Akanye or akanje (Russian: аканье, Russian pronunciation: [ˈakənʲjɪ]) is a phonological phenomenon in Slavic languages in which the phoneme /o/ or /e/ is 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 is also found in standard Belarusian (represented orthographically) as well as in northern (Polissian) Ukrainian dialects, Slovene dialects (e.g., Lower Carniolan dialects), and Bulgarian dialects (e.g., the Rhodope dialects, including the Smolyan dialect).
In Russian (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 and in absolute word-initial position. In other unstressed locations, non-softened /o/ and /a/ are further reduced towards a short, poorly enunciated [ə]. 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.
Slovene akanje may be partial (affecting only syllables before or after the stressed vowel) or complete (affecting all vowels in a word). Examples from various Slovene dialects: domú → damú 'at home' (pretonic o), dnò → dnà 'bottom' (tonic o), léto → líəta (posttonic o), ne vém → na vém 'I don't know' (pretonic e), hléb → hlàb 'loaf' (tonic e), jêčmen → jèčman 'barley' (posttonic e).
- Vowel reduction in Russian - about ikanye.
- Bethin, Christina Yurkiw. 1998. Slavic prosody: language change and phonological theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 152 ff.
- Toporišič, Jože. 1992. Enciklopedija slovenskega jezika. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba, p. 2.
- Crosswhite, Katherine. 2001. Vowel reduction in optimality theory. London: Routledge, p. 53.
- Padgett & Tabain (2005:16)
- Jones & Ward (1969:51)
- "Qualitative reduction of the 2nd degree" (in Russian).
- Ramovš, Fran. 1936. Kratka zgodovina slovenskega jezika. I. Ljubljana: Akademska založba, pp. 233–235.
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