Akanye and jakanye in one old believers dialects and the historical issues of these vocalism systems

2013. № 1 (25), 70-85

Leonid L. Kasatkin, Vinogradov Institute of Russian Language, Russian Academy of Sciences


The pronunciation of [ǝ] before an [а] syllable and [а] before other syllables indicates dissimilative akanye of the Zhizdrinsky (Belarussian) type in the dialect under study. This phenomenon is typical for all pretonic syllables and shows that word rhythm as an alternation of long and short syllables. There are exceptions to the distribution of pretonic [а] and [ǝ], depending on the speech tempo, the intensity of speech segments, their volume, etc. The “purity” of the dissimilative akanye is always relative. The dialect features the Mosalskoe jakanye type characterized by the pronunciation of [i] before [е] from /ѣ/ in the middle of the word and [а] in word-final position. These traits point to the two periods in the history of /ѣ/ in southwestern Russian dialects: its coalescence with /е/ started in the middle of the word and spread later to the end of the word. The pronunciation of pretonic vowels in different types of jakanye indicates that the coalescence of /ѣ/ and /е/ started in the outermost southwest Russian dialects and spread progressively to eastern dialects.