All Slavic: Palatalization of Consonants before /j/

arn00b

Senior Member
English
Russian has a feature (described little in the Russian phonology article on wikipedia, but with some audio and IPA examples) in which consonants are palatalized after /j/.

дом - до́ме
[dom] - [ˈdomʲɪ]

отве́т - отве́тить
[ɐˈtvʲet] - [ɐˈtvʲetʲɪtʲ]

несу́ - несёт
[nʲɪˈsu] - [nʲɪˈsʲɵt]

жена́ - Же́нин
[ʐɨˈna] - [ˈʐɛnʲɪn]

коро́ва - коро́вий
[kɐˈrovə] - [kɐˈrovʲɪj]

высо́к - высь
[vɨˈsok] - [vɨsʲ]

написа́л - написа́ли
[nəpʲɪˈsal] - [nəpʲɪˈsalʲɪ]

As you can tell from these examples, napisal and napisali don't have the same /l/.

Does this occur in your language or regional dialect? (I'm very curious about this in regional dialects).

Does it affect all consonants or just a few (does it affect b, m, d? or just l and n?)

Is it represented in orthography (for example: Napisali vs napisalji/napisałi/написальи) or is it pronounced but not written?
If represented in orthography, is it limited to a few consonants (for example, if l and n were palatalized and written as ł/љ ň/њ, while r, m, etc. are palatalized but this palatalization is not noted.)

Finally, did this feature ever exist in your language or regional dialect and was phased out? Or is it only now emerging in some pockets?

Thank you all.
 
  • I am not going to flood this thread as I did with the previous one, so only a remark. There isn't and never was any j in the above words: the Russian palatalization occurs here before current or historical front vowels (like e. g. in French before i and y: tirer [tʲire], tuer [tʲye]). ʲ is not an actual of historical sound, but just a palatalization sign. A historical yod, however, is responsible for the palatalization in the cases like [lʲ] люблю́<*lj, [ʨ] мечу́<*tj, плачу́<*kj, [ɕ:] прощу́<*stj, пищу́<*skj, [ʑ:] е́зжу<*zdj and визжу́<*zgj.
     
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    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    In Russian, consonants can be palatalized or not before /j/:

    съел [sjel] ~ no palatalization before /j/
    статьи [stɐtʲji] ~ palatalization before /j/

    In other words, as @ahvalj has mentioned above, palatalization does not depend on /j/.

    In standard Slovenian, we don't really have palatalization. I think there are some cases in some dialects, but I really cannot confirm right now.
     

    arn00b

    Senior Member
    English
    I am not going to flood this thread as I did with the previous one, so only a remark. There isn't and never was any j in the above words: the Russian palatalization occurs here before current or historical front vowels (like e. g. in French before i and y: tirer [tʲire], tuer [tʲye]). ʲ is not an actual of historical sound, but just a palatalization sign. A historical yod, however, is responsible for the palatalization in the cases like [lʲ] люблю́<*lj, [ʨ] мечу́<*tj, плачу́<*kj, [ɕ:] прощу́<*stj, пищу́<*skj, [ʑ:] е́зжу<*zdj and визжу́<*zgj.

    I couldn't find the proper term for this. The French example is exactly the phenomenon I'm looking for, but the term "palatalization" is too broad and does not make a distinction between "s + front vowel = sʲ" on one hand and "s + front vowel = š" on the other. It's the former I'm curious about, not knjizi, rijeci, etc, but I couldn't find the proper term for it. Iotation(?) is used in BCS to refer to pisati > pišem, kazati > kažem.

    "Palatalization after /j/" is poor wording on my part, I should've said "high vowels" but wanted to include /ě/ (for example: бес /bʲes/), but thinking about this now, it's not just vowels, but consonants that do this too: (есть - [jesʲtʲ]; нести́ - [nʲɪˈsʲtʲi]) but now I'm not sure why the /s/ is palatalized in есть and месть [mʲesʲtʲ] but not in место [ˈmʲestə].
     
    I couldn't find the proper term for this. The French example is exactly the phenomenon I'm looking for, but the term "palatalization" is too broad and does not make a distinction between "s + front vowel = sʲ" on one hand and "s + front vowel = š" on the other. It's the former I'm curious about, not knjizi, rijeci, etc, but I couldn't find the proper term for it. Iotation(?) is used in BCS to refer to pisati > pišem, kazati > kažem.
    I would distinguish palatalization, yotation and assibilation. The latter usually means the change of a velar (k, g, x) into a sibilant (ʧ, ʦ, ʃ, s, þ etc.). Palatalization and yotation may end with assibilation and may not (e. g. Lithuanian possesses stable and ). Yotation is the assimilation of j, palatalization means development of the front articulation without the participation of j. Don't know how to call the change s>ʃ you mention: it starts as palatalization, but how to call the second step?

    now I'm not sure why the /s/ is palatalized in есть and месть [mʲesʲtʲ] but not in место [ˈmʲestə].
    Because st are not before a front vowel, neither actual nor historical. Every few months I try to explain on this forum that ə is just a letter denoting a number of pretty different reduced vowels: the German ə is a front vowel of an e-flavor, in French it is a front vowel of an ö-flavor, while in Russian it is a mid vowel of an a-flavor. There is nothing in common between these vowels in French and Russian, though both are transcribed as ə.
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Old Czech completely lost the palatalization of the consonants (do not confuse palatalized with palatal) during the 13th/14th century, at least in the Central Bohemian (Prague) dialect (> Standard/Literary Czech). Maybe some dialects retain palatalization, I really don't know. The problem is that we are not able to distinguish the palatalized consonants from their palatal counterparts, e.g. dʲ and ɟ. When we learn Russian we mostly pronounce дядя as [ɟaɟa], and not [dʲadʲa].

    The process of depalatalization was not straightforward. Proto-Czech evolved from Common Slavic in the 10th/11th century and inherited the palatalized consonant, like dʲ, tʲ, rʲ, lʲ, nʲ, ʦʲ, sʲ, zʲ, etc.

    In early Old Czech:

    palatalized dʲ, tʲ, nʲ either lost palatalization or evolved in palatal ɟ, c, ɲ (it depended mostly on the following vowel);
    ɟ, c, ɲ are written ď/Ď, ť/Ť, ň/Ň (before e: dě, tě, ně; before i: di, ti, ni); plain d, t, n are written d, t, n (before e: de, te, ne; before i: dy, ty, ny);
    (note that Proto-Czech already had palatal ɲ beside nʲ; I think it is true for Commnon Slavic as well, the palatal ɲ is stable and exists even in the Slavic languages that have no palatal ɟ/c, like Polish or BCS)

    palatalized rʲ evolved in ř (intermediate stage: assibilated rʲ);

    palatalized lʲ evolved in palatal ʎ, later merged with plain l (beginning of the 15th century), but some Moravian dialects (and Slovak) retain the contrast l - ʎ (ʎ written ľ/Ľ);

    palatalized ʦʲ, sʲ, zʲ completely lost palatalization in every position > ʦ, s, z;
    ...
    ...
    ... (for example, if l and n were palatalized and written as ľ/љ ň/њ, while r, m, etc. are palatalized but this palatalization is not noted.)
    IMHO љ њ in BCS, ľ ň in Slovak are palatal consonants ʎ ɲ, not palatalized lʲ, nʲ like in Russian.

    From Wiki: "Palatal consonants have their primary articulation toward or in contact with the hard palate, whereas palatalized consonants have a primary articulation in some other area and a secondary articulation involving movement towards the hard palate."

    Honestly I hear no difference. :confused:
     
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    arn00b

    Senior Member
    English
    Thanks for the explanation, @ahvalj. I'm learning Russian from English textbooks and while they explain why the /l/ in написа́л vs написа́ли are different because of the effect of the и on the preceding consonant, they have no explanation (or indication even) for /sʲtʲ/ in месть. If I understand you correctly, this effect (high vowel on preceding consonant) affects the st cluster as a single "unit" rather than the t alone (so not [mʲestʲ]).

    So I just assumed that и, ь, etc. affect the preceding (single) consonant alone, not that the /o/ in место is a high vowel.

    When you said "historical", for a minute there I thought you meant etymological, i.e. that *město lacks a historical high vowel (compared to *jěsti) but I don't think that's what you meant.

    I think a good example for learners is this one:
    вме́сто [ˈvmʲestə]
    вме́сте [ˈvmʲesʲtʲe]

    Both с and т are affected (or ст are affected together). I don't think this applies to other clusters ("sp": ро́спись [ˈrospʲɪsʲ], "sk" ми́ски [ˈmʲiskʲɪ])

    @bibax

    That wiki explanation is strange. "Secondary articulation"?? "Movement toward"? It makes it sound as if it were two successive sounds rather than one. I don't know how that explanation could be applied to ʎ.

    I would say that BCS lj /ʎ/ is "more palatalized" than Russian /lʲ/ (I can't find the IPA symbol for it).

    Listen to some samples on forvo for ljubav vs любовь. I hear them differently, but some Russian speakers get very close to the BCS lj (I'm ignoring the ones that seem to be saying любошь/любось. Not sure if that's a microphone effect).

    @ahvalj - Can we even refer to something as "more palatalized"? Is "degree of palatalization" even a thing?
     

    Милан

    Senior Member
    Serbian (Србија)
    Thanks for the explanation, @ahvalj.

    I would say that BCS lj /ʎ/ is "more palatalized" than Russian /lʲ/ (I can't find the IPA symbol for it).

    Listen to some samples on forvo for ljubav vs любовь. I hear them differently, but some Russian speakers get very close to the BCS lj (I'm ignoring the ones that seem to be saying любошь/любось. Not sure if that's a microphone effect).

    @ahvalj - Can we even refer to something as "more palatalized"? Is "degree of palatalization" even a thing?

    Serbian has only 5 'soft' consonants: j, lj, nj, đ and ć. Yes, Russian soft L and Serbian LJ don't sound the same. Soft N (Russian) and NJ (Serbian) also. I agree that Serbian consonants are more palatalized. Đ is also more palatalized than Russian soft D. Ć is more palatalized than Russian sof T.
    Sometimes I hear Russian soft L as 'our' LJ in fast speech.

    from hard to soft
    rus. Л srb. Л ЛЬ Љ
     
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    When you said "historical", for a minute there I thought you meant etymological, i.e. that *město lacks a historical high vowel (compared to *jěsti) but I don't think that's what you meant.
    Actually, it is what I meant. Slavic palatalized consonants arose either before front vowels, or before j, or, in case of the Third palatalization (History of Proto-Slavic - Wikipedia), after *ī̆. There is a number of later words with unconditioned palatalization (e. g. Russian дюжий), but it is very small. If we take Old East Slavic of 1000 years ago, we'll find a number of palatal consonants, j (jako), ʨ (ʨelověkъ), ɕ (ɕestь), ɕʨ (ɕʨitъ), ʑʥ (jěʑʥu), ʑ (ʑena), ʦʲ (uliʦʲa), ś (vьśь), ź (kъnäźь), ļ (poļe), ņ (koņь), ŗ (zoŗa), and the rest were positionally palatalized before the then-front vowels ä (mäso), e (selo), ě (stěna), ь (dьnь) and i (nitь); there were no palatalized consonants in other positions, e. g. since each word ended with a vowel, there were no final palatalized consonants (modern гость was bisyllabic, go-stʲь).

    I think a good example for learners is this one:
    вме́сто [ˈvmʲestə]
    вме́сте [ˈvmʲesʲtʲe]

    Both с and т are affected (or ст are affected together). I don't think this applies to other clusters ("sp": ро́спись [ˈrospʲɪsʲ], "sk" ми́ски [ˈmʲiskʲɪ])
    Yes, there is a set of rules which consonants transmit palatalization to the preceding ones and which do not.

    Can we even refer to something as "more palatalized"? Is "degree of palatalization" even a thing?
    Yes, if you listen to the people speaking Lithuanian (Žinių radijas – viena objektyviausių ir operatyviausių radijo stočių Lietuvoje - - tai naujienos šiandien - politika, verslas, sportas, kultūra, orai, tiesioginės laidų transliacijos ir radijas video formatu) you'll notice that (1) they palatalize the consonants less before e and i, more before ė and y, and even more before back vowels (orthographic ia, io, iu) and (2) some individuals have weaker overall palatalization, whereas others have stronger.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian, consonants can be palatalized or not before /j/:

    съел [sjel] ~ no palatalization before /j/
    статьи [stɐtʲji] ~ palatalization before
    Yes, but more importantly, this position is weak regarding palatalization. There is hardly a single pair of words which would be opposed by palatalization in this position. Also note that hard consonants before /j/ normally (and consistently) happen in prefixes only - if we exclude the 3 unpaired hard consonants, of course - those are always hard anyway.
    Every few months I try to explain on this forum that ə is just a letter denoting a number of pretty different reduced vowels.
    From purely phonetic point of view, there is hardly such a thing as two identical vowels at all. What we actually talk about are various ranges of atticulations and, effectively, of phonetic spectres. The IPA letters are nothing but conventional means to designate pretty large ranges of this kind, with arbitrarily set borders between them. Obviosly enough, such ranges existing in different idioms don't necessary have even roughly identical borders - and, surely, they aren't bound to have the same borders as the preset IPA ranges.
     
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