E-learning resource 'Russian Dialectal Phonetics': Perspectives and first output

TitleE-learning resource 'Russian Dialectal Phonetics': Perspectives and first output
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2006
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2006
AuthorsKniazev, Sergej
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

The aim of the project supported by NWO is to create an electronic course of modern Russian dialectal phonetics suitable for learning, teaching and for scientific research. The course will comprise two components: a theoretical overview and a practical section (real texts and on-line tests, exercises, quizzes). The information provided to users is a multimedia one: original dialectal texts and their phonations, multimedia sensitive maps and photo- and video-fragments from the archive of dialectological expeditions with exercises in the practical section. All course units are constructed as SCORM-consistent reusable learning objects (RLOs). As an open-source product, the electronic course "Russian Dialectal Phonetics" can be enlarged and outspread to other levels of linguistic description of Russian dialects.

In my paper, after a short discussion of the multimedia course, I will present some results of our study on some Southern Russian dialects which are characterised by so called “dissimilative akan’je” (DA) - a specific type of vowel neutralization in pretonic syllables where the result of neutralization depends on the quality of the stressed vowel. We believe that originally DA showed compensatory dissimilation within the prosodic nucleus on the basis of vowel length: the longer (more open) the stressed vowel, the shorter (more reduced) the pretonic one. The qualitative and quantitative difference between long and short pretonic vowels [a] and [ə] in all so far known dialects with DA is striking, and there is an abrupt change from one vowel to another. While processing some texts with DA during our work on the project, previously supposed to show the so-called Prokhor or Don type of DA ([a] before high stressed vowels and [ə] before all non-high ones), we found a completely different situation: qualitative and quantitative differences of pretonic vowels depending on the stressed vowel are small, gradual and irrelevant. It can be suggested that this dialect reflects the most archaic type of DA with a vague dependence of the pretonic vowel on the length of the stressed vowel, which has not yet been fixed in the phonological system. This type of DA can be called protodissimilative.