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H. S. Teoh wrote:

| Yet Another Russian Pronunciation Thread...

Where is my #$%! pronunciation manual?

| On Mon, Jan 15, 2007 at 10:38:45PM +0200, Isaac Penzev wrote:
| > The correct pronunciation:
| > холодильник [x@5V"d;il;n;ik]
| > хорошо [x@rV"So]
| > большое [bVl;"Soj@]
| > where [;] stands for palatalization [_j].
|
| Hmm. I have trouble with IPA [@], because it seems to have different
| values depending on language! The [@] in English seems to be lower than,
| say, the [@] in Malay (in such words as _kerana_ [k@ranV]). It always
| sounded to me as having sortof an [V]-like value.

Ditto. IPA is biased by traditional usage in different langs, we know it.
In my purely subjective speculations, RU. [@] is closer to IPA [7], but with
a [e]-ish flavor. While RU. [V] is almost the same as [a].

| > 2. /o/ and /a/ indeed merge in unstressed positions, but have
| > allophonic [V] only in the Grade 1 reduction (that is, the first
| > prestressed syllable, and the final open one). Otherwise it is [@].
|
| What about /ja/? Recently I've been wondering how to distinguish between
| the verb endings -ит and -ят when unstressed. Does -ят reduce to [jit]
| or does it remain something like [j@t] in order to be distinguished from
| -ит [jit]?

We aren't talking about vowels after the palatalized consonants. They follow
different reduction patterns.
Let me consult the manual. Hmm. Strange. It is not stated explicitly. But
from the transcription examples we can see that indeed, -ят is [;@t] and -ит
is [;it].

| > 3. Most speakers perceive unstressed /o/ as if it "alternates" with
| > /a/.  That is why we usually perceive [V] as a variant of [a].
|
| I also hear [V] as allophonic to [a], although I can tell the difference
| if I was consciously listening for it.

The same.

| > We all know that precise IPA values differ from language to language.
| > I hear *Russian* [V] as in the IPA chart, but the *GA* [V] sound like
| > [6], while the *RP* [V] is definitely [7] for me (and I indeed
| > pronounce _but_ as [b7t], and still nobody complains), OTOH the
| > *Portuguese* [6] is more like [&] for me, while the *German* [6] is a
| > pharyngalized [a]... Am I deaf?
| [...]
|
| I have the same problem too! The IPA [@] gives me trouble, 'cos
| different people (esp. across languages) pronounce it differently. I
| have heard it said that even phoneticians do get their vowels biased
| from their L1, even after professional training in phonetics. For
| example, some people pronounce [e] which sounds to my ears like [E],
| whereas Daniel Jones (whose pronunciation is supposed to be the
| "official" pronunciation of the cardinal vowels) pronounces it closer to
| what I perceive as [e].
|
| It could be that we're hopelessly biased by our L1, and perhaps by
| unconscious past associations of L1 vowels with IPA vowels, so that we
| can't reach 100% agreement.

Agreed.

-- Yitzik
~~jej tajwIj~~