Akanye or akanje[1] (Belarusian: аканне, Russian: а́канье, Russian pronunciation: [ˈakənʲjɪ], Slovene: akanje Slovene pronunciation: [ˈaːkanjɛ]), literally "a-ing", is a sound change in Slavic languages in which the phonemes /o/ or /e/ are realized as more or less close to [a]. It is a case of vowel reduction.

The most familiar example is probably Russian akanye (pronounced but not represented orthographically in the standard language). Akanye also occurs in:


In Belarusian аканне (akanne), both non-softened and softened /o/ and /a/ and other phonemes phonetically merge into [a] in unstressed positions; see Belarusian phonology.

In Russian а́канье (akan'ye), (except for Northern dialects), /o/ and /a/ phonetically merge in unstressed positions. If not preceded by a palatalized (soft) consonant, these phonemes give [ɐ] (sometimes also transcribed as [ʌ]) in the syllable immediately before the stress[6] and in absolute word-initial position.[7] In other unstressed locations, non-softened /o/ and /a/ are further reduced towards a short, poorly enunciated [ə].[8] The dialects without reduction of unstressed o are called okanye (Russian: о́канье), literally "o-ing". After soft consonants, unstressed /o/ and /a/ are pronounced like [ɪ] in most varieties of Russian (see vowel reduction in Russian for details); this reduction is not considered a manifestation of akanye. Unlike Belarusian akanne, Russian akanye does not affect softened vowels.

Slovene akanje may be partial (affecting only syllables before or after the stressed vowel) or complete (affecting all vowels in a word).[2] Examples from various Slovene dialects: domúdamú 'at home' (pretonic o),[2] dnòdnà 'bottom' (tonic o),[9] létolíəta (posttonic o),[9] ne vémna vém 'I don't know' (pretonic e),[2] hlébhlàb 'loaf' (tonic e),[9] jêčmenjèčman 'barley' (posttonic e).[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bethin, Christina Yurkiw. 1998. Slavic prosody: language change and phonological theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 152 ff.
  2. ^ a b c d Toporišič, Jože. 1992. Enciklopedija slovenskega jezika. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, p. 2.
  3. ^ Gostenčnik, Januša (2013). "Fonološki opis govora grada Gerovo" (PDF). p. 3.
  4. ^ Crosswhite, Katherine. 2001. Vowel reduction in optimality theory. London: Routledge, p. 53.
  5. ^ Csopey, László (1883). Rutén-Magyar Szótár / Русько-Мадярский Словарь. Budapest: Hungarian Royal Academy for Linguistic Sciences. p. 29.
  6. ^ Padgett & Tabain (2005:16)
  7. ^ Jones & Ward (1969:51)
  8. ^ "Qualitative reduction of the 2nd degree" (in Russian).
  9. ^ a b c d Ramovš, Fran. 1936. Kratka zgodovina slovenskega jezika. I. Ljubljana: Akademska založba, pp. 233–235.