13 thoughts on “AGH!

  1. Mike, I could answer the question I think, but do you really want me to?

    I think there are five vowels when stressed, basically /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/, some of which (especially /i/) vary significantly in quality depending on whether they follow a hard or soft consonant. When unstressed I think there are only two, a neutral one whose quality is determined by the preceding consonant and /u/. But when pronouncing words carefully Russians do tend to pronounce unstressed vowels as if they were stressed, according to the spelling which of course they usually know. Does that help?

  2. Actually, thats pretty much what I’ve concluded. I finished the assignment around midnight.

    Our biggest question had to do with which environment /i/ laxed to a barred i. I think we’ve got it now:

    /i/ -> [ɨ] /[C+palatalization]_

    And just so you know, we’re allowed to use any sources we find in this class. But any analysis we do has to be based only on the data we collect.

  3. Surely you mean [C-palatalization] for the barred i? But basically you have got it, although there are some complexities about exactly which consonants count, e.g. /k/ and /g/ are in some senses neutral with respect to palatalisation.

  4. My point is that /k/ and /g/ are effectively, i.e. for the purpose of phonological rules, palatalised before /e/ and /i/ but not before /a/, /o/ and /u/. This means that your /i/ -> [ɨ] rule does not apply after them, but I think you will find that the realisation of an unstressed vowel after them is more like that after an unpalatalised consonant. But I am not sure of the details. Actually there may be separate unstressed /ka/ and /ki/ syllables although there is not otherwise a distinction between /a/ and /i/ unstressed. So the best analysis might be that /k/ and /g/ do have palatalised and unpalatalised variants with restricted distribution.

  5. That’s interesting, Peter. I think that might make more sense of our data. We didn’t actually find any palatalized /g/ until today – and that was only because Rachel (my wife) asked our LC if she could think of any – though our LC uses the term “soft” rather than palatalized, which I’m assuming is the traditional Russian grammar way of describing these consonants.

    I’ll go back and dig through things and see what I can find on that.

    Thanks for the possible lead.

  6. For palatalised (“soft” in Russian grammar terms) /k/, look for the plural of any noun e.g. a diminutive ending in /ka/. Palatalised /g/ is more difficult, but try the plural of a noun ending in /g/ or /ga/.

    If you investigate the various forms of /bog/ “God” you might find yourself an extra consonant phoneme used in only this word. Hint: [‘slavʌ ‘bɔɣu], “Praise God!”.

  7. Hmmm, what we transcribed on Friday doesn’t fit with what you said:

    [gʲoɾʲɑ] ‘grief’
    [gʲoɾkɑ] ‘bitter’

    Is this a poor transcription or just something else going on?

  8. Mike, I can’t dispute the evidence of your own ears. And your informant may be speaking a little non-standardly – especially if from Ukraine or Belarus where /g/ is pronounced more like [h]. But how I learned to say these words, and have heard them many times, the [g] is not palatalised.

  9. She’s from Moscow, but she hasn’t bee in the country since the 80’s – which probably has had some affect on her. She’s also speaks four or five other languages and that could also affect what is said.

    But, really, thank you for the help, you gave us some good leads, which resulted in some helpful data.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s