All Slavic languages: Long vowels

Jana337

Senior Member
čeština
I recently wrestled with the spelling of some Slovak words. My mother, who was schooled in Slovakia, pointed out that there is a rule, almost without exception, according to which Slovak words never have more than one long vowel. I swear, it was the first time I had heard about such a rule. I used to read a lot in Slovak. Obviously, I didn't pay attention to spelling because I wasn't a serious student of the language, but I wonder how it could escape me. Could anyone provide some details? How many exceptions are there, approximately?

Polish words sound very short to me - I doubt that there are long wovels. ;) I have been mumbling a couple of Russian sentences. My pronunciation is probably flawed, but I can identify at most one long vowel per word.
And in other Slavic languages?

Is Czech an exception? :confused:

Děkuji,

Jana
 
  • DaleC

    Senior Member
    I was just yesterday reading about what your mother said. If I recall correctly, Slovak does have that rule.

    Encylopedia Britannica would be one good place to get a brief overview on the evolution of Slavic vowels and consonants (still not brief enough for some people). There is a book that is probably optimal in this regard: The World's Major Languages, edited by Bernard Comrie. It is probably to be found in many big city libraries. It has chapters on Common Slavic and on Czech-Slovak. I have access to it.

    Slavic languages fall into three branches: "East", West", and "South". Common Slavic had nasal vowels (like modern French) and distinguished long vowels from short. Today, only Serbo-Croatian and Czech-Slovak preserve long vowels and only Polish preserves nasal vowels. (Maybe Slovenian, a sister of S-C, preserves long vowels too, but as I remember, it doesn't. Bulgarian, another sister of S-C, definitely doesn't.)

    The West group consists of Polish, Czech-Slovak, Lusatian, Kashubian, and Polabian. Kashubian is a minor dialect spoken around Gdansk. Most investigators consider it to be more than just a dialect of Polish. Polabian died three centuries ago; as its name suggests, it was spoken along the Elbe River, on the lower reaches in coastal Germany, to be precise. Lusatian (Lužický in Czech), is also known as Sorbisch (German) or Sorbian (English). This is because they call themselves Srb. Lusatian dialects are transitional between Polish and Czech.

    Notice that the Serbs call themselves Srp. There must a common origin to Srb and Srp, although direct evidence is absent. It has been noticed for centuries that there are "Slovaks" and "Slovenes" and "Slavs". Unforturnately, all attempts to trace the reasons for these similarities have failed to prove anything.

    Polish phonology is strange in that the language sounds as if it were in the East group (Belarus, Ukrainian, Russian) even though the rest of its evolution places it in the West group. In particular, (1) it retains the full set of soft consonants, while Czech-Slovak and South dialects have converted many of their soft ones to hard; (2) Polish has lost the length distinction in vowels.
     

    Tchesko

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Hi all,

    The Slovak "Rhythmic Law" actually does not forbid more than one long vowel in a word; instead, it states that a syllable with a long vowel cannot follow another syllable with a long vowel.
    However, there seems to be a rule in Slovene that only permits one long vowel in a word.
    The place where I discovered this and some more is... here (especially in the introductory part of the paper).

    Roman
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    There are four ways of pronouncing vowels, and we call them accents in Serbian. Lond ascendent, long descendent, short ascendent and long ascendent. In some parts of Serbia (Like city of Nish - sorry, I don't have serbian letters in my computer), only short accents are used, but it is not correct Serbian language.
     

    ilonkas

    New Member
    Polish
    There is no distinction of vowels length in Polish, there are also many soft conostants, but also many sh [sz], s, ś, ch [cz], c, ć sounds which may be confusing
     

    MindStorm

    Member
    Russia, russian
    Yeah, there are no long vowels in russian (i mean, there is no such formality, of course you can use long ones). If compared to czech, some long czech vowels are same as some combinations of two russian sounds. Like "Hostinné" could be transliterated like Гостинное. by using this rule, mu sister became the best pupil in written czech (while we studied at czech school), thogh we've learned czech only for couple of months =) sorry for offtopic
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    We didn't have any active Slovak members when I posted it, but now we have some, so I am reviving this thread and hoping for new insights. :)

    Jana
     

    Suane

    Senior Member
    Slovakia
    Look at this site:
    http://www.slovaci.at/clanok-10-Slovensky-jazyk-nas-kazdodenny.html

    I known that Rytmický zákon (Rytmic Rule?) is important when you want to determine the proper form of some words. We were learning it when we were studying paradigms in nouns, and adjectives also, and where there are changes in words while declining them- so there were changes in short and long syllables and ia, iu, ie...(Diphthong) or the rules why you can't give there this or something else.
    Note that ia, ie, iu are counting as a long vowels (but not in foreign words), see also http://www.slovina.szm.sk/e03 000i.htm

    I'm sorry but I have some uncertainity in this topic too because there are a lot of exceptions and it seems to me to be applied more to the individual groups of the words than to all the words in general. I know how to write the words correctly but it is more because I just saw them written in that way, not because I'm applying the Rytmic Rule.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Many thanks, I had no clue! So it is just Slovak. :)

    Could you please PM me the second link? I cannot get it right. :(

    Jana
     

    Suane

    Senior Member
    Slovakia
    Jana337 said:
    Many thanks, I had no clue! So it is just Slovak. :)

    Could you please PM me the second link? I cannot get it right. :(

    Jana

    I think I corrected it. I left htm.

    PS: If you have really nothing to do, maybe you could translate the first article I linked and give it here for the others because it is just in Slovak and maybe someone is curious. And your English is far better than mine.;)
     

    Aleksey Groz

    Member
    Serbia, Serbo-Croatian
    Lusatian (Lužický in Czech), is also known as Sorbisch (German) or Sorbian (English). This is because they call themselves Srb. Lusatian dialects are transitional between Polish and Czech.

    Notice that the Serbs call themselves Srp. There must a common origin to Srb and Srp, although direct evidence is absent.

    No, Serbs call themselves Srbi. But there is a rule in BCS grammar called assimilation (in BCS jednačenje suglasnika po zvučnosti). By that rule, whenever after voice B comes voice S, letter B change it self in voice P. (it's srpski, a not srbski for example). Etymologically, terms Srbin (Serb) and Serb (Sorb) are from the same origin. There are some speculations about common ancestry of those two nations, but it's not proven. Their languages are not similar and cultural links between them are very week. But, on the other hand, Sorbs somethimes refer Serbian as Southsorabian language ( južnoserbska rěč ) to make distinction between Serbian and Sorbian in their own language. In Serbian, name for Sorabian laguage is lužičkosrpski jezik.
     
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