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USAGE: East Slavic historical phonology (was: Questions and Impressions of Basque)

From:Isaac A. Penzev <isaacp@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 1, 2004, 14:48
On Tue, Aug 31, 2004 1:47 PM Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> >Interesting to note that, while Spanish transforms 'f' > >into 'h', Russian transforms 'h' into 'g' (gospital = > >[military] hospital). > > I thought they would rather transform it into [x], since that's what they > do when trying to learn a language containing [h]...
Older borrowings, esp. those made through German, or of Latin and Greek origin, use [g] for [h]. It may be explained by the fact that standard pronunciation of /g/ hesitated in a continuous spectrum between [G] and [h\] in 17th-18th cc. In Northern and Southern Russian dialects [G] survived till nowadays, Ukrainian has [h\], Standard Modern Russian revived [g] in early 19th c. from Central dialects (but look: Pushkin still rhymes /dux/ and /drug/ that means he pronounced the latter as [drux] from underlying /druG/!) Newer borrowings, esp. from English, indeed [h] > [x]. ------------------------- On Tue, Aug 31, 2004 2:35 PM Andreas Johansson wrote:
> My understanding is that [x] at some point replaced [g] as the replacement
> foreign [h] in Russian. It appears to be a pretty recent thing; I've seen
> _Gitler_ and _Xitler_* in WWII stuff.
No. It happened in late 19th c., but for German words and names it lasted a bit longer. Still, I've never seen *Xitler in Russian, only in Bulgarian where it is standard.
> Judging from my atlas, Ukrainian has something spelt transliterated as 'h'
> Russian has 'g' - Chernihiv for Chernigov, and so on.
It is [h\], and it regularly corresponds with Russian [g] in all native and some loaned stems.
> * I'm not sure about how the Russians pronounce the 'i', but I'm hoping
for near
> cardinal.
Russian /i/ is a pure cardinal vowel strongly palatalizing any preceding consonant (including /x/, that may sound as smth close to [C]). ---------------------- On Tue, Aug 31, 2004 3:21 PM Philip Newton wrote:
> That's my understanding, too. So older words such as "Gamburg" or > "Geynrikh Geyne" have [g] for [h], but newly-borrowed words would tend > to use [x]. (Unless the word is already well-known in a form with [g], > e.g. "Gelmut Kol" even though Kohl lived after [x] was more commonly > used, but "Gelmut" was an established spelling of "Helmut".)
True. I'm not a specialist in History of Russian, but from what I know, the shift happened somewhen in the "Silver Age" (that is ca. 1890-1917).
> IIRC, Ukrainian has [g] only in onomatopoeia and some loanwords,
> and > uses (used?) a special letter (g-with-upturn) for this,
It is officially returned to the alphabet by 1990 spelling reform, but in practice almost nobody but radical Nationalists use it.
> which was > abolished (when it became part of the USSR?), though some are trying > to reintroduce it.
It was abolished in 1933 when the Bolsheviks regime stopped the so called "policy of Ukrainization".
> The letter for [g] in Russian is regularly > pronounced [h] in Ukrainian, AFAIK.
No. It is [h\] - a VOICED glottal fricative. --------------------- On Tue, Aug 31, 2004 3:52 PM Philippe Caquant wrote:
> My wife (Ukrainian) says 'Gitler', and 'Gyugo', for > Hugo (Victor) (and 'Gavr' for the French port of Le > Havre). True, I sometimes told her that she pronounces > "havarit'" rather than "govorit'" when we speak > Russian, but it seems that she is not really aware of > it, she *thinks* she pronounces it the Russian way. > And I *think* this is not quite true.
Most people here are completely unaware about "two ge's" problem, that is about existance of [g] ~ [h\] opposition.
> It's really a mistery to, how such different sounds as > 'i' and 'o' can be used alternatively in similar words > between Russian and Ukrainian. Kiev airport, Borispol, > is Borispil in Ukrainian. If, as I believe, '-pol' > comes from Greek 'polis' (city), than I wonder why the > Ukrainian changed that 'o' into 'i'. Or maybe it comes > from Russian 'polje' (field, ground)?
In this case (as in some others) _-pol_ originates from _pole_ 'field'. And according to a dead phonetic law it produced _-pil_ in Mn Ukrainian. The same is true about _Ternopil'_ and _Myropil'_. By analogy some people pronounce _Symferopol'_ as *[sImfe"4Op;il;], but this is 100% wrong - it's indeed from Greek _polis_. Respectfully yours, Yitzik


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>