Slot:       29A-6          Dec. 29, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                                                

Panel:     Phonology and Accentology

Chair:     David Birnbaum, University of Pittsburgh


Title:       Three Accentual Changes in Lithuanian

Author:   Alan Timberlake, University of California, Berkeley

Lithuanian underwent three important changes in accent:  (i)  intrasyllabic metatony, or reversal of the phonetic contour of long accents; (ii) intersyllabic metatony, or advancement of accent (short or circumflex) from penultimate to final syllables; and (iii) Leskien’s Law, or shortening of ultimate acutes.  This paper describes the phonetic mechanisms involved in the changes and their relative chronology.  In reverse chronological order:

  (iii) Leskien’s Law is late:  2nd sg *vèdê > vedì shows intersyllabic metatony (cf. inf vèsti) and then Leskien’s shortening; *jỗktê-si > juokíe-s(i) (cf. inf juõktis) shows univerbation of enclitics before Leskien’s Law. 

  (ii) Intersyllabic metatony advances accent from a penultimate short or circumflex to become final acute in certain forms—for example, in the accusative plural of nouns.  A serious stumbling block is defining what conditioned advancement—length of the final syllable?  what kind of length?  If we take it on faith that there was a coherent environment, then the change is a banal advancement:  the peak moves from the last mora of the penultimate to the first mora of the ultima, becoming a first-mora peak, or acute.  

(i) Intrasyllabic metatony:  Using a strict moraic analysis, we would have to say that the peak switched places:  acute *x > x while circumflex *x > x, an improbable or at least incomplete mechanism.  The process was no doubt more complicated.  Arguably the acute was a concave or single-peak accent (low-high-low), whose high peak moved towards the beginning of a long syllable to give high-low, or first-mora (“falling”) accent.  The circumflex was a convex or two-peak accent (high-low-high).  By suppressing the first peak and exaggerating the second, a new second-mora accent (low-high, or “rising”) resulted.  If so, intersyllabic metatony (advancement) can be viewed as an extreme case of intrasyllabic metatony:  the second peak of the circumflex is delayed to the first mora of the final syllable.

Slovene (Greenberg, Historical Phonology of Slovene) offers a parallel, in that circumflexes (short or long) move to the following syllable, resulting in a new circumflex, or first-mora peak on the second syllable.


Title:       Plural Accentuation of Masculine Nouns in Pskov Dialects

Author:   Miriam Shrager, Indiana University

This paper examines in detail the plural accentuation of masculine nouns in central Pskov (C-Pskov) dialects. These dialects were already noted for having an archaic type of accentuation in the singular system, such as oxytone accentuation in the oblique cases of accentual paradigm D (AP-D) nouns (Shrager 2005A, 2005B). Likewise, many oxytone forms are found in the nominative plural (Nom pl.) in C-Pskov dialects which are irregular compared to Common Standard Russian (CSR). Similar irregularity in the plural system was noticed by Stang (1957: 77) who could not explain why in old Russian texts certain masculine nouns of the mobile paradigm had oxytone accentuation in the Nom pl. These irregular oxytone forms are explained by the theory of AP-D (Dybo et al. 1990, 1993), according to which, oxytone in the Nom pl. is the regular accentuation for AP-D nouns. Although in CSR oxytone plural forms also sometimes exist among nouns of AP-D, in C-Pskov dialects they are strongly prevail. However, different plural forms are often found in C-Pskov dialects, which must be due to the numerous levelling processes of the Russian plural system.  

The current paper examines the different plural forms in six C-Pskov dialects. Forms with five types of ending are examined: -ý, -y, -á, -ja, and -.  Several factors are found which influence the ending distribution in the plural noun system and which obscure the association of nouns to the original accentual paradigms. One of these factors is a correlation of certain endings to certain semantic categories. When these categories are identified and put aside, a more archaic system of the plural is revealed, in which AP-D nouns have a distinct accentuation pattern and can be differentiated on one hand from nouns of AP-B and on the other hand from nouns of AP-C.



Dybo, V.A., Zamjatina G.I., Nikolaev S.L. 1990. Osnovy slavjanskoj akcentologii.

      Moscow: Nauka.

_______ .  1993. Osnovy slavjanskoj akcentologii. Slovar. Moscow: Nauka.

Shrager, Miriam. 2005A. "Reflexes of AP-D in Northwest Russian Dialects," AATSEEL,

      Washington, December 2005.

_______  . 2005B. "Accentuation of Masculine Nouns in Northwest Russian           

      Dialects," International Workshop on Balto-Slavic Accentology (IWoBA), Zagreb, Croatia, July 2005. 

Stang, Christian. 1957. Slavonic Accentuation. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.


Title:       Vowel Neutralization in Belarusian and Russian Okan′e/Akan′e Dialects

Author:   Christina Y. Bethin, Stony Brook University

Both Standard Belarusian  and Standard Russian as well as many of their dialects are characterized by a neutralization of the contrast between /o/ and /a/ in unstressed syllables, known as akan'e. To the south of the akan'e dialects in Belarus and to the north of akan'e dialects in Russia are the so-called okan'e dialects in which the contrast is generally preserved. Between the two types lie various transitional dialects in which akan'e has begun to spread into okan'e systems (Avanesov and Orlova 1965, Vajtovič 1968). The paper focuses on some of these transitional dialects and on possible motivations for patterns of akan'e spread in them.

Recent approaches to vowel neutralization and reduction in Slavic have implicated abbreviated duration in unstressed syllables as functioning in the neutralization of the contrast between /o/ and /a/ (Crosswhite 1999, Barnes 2002). This position has a long history in Slavic and is often referred to as the "reductionist theory"  (Šaxmatov 1915, Avanesov 1952 and many others). This paper looks at five types of transitional okane/akane dialects in Belarus and Russia and argues that while abbreviated duration may account for some patterns of akan'e spread in these dialects, it cannot account for several other systematic okane/akane patterns. The proposal is that the latter may be perceptually motivated in that perceptual salience (increased vowel duration, higher pitch, vowel identity across syllables/ assimilation) favors the spread of akan'e in certain well-defined positions. Some experimental evidence is cited in support of this hypothesis from work on Russian and Belarusian (Čekmonas 2001, Vysotskij 1973, Kasatkina 2005, and others). The proposal potentially bears on discussions about the historical development of akan'e and its motivation (Vajtovič 1968 1968, 1974, Čekmonas 1975, 1987, and the many references therein) and suggests directions for future research.



Avanesov, R. I. 1952. "Lingvističeskaja geografija i istorija russkogo akanja." Voprosy Jazykoznanija 6:25-47.

Avanesov, R. I. and V. G Orlova. 1965. Russkaja dialektologija. Moscow: Nauka.

Barnes, J. 2002. Positional neutralization: A phonologization approach to typological patterns. UC Berkeley Ph.D thesis.

Čekmonas V. N. [Czekman] 1975. "Akan'e. Istota zjawiska i jego pochodzenie." Slavia Orientalis 3.283-305.

_______ . 1987. "Territorija zaroždenija i etapy razvitija vostočnoslavjanskogo akanja v svete dannyx lingvogeografii." Russian Linguistics 11.335-49.

_______ . 2001. "K izučeniju vokalizma govorov Pskovščiny." Voprosy russkogo jazykoznanija 9.43-85.

Crosswhite, K. 1999. Vowel reduction in Optimality Theory. UCLA Ph.D thesis. Published 2001 Routledge.

Kasatkina, R. F. 2005. "Moskovskoe akane v svete nekotoryx dialektnyx dannyx." Voprosy Jazykoznanija 53.2:29-45.

Šaxmatov, A. A. 1915. Očerk drevnejšego perioda istorii russkogo jazyka. Petrograd: Imper. Akademija Nauk.

Vajtovič, N. T. 1968. Nenaciskny vakalizm narodnyx havorak Belarusi. Minsk: Navuka i texnika.

Vajtovič, N. T. 1974. "K voprosu o putjax razvitija akan′ja v vostočnoslavjanskix jazykax." In Obščeslavjanskij lingvističeskij atlas. Materialy i issledovanija, 1971, ed. by R. I. Avanesov. pp. 32-41. Moscow: Nauka.


Title:       Polish trot Reflexes and the Segmental Properties of Metathesis

Author:   Ronald F. Feldstein, Indiana University

Many proposals exist on the derivation of the Polish trot reflexes. Proceeding from Common Slavic *tăt  (both vowel and liquid one-mora long), this paper considers whether the vowel quality is long or short o or a. In Jakobson (1952), modern Polish o of trot is derived from a short, but a of South Slavic trat from a long. This does not account for Polish o in trot historically behaving as a long (i.e., as *trōt). If so, how would this fit in with a possible mora to the left of the liquid (e.g., we proch, Rozwadowski (1909))? Timberlake (1985) proposed gradual change, using fractional mora sizes. The present paper proposes that if short ă>ŏ preceded the loss of the liquid’s moraicity in *t, the liquid’s loss of a mora and leftward compensation yielded the sequence *tŏŏrt. Liquid metathesis specifies the liquid’s retraction by one segment, so everything depends on whether ŏŏ was one segment or two, yielding either trōt or pleophonic tŏrŏt. Since the shortening of accentual paradigms A/C was the major factor phonologizing /ō/ (creating long and short mid and low vowel phonemes  /ă, ā, ŏ, ō/, etc.), the paper concludes that metathesis prior to prosodic shortening (when /ō/ was not yet phonemic) would result in pleophonic reflexes. This could explain East Slavic pleophony, where quantity was lost. Polish trōt is explained by assuming that metathesis occurred after /ō/ became phonemic, guaranteeing retraction of the liquid to the left of /ō/, analogous to South Slavic/Czecho-Slovak trāt, where the phonemic status of /ā/ was never in doubt.



Jakobson, Roman 1952. "On Slavic diphthongs ending in a liquid", Word, 8(4), pp. 306-310.

Rozwadowski, Jan 1909. (Review) Кульбакин С., "К вопросу о польском ro",  Rocznik sławistyczny II, pp. 186–89.

Timberlake, Alan 1985. "The metathesis of liquid diphthongs in Upper Sorbian", International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics, 31–32, pp. 417–3.