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Re: Serbocroatian accent, was: Split-Ergativity Madness

From:Frank George Valoczy <valoczy@...>
Date:Saturday, October 6, 2001, 0:35
Vasiliy, thank you for expressing so eloquently what I knew, but I could
never have said it so well!

On Fri, 5 Oct 2001, Vasiliy Chernov wrote:

> On Wed, 3 Oct 2001 19:51:44 EDT, David Peterson <DigitalScream@...> > wrote: > > > On a side note, has anyone heard anything about Swedish, Japanese and > >Serbo-Croat being pitch-accent languages? > > I have very little experience with Serbocroatian (Frank, can you help?). > But I remember how its pitch-accent system is described in grammars. > > Roughly, it looks as if it once used to be the usual system with > phonological stress (à la Russian or Bulgarian), but then each stress > got moved one syllable to the left and became 'rising'; if there was no > space to move to (i. e., the word was monosyllabic or originally accented > on the first syllable), it didn't move but became 'falling'. These > processes also involved proclitics. > > In the resulting system, > > a) the accent can be placed on any syllable except the last one; > b) if the accent is on the first syllable, it can be either the 'falling' > or the 'rising' one; > c) monosyllabic words always have the 'falling' accent; > d) if a word has a 'falling' accent on its first or sole syllable, the > accent must move to a proclitic if there is one. > > Interestingly, it seems that this system allows for a more 'economical' > reinterpretation: > > 1) The accent, always realized as a rising tonal contour, requires two > syllables for its realization (this view seems to have some phonetic > grounds). Monosyllabic words are phonologically accentless. > > 2) Polysyllabic words also can be accentless. Absence of the accent is > realized as a falling tonal contour on the word's first syllable. > > 3) The accent can fall onto any pair of neighboring syllables in a word. > > Thus reinterpreted, the SC system becomes almost identical (on the > phonological level) with the Japanese one, the only difference being that > SC accent requires a disyllabic 'platform'. > > However, there is a lot of dialectal variation concerning the accents > in SC. In particular, some dialects don't observe the point (d) above. > In such dialects, the 'falling' accent seems to acquire some phonological > value (at any rate, it can work as a word delimiter). And there are local > dialects with various other deviations (e. g. the 'leftward shift' can > be restricted to certain types of environments). > > Note also that while describing the correspondences between SC and > Russian/Bulgarian, I didn't intend to explain the actual history of > accentuation in SC. The position of accent in all Slavic langs where it > is phonological is determined by Proto-Slavic syllabic tones; SC could > simply differ from Russian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, etc. in the way it > treated Proto-Slavic sequences of tones. > > > Basilius >