Talk:Slovene language

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Old content moved to Talk:Slovene language/Archive 1
Discussion on using Slovene and Slovenian has been transfered to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Slovenian vs Slovene) (archive a).

Encouraging dialects[edit]

"Though not facing imminent extinction, such dialects have been in decline during the past century, despite the fact that they are well researched and their use is often encouraged by local authorities." As much as I know all public authorities encourage the standard language... This is a bit silly. How are they encouraged? There should be a quote for this. Rokpok (talk) 13:33, 6 March 2009 (UTC)


  1. As native speaker of Slovene language, I can assure you that there is no /d͡z/ phoneme in Slovene, not even in loanwords like in case of /d͡ʒ/.
  2. Allophones of /ʋ/ seem to be contradicting IPA, since the second allophone [u] is non-syllabic [u̯], which is in turn (according to IPA) same as [w]. However, not only that they are noted as two different allophonic variants, they actuallly do sound different in Slovene.
  3. /l/ is usually noted having two allophones, [l] and [u̯]. However, there is at least one minipal pair - /pɔu̯/ ('half') and /pɔl/ ('half hour to' something o'clock) This means that Slovene has one phoneme more. (talk) 17:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

That section is unsourced and confusing anyway. I wouldn't mind you editing it, though the minimal pair that you cite simply shows that contrasts between /l/ and /ʋ/ are retained in the syllable coda, not that there's another phoneme, right? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 18:55, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
/pɔu̯/ ('half') and /pɔl/ ('half hour to' something o'clock) are both written 'pol' and have same etymology, so I don't see a reason of one /l/ phoneme switching to /ʋ/. And in other cases, /l/ in syllable coda is (almost always) pronounced [u̯] - /bil/ -> [biu̯] '(he) was', /vɔl/ -> [vɔu̯] 'ox'. However, words that were borrowed from other languages later, retain the plain [l] pronunciation: /pol/ -> [pol] '(north) pole'. Looks more like that there are two different /l/ phonemes, one that has [u̯] allophone and one thar does not. MethylOrange42 (talk) 19:56, 4 June 2009 (UTC) (Yes, that's, I created an username.)
This is the point where we consult sources to see what they say. I still say that this doesn't necessarily show two phonemes, rather it shows that a phonological process has become fossilized and subsequent loanword show this. We don't say that there are two /f/ phonemes, one that voices upon pluralization (leaf/leaves) and one that doesn't (dwarf/dwarfs), despite minimal pairs (dwarfs/dwarves). — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:44, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
[1] confirms that there is no /d͡z/ in Slovene, so I removed it from the chart. MethylOrange42 (talk) 10:26, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
I've sourced the consonant chart. [dz] occurs as an allophone of /ts/ but not as a phoneme in itself. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 17:12, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Puzzling text in the Dialects section[edit]

The text says, "Two dialect the Prekmurian and Resian is quite autonomous regional language and have standard literary language."

I was going to copy-edit that, but other than the obvious "dialects" for "dialect", and "are" for "is",I don't know enough about the topic to proceed.

I did visit both Wikipedia pages for those dialects, and concluded (perhaps somewhat hastily) that Resian is significantly different, but Prekmurian (maybe) less so.

If they are dialects, calling them "languages" seems contradictory. It seems that what constitutes a dialect and what is a language can be a matter of dispute as well as culture. Chinese regard all variants of Chinese as dialects of one language, whereas at least one American scholar (The Languages of China, Princeton University Press) considers some to be separate languages, because they are mutually unintelligible and differ considerably.

Best guess:

"Two dialects, Prekmurian and Resian, are regional, and have standard literary forms."

Prekmurian is spoken in two (or more) nations, which don't seem to indicate any autonomous region; similarly, Resian is apparently spoken mostly or entirely within Italy, and apparently there is no autonomous region there, either.

Perhaps I've been careless in my reading, for which I apologize, but in any event, that sentence does need some rewriting.

Regards, Nikevich (talk) 03:26, 15 October 2009 (UTC)


This topic has already been discussed at Talk:Prekmurian_dialect, where the weight of reliable sources and a third opinion process (FAQ) have both favored Prekmurje as a modifier. Any further discussion of the issue should continue to take place there. Regrettably, user Doncsecz has ignored both of these and is continuing to resort to edit warring and insults (e.g., "foolish intrude") to press his point. Doremo (talk) 08:33, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

You was call forth the Edit war. For nothing support few user the Prekmurje name as...
  1. Not functional neither the Prekmurian, or Prekmurje
  2. Few Prekmurians be for the Prekmurian, as the Slovene language also not Slovenija language.ű
  3. Neither Marc L. Greenberg or Marko Jesenšek not expect againts the Prekmurian
  4. and the name Prekmurian correct, reasonable name.

Accordingly this argument spare chatterbox. Doncsecztalk 16:04, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

This is not personal remark, as the Prekmurians has right to chip in, what make the name of his language. Doncsecztalk 16:07, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Alike: Resian dialect wherefore Resian? Exist the Resian in the english? Not. Doncsecztalk 16:12, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

The Germans also was name to Prekmurisch und not Prekmurje Dialekt. In his language also likely. Doncsecztalk 16:13, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

V and open o[edit]

Why is the open (wide) o rendered as /ɔ/? It should be represented by /ɒ/. Please take a look at the Wikipedia websites "Open back rounded vowel" (ɒ) and "Open mid-back rounded vowel" (ɔ) (or just "Vowel") and listen to both sound samples. The /ɒ/ sound is the one that is featured in words such as voda /'vɒda/ and gora /'ɡɒra/. Also, v (in front of a vowel) is not a labiodental approximant (ʋ) but a voiced labiodental fricative (v). The /ʋ/ sound is more similar to /w/ and is usually not used when v is in front of a vowel. This can also be checked by listening to sound samples. (talk) 21:38, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

I know this is a bit late, but still. I am no expert (yet), but IIRC, the vowels are not actually described by what they sound like more, but by where they are articulated in the mouth. This is done through checking the values of the first two formants of the sound, if I am not mistaken. As for the /v/, how do you know that this is true for the majority of speakers? Of course it is noticeable that some people pronounce it as a fricative, but I think that like [w] and [ʍ] (which I also do not pronounce when speaking Slovenian, since I use [v] and [f] instead) [ʋ] is the "correct" pronunciation, one used by the majority of speakers. (talk) 20:34, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I've heard the vowels are often classified as you say. But the IPA has to have some practical value; that is, the symbols must really represent their respective sounds, otherwise it doesn't make any sense. What if (Slovenian) /e/ and /ɛ/ were articulated at the same place? That would make a real mess, since we would need to use the same symbol for both of them according to your logic! The point is, when someone (not speaking Slovenian) comes to this website and reads the stuff about phonology, he thinks that Slovenians have /ɔ/, which would be like the English one in for /fɔɹ/, and also /o/, which would then be even more closed (by definitions of these two vowels). But what about words like gora, zora, pretok, grozen, ... (/'ɡɒra/, /'zɒra/, /prɛ'tɒk/, /'ɡrɒzən/)?? (talk) 20:13, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Undeveloped language?[edit]

"Although Slovene is not an endangered language, its scope is shrinking considerably, especially in science and higher education." The reference above that I removed from the entry is of little importance. It represnts Slovene as it would be some semi-developed language, unable to cope with needs of it's speakers. Slovene is evolved as much as any other modern central/southeastern European language (especially other related Slavic languages are quite proper comparison) - it is useable, and it is in use in every level of communication. The seemingly deciline of it's usage in higher education is not due lack of proper expressions/definitions, but due multitude of material in other languages and the fact that global community in every given field is unable to understand Slovene. If one thinks that mentioned reference should be included, I would suggest that this should be done in some other section of this article. -Matic- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:45, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I've moved the sentence to the end of the 'History' section and added the opinion of Joža Mahnič so that different perspectives are presented. Feel free to further elaborate it. --Eleassar my talk 11:34, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Reduction of unstressed vowels[edit]

The phonology section says that Slovene practices reduction of unstressed vowels. But how is that reduction practiced? Are certain phonemes merged or disallowed when unstressed? Is /ə/ restricted to unstressed syllables and before "syllabic" /r/, or does it also occur in other environments? And what is the relationship between the accents used in the full orthography, and the tones and/or vowel qualities they represent? These are questions the article doesn't answer for me, but I'd like it to! Could someone who is knowledgeable help out? Thank you! CodeCat (talk) 21:54, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Is /v/ a phoneme?[edit]

When does it occur? The only possibility I can think of is that it occurs when /f/ undergoes voicing assimilation, but does that make it a phoneme or just an allophone? CodeCat (talk) 13:39, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it is a phoneme, not an allophone of /f/. Compare the minimal pair fíno 'fine' vs. víno 'wine'. Doremo (talk) 14:02, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
But that is pronounced with /ʋ/ isn't it? As far as I know, the sound in víno is phonologically not a fricative as it does not alternate with /f/ unlike the others, and that's why it is transcribed /ʋ/. But the table currently contains both /ʋ/ and /v/... CodeCat (talk) 15:23, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
The phonetic realization of the phoneme /v/ varies with the individual speaker as well as with the phonological environment. It is generally not a strong labiodental fricative, as in English. /ʋ/ should not be included in the table as a phoneme distinct from /v/, but may be included as the allophonic variant [ʋ] (for a good English source, see: Peter Herrity. 2000. Slovene: A Comprehensive Grammar. London: Routledge, pp. 15–18); /v/ is usually selected as the representation of the phoneme regardless of its various allophonic realizations. Doremo (talk) 15:44, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Having heard some spoken examples of Slovene, I've noticed some things about word-initial v- before a consonant (like in vsi "all"). The article says this should be [w] or [ʍ], but what I hear sounds like a full vowel [u], and "vsi" sounds like a two-syllable word [uˈsi]. I wouldn't know how to pronounce [wsi] or [ʍsi] anyway, it doesn't seem like a very likely combination. So how does this work? CodeCat (talk) 02:01, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
[ʍsi] is pretty typical in Ljubljana. Also [fsi] in the east. And [uˈsi] is also quite common. The pronunciation may also vary in an individual speaker with his or her tempo of speech. Doremo (talk) 04:28, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok, thank you. I've clarified this in the phonology section some. Can you see if it's correct, or maybe add details that I missed? CodeCat (talk) 12:01, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
I would suggest removing the part about [f] and [fsi] because it's a dialect pronunciation, but the article is (predominantly) about standard Slovene. A good English-language presentation of this is also available in: Marc L. Greenberg. 2000. A Historical Phonology of the Slovene Language. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter. Doremo (talk) 12:22, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

The tone rewrite[edit]

Thank you Benwing for rewriting that section, it is much clearer now. But there are a few questions I still have currently. Firstly, the two tones are denoted high and low in the article, but it's also mentioned that high is also called falling or circumflex, and low is rising or acute. How is this actually denoted in IPA? The IPA diacritics currently used in the article don't actually correspond, since the acute diacritic denotes high tone in IPA while the circumflex denotes falling tone rather than low tone. Is there a standard IPA transcription for the tones of all dialects in general? I did find one book that denoted the acute accent as ´ in IPA (a high tone) and the circumflex as ` (a low tone), but now I'm not sure if that is actually correct.

Secondly, since tone is not distinguished in short vowels, what is the difference in purpose between the tone diacritics ̏ and `? In which cases may each one occur? Do they denote a phonemic difference or is it only allophonic? Perhaps a table of all possible combinations of vowels and tone (including a separate row/column for /ər/), denoted in both the tonemic orthography and IPA, would be helpful in understanding the relationships. CodeCat (talk) 14:40, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Lingua Vandalica (Prekmurian language)[edit]

There are several words of the Vandalic (Prekmurian language ) which survived until today in Prekmurian "dialect" and are still "hushed up" (hidden away from orthodox linguists)which share Centum backbone; example: INDA which means "nekoč" (once upon a time, long time ago - in ANTIque) in Slovene and is similar to the Sanskrit term "Anta" (at the END (or beginning) of something. Or also INDRI, SINDRI, NINDRI (probably drawing similarities with germanic "other, andere"(transmutation of A into I; Andere into Indri); in Slovene today as "drugje", "vsepovsod", "nikjer" (else, everywhere, nowhere) or also INAN (in Slovene as Drugam; otherwhere) which is similar to German "Hinaus, Hinein". Or for example "SIGDAR"(vedno ("always") in Slovene). Probably shares similarities with German "sicher" ("sure"; as is always used & is checked). Vandalic language was probably a mixture of Gothic & Slavic languages as I am trying to explain above. There remained an unique word in Prekmurian Slovene which shares similarity with Ancient Egyptian & Coptic language - KMT or KHEMET; which means "Black (soil)". In Prekmurian people instead of Slovene word Tema (Darkness) rather use word KMICA (pronounced as "KMEETSA") and the "darkened, nightly" (Temačen in literal Slovene) as KMIČNÄ & also Čoren, Čaren (as in Russian "black" - Chorny; Črn in Slovene; deriving from the word "Čar" or "Charm" (Magics)... So did Vandals in Africa used original word for Egypt as "Khemet" (in Prekmurian means "Darkness" & not "dark soil" as is believed among Egyptologists (who can only speculate how the word for KMT was in reality pronounced or spoken and understood) and brought it from there or did the Afro Asiatic languages influenced this eastern Prekmurian "Slovene regional" language). If so where did it happen? Because Slavs came only from the Carphatian marshes in 6th century... So my point is that Slovene was never an unique language & Prekmurian shouldn't have the status of "regional slovene dialect" so easily (there were & are attempts for destruction of Prekmurian from several academic circles from Ljubljana & even Belgrade; Prekmurian (Lingua Vandalica) language became stigmatized and even forbidden in Grammar Schools. Hungarians allowed it as the literal language until the end of WW2. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The form kmica is simply a predictable result of normal dissimilation: t(e)m- > km-, like d(e)nar > gnar. The other "etymologies" offered here are equally dubious. Doremo (talk) 07:10, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Doremo, you can't be considered as a serious scholar for this debate about Prekmurian language because you are a Slovene. Prekmurian language was/is still under a strong nationalistic "Slovene" pressure and was forbidden in 1945. The words above are my personal studies which were never represented to the major public world wide about the Vandalic language. And you are totally wrong about this claim about the so called "dissimilation" of KM into TM; here are no proofs of transmutations from the Semitic into proto Slavic(=old Church Slavic from 9th century AD) *tьma. Prekmurian kmica is a result of the indirect linguistic contacts with Vandalic (Germanic) languages at the times of their colonization, migrations into northern Africa or other contacts with Akkadian or even perhaps with Hebrew or Coptic.

"The other "etymologies" offered here are equally dubious." So you are suggesting that INDA derived from Slovene form of the word? No. It is of purest proto-Germanic origin and has 0 to do with Slavic language.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I agree with Doremo. This is speculation without much linguistic basis. CodeCat (talk) 12:56, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
The unsigned user should consult a reliable source (e.g., Bezlaj, France. 1977. Etimološki slovar slovenskega jezika, vol. 1. Ljubljana: SAZU, p. 211; Bezlaj, France. 2005. Etimološki slovar slovenskega jezika, vol. 4. Ljubljana: SAZU, p. 165; among others) and review Wikipedia:No original research. Doremo (talk) 13:02, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Why should I "consult a reliable source from Bezlaj". Bezlaj didn't know Prekmurian language. I am giving you proto Germanic roots above; here I am giving you a reliable source (an example is word Inda): ANTA; . It did not derive from Slavic. The same with words Indri, Sindri, Nindri, Inan,...The mentioned words above came from the Vandalic language.

You should consult Bezlaj (among others) because he discusses the Prekmurje dialect words you are interested in. The Internet source you cite does not. Doremo (talk) 15:24, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Bezlaj does not mention words I am mentioning above. He never spoke or understood Prekmurian so he could not be a reliable source of information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Use of Slovene in the United States[edit]

The use of Slovene in the United states is mainly do to the large amounts of slovene immigrants that came to the United States in the 1940's. The majority of Americans who speak it are in the northern Ohio (Cleveland) Area. The number of speakers is several thousand but it is diminishing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:43, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

SP to IPA[edit]

I'm not sure what the problem is with using the SP transcription as a base for IPA. SP tonemic transcription can be converted into IPA (representing phonemes, not phonetics) mostly without loss. I disagree with Doremo's revert in this case. CodeCat (talk) 12:41, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Conversion from SP representation into IPA transcription is fine, and the SP representation is a reliable source and it should be used for such conversion. My revert did not improve the transcription overall because it reverted it to a deficient version without length marking (I overlooked that; I had intended it to read [slɔˈʋeːnski ˈjɛːzik]). However, the tonemic version [slɔʋèːnski jɛ̀ːzik] is lacking stress marks. Peter238 correctly points out that only stressed syllables in Slovene bear tone, and so if one is aware of this phonemic feature of the phonetic transcription then marking stress is indeed redundant. However, most readers that understand IPA will not be aware of this phonological rule, and so for most readers the transcription [slɔʋèːnski jɛ̀ːzik] will appear to lack stress marks, or to mark stress (not tone) using grave accents. Doremo (talk) 13:02, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Two other issues arise if marking tonemic accent. The first is whether it is pitch (high vs. low, Sln. višinska razlika) or contour (rising-falling vs. rising, Sln. gibanje tona) that is marked. The transcription [slɔʋèːnski jɛ̀ːzik] shows the pitch (low, low) but not the contour (rise, rise). (As above, this can be nonetheless be intuited if one happens to know that low pitch accents have a rising contour in Slovene.) Peter238's use of grave diacritics is also correct for marking pitch, but may confuse Slovene readers familiar with the SP representation because SP marks this accent with an acute. The second issue is consistency across articles. Murska Sobota is in SP and the tonemic values are marked, and so there is a reliable source for a tonemic transcription. However, Černelavci, Kupšinci etc. (in the same municipality) are not in SP, and so their transcriptions would necessarily be non-tonemic (unless one does original research to determine the tonemic values). Doremo (talk) 13:20, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
In Wiktionary the stress vs tone problem is solved by including both stress marks and tone markers. See wikt:slovenščina. CodeCat (talk) 13:21, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
We don't have to source every single pronunciation... or do we? Other languages don't require it. In my opinion, if you don't know the correct standard tones for a word you're free to post a stress-based transcription. That's better than nothing, not to mention that as far as I know most learners of Slovene opt for a non-tonemic accent. Not that it's very important here, just saying. Peter238 (talk) 14:45, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I haven't been giving sources for the transcriptions I add (not in ledes, only in special commentary in etymology sections). I agree that it seems like overkill. However, if anyone challenges or tags a transcription as needing a source, I can always easily provide a source for any non-tonemic toponym transcription. Doremo (talk) 15:17, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out (Wiktionary practice); I think it's a good solution (both stress marks and tone markers). The presentation of the "Tonal orthography" at Wiktionary is also very useful for readers familiar with that method of representing the phonology. Doremo (talk) 13:27, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't really care if we include stress marks or not (in my opinion they're redundant if we mark tones), but we definitely should include tones - however we're going to transcribe it. I recommend [àː áː á a], that's how Slovenski Pravopis transcribes tones. Take a look here: "Slovenski pravopis 2001: MS".  Writing [ǎː âː â a] would be against most sources, at least those that I've read. Either way, we must be consistent. --Peter238 (talk) 14:45, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm thinking primarily in terms of transcriptions for toponyms. Reliable sources are widely available for non-tonemic pronunciation of almost every Slovene place name (and quite often for personal names too). Tonemic representations are not consistently available, so using tonemic transcriptions for some and not for others would be inconsistent. As also mentioned above, most learners of Slovene opt for a non-tonemic accent. Tonemic information is informative at some level, but I don't see how it can be given consistently across articles—and, if stress markings were also omitted, such transcriptions could confuse the people that need them most: 1) general readers of IPA that do not know the Slovene phonological rules relating stress to tone, and 2) learners that may be familiar with the SP system and thus misread [slɔʋèːnski] as having a stressed [ə] instead of a stressed [e]. Doremo (talk) 15:11, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
That's reasonable. There's one but: how [slɔʋèːnski] could ever be mistaken for *[slɔvə̀nski]? /ə/ can't even be long in Slovene (and also commonly in other languages, but that's another story). Besides, the mere fact that SP provides lots of transcriptions for abbreviations (basically, from what I've seen every single one), and there's basically always a schwa in there doesn't mean that it's the only thing that Slovenski Pravopis uses the IPA for, because it's not. It can also provide transcriptions for other words, but I think it's mostly loanwords. Take a look at this entry for example: "Slovenski pravopis 2001: Buckingham".  Peter238 (talk) 19:38, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
The SP transcription [bákingem] isn't IPA. The e presumably represents [ə], not [e], and even as a phonologically adapted loan word in Slovene it would be [ŋg] not [ng]. Moreover, presumably represents [ˈba], not high tone. Doremo (talk) 03:36, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
...that's true, thanks. Peter238 (talk) 07:12, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
If tonemic information is provided, I'd favor it being added to a stress transcription (i.e., [slɔˈʋeːnski] → [slɔˈʋèːnski], as in Wiktionary) rather than replacing a stress transcription (i.e., [slɔˈʋeːnski] → [slɔʋèːnski]). In that way, readers could read the transcription either way (for stress or tone, or both). I don't see potential redundancy as a drawback. Doremo (talk) 15:25, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
There's also this comment at Stress: "Linguists frequently mark primary stress with an acute accent over the vowel, and secondary stress by a grave accent. Example: [sɪlæ̀bəfɪkéɪʃən]...." If so, omitting the vertical stroke (ˈ) in a tonemic transcription could result in the acute/grave being misread as marking primary/secondary stress rather than high/low pitch. Doremo (talk) 16:22, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't think consistency is a good argument. Wikipedia provides what it can, and there are no rules that say that all similar articles have to provide the same information. If the tones are known, we should provide them. If they're not, then we can omit them. That's not a problem. CodeCat (talk) 15:34, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
As for pitch and contour, that is probably more a problem of how various sources describe it. This article describes the tones as flat low and flat high pitch, but I don't know enough about Slovene in detail to say whether this is accurate. If the tones are actually rising and falling, then this article should be corrected to reflect that. CodeCat (talk) 13:25, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
According to Herrity (2000: 10), "The phonetic details are very complex and disputed. Basically the [SP] circumflex is a high pitch accent with a rising falling contour, and the [SP] acute is a low pitch accent with a rising contour, which may be preceded by a slight fall." Various sources will differ somewhat in their descriptions. Doremo (talk) 13:31, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I think this would be good information to include in the article. In any case, our phonemic transcriptions don't need to be phonetically accurate in every small detail. On Wiktionary we settled for transcribing only the pitch level, because that's what sources I could find at the time. For Serbo-Croatian we transcribe them as rising and falling. I've also seen those terms used to describe Slovene tones, especially in the context of Slavic comparative linguistics. So I suppose the question is really, what description better describes the essence of the two tones. Is it the pitch that is the most distinctive, or is it the rising or falling contour? It doesn't have to be exactly phonetically accurate, as long as the main distinction is indicated. Compare this to English for example where /p/ also has aspiration, so it would be possible to describe /p/ as aspirated and /b/ as unaspirated (with secondary voicing). But the essential difference between /p/ and /b/ in English is not aspiration, but voicing. In the same way, one could ask whether the rising or falling contour is the essential feature, or the pitch itself. CodeCat (talk) 13:42, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
English-language Slavic studies generally refers to "long rising," "short rising," and "long falling" tone in Slovene, favoring contour (but this terminology may be influenced by the terminology traditionally used for Serbo-Croatian). Herrity (cited above) appears to give equal weight to pitch and contour. Toporišič's grammar (1976: 66) may favor pitch by citing it first (e.g., "nizki ton (nasled. zlog visok") 'low tone (next syllable high)'), but the small encyclopedia by Toporišič (1992: 329) gives these features in the opposite order, stating that tonemic opposition may be based on contour or pitch ("se lahko opira na gibanje tona ... ali na višinsko razliko"). Both pitch and contour are clearly involved, but I'm not qualified to judge which is more distinctive or salient. Doremo (talk) 14:09, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
One could also represent a level-contour combination: low rising [e᷅ː], high falling [ɛ᷇ː], etc. This would have the advantage of unambiguously distinguishing IPA [è] from SP è (= [ɛ] or [ə]). Doremo (talk) 16:10, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
But we don't have to distinguish these. As far as I know, SP is a perfect tool for learning pronunciation, because as long as you know the basics of Slovene phonology, it tells you everything you need to know about each entry's pronunciation. Back on topic: SP says every single time when a word has a schwa in it, look at the light blue coloured transcription. When there's no schwa it's a sign of an open-mid /ɛ/. Besides, there's always a narrow transcription of stressed vowels at the right. It's in dark blue. I can assure you, most of people who can read narrow non-IPA transcriptions in Slovenski pravopis knows the exact difference between [ɛ ə e] or [ɔ o] in IPA. Besides, we also need to consider the easiness of transcribing and reading. Why do you think that the - in my opinion not justified enough - way of transcribing English r as /r/, rather than /ɹ/ has survived until today? Because it's easier to type and read. I'm still for the high/low signs with added stress marks (that you convinced me of). Peter238 (talk) 19:09, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't always say. If the "e" is a fill vowel that disappears when an ending is added, then a schwa is not indicated. It must be inferred from the fact that it disappears. CodeCat (talk) 20:07, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
If that's really true, thanks for the info. Peter238 (talk) 20:22, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the SP system is very good for representing Slovene (of course, it has the advantage over IPA that it only needs to represent a single phonology). But not perfect. Not differentiating [ɛ] and [ə] in the transcription itself is a systemic flaw: for example, it has kmèt [ˈkmɛt] and pès [ˈpəs]. (This must be figured out by looking at the extra stuff added to the right or by noting which vowels are fleeting in the morphology to the right, as CodeCat points out.) In that respect, Pleteršnik's system was superior because [ə] was clearly differentiated from [ɛ] in the transcription itself. Doremo (talk) 20:38, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
On Wiktionary, schwa and l-pronounced-w is indicated in the tonal orthography of entries. Look at wikt:orel, which has both. Another shortcoming is that SP doesn't include all inflected forms, even when they're not necessarily all that predictable. For megla for example, I have no idea how all the inflected forms are accented. Presumably they're all accented on the first syllable of the ending, and are short when final, but there's no way to tell, never mind what tone the two-syllable endings like -ami will have. CodeCat (talk) 21:25, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

As an attempt to summarize this discussion, it appears that Peter238 does not object to including the stress marks in a tonemic transcription. I do not object to including the pitch marks (ignoring contour) in a stress transcription. The Wiktionary-type transcription that CodeCat pointed out, with both stress and pitch marks ([slɔˈʋèːnski ˈjɛ̀ːzik], [ˈmúːɾska ˈsóːbɔta]), appears to be the right compromise. Doremo (talk) 03:56, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Yep. Don't forget to use our new IPA-sl template though :) It links transcriptions to this guide: Help:IPA for Slovene. Peter238 (talk) 07:12, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

I discussed this matter today with a senior professor at the University of Ljubljana who has been involved in teaching the topic. He stated that tonemic contour, not tonemic pitch, is both perceived and taught as the salient tonemic element in Slovene (i.e., students are taught about "rising" and "falling" tones, not "low" and "high" tones), and therefore the appropriate choice for IPA transcription would be [slɔˈvěːnski ˈjɛ̌ːzik], not [slɔˈvèːnski ˈjɛ̀ːzik], just as in IPA for Serbo-Croatian. Doremo (talk) 11:40, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Yay... does that mean we have to fix all the entries in Wiktionary now? CodeCat (talk) 12:38, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Doing so would result in more uniform tonemic notation for the (west) South Slavic languages as a group. Maybe a bot could be created to do it? It should be a relatively easy switch (all graves → carons, all acutes → circumflexes). But let's wait and see if there are other comments. Doremo (talk) 13:03, 13 June 2014 (UTC)


It'll be very useful to have the information from the following papers in this article:

  • According to this paper: "On the vowel system in the present-day Slovene".  vowel length isn't phonemic in Slovene. Rather, it's just the bookish "standard" accent that imposes an artificial phonemic distinction between stressed /a ɛ ɔ i u/ and stressed /aː ɛː ɔː iː uː/, when in fact many (or most?) native speakers of Slovene aren't capable of making such distinctions naturally.

I'd add it by myself, but my English isn't good enough to write it properly. Peter238 (talk) 20:21, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Schwa can't be epenthetic because there are conceivable minimal pairs. In the genitive plural of most feminine and neuter nouns, a schwa is indeed epenthetic as the consonant clusters in which it must be inserted are predetermined and predictable. But in the nominative singular of many masculine nouns, a schwa is used to break up word-final clusters that are nonetheless permitted in the genitive plural of other nouns. This can be seen in many of the nouns in -ec, such as Slovenec, genitive singular Slovenca. Although a fill vowel is inserted here, the final cluster -nc is nonetheless permitted in senc, the genitive plural of senca "shadow". This means that the occurrence of schwa is not predictable in such masculine nouns (Slovenc is phonetically allowed, thus forming a minimal pair with Slovenec), and as such could never be purely epenthetic. CodeCat (talk) 21:19, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
I can't really comment on that (I don't fully understand Jurgec's paper), but that's interesting, thanks. Peter238 (talk) 07:16, 10 May 2014 (UTC)