From: Peter Kirk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 17 2005 - 08:18:38 CDT
On 17/05/2005 11:19, Michael Everson wrote:
>> Why is š sometimes called hard i ? At least it is very common in
>> French, Petit Larousse Illustré : «y (i dur) » and not uncommon in
>> English <http://www.lahti.fi/museot/konferenssi/Russian_language.pdf>.
> Consonants are non-palatalized or palatalized in Russian. "Hard I"
> would be a relic of pre-scientific linguistic description. The "hard
> sign" follows a non-palatalized consonant. The "soft sign" follows a
> palatalized consonant. YERU indicates that the previous consonant is
> non-patalalized; I indicates that it is palatalized.
In other words, YERU is effectively a hard sign followed by a phonemic
/i/, and I is effectively a soft sign followed by a phonemic /i/. The
difference between YERU and I is between hard and soft. By your logic, a
hard sign cannot be so called because hardness is a feature of the
preceding consonant rather than of the sign. Or perhaps you should just
reject the entire Cyrillic alphabet as "a relic of pre-scientific
There is of course a difference in pronunciation between YERU and I, but
according to your phonological analysis this is entirely conditioned by
the preceding consonant and so the two letters represent a single phoneme.
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