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Title: Diachronic Change in Erzya Word Stress
Written By: Dennis Estill
Series Title: Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 246

Mordvin is a Finno-Ugrian language pair that is considered to be more
closely related to the Saami and Finnic groups than any other language.
Nevertheless, Erzya-Mordvin has word stress that does not conform to any
previously described system, and which cannot be categorised as either
fixed or free stress in the conventional meanings of these terms. No
comprehensive diachronic description of Erzya word stress has yet been
published. In investigating word stress in Erzya the historical analysis
in this study has been based on documentary evidence extant from the late
18th century, specifically the Damaskin Dictionaries commissioned for
Catherine the Great and ashort catechism, both of which documents are
marked for word stress, and the modern state of word stress has been
determined using auditory and acoustic methods. For the present day
analyses modern material was supplemented, for comparison purposes, with
extracts from the Damaskin Dictionaries and the Short Catechism. For the
interim period reference has been made to the work of Heikki Paasonen,
collected approximately 100 years ago. The results have shown that (1)
word stress in Erzya was and is based on the speaker's individual
preferences, (2) speakers generally prefer to stress the initial syllable
today whereas 200 years ago the second syllable was usua11y stressed, (3)
Moksha has probably undergone a similar development, (4) Mordvin cannot be
convincingly used to support theories of initial stress in Proto- Finno-
Ugrian, and (5) in modern Erzya, contrary to what is generally considered
of most other languages, it is intensity when combined with duration
rather than fundamental frequency that seems to be the main acoustic
parameter of word stress.

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Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Finno-Ugrian Society
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Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Erzya
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9525150801
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 249
Prices: Europe EURO 25