ukrainian: pronunciation of palatalised affricates ц дз

Lorenc

Senior Member
Italian
According to the English Wikipedia page on Ukrainian phonology this language has palatalised variants /d͡zʲ/ and /t͡sʲ/, contrary to Russian; from what I understand of Ukrainian orthography these sounds would be written as ц' and дз', although I didn't encounter these spellings in the Ukrainian texts I looked at (several long wikipedia pages). On the other hand I noticed Ukrainian orthography allows the combinations ця, ці, цю (but not цє), as well as ца, це, ци, цу, so my question is:
1) Are palatalised variants /d͡zʲ/ and /t͡sʲ/ really present as phonemes in Ukrainian? if so, please present a mininal pair of /t͡sʲ/ vs /t͡s/.
2) How are these palatalised vеrsions represented in Ukrainian orthography?
 
  • Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    These palatalized sound exist in Ukrainian, for example in дзюрча́ти ‘to babble (of water)’, ця ‘this (fem.)’.
    from what I understand of Ukrainian orthography these sounds would be written as ц' and дз'
    If you mean with an apostrophe, then no. A letter before an apostrophe never represents a palatalized sound. They would be written дз/ц + ь/я/є/і/ьо/ю (I’m not sure if all 12 combinations actually occur). However, in a kind of Cyrillic transcription taught at schools which marks soft consonants with an apostrophe instead of a superscript j, your variant is correct (д͡з', ц').

    By the way, there is also a long /t͡sʲː/, for example in цілу́ються ‘(they) kiss each other’ (spelled тьс).
    Are palatalised variants /d͡zʲ/ and /t͡sʲ/ really present as phonemes in Ukrainian? if so, please present a mininal pair of /t͡sʲ/ vs /t͡s/.
    Some near-minimal pairs I could think of (hard vs. soft): цари́зму ‘tsarism (gen.)’ vs. ця ри́фма ‘this rhyme’; ли́цар ‘knight’ vs. ли́ця ‘faces’.
     
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    jasio

    Senior Member
    According to the English Wikipedia page on Ukrainian phonology this language has palatalised variants /d͡zʲ/ and /t͡sʲ/, contrary to Russian; from what I understand of Ukrainian orthography these sounds would be written as ц' and дз'
    If my understanding of Ukrainian ortography is correct, in Ukrainian apostrophy is used similarly to the hard sign in Russian, ie. not to mark softness, but on the contrary - to mark hard pronunciation of a consonant before an otherwise softening vowel, perhaps with a conversion of a softness to iotation. Perhaps native speakers correct me if I'm wrong or provide better and more relevant examples, but for example, "м'ясо" (meat) is pronunced more or less like 'm-yaso' (with hard m, similar to "масло" ('maslo' - butter), while "Мястро" (name of a lake) is pronounced like "m'iastro" with palatalised "m". Consequently, to find examples of palatalised pronunciation you'd better look for ця, ці, цю and ць.

    By the way, there is also a long /t͡sʲː/, for example in цілу́ються ‘(they) kiss each other’.
    Does it mean that "ть" is pronounced similarly to "ць"? I remember such phenomenon when I was learning Russian: to me endings of infinitives ("-ть") sounded like soft version of "ц" ('ts') rather than a soft " ('t'). Does a similar phenomenon exist also in Ukrainian? Also, I remember that softened "d" in Russian ("дядя") to my ear sounded more like a soft "дз" than just like a soft "д".
     

    Lorenc

    Senior Member
    Italian
    If my understanding of Ukrainian ortography is correct, in Ukrainian apostrophy is used similarly to the hard sign in Russian, ie. not to mark softness, but on the contrary - to mark hard pronunciation of a consonant before an otherwise softening vowel

    Yes, you're perfectly right, I've read with more attention the description on Wikipedia and, indeed, the apostrophe in Ukrainian serves the function of the hard, not soft sign. I was led into error by the fact that the transcriptions д͡з' and ц' are used on the Russian Wikipedia page on Ukrainian phonology for the palatalized sounds in question, and also by the apostrophe being used for the soft sign in traslitterations of Russian.

    I performed a simple analysis of a long text in Ukrainian (a translation of a very popular children's book) to ascertain the frequency of various combinations of letters. I apologize if these things are all quite trivial but I coundn't find any information of palatalized affricates in Ukrainian. Here are some of my findings.

    1) The digraph дз, regardless of what letters follow next, is much, much rarer than ц (only about 76 occurences for the former against ~3000 for the latter). As result the sound /d͡z/, palatalised or not, seems to be fairly rare in Ukrainian.

    2) Of the 76 occurrences for дз about 53 are various forms of the word дзеркало (mirror). There are no occurrences for the sequences дза, дзи, дзу, дзє, дзі, дзї, one occurrence each for дзя and дзю and 5 occurences for дзь, all in forms of the word дзьоб (beak). This seems to confirm that palatalized /d͡zʲ/ is rare.
    For the word дзьоб I listened to the two pronunciations on forvo and to the google translate synthetised speech and to me it sounds very similar to Polish /d͡ʑ/, so that the initial consonant of Ukrainian дзьоб sounds very similar to the Polish one in dziób.
    The only word in my text with дзя is кукурудзяні (corn - used as an adjective, Polish kukurydziany). Google text to speech renders again a very Polish-like version with something along the lines of /d͡ʑ/, however forvo gives a version which to me sounds plain, hard дз. Any comments?
    In summary it seems to me then that Ukrainian /d͡zʲ/ is of rather marginal importance and it can be reasonably approximated by Polish /d͡ʑ/.

    3) From my analysis of the text it follows that the letter ц can be followed both by the hardening vowels а,е,и,о,у or by the softening ones я,є,і,ю (but not by є or ї) and by the soft sign ь. Specifically here are the occurrences in brackets (the numbers > 100 are estimates): це(750); ці(600); ць (330); ця (285); ца (184); цю (71); ци (45); цу (12); цо (2).
    So the most common occurrences of /t͡sʲ/ should be in the sequences ці, цьо, ця. These sequences appear, for example, in various forms of the demonstrative цей (=this), for example in the forms ця, ци, цього. Again, I resorted to forvo and google translate to hear these sequences. With respect to /d͡z/ vs /d͡zʲ/, the difference with respect to hard /t͡s/ are, to my ears, much more subtle in this case. A fleeting /j/ is indeed there, but I have to concentrate hard to hear it.
    I wonder how would a hard pronunciation for ц sound to Ukrainian ears in words where is should be soft? Would it be very grating or merely noticable?
     
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    Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    @jasio, you’re right, Ukrainian is identical in its function to Russian ъ; all you’ve said on this matter is correct.
    Does it mean that "ть" is pronounced similarly to "ць"?
    In general, no. Ukrainian ть [tʲ] and ць [t͡sʲ] are different sounds (cf. ці ‘these’ and ті ‘those’), and they both are different from Russian ть. On a stop—fricative scale, Russian ть is between the two Ukrainian sounds.

    The pronunciation of цілуються is such because of the assimilation universally applied in verbs that end in -ть (e.g. цілують ‘(they) kiss’) when the reflexive -ся is added. There are many cluster simplifications not reflected in orthography, it being largely morphemic (e.g. цілуєшся is pronounced as if written *цілуєсся, but again is spelled as a concatenation of цілуєш and -ся; or митці ‘artists’ pronounced *мицці, but spelled in accordance with the singular митець).
     

    Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    no occurrences for the sequences дза, дзи, дзу, дзє, дзі, дзї
    кукуру́дза (nom.), кукурудзи (gen.), кукурудзі (dat.), кукурудзу (acc.), кукурудзою (instr.) ‘corn’.
    *дзї is an impossible combination, since ї is never written immediately after a consonant (however, it can be after an apostrophe, e.g. на подвір’ї ‘in the yard’).
    forms of the demonstrative цей (=this), for example in the forms ця, ци, цього
    ці; there’s no word *ци.

    Polish ć and are somewhere between Ukrainian ць/дзь and soft variants of ч/дж (о́чі ‘eyes’, ко́леджі ‘colleges’).
    I wonder how would a hard pronunciation for ц sound to Ukrainian ears in words where is should be soft? Would it be very grating or merely noticable?
    It will be noticeable as an accent. The word паляни́ця ‘loaf’ has been a well-known shibboleth to identify Russians whose ц is always hard.
     
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    jasio

    Senior Member
    1) The digraph дз, regardless of what letters follow next, is much, much rarer than ц (only about 76 occurences for the former against ~3000 for the latter). As result the sound /d͡z/, palatalised or not, seems to be fairly rare in Ukrainian.
    Perhaps that's why they had left it as a digraph in the first place, rather than assign additional letter for it (unlike Serbs for that matter).;-)

    For the word дзьоб I listened to the two pronunciations on forvo and to the google translate synthetised speech and to me it sounds very similar to Polish /d͡ʑ/, so that the initial consonant of Ukrainian дзьоб sounds very similar to the Polish one in dziób.
    To my ear they sound quite different - but it may as well be a regional feature, with the Western dialects being closer to Polish, and the Eastern dialects - closer to Russian (similar phenomenon exists in Polish, wiith Eastern dialects having pronunciation closer to Ruthenian). Actually, the Polish "ć" is sometimes considered a softened "cz" (or English "ch") rather then "c" - unlike Russian and Ukrainian.

    The only word in my text with дзя is кукурудзяні (corn - used as an adjective, Polish kukurydziany). Google text to speech renders again a very Polish-like version with something along the lines of /d͡ʑ/, however forvo gives a version which to me sounds plain, hard дз. Any comments?
    @Saley may know beter, but if the map locates Mykola properly, he may represent a non-standard pronunciation, closer to Polish and Slovak. Besides, he does not pronounce "a", but something closer to shwa.

    In summary it seems to me then that Ukrainian /d͡zʲ/ is of rather marginal importance and it can be reasonably approximated by Polish /d͡ʑ/.
    For Ukrainian ear it may sound foreign, but should be understandable. Similarly, like the other way round - we hear Russian and Ukrainian type of softening very well. It's because in East-Slavic languages palatalisation / softening is produced by raising a tip of the tong against the palate right behind the teeth, while in Polish - by raising a center part of the tongue up to the palate, with the front part of the tongue lying flat or even down.

    Polish ć and are somewhere between Ukrainian ць/дзь and soft variants of ч/дж (о́чі ‘eyes’, ко́леджі ‘colleges’).
    To my ear, Polish "cz" which is hard, Ukrainian "ч" and Polish "ć" form one group of consonants, and "c/ц" and "ць" form the other. It's similar with the voiced versions.
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    Aren't "Ђ" and "Џ" Serbian letters?

    They are indeed, but none of them equals дз. There is the letter Ѕ in Macedonian though, and it is equivalent to дз.

    EDIT for clarification:

    Serbian & Macedonian letters and their Latin equivalent

    Ц [ts] = c (Polish c)
    Ѕ [dz] (Macedonian only) = dz (Polish dz)

    Ч [tʃ] = č (Polish cz)
    Џ [dʒ] = dž (Polish dż)

    Ќ [c] (Macedonian only) = ḱ/kj (Czech/Slovak ť)
    Ѓ [ɟ] (Macedonian only) = ǵ/gj (Czech/Slovak ď)

    Ћ [tɕ] (Serbian only) = ć (Polish ć)
    Ђ [dʑ] (Serbian only) = đ (Polish dź)
     
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    jasio

    Senior Member
    Ћ [tɕ] (Serbian only) = ć (Polish ć)
    Ђ [dʑ] (Serbian only) = đ (Polish dź)
    ...or palatalised versions of "ц" and "дз", for which the OP asked. :rolleyes: Of course, considering general differences between Serbian, Polish and Ukrainian pronunciations.

    But indeed, "Џ" was a mistake.
     
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