Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Syllabic consonants (in Czech and Serbian)

In the context of syllabic consonants in Slavic languages, I was pointed to two videos exemplifying them.

The first was in Czech: Jožin z bažin.

It’s even got its own Wikipedia page! Apparently, it was pretty popular, and I can kind of see why: it’s got a catchy tune, a silly story, and the contrast between the nearly motionless main singer and the backup singer seems pretty comical, too.

It’s also got quite a few examples of that typically Czech sound spelled ř.

Here’s a version where the description contains Czech lyrics along with a translation into Polish and English:

Syllabic consonants to watch out for are /r/ in “mrtvého” at 1:02 and /l/ in “vznesl” at 1:52 and in “klesl” at 1:56.

I was a bit surprised to hear that while the /r/ sounded like a simply syllabic /r/, the /l/ sounded as if it had a schwa in front of it, rather than being in a syllable all be itself.

The other video is to exemplify syllabic /r/ in South Slavic (Bosnian–Serbian–Croatian), in a song by Aleksandra Radović:

Syllabic /r/s can be found in “prvo” at 0:51, in “prvi” at 1:25, and in “mrvi” at 1:28.

Here, I was surprised at what seemed like a very obvious vowel before the /r/: not quite shwa, but something in the direction of [œ] (German short ö), I thought.


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