Paradigm Uniformity and Contrast in Russian Vowel Reduction

  • Christina Y. Bethin
  • Published 2009


Reduction of non-high vowels in unstressed syllables to [å] or [ә] after non-palatalized consonants (akan’e) in Contemporary Standard Russian is complete in all positions in the native lexicon (Avanesov, 1972, and others) and it is analyzed as phonological vowel neutralization (Halle, 1959/1971; Crosswhite, 1999/2001, 2004; Barnes 2006a, b). But reduction of non-high vowels after palatal(ized) consonants (ikan’e) shows some exceptional behavior: There is a systematic sub-phonemic contrast between [I] (approximately F 1=300, F2=2000; Thelin 1971) and [ә] (approx. F1=375, F2=1775; Thelin 1971) in a set of inflectional suffixes where [ә] is found instead of the expected [I], exemplified by the forms in (1) below. This reflects the standard pronunciation of Russian as described in Avanesov (1972:69-72, 152-62), Kuzmina (1968), Timberlake (2004:48-51), and holds for most speakers of CSR.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Bethin2009ParadigmUA, title={Paradigm Uniformity and Contrast in Russian Vowel Reduction}, author={Christina Y. Bethin}, year={2009} }