The Accentual Patterns of the Slavic Languages

Ultimo aggiornamento: 26 maggio 2021

Stankiewicz E.

The Accentual Patterns of the Slavic Languages

Stanford University Press, Stanford 1993

Accent is one of the most vexing problems in Slavic linguistics, and it has given rise to diverse schools of thought particularly in the area of historical reconstruction. Based on almost three decades of research, this monumental work is the first systematic description of the accentual patterns of all the Slavic languages with mobile stress: Slovene, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorossian, and Slovincian.

In addition, it pursues two supplementary, but by no means less significant, goals - to interpret the historical development of the accentual patterns and to make a typological comparison of their similarities and differences. This book differs from previous studies of the accentuation of the individual Slavic languages in both method and scope. Its consistent morphophonemic approach distinguishes automatic and nonautomatic alternations and emphasizes the role of the latter in the expression of Slavic grammatical categories and the various parts of speech.

Although the author's general approach is synchronic, it does not diminish the importance of the historical-comparative method, but gives it additional strength by placing the historic interpretation of Slavic accentual patterns on a solid descriptive base. Although Slavic accentology has been largely treated as an exemplar of historical reconstruction, the results have been clouded by controversy and doubt. This state of affairs is partly due to the scarcity of historical records, but even more to the lack of systematic and exhaustive descriptions of the contemporary accentual patterns. This book intends to fill that gap and to show to what extent these patterns continue to resemble one another in the midst of diversity and despite a long history of accentual change.

The historical sections and comments accompanying the synchronic descriptions are designed to trace the development of the accentual patterns from Common Slavic up to the modern period. The author touches on the basic properties of the Common Slavic accentual system, arguing that its overall design can be determined within the framework of Common Slavic rather than with reference to a Balto-Slavic accentuation which is modeled on that of Lithuanian.


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