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Thread: Does "schwa" exist in Russian?

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    Does "schwa" exist in Russian?

    What do you think? Reduced vowels seem to be very close to "schwa", or possibly can we find any other description of this sound coz it's definitely not pure A, for example:

    города [g6r6da]

    Any opinions?
    Выпей - может, выйдет толк,
    Обретешь свое добро,
    Был волчонок - станет волк,
    Ветер, кровь и серебро.
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    There are no schwas in the word города. It looks like [гърада].
    [а] - the pretonic sound
    [ъ] - the second pretonic sound being extremely reduced but still resembling [а].
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

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    Почтенный гражданин Spiderkat's Avatar
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    You mean a "schwa" sound like in the German word schwarz? But like Rtyom said there's no such sound in города anyway. I would say an [a] sound like the tonic one but with a bit of [o] in it.
    De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum.

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    Schwa is the "uh" sound, basically. It's denoted by those upside-down "e".

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    Re: Does "schwa" exist in Russian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welf
    What do you think? Reduced vowels seem to be very close to "schwa", or possibly can we find any other description of this sound coz it's definitely not pure A, for example:

    города [g6r6da]

    Any opinions?
    You can describe Russian the pronunciation of toneless A and O that way but the term schwa is not used by Russian linguists.

    мало ['malə] - few; little
    Anatoli - Анатолий - أناتولي - 阿纳托利 - アナトーリー - 아나톨리

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    Re: Does "schwa" exist in Russian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Анатолий
    You can describe Russian the pronunciation of toneless A and O that way but the term schwa is not used by Russian linguists.
    OK, which term is used?
    Выпей - может, выйдет толк,
    Обретешь свое добро,
    Был волчонок - станет волк,
    Ветер, кровь и серебро.
    Группа Мельница

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    I don't know where Anatoli got his information. Maybe Soviet scholars didn't use the word, but they used the letter Ъ to represent this sound. Even Avanesov wrote things like [гъвaр'ит]. That sound in there is a schwa.

    "schwa" may not be used by linguists who are Russian, but it is used by linguists whose field is the Russian language. I used to be one of those.

    The letters o and a are pronounced as schwa (the uh-sound) in pre-pre-tonic position except when word initial. For example the first o in хорош

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    I admit, I seldom looked at Russian phonetics from the Enghlish linguists'/learners' point of view, so Chaika might be right. In Russian schools we never used any special term to described unstressed O and A, describing them and transcribing (when we had to) with just A молоко [малако].

    Transcribing [гъвaр'ит], IMHO is more of the Moscow dialect, where the first syllable is almost swallowed and the second is slightly longer, not necessary the only right and the perfect pronunciation. It's also possible to transcribe "говорит" as [гавар'ит] or [гъвър'ит]. The important thing is just to know that it is close to A and some people pronounce it as a clear A, either way it is OK.

    As I said before, although I never used the term "schwa" it is a very close description of the pronunciation (or one of the possible ways).
    Anatoli - Анатолий - أناتولي - 阿纳托利 - アナトーリー - 아나톨리

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    The use of [ъ] in transcription does not refer to dialect-speaking. It's the common phonetic symbol signifying the strong qaulitative reduction, as chaika said, in "pre-pre-tonic" position. Such things are not taught in school, you know.
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Анатолий
    I admit, I seldom looked at Russian phonetics from the Enghlish linguists'/learners' point of view, so Chaika might be right. In Russian schools we never used any special term to described unstressed O and A, describing them and transcribing (when we had to) with just A молоко [малако].

    Transcribing [гъвaр'ит], IMHO is more of the Moscow dialect, where the first syllable is almost swallowed and the second is slightly longer, not necessary the only right and the perfect pronunciation. It's also possible to transcribe "говорит" as [гавар'ит] or [гъвър'ит]. The important thing is just to know that it is close to A and some people pronounce it as a clear A, either way it is OK.

    As I said before, although I never used the term "schwa" it is a very close description of the pronunciation (or one of the possible ways).
    The Russian school phonetics were deliberately oversimplified (e.g. how would you distinguish Moscow accent from standard Russian if you used that method to describe pronunciation?)
    I still remember how our 5th (or was that 6th?) grade teacher positively insisted on us transcripting 'rasa' as [rassa] and [junyj] as [junnyj], I got a couple bad marks on those words...

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    laxxy, your teacher wasn't right. He (she?) should have taught you the only phonetics accepted by the majority of scholars. This doubling is beyond the norm and must not be studied in schools.
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

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