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Chapter 4 An Outline of Macedonian Phonology 1. Vowels 1.1. Standard Macedonian has six vocalic phonemes, one of which, the mid-central vowel /ə/, appears only in a number of contexts. The vocalic phonemic inventory is given in Table 1: Table 1. Vocalic Phonemic Inventory of Macedonian front central back high i u mid e (ə) o low a non-labialized labialized 1.2. In some dialects, /e/ and /o/ are realized as mid-open vowels—[ε] and [ɔ], respectively. In standardized speech, as well as in the western dialects, they are, however, pronounced higher than the mid-open vowels, but lower than the English [e] and [o]. Parallel with the variation in the pronunciation of /o/ is a variation in its labialization : the higher the pronunciation, the greater the labialization. 1.3. The phoneme /ə/ appears in many dialects as a reflex of jer or jus, or as an innovation in the environment of a lateral or a trill.1 In the standard dialect /ə/ is used (a) in spelling, when each consonant is followed by /ə/ (b) in the pronunciation of some abbreviations2 and (c) in a limited number of borrowings from Turkish3 . Examples: 1 As pointed out by Friedman (2003: 182), under expressive stress in open syllables, /e/ may be realized almost as [æ]: (i) Le le! [læ læ] ‘Oh dear!’ 2 There is no regularity in the pronunciation of the abbreviations. There are abbreviations in which, instead of /ə/, /e/ may be used, as well as abbreviations in which the letters are spelled as they are spelled in the Latin alphabet. Thus, we have: 42 A GRAMMAR OF MACEDONIAN (1) a. MVR /məvərə/ = Ministerstvo za vnatrešni raboti ‘Ministry of Internal Affairs’ b. Edinburgh /e-də-i-nə-bə-u-rə-gə-hə/ c. səklet /səklet/ ‘worry’ 1.4. In colloquial speech, in final position after a vowel, the phoneme /i/ is realized as /j/. But in careful speech it can contrast with /j/, so that we may have the following distinction: (2) odaj /odaj/ ‘betray.2Sg.Imper’ : odai /odai/ ‘rooms’ 1.5. There are no restrictions for the distribution of the Macedonian vowels: all vowels appear to the immediate left or right of any vowel or consonant, though two equivalent vowels, as a rule, appear only at morphemic boundaries (cf. Savicka and Spasov 1991):4 (3) a. /pad # -na # -a/ ‘fall.3Pl.Aor’ /Root -Suff -Suff b. /pe # -e/ ‘sing.3Sg’ /Root -Suff c. /po- # ode/ ‘walk-a-bit.3Sg.Aor’ /Pref Root (i) PDP /pə-də-pə/ or /pe-de-pe/ = Partija na Demokratski Prosperitet ‘Party of Democratic Prosperity’ (ii) SDS /es-de-es/ = Socijal Demokratski Sojuz ‘Social Democratic Union’ Some abbreviations are borrowings and then they are usually pronounced as they are pronounced in the language in which they originated: (iii) MIT /em-ai-ti/ (as in English) (iv) KLM /ka-el-em/ (as in Dutch) 3 Since in the alphabet there is no letter corresponding to the phoneme /ə/, it is rendered by the apostrophe with which vocalic /r/ is preceded (cf. 3.2 and 3.3 below). Note, however, that in the words of Turkish origin ə can always be replaced by a and the codifiers encourage the speakers to do so (cf. Siljanoski 1979). 4 Exceptions are borrowings from Turkish from which the velar fricative /x/ has disappeared: (i) saat /gref/ ‘sin’ : d1 /greʃka/ ‘mistake’ d2 /greʃen/ ‘sinful’ d4 /pogreʃen/ ‘wrong’ 4.1.2. Productive velar ≈ palatal alternations are also actuated through the derivation of vocative nominal forms: (31) a1 /striko/ ‘uncle’ a2 /stritʃe/ ‘uncle.Voc’ b1 */starek/ > /starets/ ‘old man’ b2 /startʃe/ ‘old man.Voc’ c1 /bogovi/ ‘gods’ c2 /boʒe/ ‘God.Voc’ d1 /monax/ ‘monk’ d2 /monaʃe/ ‘monk.Voc’ 4.1.3. There are velar ≈ palatal alternations occurring between the singular and plural forms of two nouns, which are also actuated in the derivation of diminutives:23 21 Many of the alternations are listed in Friedman (2003: 188–90). 22 The alveo-palatal phoneme /ʃ/ also alternates with a bilabial phoneme which etymologically relates to /x/, while the alveo-palatal phoneme /tʃ/ also alternates with a dental phoneme which etymologically relates to /k/. 54 A GRAMMAR OF MACEDONIAN (32) a. /oko/ ‘eye’ : a1 /otʃi/ ‘eyes’ a2 /otʃe/ ‘eye.Dim’ b. %/uxo/ > /uvo/ ‘ear’ : b1 /uʃi/ ‘ears’ b2 /uʃe/ ‘ear.Dim’ 4.1.4. Velar ≈ palatal alternations also occur between verb forms, but there they are non-productive: (33) a1 /rekof/ ‘say.1Sg.Aor’ : a2 /ret...


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