On Wed, Oct 25, 2006 at 10:07:29AM +0200, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
> H. S. Teoh skrev:
> >So is it correct that е consistently turns into ё when
> >stressed, but yat never did, so after the 1918 reform, the
> >words that used to have stressed yat are now written with
> >stressed е, but the original е/ё distinction was purely
> >a result of stress? (Since ё is always stressed, and verb
> >endings have the stressed е -> ё rule, this seems to
> >indicate that pre-1918 stressed е consistently turned
> >into ё.)
> It is correct that in inherited vocabulary original stressed
> _*e_ turned into _(j)o_ (ë) while original _*&_ (jat' --
> I'm using the CXS for its probable Common Slavic
> pronunciation) became _(j)e_ in all positions, but in
> addition there is a layer of Church Slavic loan words which
> have _(j)e_ for stressed _*e_ -- i.e. every Russian stressed
> _(j)o_ comes from _*e_, but not every stressed _(j)e_ comes
> from _*&_.

Aha, so there's an additional source of stressed /e/.

> >The question remains, though, where the *phonological*
> >distinction between е and ё come from. If we discount
> >yat from consideration, it seems that [je] vs. [jo]
> >existed much farther back in antiquity. My question is
> >whether this distinction already existed at the time proto-
> >Slavic split from PIE, or did it come into existence
> >afterwards?
> Later, although it's IIANM shared with the other East Slavic
> languages and Lekhitic (the North West group of Slavic to
> which Polish belongs, so it's not that new. South and South
> West Slavic lack it altogether, and thus also Church Slavic.


Now I'm curious as to how exactly [je] became [jo]. :-)

> As for the spelling of /jo/ it appears IO -- i.e. the old
> Roman-looking i + o was in some use before ë was invented.
> Of course it was liable to confusion with _ju_.

Eek. That'd be very confusing. OTOH, I much prefer the Roman-like i than
the current и. И is too liable to be confused with Н especially in some
typefaces where they differ only in the angle of the middle stroke, and
the angle difference is rather small.

> IMNSHO the smart thing would have been to use jat' for all instances
> of /je/ and E for all instances of /jo/, and then of course to
> consistently mark stress with accents

Wait, why would you need to mark stress if E is already consistently

> -- if the Greeks, Czechs, Irish and Icelanders can be consistent with
> their accents, why not the Cyrillic-users? --, except in jat' where
> it'd be superfluous. That way the current sloppiness WRT e <> ë would
> not have arisen

AFAIK, accents in Greek were introduced only in Κοινή because foreign
learners had trouble telling where the stress was (or what pitch accent
to use, as would've been the case). I don't think Russian has acquired
the perception of being a lingua franca amongst non-Slavic speakers, so
this doesn't seem likely to happen.

> are hard to unravel -- i.e. possible but I don't have the
> time: I have a Russkij mid-term exam tomorrow! As usual I
> got the grammar pat down but the vocabulary hanging in limbo
> -- quite the opposite of everybody else.

Heh. I also have a much better grasp of grammar than vocabulary
(although in my case they only cover about 5% of the language). I wonder
if this is typical of conlanger types. :-)

> BTW does anyone know any good overview of Russian motion verbs?

So far I've only learned идти and ехать, so I haven't seen the worst
side of it. :-)

> And yes, I refuse to transcribe Slavic /j/ with _y_, not so much
> because _staryy_ looks dead ugly -- or rather like a long [i\:] --,
> and _stary_ just plain wrong, but because e.g. /i\je/ actually occurs,
> and _ye_ thus is ambiguous.

I hate current Cyrillic->Latin transcription schemes. They make a huge
mess of the rather beautiful (IMHO) vowel system. Having said that,
though, I think a slightly workable scheme would be to transcribe ы as
y, and й as j. So -ые would be transcribed as -ye, whereas -е would be
-je, and -ие would be -ie. So старый would be staryj. Looks weird, but
at least it's not deadly ambiguous. At least things like русский ->
russkij doesn't look *too* weird.  This scheme may only work for
Russian, of course, I don't know any other Slavic languages to know if
this extends well.

(I shamelessly ripped off this scheme from my 'phonetic' Russian input
keyboard layout. :-P  Of course, being a per-key mapping into Cyrillic,
it does have some infelicities such as q->я, or worse, `->ю, #->ё, and
[->ш, but at least they got the vowels sorted out properly.)

On Wed, Oct 25, 2006 at 03:52:30PM +0200, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
> Lars Finsen skrev:
> >Russian has not only jo, but a whole series of palatalisation vowels:
> >ja, je, ju. I'm surprised that they don't turn up in this discussion.
> >But my knowledge of Russian historical phonology is scarce, and
> >perhaps they occur only as a result of being adjacent to palatalised
> >consonants. They do occur initially sometimes, but maybe this is due
> >to loans, like the names Jurij and Julija, or inheritance from IE.

They do occur in native words as well, AFAIK, such as язык ("language").
My English-trained eyes can't help reading that as "Rubik". :-P  Or, for
that matter, единародний ("firstborn"), perhaps cognate with один?

> These are of several Common Slavic origins:
> - front vowels _*e, *&_, and in some dialects even _*a_,
>   developed a preceding /j/ at the beginning of words and
>   after vowels because Proto and Common Slavic had a
>   tendency to make all syllables conform to a CV structure.

Ah, so *that*'s where the palatised vowels come from.

Was the open-syllable structure something peculiar to proto/common
Slavic, or was it inherited from PIE?

> - Common Slavic _*&~_ (a nasal front vowel) became _ja_ in
>   most Slavic languages (with Cja later becoming C;a). Thus
>   Russian _jazyk_, Latin _lingua_ and English _tongue_ are
>   actually cognates, PIE _*dn=g^huA(ko)-_ -- or perhaps even
>   _*g^dn=g^huA(ko)-_ since the initial is doing funny stuff,
>   showing up now as _d_, now as _l_ and now disappearing.

No kidding...! What exactly were the steps that led from the PIE root to
язык? In particular, where did the з come from?

> - As i said before _*e_ > _je_ > _jo_ much later in an north-
>   eastern area only, as a kind of dissimilation between /j/
>   and /e/. The OCS _*&_ > _ja_ was a similar dissimilation,
>   so it is not isolated.

Interesting. Is this attested in other language families as well?

BTW, спасибо, Benct, for the enlightening replies. (Excuse me for the
code-switching... it's something second-nature to multilingual
Malaysians. :-))


What's a "hot crossed bun"? An angry rabbit.