What if П for Б?

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C.S.Hy

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
Do the native Russian speakers have a very keen ear for voiced stop consonants?

What if some one says брокколи - вкусный овощ as Прокколи - вкусный овощ, or как это было as как это Пыло?
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Language background:

The native Mandarin Chinese speakers are sensitive to whether a (voiceless) stop is aspirated while not to wether a stop is voiced or voiceless.

Actually most Mandarin speaking people have no idea what a voiced stop sounds like and have trouble in making them when learning foreign languages which distinguish voiced stops from voiceless ones. Quite often they will make a voiceless unaspirated stop and mistake it for a voiced one.

For example in the Chinese illusive idiom 大动干戈 (dà dòng gāngē in Pinyin)/'tä˥˩tuŋ˥˩kɑŋ˥˥kɤ˥˥/ both /t/ sounds and both /k/s
are unaspirated voiceless stops and do not pronounce voiced.

If someone does pronounce any of them aspirated, the listener will immediately perceive that and thereby be baffled, or decide that the speaker has made a pronouncing mistake.

But if they are pronounced as /d/ for /t/, or /g/ for /k/, the listener will feel that fine and might not even notice the difference.
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Do the native Russian speakers have a very keen ear for voiced stop consonants?
    Basically, yes, especially considering that normally Russian voiced consonants are quite intensively voiced (compared to, say, English, where voicing is actually a secondary parameter of the "voiced" consonants, which often end up barely voiced or not voiced at all; habitually undervoicing Russian voiced consonants is a characteristic element of English accent in Russian). Of course, in a whisper that distinction disappears (as a whisper fundamentally contains no voice at all), and there are positional voicings and devoicings, but it's pretty much that.
    As far as released stops go, in a voiced one the pressure buildup is already voiced (which may be audible) and the release is voiced is well, which makes it slightly louder and gives it an unmistakeable timbre (due to the resonance in the oral cavity). For an unvoiced consonant, the vocal cords begin to vibrate only after the release.
    The native Mandarin Chinese speakers are sensitive to whether a (voiceless) stop is aspirated while not to wether a stop is voiced or voiceless.
    Yes - which is, sadly, phonologically irrelevant in Russian and normally not even percieved (hence the problems which the Russians usually have in correct recognition and reproduction of English, German or Chinese aspirated consonants).
     
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    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Basically, yes, especially considering that normally Russian voiced consonants are quite intensively voiced (compared to, say, English, where voicing is actually a secondary parameter of the "voiced" consonants, which often end up barely voiced or not voiced at all; habitually undervoicing Russian voiced consonants is a characteristic element of English accent in Russian). Of course, in a whisper that distinction disappears (as a whisper fundamentally contains no voice at all), and there are positional voicings and devoicings, but it's pretty much that.
    As far as released stops go, in a voiced one the pressure buildup is already voiced (which may be audible) and the release is voiced is well, which makes it slightly louder and gives it an unmistakeable timbre (due to the resonance in the oral cavity). For an unvoiced consonant, the vocal cords begin to vibrate only after the release.

    Yes - which is, sadly, phonologically irrelevant in Russian and normally not even percieved (hence the problems which the Russians usually have in correct recognition and reproduction of English, German or Chinese aspirated consonants).
    Awwal12, undervoicing of Russian voiced consonants may be particular apparent with English-speaking (and Chinese-speaking) learners. There are other language in Europe, eg French, that do have properly voiced consonants, AFAIK.
     

    Vadim K

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    Do the native Russian speakers have a very keen ear for voiced stop consonants?

    Russians have to distinguish between voiced and unvoiced consonants because we have a fair number of words with different meanings that only differ from each other by these consonants. For example:

    б-п: Бочка (Barrel) - Почка (Kidney)
    д-т: Дом (House) - Том (Volume)
    г-к: Гол (Goal) - Кол (Stake)
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    I think you don't have to worry much about it. It all depends on the context.

    For example if someone says "Я возвращаюсь томой" won't be understood?

    Or "Футбольная команда забила в матче 2 кола"?

    I think it just makes a 0.05 - 0.1 seconds delay to native speakers' mind and that's all.

    Only for politicians, singers etc., those things matter. Or for people who literally want to master a language.

    It is the same for the 4 Chinese tones. Most westerners who have learned Chinese use just only the 1st tone in their speaking, but 99% they are fully understood by Chinese native speakers just with some milliseconds analysis of the context.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is the same for the 4 Chinese tones. Most westerners who have learned Chinese use just only the 1st tone in their speaking, but 99% they are fully understood by Chinese native speakers just with some milliseconds analysis of the context.
    I don't think so. It's normal for English people who have studied Chinese to report that they struggle to make themselves understood at all other than the most basic phrases.

    By the way, Russians speaking English generally NEVER use aspiration. My cat -= my gat - or at least that's what it sounds like to us.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think you don't have to worry much about it. It all depends on the context.
    Russian is a consonant language, I dare to remind. At worst you can largely ignore all unstressed vowels, but systematic changes in consonants quickly lead to disruption of cohesive information flow.
    It's normal for English people who have studied Chinese to report that they struggle to make themselves understood at all other than the most basic phrases.
    Yes. Chinese has quite a lot of homophones even WITH the tones.
     

    nizzebro

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Or "Футбольная команда забила в матче 2 кола"?
    This is a separate meaning, by the way :) - the phrase means they drove two wooden stakes in (to the ground, if not into someone's body). And "возвращаюсь *томой" could also create an association with "возвращаюсь-то, мой...", confusing the listener. Besides that, normally "-сь" becomes voiced before 'д' so we get /...juz'dʌmoj/ - but with "-сь то-", the 'c' sound would be de-voiced.
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    I don't think so. It's normal for English people who have studied Chinese to report that they struggle to make themselves understood at all other than the most basic phrases.

    Yes it happens, but not because of the 4 tones. In most cases, it happens because there is misunderstanding about the Chinese levels.

    My cousin learned HSK4 and she considered that it is equal to European B2 but she actually had problems in a visit in China. HSK4 is a basic B1. In any case, the European C2 proficiency is not the Chinese HSK6 as many considered in the past, but the new HSK9.
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    Russian is a consonant language, I dare to remind. At worst you can largely ignore all unstressed vowels, but systematic changes in consonants quickly lead to disruption of cohesive information flow.

    Consonant language, but not so much as English. And it is phonetic. When you learn a new word, you learn just its meaning not both its meaning and pronunciation as in English.

    My feeling is that 99% of Russian toughness is in grammar, not in pronunciation.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Consonant language, but not so much as English.
    Overall English is much more vocalic, despite its vowel reduction. :) It has much more vowels, more possible vowel contrasts in unstressed positions, the possibility of double stress (while in Russian multiple stress may normally occur only in compound words), and considerably less consonants (25 vs. 36 or 37).
    And it is phonetic. When you learn a new word, you learn just its meaning not both its meaning and pronunciation as in English.
    Russian spelling is anything but phonetic. :) Compared to English, it's much more regular, but it also has some issues. Yes, it's possible to learn the orthographic system (not really intuitive); it's easy to learn all the morphemes and positions where "г" represents /в/, /х/ or /ɦ/, and other minor exceptions of that kind... but then comes the letter "e" and ruins everything, because you never can tell whether it's really "e" or "ё", and if it's "e" in a loanword, it becomes impossible to predict whether the preceding consonant is soft or not.

    And, of course, that regularity is asymmetrical, so if you hear a new word, you must also get to know how it is spelled somehow.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Overall English is much more vocalic, despite its vowel reduction. :) It has much more vowels, more possible vowel contrasts in unstressed positions, the possibility of double stress (while in Russian multiple stress may normally occur only in compound words), and considerably less consonants (25 vs. 36 or 37).

    Russian spelling is anything but phonetic. :) Compared to English, it's much more regular, but it also has some issues. Yes, it's possible to learn the orthographic system (not really intuitive); it's easy to learn all the morphemes and positions where "г" represents /в/, /х/ or /ɦ/, and other minor exceptions of that kind... but then comes the letter "e" and ruins everything, because you never can tell whether it's really "e" or "ё", and if it's "e" in a loanword, it becomes impossible to predict whether the preceding consonant is soft or not.

    And, of course, that regularity is asymmetrical, so if you hear a new word, you must also get to know how it is spelled somehow.
    Also, there is some variation on pronouncing ч as ш, e.g булочная, порядочный , so not entirely phonetic.
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    For me the Russian о really perplexes me. I still remember an Ukrainian friend who wrote to me харашо and спасиба, so after that I understood that I am not the only one being perplexed with this.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    For me the Russian о really perplexes me. I still remember an Ukrainian friend who wrote to me харашо and спасиба, so after that I understood that I am not the only one being perplexed with this.
    That sort of thing is very common in the Ukraine. As well as the mixing of Ukrainian words into a Russian sentence. Я тэбэ поняв.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    That sort of thing is very common in the Ukraine
    Yes. Ukrainians are still almost completely bilingual, but few learn Russian at school now, which unavoidably affects their spelling. (To think about it, Russian kids learn that "phonetic" spelling at school for 10 or 11 years... A fresh foreign learner is in a definitely better position than them: he normally learns all the words in their written form first.)
    For me the Russian о really perplexes me.
    Nothing really perplexing there - it just merges with /a/ in all unstressed positions except loaned bivocalic combinations ("радио", "Гоа" etc.), and then follows the same patterns of reduction as /a/. Akanye (in the broadest sense) makes all non-close unstressed vowels to merge, one way or another.
     

    jbionic2010

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Представляю, если б по весне, когда la sangre es altera, вместо "хочу бабу" говорили "хочу папу" 🙂
     

    nizzebro

    Senior Member
    Russian
    There is an interesting example from informal speech related to /т/ and /d/.
    It is the adverb так (so), as used in the beginning of sentence in a meaning like "well, but", "you see," - e.g.
    Так я не знал об этом. - But (you see,) I didn't know about that.
    There is a low-colloquial alternative form "дык", which gives a rustic feel used to bring a subtle modality like self-justification of a rural servant. And, something intermediate like "дак" could be heard from an irritated person - that is, voicing of "т" kinda regulates that admixture of "being wronged" in self-positioning. (Так sounds as /tɨk/ in an unstressed position, so these are actually different only in terms of t/d). If you master this or similar example (e.g. with your Russian buddy), you'll get a chance to catch the resonance effect of voiced 'd' at least.
     
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    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    Nothing really perplexing there - it just merges with /a/ in all unstressed positions except loaned bivocalic combinations ("радио", "Гоа" etc.), and then follows the same patterns of reduction as /a/. Akanye (in the broadest sense) makes all non-close unstressed vowels to merge, one way or another.
    So what about the "особенно"?
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    And хорошо = xərɐˈʂo?

    The first о is ...?
    The second о is a pretonic unstressed о.
    The third о is a stressed о.
    Well, the first о is not directly pretonic. And I was taught at university that in such position, it should be /ə/. But in fact, /xaraˈʂo/ is also possible. Some Russians say it like that. The first syllable in молоко can be a neutral vowel, or very much like the second vowel in the word.
     

    TheIntricateWillows

    Member
    English - USA
    That sort of thing is very common in the Ukraine. As well as the mixing of Ukrainian words into a Russian sentence. Я тэбэ поняв.
    I can definitely confirm. So, I lived in Ukraine for eight years before fleeing due to the war, I have had many Ukrainians explain this sort of situation to me. It is kinda interesting, but it was very confusing to me.
    Yes. Ukrainians are still almost completely bilingual, but few learn Russian at school now, which unavoidably affects their spelling. (To think about it, Russian kids learn that "phonetic" spelling at school for 10 or 11 years... A fresh foreign learner is in a definitely better position than them: he normally learns all the words in their written form first.)

    Nothing really perplexing there - it just merges with /a/ in all unstressed positions except loaned bivocalic combinations ("радио", "Гоа" etc.), and then follows the same patterns of reduction as /a/. Akanye (in the broadest sense) makes all non-close unstressed vowels to merge, one way or another.
    I wanna talk about that first paragraph. That is definitely true and it is very rare to find someone who doesn't speak Russian. I moved to Ukraine when I was 14, and I found this trait to be most common in teens. Despite not speaking Russian, many of them still understand the language due to the similarities.

    The linguistic condition of Ukraine is quite interesting.
     

    nizzebro

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, the first о is not directly pretonic. And I was taught at university that in such position, it should be /ə/. But in fact, /xaraˈʂo/ is also possible. Some Russians say it like that

    It's generally affected by emphasis. The initial principle is indeed like a-like sound in the nearest unstressed syllable, and shwa in farther ones. In a neutrally tempered homogeneous speech хорошо is close to xərasho.
    But, if the speaker put more stress into this word, both syllables could sound as /a/; besides that, some people do secondary stress on the first syllable (akanye).
    In the same way, in ocoбенно the first vowel is closer to /a/ when the word is focused in the context, but both the two unstressed o-s could be reduced in the flow of speech if the speaker lacks breath or speaking fast or careless, relying on that the word has a more or less recognizable unique cluster under the stress.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, the first о is not directly pretonic. And I was taught at university that in such position, it should be /ə/.
    ...As long is it isn't word-initial, in which case it normally opens into [ɐ] anyway (btw I wouldn't use the slashes here - those are reserved for proper phonemes). The point is, /a/ behaves identically in all those positions; the vowel sequences in каравай and фторопласт are identical.
     

    Eirwyn

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Well, the first о is not directly pretonic. And I was taught at university that in such position, it should be /ə/. But in fact, /xaraˈʂo/ is also possible. Some Russians say it like that. The first syllable in молоко can be a neutral vowel, or very much like the second vowel in the word.
    You can hear [xɐrɐˈʂo], [xərəˈʂo] or even [xɐrˈəʂo] from some people but it's a matter of regional variation rather than personal preference. If you describe the language in all its varieties, it doesn't make sense to go into such details, as not even Russian is homogenous enough for all speakers to share the same vowel system.

    There is a low-colloquial alternative form "дык"
    A northern low-colloquial alternative form, I should notice.

    ...As long is it isn't word-initial, in which case it normally opens into [ɐ] anyway
    I would say it's phrase-initial rather than word-initial, e. g. "ананас" by itself is [ɐnɐˈnas] but "купил ананас" is [kʊˈpʲiɫ (ə)nɐˈnas].
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    You can hear [xɐrɐˈʂo], [xərəˈʂo] or even [xɐrˈəʂo] from some people but it's a matter of regional variation rather than personal preference. If you describe the language in all its varieties, it doesn't make sense to go into such details, as not even Russian is homogenous enough for all speakers to share the same vowel system.
    Foreigners do need to appreciate such details.
    I think да in Russian is pronounced by some speakers with a deep back vowel, like the vowel in the English "father". But then other speakers have [a]. I'm not quite sure what [ɐ] is, so it might be that. Where in Russia would they use /dɑ/?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think да in Russian is pronounced by some speakers with a deep back vowel, like the vowel in the English "father". But then other speakers have [a].
    The difference is non-phonemic in Russian and normally isn't percieved. I'd advise against extreme back open vowels, though (and attempts to produce extreme front ones by English speakers may result in narrowing to [æ], which most definitely won't do after hard consonants).
    A northern low-colloquial alternative form, I should notice.
    Now it has spreaded, though.
     

    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Do the native Russian speakers have a very keen ear for voiced stop consonants?

    What if some one says брокколи - вкусный овощ as Прокколи - вкусный овощ, or как это было as как это Пыло?
    It would be inconceivable for modern Russian native speakers to talk like that. However, voiced consonants at the end of the word are almost always pronounced without voice, even if the meaning will change, as if in
    столб -> столп
    But it’s not always the case, for example:
    твёрд /- *твёрт
    Russian used to have an orthographic ъ in writing to underline consonants at the end of words (equivalent to French e muet in the given aspect, to maintain spoken voiced consonants) but it’s bygone.
     
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    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Russian used to have ъ in writing to underline voiced consonants, but it’s bygone.
    What is the connection between the hard sign and voiced consonants. Originally the hard sign was a brief reduced u-sound - nothing to do with voicing.
     

    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What is the connection between the hard sign and voiced consonants. Originally the hard sign was a brief reduced u-sound - nothing to do with voicing.
    The same as it exists in modern French, as stated above :
    native - natif
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    столб -> столп
    But it’s not always the case, for example:
    твёрд /- *твёрт
    Russian used to have an orthographic ъ in writing to underline consonants at the end of words (equivalent to French e muet in the given aspect, to maintain spoken voiced consonants) but it’s bygone.
    I don't usually argue with native speakers about their language and accept their replies. But, no, the hard sign was never used to maintain voicing of a final consonant. Now if you're saying that when the hard sign was a brief vowel the consonant before it was therefore not final and so was not devoiced, then you would probably be right. The devoicing of hard consonants at the end of a word must have begun after the hard sign was no longer pronounced. твёрд as far as I know is pronounced твёрт. Maybe I have just misunderstood your posts or maybe you haven't expressed yourself fully in English on this topic.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I pronounce it as твёрд
    Kindly abstain from personal remarks
    Well, I was told in the Ukraine that consonants are not devoiced at the end of words, but I think that reflects influence from Ukrainian, where they are not so devoiced. Maybe you're from Southern Russia adjacent to Малая Россия?
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where did I claim that?
    Т is pronounced as т, as ъ has no influence here.
    I based my comment on your example from French of naif~naive.
    OK, so what you are saying is that voiced consonants like д were prevented from being devoiced by the presence of ъ, but as I said that is likely to be true only when the hard sign is being pronounced as a vowel. The pronunciation of твёрд on forvo is with a final [t]
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Forvo is based on crowd contribution and can reflect personal opinions only.
    Well, yes, that's true. But did you not give your personal opinion in this thread? Do you pronounce блог and блок differently? I'm not ruling out idiolectal and topolectal differences, which exist in every language. Let me add that I accept the validity of the pronunciations of all native speakers of any language, so thank you for letting me know that a rule that I thought exists does not have universal validity.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I pronounce it as твёрд
    Well, frankly, that would be normally percieved as a srong accent in Russian. Devoicing in the absolute end of the word is a general phonetic rule and affects even some unpaired voiced consonants (e.g. /r/ and /rʲ/, which get mostly devoiced, producing the consonants which are closer to [r̥] and [ɾ̥ʲ]).
    Russian used to have an orthographic ъ in writing to underline consonants at the end of words (equivalent to French e muet in the given aspect, to maintain spoken voiced consonants) but it’s bygone.
    Er... But it noted their hardness, not their voicing or the lack thereof. I don't quite get your point here either. Moreover, the actual use of "ъ" and "ь" ceased to be entirely phonetic many centuries ago; neither the presence of "ъ" guaranteed the hardness of preceding consonant (e.g. "тощъ") nor its absence guaranteed its softness ("мышь", "дѣлаешь" etc.).
     
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    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Actually, I do pronounce блог and блок differently.
    OK. That's interesting. Do you have a p in столб ? Maybe there is a rule that applies in your Russian as to when you devoice, but you might have to run through all the permutations to find it.
     

    Konstantinos

    Senior Member
    Greek - Athens
    Actually, I do pronounce блог and блок differently.

    I can pronounce three versions: блог, блок and блоγ without any sound of к (as the original Greek gamma Γ, γ).

    /blɔg/, /blɔk/ and /blɔj/ (the English "yes" is pronounced /jɛs/). Under some circumstances the /blɔg/ can be considered as /blɔjk/.

    Actually, about the initial question п and б, the б can be considered the fastest possible pronunciation of мп.
     
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    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    That's interesting. Do you have a p in столб ? Maybe there is a rule that applies in your Russian as to when you devoice
    Столб can be both, either столб, or столп.
    But I would say столп always, as contextually it can’t be confused with archaic столп.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I don't usually argue with native speakers about their language and accept their replies. But, no, the hard sign was never used to maintain voicing of a final consonant. Now if you're saying that when the hard sign was a brief vowel the consonant before it was therefore not final and so was not devoiced, then you would probably be right. The devoicing of hard consonants at the end of a word must have begun after the hard sign was no longer pronounced. твёрд as far as I know is pronounced твёрт. Maybe I have just misunderstood your posts or maybe you haven't expressed yourself fully in English on this topic.
    While your general practice is of course correct, in the case of this particular user I would suggest disregarding that practice. What Rosett is saying is completely false, and was made-up as a self-indulgent exercise to invent commonalities between Russian and French. She has attempted to propagate this on this forum before - I can see it in this deleted message because I replied to it (that topic might be of interest to @C.S.Hy ).

    Rosett has also invented and propagated a parallel untruth about French itself, saying that the orthographic «e caduc» makes a difference in whether a final consonant can be followed by a schwa, which is complete nonsense of course. Neither the French «e caduc» nor the Russian historic (either orthographic or phonemic) ъ has any influence on any allophonic processes that happen at the right edge of the word - schwa insertion in French happens after all word-final consonants in the right circumstances regardless of how they're spelled, and the same is true of devoicing in Russian.

    Don't be surprised if you see native speakers inventing rules or repeating false rules taught to them at school, and then convincing themselves that actual reality corresponds to those rules. It happens all the time here and I especially associate it with the Soviet-style system of education.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Столб can be both, either столб, or столп.
    But I would say столп always, as contextually it can’t be confused with archaic столп.
    May I tentatively suggest, without offending you, that you may be trying to differentiate between words. So you may say блог and блог differently, in order to keep them apart, but are prepared to pronounce столб столп because you think it will not be confused with столп. [By the way, I think столп and столб are variants of the same word. They are etymologically identical.] This suggests you have your own idiolectal system that deviates from the natural phonology of the language where you think it is important to keep words apart. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's not a criticism. It's just what I think you are subliminally doing.

    When I was at school, the French and Spanish teachers had their own pronunciation of the word "aural" (=listening comprehension). If they pronounced aural as it should be pronounced, it would sound exactly like "oral", but an "oral test" is a spoken foreign language test, but an "aural test" is a listening comprehension test. So they decided to pronounce "aural" /aurəl/. It was just their own personal pronunciation of the word for clarity's sake.

    EDIT: another example: prescribe and proscribe in English have opposite meanings, but are, in the natural phonology of the language, pronounced the same. Where confusable, people often try to say the latter as /prɐ-/ or /prəʊ-/. The Macmillan dictionary online suggests /prəʊ-/ in the latter of these words, and yet the audio file they give is just with a schwa, exactly the same as the pronunciation of "prescribe".
     
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    nizzebro

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think such intentional voicing is only a matter of communication. Suppose a person starts talking about a 'blog'. For the first time, he or she might make some effort and pronounce "блог" with a voiced ending so that it the listener would realize what they are talking about. But there is no reason for any subsequent 'блог' to be highlighted in such way - since the conversation is now about blogs, not "blocks".
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    As I say in the topic linked in my previous message, final devoicing is an optional process in Russian that is felt to be simple “laziness” to voice. Unlike in German, it's not unthinkable to suspend it, and it can be suspended for “clarity” – it's not felt to be a violation of native phonotactics at all (an example of such a violation would be failing to assimilate a consonant cluster by voicing). But when someone who has this process natively does suspend it in continuous speech, one will notice that it actually becomes more difficult to tell words apart, because devoicing marks the right boundaries of words, and without it some word combinations start sounding like single words.

    There are some pronunciations, particularly in and around Ukraine, that don't have word-final devoicing, and one can barely notice this - it's so easy to mentally switch off. But someone who speaks a variety where it's present will have final devoicing in all words without exception. No etymological ъ's can have any influence on this, quite apart from the fact that all consonant-final words (even compound members and prefixes) were spelled with an ъ at the end, so no such etymological distinction is even theoretically conceivable.
     
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