fact that it managed to replace /i/ in this word is quite interesting.
    Where is господя written this way, and where is it pronounced this way? Is "скандирующее произношение" the same as what I call hyperarticulated? Or is it spelling-out by letter, like [boɫoto]?
    Once I caught myself on a thought that I simply don't know how to write the word "дёсн/ə/", the same way one might not know how to write the words "к/а/тёл" or "т/ɪ/перь", for example. It just feels like it can correspond to both "дёсны" and "дёсна" equally. If final unstressed /a/ and /ы/ were differentiated more or less consistently, this wouldn't be possible, just like it's impossible to write "месты́" instead of "места́".
    There seems to be a general reshuffling of the -ы and -а plurals in Russian (до́мы > домá, сле́сари > слесаря́), but not in the feminine - that's why I think this form is separate from the singular. I agree that both forms are conceivable; but I don't imagine many people would think of writing эти о́кны or эти клёна. I don't deny that ы can be reduced to schwa, but I believe that its reinterpretation as /a/ is phonemic - one phoneme gets reinterpreted as the other without loss of underlying contrast.
     

    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    на поле, стуле can and usually do get neutralised with /i/ for me (на пол[e] = accusative); последние has /i/ and contrasts with последнее; богаче has /e/ that can reduce, as also in выше, сильнее; средне has /i/ and with /e/ sounds, umm, South Russian.
    So, eventually, the orthographic "e" corresponds to three separate entities: /i/, /e₁/, /e₂/?

    поле (Nom): /polʲe₁/ > /polʲa/
    поле (Loc): /polʲe₂/ > /polʲi/
    последние = /pasledniji/
    последнее = /paslednije₁/ > /paslednija/
    богаче = /bagačʲe₂/ > /bagačʲi/
    сильнее = /silʲnʲeje₂/ > /silʲnʲeji/
    средне = /srʲednʲi/

    I can somewhat see where this distribution comes from except for the last example. I would rather expect it to be /srʲednʲe₁/ since most typically adverbs derived from adjectives end with /o/ (тепло, смешно, горячо). Perhaps you associate it more with adverbs whose stems end with a velar consonant like "по-человечески" and "героически"?

    But what about the most interesting example — "тоже"? What about undeclinable nouns like Данте or промилле?

    it uses a non-committal ə to describe the non-neutralising sound, which to my knowledge doesn't exist in Russian either as a phoneme or underlyingly.
    It's a complicated question. On the one hand, it's not really perceived by speakers as a separate entity due to the lack of orthographical representation and its complementary function. On the other hand, it has its own minimal pair: так /tak/ (adverb) and так /tək/ (particle). Normally, the former has its own stress, and the latter doesn't, so the only way to put them in one position would be making them the only word in a sentence: positive «Так.» and interrupted «Тəк…». The same can also be said about да /da/ ("yes") and да /də/ (particle). For me personally it's simply more convenient to use a neutral symbol than to choose between /а/ and /ы/.

    These two words were the only reason you gave for your generalisation, and that's what I used. If this is not how you came to your genralisation, then please explain how you did, because I'm not convinced it's correct.
    The thing is that I simply don't know a single word with a posttonic "o" after a consonant that I would actually pronounce with an /o/. When I see the word "адажио", I automatically read it with an /o/, when I see the word Гуантанамо, I automatically read it with an /ə/. What else is there to say?

    Naturally I'm not, it's just that I'm not convinced that what you report is objectively correct.
    I can't imagine why anyone would say what I'm saying without performing long term observations first. Typically, for a literate person, it's much more difficult to believe that words are not spelled the same way they're pronounced, than the other way around.

    This doesn't explain how homophony is involved.
    It would be much more difficult for this confusion to occur, if "пеня", "пени" and "пене" were actually pronounced differently.

    Where is господя written this way
    In Google

    and where is it pronounced this way?
    Rather by who.

    Just to be clear: I'm talking not about the man himself, but about the type of person he's performing.

    Is "скандирующее произношение" the same as what I call hyperarticulated?
    Not exactly. People normally shout "пе-ре-мен", not "пи-ри-мен" (but unstressed "o" usually is pronounced as "a", yes). I use this term to describe situations when all syllables are pronounced as clear as a stressed one.

    There seems to be a general reshuffling of the -ы and -а plurals in Russian (до́мы > домá, сле́сари > слесаря́)
    This is certainly not a good example, as this ending is always stressed. When the ending is unstressed, male nouns are always written with ы/и at the end and neuter nouns are always written with а/я (except for the ones with к/г/х at the end of the stem). It's quite difficult to get confused, unless you don't know the gender of the noun.

    I don't deny that ы can be reduced to schwa, but I believe that its reinterpretation as /a/ is phonemic - one phoneme gets reinterpreted as the other without loss of underlying contrast.
    I don't really get what's meant to be said in this fragment. What happens when "ы" is reduced to schwa?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The descriptions you can find in phonology books are most commonly based on the speech of educated people from Moscow. Why on Earth would you expect them to be fully represantative for a speaker from Kiev?
    In Kiev the typical Ukrainian variety of Russian is usually spoken, which is a whole different story, really. Due to the huge amount of speakers, very pronounced Ukrainian substrate and distinct geographical borders that variety is worth independent investigations, but it simply isn't productive to mix it up with the more or less standard city koine of Russia and Belarus.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    So, eventually, the orthographic "e" corresponds to three separate entities: /i/, /e₁/, /e₂/?
    I don't beleive these are static entities - language is computed in real-time - but the result is as you describe.
    I can somewhat see where this distribution comes from except for the last example. I would rather expect it to be /srʲednʲe₁/ since most typically adverbs derived from adjectives end with /o/ (тепло, смешно, горячо). Perhaps you associate it more with adverbs whose stems end with a velar consonant like "по-человечески" and "героически"?
    If it was /e/ for me, I'd say it might be the usual Russian alternating vowel, the yer (валенок - денег). But pronouncing it with an /e/ sounds off. It may be due to how vanishingly rarene short neuter adjectives in -е (сине, соседне) are, so the paradigmatic link between these and the adverbs has been broken for me.
    But what about the most interesting example — "тоже"? What about undeclinable nouns like Данте or промилле?
    For me тоже is prototypically тожа with то-же possible (with the particle же), and the other two words end in an /e/ that can phonetically reduce, but Данта or промилля would be different forms for me (not to mention -ы/-и). In particular, the [ɛ] of Данте is very resistant to neutralisation and has the same vowel phoneme as the name of the letter Т.
    It's a complicated question. On the one hand, it's not really perceived by speakers as a separate entity due to the lack of orthographical representation and its complementary function. On the other hand, it has its own minimal pair: так /tak/ (adverb) and так /tək/ (particle). Normally, the former has its own stress, and the latter doesn't, so the only way to put them in one position would be making them the only word in a sentence: positive «Так.» and interrupted «Тəк…». The same can also be said about да /da/ ("yes") and да /də/ (particle). For me personally it's simply more convenient to use a neutral symbol than to choose between /а/ and /ы/.
    I'm afraid this is not sound reasoning. If Russian has phonetic reduction of the unstressed /a/ to [ə], and if the adverb та́к and the particle так are distinguished by stress, then you cannot talk about a phonemic minimal pair. The phonemes are exactly the same - what distinguishes the two words is only stress, which proves that Russian has contrastive stress. Schwa is uncontroversially not phonemic in Russian, it's not an articulatory target, but the result of not reaching it.
    The thing is that I simply don't know a single word with a posttonic "o" after a consonant that I would actually pronounce with an /o/. When I see the word "адажио", I automatically read it with an /o/, when I see the word Гуантанамо, I automatically read it with an /ə/. What else is there to say?
    It's best to refrain from making a positive statement in absence of positive evidence, or at least before conducting a proper search for it and coming up empty. To me in any case, Italian names in -o can be pronounced with an [o].
    I can't imagine why anyone would say what I'm saying without performing long term observations first. Typically, for a literate person, it's much more difficult to believe that words are not spelled the same way they're pronounced, than the other way around.
    I believe that the Russian vowel reduction is misrepresented in the literature as well by the teachers as a categorical and homogeneous process, and I believed that you were simply repeating one of those statements like "all unstressed /e/ are pronounced /i/", which I have good reasons to believe is incorrect, both objective and subjective ones. Many Russians repeate those statements uncritically.
    It would be much more difficult for this confusion to occur, if "пеня", "пени" and "пене" were actually pronounced differently.
    These are all feminine forms, like Маня, Мани, Мане. I still don't see where the homonymy is.
    This looks morphological to me, since господи is an extra-paradigmatic form, probably just an interjection. For example one of the memes has it in the accusative, like о́куня.
    Thanks, I don't think I've heard it before.
    Not exactly. People normally shout "пе-ре-мен", not "пи-ри-мен" (but unstressed "o" usually is pronounced as "a", yes). I use this term to describe situations when all syllables are pronounced as clear as a stressed one.
    I'd say both can be shouted, which reflects the fact that ikan'ye can be either phonemic (and non-categorical) or simply phonetic. If господи is shouted as "гос-па-дя", this reflects that the final phoneme for the speaker is not /i/ but /a/. It does not mean that they have a complete neutralisation of /a/ and /i/ and will shout "вкус-ны-я о́-ку-ня".
    This is certainly not a good example, as this ending is always stressed. When the ending is unstressed, male nouns are always written with ы/и at the end and neuter nouns are always written with а/я (except for the ones with к/г/х at the end of the stem). It's quite difficult to get confused, unless you don't know the gender of the noun.
    If you know that the gender of десна́ is feminine, it's as difficult to write its plural with an because there are no such feminine plurals. Therefore my conclusion that this form doesn't belong to the feminine paradigm.
    I don't really get what's meant to be said in this fragment. What happens when "ы" is reduced to schwa?
    Phonetic reduction is exactly what happens; phonetic reduction does not automatically mean that phonemic contrast is eliminated. I argue that when ы is reduced to schwa, it's simple articulatory undershoot from the target. This target remains different between /а/ and /ы/. A learner exposed to frequent articulatory undershoot can reinterpret one phoneme for the other and come up with forms such as господя and дёсна; such reinterpretation normally signals some morphological pressure.
     
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    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    For me тоже is prototypically тожа with то-же possible (with the particle же), and the other two words end in an /e/ that can phonetically reduce, but Данта or промилля would be different forms for me (not to mention -ы/-и). In particular, the [ɛ] of Данте is very resistant to neutralisation and has the same vowel phoneme as the name of the letter Т.
    So:
    тоже: /toža/ or /tože₃/ > /tože/
    промилле /pramʲilʲe₂/ > /pramʲilʲi/
    Данте /dante₃/ > /dante/

    This is a pretty interesting and complicated system, I should say. I can't be 100% sure it's accurate, but it's much easier to believe in than when people simply claim they pronounce everything like it's written.

    I'm afraid this is not sound reasoning. If Russian has phonetic reduction of the unstressed /a/ to [ə], and if the adverb та́к and the particle так are distinguished by stress, then you cannot talk about a phonemic minimal pair. The phonemes are exactly the same - what distinguishes the two words is only stress, which proves that Russian has contrastive stress.
    Except /ə/ in /тəк/ does not act like the regular /a/ phoneme. "так во́т" is not pronounced like *такво́т, rather it's somewhere in the cloud of possible realizations of *тыкво́т. As I've already mentioned, when it becomes the only word in the sentence, it does not turn into /a/ or /i/, but remains /ə/, so even if we assume that pretonic /ə/ is totally equivalent to pretonic /i/ (which I'm not so sure), you can't consider it an allophone of /i/ either.

    It's best to refrain from making a positive statement in absence of positive evidence, or at least before conducting a proper search for it and coming up empty. To me in any case, Italian names in -o can be pronounced with an [o].
    This distinction (reducible/o/ vs non-reducible /o/) did not exist in the previous versions of the language and it doesn't exist in the orthography, so the default assumption should be that it doesn't exist in my speech either. It's the opposite point of view that needs to be proven. Besides, I did encounter information like this before and the examples the authors were giving never agreed with what I pronounce and hear in actual speech. What else am I supposed to do? Examine every loanword containing -o at the end, in case it's pronounced with an [o]?

    I believe that the Russian vowel reduction is misrepresented in the literature as well by the teachers as a categorical and homogeneous process, and I believed that you were simply repeating one of those statements like "all unstressed /e/ are pronounced /i/", which I have good reasons to believe is incorrect, both objective and subjective ones. Many Russians repeate those statements uncritically.
    As far as I remember, there are only like three people on the Internet who claim that unstressed /ы/ and /а/ can be merged (including me). You need to dig really deep into linguistic literature to see this phenomenon mentioned, so this is definitely not a popular opinion.

    These are all feminine forms, like Маня, Мани, Мане. I still don't see where the homonymy is.
    Homophony ≠ homonymy. "Пеня", "пени" and "пене" are three forms of the feminine noun "пеня" that normally sound the same (= homophones). "Пени" is an undeclinable neuter noun which was born in my mind as a result of this homophony. What else is there to explain?

    This looks morphological to me, since господи is an extra-paradigmatic form, probably just an interjection.
    This is exactly the point. Once you encounter a form where the last vowel does not belong to a morpheme that may be stressed in other words, you almost immediately lose the ability to distinguish the quality of this vowel due to the lack of stable phonetic representation.

    I'd say both can be shouted, which reflects the fact that ikan'ye can be either phonemic (and non-categorical) or simply phonetic. If господи is shouted as "гос-па-дя", this reflects that the final phoneme for the speaker is not /i/ but /a/. It does not mean that they have a complete neutralisation of /a/ and /i/ and will shout "вкус-ны-я о́-ку-ня".
    Yes, of course. The problem is that /vkusnije okunʲi/ and /pʲerʲemʲen/ are not phonemic descriptions of speech, but phonemic descriptions of shouting. They might be useful to describe how the speaker imagines these words in his head, but not very representative of what information is actually conveyed in speech.

    If you know that the gender of десна́ is feminine, it's as difficult to write its plural with an because there are no such feminine plurals.
    Apparently, the connection between the singular and plular forms of "десна" is too weak for that. You can think of it as a semi pluralia tantum at this point.

    Phonetic reduction is exactly what happens; phonetic reduction does not automatically mean that phonemic contrast is eliminated. I argue that when ы is reduced to schwa, it's simple articulatory undershoot from the target. This target remains different between /а/ and /ы/.
    I think we cannot say for sure what is going on in someone's brain while he's producing speech. What you're saying might be true when a speaker pronounces something while consciously thinking about the sounds and meanings they convey (this is why it's always much better to examine people who don't know you're studying their speech), but it doesn't mean that in casual everyday use of the language it has to work the same way. In a situation when the ranges of realizations of two phonemes coincide, it just seems kind of excessive to process this information every time one of them is produced.
     
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