Votian/Phonology

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Vowels [1][edit]

Votic dialects have 9 to 10 vowels. The chart represents short vowels of Kattila dialect [2].

  Back Central Front Labialized
High u (ɨ) i ü
High-mid o (ɤ) e ö (ø)
Low a (ɑ) ä (æ)
  • occurres only in Russian loanwords e.g. štobi̮ ('so as to').
  • occurres in the same stems in neighbouring Vaiga (East-Estonian) and Alutaguse dialects of Estonia unlike in all the other Estonian dialects e.g. e̮ksaD ('boughs') versus Estonian oksaD.
    • However it is missing in Kukkuzi dialect. Corresponding stems have e, o or a instead like in neighbouring Finnish and Ingrian dialects e.g. oma ('own') versus e̮ma of all the other dialects (including those of Estonia).
    • ö is found in the first syllable only, except some Ingrian and Finnish loanwords and derivation suffixes e.g. tüttö ('girl'), itšävöimε̆ä̀ ('long for something' in Lempola dialect).

All these 10 vowels may occur long as well, even if the syllable they belong to carries no stress.

  • In some Eastern Votic dialects, in the nearest villages to Kattila and in Pontizõõ village all the long mid vowels ē, ō, ȫ have been diphthongized to ie, uo, üö e.g. tüö ('work') versus . Also Alutaguse and Vaiga dialects of Estonia (and many other Finnic dialects) uderwent the same vowel shift.

Votic has various diphthongs: e̮a üe ue̮ ai oi ui e̮i äi ei öi üi ao io uo e̮u eu iu iä üä eü öü oa ua ia au öä iü äü


Consonants [3][edit]

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless plosive p t k
Voiced plosive b d ɡ
Nasal m n ŋ
Voiceless fricative f s š (ʃ) x
Voiced fricative v z ž (ʒ) ʝ h
Lateral l л (ʎ)
Trill r
Voiceless affricate ts tš (), š́tš́
Voiced affricate dž (dʒ)
  • k, p, t are not aspirated. They are pronounced very much like the voiceless stops in Finnish or Estonian Alutaguse dialect e.g. kana ('hen').
  • g, b, d are voiced like their counterparts (г, б, д) in Russian e.g. pe̮dra ('moose').
    • Ending a phrase they become voiceless (semi-voiced) like their counterparts in standard Estonian e.g. annaD ('you give').
    • Their counterparts are semi-voiced or completely voiceless in Alutaguse and Vaiga dialects regardless of their position.
    • The final k of Eastern Votic dialect may be borrowed from Ingrian, because it is sometimes added to words, where it was originally absent [4] e.g. sūre̮piG ('bigger' comparative), sūre̮ssiG ('to (become) big' translative).
  • ŋ ocurres only as a combinatory phone in front of k or g e.g. kaŋgaz ('fabric').
  • x occurres only in Russian, Finnish or Ingrian loanwords e.g. staruxa ('old woman' ~ Russian старуха), mettsä-xāmo ('forest elf'). It is articulated in the same place as k or g.
  • h becomes a bit voiced in front of voiced sounds e.g. voho ('goat').
  • ʝ is no semi-vowel (as it is in Estonian), but an intensive voiced fricative e.g. ujun ('I swim').
  • š (ʃ) and it's voiced counterpart ž (ʒ) occur only in Russian or Ingrian loanwords and in onomatopoeia e.g. ženixa ('bridegroom' ~ Russian жених), karjušiD ('shepherds'), širizeB ('(a bird or insect) sings'). They are pronounced like their counterparts in Russian.
  • s reminds voiceless s of Estonian e.g. musaD ('black (things)'). It's Finnish and Ingrian counterpart is more velar.
    • The voiced counterpart of s is z e.g. lidnaza ('in the town').
    • Ending a phrase z becomes voiceless (semi-voiced) like it's counterpart in standard Estonian e.g. vē̮raZ ('stranger').
  • l and ʎ are actually combinatory allophones. l ocurres with front vowels and ʎ with back vowels l sounds like it's Estonian counterpart and ʎ sounds like it's Russian counterpart (л) e.g. ʎahsi ('child'), litši ('near').
  • r sounds like in standard Finnish and Estonian (i.e. not English but Spanish) e.g. repo ('fox').
  • f occurres only in (Russian) loanwords e.g. frovva ('Madam'), fšoravno ('anyway, regardless ...' ~ Russian всё равно).
  • v is more intensive than in standard Estonian (i.e. the lower lip indeed presses the upper teeth) e.g. varai ('early').
  • tš () sounds less palatalized and deeper than Russian ч e.g. tšako ('cuckoo').
    • dž (dʒ) is the voiced counterpart of tš () for the weak grade. It may be found mainly in the Eastern Votic dialect e.g. audžiD ('pikes' < autši 'a pike').
  • š́tš́ occurres only in Russian loanwords (as a counterpart of щ) e.g. š́tš́etina ('brush, mane ...' ~ Russian щетина).
  • ts is an alveodental affricate e.g. metsässä ('from a forest').

Phonological history [5][edit]

Votian phonemes underwent following sound changes after Proto-Finnic stage:

  • *k > tš in front of front vowels e.g. *käsi > tšäsi ('hand')
  • *k > g in the week grade with back vowels e.g. *sika+n > sigā ('pig' Genitive)
  • *s > z and *š > ž in the week grade e.g. *isä+n > izǟ ('father' Genitive)
  • *ks > hs and *ps > hs e.g. *uksi > uhsi ('door'), *lapsi > lahsi ('child').
  • *st > ss e.g. *musta > mussa ('black').
    • It has ocurred in Vaiga and Alutaguse dialects as well [9] e.g. *pes+tä > pessä ('to wash').
  • *o > in the same stems as in neighbouring Vaiga (East-Estonian) and Alutaguse dialects of Estonia unlike in all the other Estonian dialects e.g. e̮ksaD ~ e̮hsaD ('boughs') versus Estonian oksaD.
    • However it is missing in Kukkuzi dialect. Corresponding stems have e, o or a instead like in neighbouring Finnish and Ingrian dialects e.g. oma ('own') versus e̮ma of all the other dialects (including those of Estonia).
  • Late diphthongs "ae äe oe ue > ā ǟ ō ū" e.g. *laulat̆essa > laulāza ('singing'), *kevät̆ellä > tševǟllä ('in spring'), *uhtot̆essa > uhtōza ('flushing'), *olut̆en > e̮lū ('beer' Genitive).

References[edit]

  1. Ariste, Paul Vadja keele grammatika. Tartu, 1948. p. 5
  2. Ariste, Paul Vadja keele grammatika. Tartu, 1948. p. 3
  3. Ariste, Paul Vadja keele grammatika. Tartu, 1948. p. 11
  4. Laanest, Arvo: Sissejuhatus läänemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn 1975. p.98
  5. Laanest, Arvo: Sissejuhatus läänemeresoome keeltesse, Tallinn 1975. p.85
  6. Ariste, Paul: Vadja muistendeid. Emakeele Seltsi toimetised 12. Tallinn, 1977. p.85
  7. Must, Mari 1987. Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade. p. 85-87
  8. Pall, Valdek: Idamurde sõnastik. Tallinn: 1994; Eesti Keele Instituut. p.97, 242
  9. Must, Mari 1987. Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade. p. 340-341
  10. Must, Mari 1987. Kirderannikumurre: häälikuline ja grammatiline ülevaade. p. 60-63

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