Anna Melnikova

Stony Brook University
Talk Title: 
Palatalization triggers and targets in Russian loanword phonology
Event Type: 
Brown Bag Talk
Fall 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 1:00 pm
SBS S-207 (Linguistics Seminar Room)
Palatalization triggers and targets in Russian loanword phonology
In Russian loanword phonology, the behavior of palatalization in consonants before /e/ is not the same as in Contemporary Standard Russian (CSR). In loanwords, both palatalized and non-palatalized consonants can occur before /e/ and cases of free variation are also possible. Historically, in CSR, consonants before /e/ are always palatalized (Timberlake 2004: 58). The main concern of the current study is to determine what drives palatalization before /e/ in the loanword phonology of Russian. I address this question by investigating how Russian speakers produce non-native unfamiliar inputs with velar and dental consonants followed by one of the following English front vowels: /æ/, /ɛ/, and /eɪ/. The results confirmed a significant correlation between height of an input vowel and palatalization; consonants are more likely to palatalize before higher front input vowels than before lower front input vowels (universal typologies for palatalization triggers). The findings also show a strong correlation between palatalization and the place of articulation of a target consonant (the rules of the native phonology).