Talk:Short U (Cyrillic)

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Can someone support Ў being used as a syllable onset in Belorusian? The refs in the Belarusian article indicate otherwise. If not, we shouldn't go with IPA [w], which implies that it is a consonant rather than a non-syllabic vowel [u̯].

Ўў – this is a short non-syllable "u", quite similar to "w" in "low." [1]

The following [2] seems to indicate that it is a non-syllabic [u] and also an allophone of [v]:

If the letter у occurs after a vowel, even if the vowel ends the previous word, it is written as an ў. This letter is pronounced like the English 'w'.
Пайшлі ў хлеў 'She went into the shed.'
Стаіць у хляве. 'She is standing in the shed.'
Гэты хлеб увесь. 'This is all the bread.'
Гэта ўсё, што ёсць. 'That's all there is.'
Увайшлі яны ў хату. 'They went into the house.'
Я ўвайшоў у хату. 'I went into the house.'
The letter в cannot occur, unless it is immediately followed by a vowel, otherwise, it must change to a ў. The letter ў can precede iotized vowels, but is changed to a в if it precedes a non-iotized vowel. When preceding an iotized vowel, it is not always clear whether the consonant should be a в or an ў.
любоў love
любоўю with love
справа affair
спраў of the affairs
хлеў shed
за хлявом behind the shed
хлеў shed
у хляве in the shed

kwami 01:30, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Ў is consonant, not a vowel, in Belarusian. [u̯] (close back rounded vowel) is vowel, not a consonant. Your reference is quite right - Ўў – this is a short non-syllable "u", quite similar to "w" in "low."; and it is similar to both w in window. May be I'm not so right about English words low and window, since I'm not English native speaker; but I'm Belarusian native speaker, so I can at least check sound samples and I would say labial-velar approximant is much more like Ў. --Monkbel 08:15, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

There's a contradiction here. You say Ў represents a consonant, but you agree with, and they say it's a vowel, not a consonant. Just a non-syllabic vowel, which is what the diacritic under the [u̯] represents. That is, according to them, Ў forms diphthongs with other vowels.

First of all never says it's a vowel. It clearly says it is non-syllable, which does mean it is consonant (what to you mean non-syllabic vowel? Belarusian for sure has no such letters). Second, diphthong is a vowel combination; this means, Ў cannot form diphthongs since it is consonant. --Monkbel 13:25, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Can you give me an example of how Ў behaves as an approximant rather than as a semivowel? I've only seen it forming diphthongs, as in аў, оў, etc. Do you ever get a word that begins with Ўа? kwami 10:41, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

E.g., it can be used in the beginning of the words (if previous word ends with a vowel); see Гэта ўсё, што ёсць.. Also, it can be used just after the consonant of the foreign words; see тўід (tweed), тўіст (twist), Ўэлз (Wales), Ўімбэлдан (Wimbledon) and so on. See [3], 83rd paragraph, for reference. --Monkbel 13:25, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I can't really say I know more about Belorusian than either of you two, but I do know a little about non-syllabic [u̯] and [w]. They're the same thing. Now here's the kicker, if ў can be in the onset of a syllable, then it's a semivowel consonant in that instance. If a word like ўсё has two syllables, then it's a short vowel in that instance. It really looks like ў represents both anyway. I just changed it to w because that's what the Wikipedia and Omniglot [4] articles on Belarusian said. -- User:Aeusoes1
Thanks. The point is that ў never forms syllables; and ўсё has one syllable. --Monkbel 19:55, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

I wouldn't take Omniglot's word for anything. Even when they're not completely off, they use very broad transcriptions and simplify things for the English speaker. All that means is that [w] is the closest English has to ў.

Monkbel, you say that ў occurs at the beginning of words, but only when the previous word ends in a vowel. This is what my refs say. That sounds like liaison - it forms a single syllable (a diphthong) with the last vowel of the previous word.

Many, perhaps most, phoneticians would distinguish the two double-u's in English wow (or window, for that matter). The first is considered an approximant (consonant), while the second is a semivowel (identical to a vowel except non-syllabic, and forming a diphthong with the previous vowel). That is, approximant and semivowel may be the same thing in broad transcriptions, but they are distinguished when precision is desired. In a broad transcription that doesn't make this distinction, this might be [waw]. However, in a narrow transcription, it would be [wau̯]. Same for window. It seems that it is [u̯] that corresponds to ў in Belarusian words. Okay, ў does occur as a consonant, but only in foreign loans. Then I have to ask you, are these assimilated into the language? Do mono-lingual Belarusians (or people who only speak Belarusian and Russian), make a distinction between Ўэлз and Bэлз? Do ordinary people pronounce them differently? I would guess that, unless there's been a strong English or French influence in Belarusian pronunciation, these ў's are pronounced as fricatives (or however B is pronounced). kwami 21:44, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I see difference between w's in wow; it seems second w is quite long (almost the whole syllable). It should be because it is in the end of word. But in most Belarusian words ў is before next consonant, so it is always short (not so long as second w in wow). Sound sample for [u̯] shows quite long (maybe not full, but not so short as should be) u; and it doesn't correspond to ў in воўк (wolf); it is pronounced short, the same as ł in Polish, especially in words like fałszywa (fake), where it is before consonant. (I have spoken quite much with native Polish speakers).
What if you compare with ow before a consonant in English words, such as воўк with English toke, or аў with English out or house? Those might be more similar. kwami 02:14, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
What about distinction between Ўэлз and Bэлз... I think most people, who are less influenced by English, will pronounce it as (or almost as) Вэлз, but those who know English at least on basic level will clearly distinguish these two variants. --Monkbel 22:50, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Usually if a sound is only found in recent loan words, and especially if not everyone distinguishes it from other sounds, it is considered to be marginal rather than fundamental to the language. [x] is like that in many varieties of English. kwami 02:14, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm smiling here at both of your speculations about "wow" and "window." Wow is /waʊ/. As with all English diphthongs, both vowels are equal in length. Anyway, as for omniglot's accuracy, there are several pages [5], [6], [7] that have a rapid articulation diacritic similar to the kind you say they gloss over. I admit they could be wrong, but they could also be right and you can't just discount them because they don't agree with you.
Sometimes Omniglot is a good reference, but it's inconsistant. Like Wikipedia, many of the articles are demonstrable wrong, not just things I don't like. Also, that isn't a "rapid articulation" diacritic, it's a non-syllabic diacritic. It doesn't mean that the sound is short, only that it doesn't form the nucleus of a syllable. There is a separate symbol for extra-short vowels.
Many phoneticians would use <.> for syllable breaks rather than the non-syllabic diacritic. However, with English's "ambisyllabicity", that is not always an easy thing to do, because syllabic boundaries can be obscure. kwami 02:14, 6 November 2005 (UTC) It may be hard to determine the exact breaks (you maximize the onset) but even a native child speaker could tell you how many there were.
Of course a child can tell you how many syllables there are in a word, but not which consonants go with which syllables. Which is why using the non-syllabic diacritic is a less subjective way of distinguishing diphthongs from vowel sequences than using the period for syllable breaks, and why many phoneticians prefer it. kwami 09:41, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
I don't know if this will help, [8], but you can hear the speaker and see what a group that isn't afraid of diacritics (like Omniglot apparantly is) transcribes. AEuSoes1 06:56, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks! Interesting site. It looks like this native Belarusian speaker is still having trouble with English [w], even though his English seems quite good, which supports my suspicion that Belarusian doesn't have a [w]. kwami 09:41, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
Anyway, I move to put it as both if you two can't get that what you're arguing over is how to transcribe a Labial-velar approximant. It's the same thing (read the wikipedia article on semivowels). I noticed that User:Rydel put the information about ў being a labial-velar semivowel, he may be of help in this discussion. AEuSoes1 00:41, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm not arguing about how to transcribe [w]. Rather, I have serious doubts about Ў being a consonant. In everything I've seen, except for recent loan words, Ў behaves like part of a diphthong, like the coda rather than the onset of English wow. If wow is /waʊ/ rather than /waw/, then I would think that Ў should be described as a vowel that does not form a syllable / a second target of a diphthong / a semivowel / whichever term you prefer, rather than a consonant. (Let's not let a debate over terminology (whether semivowels are approximants or elements of diphthongs) get in the way of a discussion of the nature of Ў.) kwami 02:14, 6 November 2005 (UTC)


This page should be renamed Short U (Cyrillic) to match U (Cyrillic). In an English-language encyclopedia, Short U should be a discussion of the short U sound in the English language. Nareek (talk) 13:33, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Done. —Coroboy (talk) 11:42, 21 March 2011 (UTC)