Iosad, Pavel. 2012. Vowel reduction in Russian: No phonetics in phonology. Journal of Linguistics 48(3), 521–571.

doi:10.1017/S0022226712000102

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Categories:  Russian Feature theory Phonetics-phonology interface Substance-free phonology

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In this paper I propose a substance-free analysis of vowel reduction in Standard Russian. I argue that the traditional distinction between ‘moderate’ reduction (in pretonic syllables, producing less central vowels) and ‘radical’ reduction (producing central vowels) is not phonologically relevant. The phonological grammar is only responsible for the neutralization patterns and not for the exact phonetic properties of their outcome. In addition, I show that the necessary input-output mappings cannot be effected in a conventional featural system without some weakly supported assumptions: I argue that this demonstrates the viability of a substance-free, emergent-features approach to phonology.


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I’m Pavel Iosad, and I'm a Lecturer in Theoretical Phonology in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. ¶ You can always go to the start page to learn more.

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