Reduced Vowels

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Reduced Vowels


(also jers), the reduced vocalic phonemes in the old Slavic languages, which were designated by the letters ъ (back jer) and b (front jer).

Reduced vowels developed in Proto-Slavic as a result of the transformation of the Indo-European short close vowels *ῠ and *ῐ. In Proto-Slavic of a later era and in the old Slavic languages, front jer was an unrounded middle or high-middle front vowel, and back jer was a middle or high-middle back vowel, apparently rounded. Reduced vowels were in what is known as weak position at the end of a word, before a syllable with a full vowel, and before a syllable with a reduced vowel in strong position, as in stolъ (“throne,” “seat”; nom. and acc. sg., gen. pl.), sъna (“dream,” “sleep”; gen. sg., nom. and acc. dual), and žbnbcb (“reaper”; nom. sg., gen. pl.). They were in strong position before a syllable with a weak reduced vowel, in an initial stressed syllable, and, in Old Russian, before a liquid consonant, as in šbvbcb (“tailor”; nom. sg., gen. pl.), dъskǫ (“board”; acc. sg.), and vbrxъ (“top”; nom. and acc. sg., gen. pl.). Before a yod [j], back jer became [y̆] and front jer became [ῐ]; these vowels also could be in strong and weak positions.

In all the Slavic languages, the strong reduced vowels were changed to full vowels and the weak reduced vowels were lost.


Meillet, A. Obshcheslavianskii iazyk. Moscow, 1951. (Translated from French.)
Vaillant, A. Rukovodstvo po staroslavianskomu iazyku. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from French.)
van Wijk, N. Istoriia slaroslavianskogo iazyka. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from German.)
Khaburgaev, G. A. Staroslavianskii iazyk. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Finnic reduced vowels have emerged out of the non-initial short vowels in certain positions.
According to Bollinger (1989), whereas full vowels are distinguished by their quality such as height, backness and roundness, reduced vowels can't be recognized by these characteristics.
Rice & Hargus 2005: 9 and Kingston 2005: 146; here I write K for stops, X for fricatives, V: for long vowels, V for short full vowels, v for reduced vowels, and an acute accent for marked tone, which is High in some languages, e.g.
In Ethiopic, since these are original short vowels, reduced vowels are to be expected in the case of original /i/ and /u/; again the reduction of the vowel in verbs with an /a/ vowel would be explained by a similar analogy.
Reduced vowels in non-initial syllables are common in many Turkic languages.
The ability to perceive vowel contrasts and reduced vowels is essential in language development.
as a consequence reduced vowels, above all schwa (a) and its variants appear.
The full and reduced vowels were written differently in the traditional writing system and are assumed to have been pronounced differently.
As the reduction of stem-final vowels other than a/a is not fully stable and sometimes there is no distinction of full and reduced vowels (see Section 4.6), I marked potentially syncretic forms with (*).
Short a appears for what are reduced vowels (schwa, hataph pathah) in Tiberian: ani and anahnu for ani and anahnu (p.
The difference between *u and *u results from the consonant environment: Proto-Mari initial-syllable reduced vowels could only occur in pre-consonantal position, but in final position and before another vowel separated by a hiatus, a full vowel must occur (Itkonen 1954).
This opposition can influence the position of stress and the phonetic realization of segments, and very often conditions the appearance of reduced vowels. (29) In some languages reduction is phonetic (e.g.

Full browser ?