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Thread: Those Os

  1. #1
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    Those Os

    Ok. For some reason this has been a real sticking point with me. Now, from what I've read, this seems to be the case:
    1. if the O is in a 1 syllable word, it's pronounced O
    2. if the O is in a stressed syllable, it's pronounced O
    3. otherwise, it's pronounced A

    Please tell me I finally got it!
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    #2 is always true.
    #1 is only true if the one-syllable word itself is stressed, which is not always the case.

    For example, prepositions are often (but not always) unstressed, although though they are one-syllable words. So, "под горой" is pronounced as "пад гарой".

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    What are the differences between an unstressed one syllable word and a stressed one? Is the unstressed one just sort of glossed over? I really want to get this down!
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    No, that's not right.

    The letter O can also be pronounced as a schwa, the dreaded uh-sound (I use # to indicate this sound). In standard Russian, as I understand it the rule is

    words spelled with letter O in pretonic syllable: the O is pronounced A. For example, Mосква is pronounced /maskva/.

    But if an "o" occurs in earlier pretonic (tonic syllable = stressed syllable) positions, or in post-tonic positions, it is pronounced like the a in English sofa. At least when I say it, it's not "sofA" but "sofuh". This uh-sound is called schwa.

    So take the word города cities. The first O is pronounced uh and the second is ah [guhradA]. And look at новости [nov#s't'i].

    And I'll tell ya this, it's even more complicated, but you won't be wrong to pronounce any unstressed letter O as /a/. дАстАпримечательнАсти will sound a little unusual to a Russian but probably better than дОстОпримечательнОсти, which will make you sound like a real peasant out of the North!

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    In Russian, prepositions (words like in, to, with, without, between etc.) are pronounced as if they are connected to the word that follows them. They usually don't have any stress

    Thus in the clause

    по улицах (along the streets) [stressed vowel is underlined]

    the preposition по is pronounced as if it is part of the following word, e.g. it is pronounced "поулицах"

    Because the stress is on the у, the o of по is pronounced a.

    pa-oo-lee-tsah

    For the same reason, the Russian farewell до свидания is pronounced da-svee-da-nee-ya and NOT do-svee-da-nee-ya
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    No, that's not right.

    The letter O can also be pronounced as a schwa, the dreaded uh-sound (I use # to indicate this sound). In standard Russian, as I understand it the rule is

    words spelled with letter O in pretonic syllable: the O is pronounced A. For example, Mосква is pronounced /maskva/.

    But if an "o" occurs in earlier pretonic (tonic syllable = stressed syllable) positions, or in post-tonic positions, it is pronounced like the a in English sofa. At least when I say it, it's not "sofA" but "sofuh". This uh-sound is called schwa.

    So take the word города cities. The first O is pronounced uh and the second is ah [guhradA]. And look at новости [nov#s't'i].

    And I'll tell ya this, it's even more complicated, but you won't be wrong to pronounce any unstressed letter O as /a/. дАстАпримечательнАсти will sound a little unusual to a Russian but probably better than дОстОпримечательнОсти, which will make you sound like a real peasant out of the North!
    IMO, this sounds a bit more complicated than it is. I don't really hear a whole lot of difference between all those unstressed A's; if you just say 'schwa' everywhere you'll be just fine. Including the first 'a' in 'maskva'. Unless you want to sound like a person from 'mAskva', that is and you don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    по улицах (along the streets)
    по улицам (Dative)

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    Re: Those Os

    Quote Originally Posted by Celephais
    Ok. For some reason this has been a real sticking point with me. Now, from what I've read, this seems to be the case:
    1. if the O is in a 1 syllable word, it's pronounced O
    2. if the O is in a stressed syllable, it's pronounced O
    3. otherwise, it's pronounced A

    Please tell me I finally got it!
    И 1, 2 и 3 не всегда верно. В Росси ты можешь услышать, что например слово "пойду" произносится через "о". Это так называемое оканье. Например, в Вологде только так и говорят. Дело в том, что существует множество акцентов. Москва отличается от остальной России тем что там акуют. То есть, во всех случаях, когда возможно двоякое произношение говорят "а", вместо "о" и при этом немного тянут звук "а".

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