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1.0 Chuvash Dialects

    When English is written, the reader cannot distinguish the prose of an Englishman from that of an Australian or an American, unless unusual words or expressions are used. When we hear a speaker of English, we immediately perceive the difference between someone from Boston, New York or Atlanta, as well as the differing pronunciations of English speakers from abroad. The same thing applies to Chuvash. The formal written language, or simply “Literary Chuvash,“ exists only in one form, unless the writer purposely chooses a dialect word. The spoken language, however, exists in a number of slightly differing forms, as spoken by people in various districts and villages.
    Chuvash distinguishes two basic territorial dialects, the upper or virjal (from vir ‘upper‘ + jal ‘village, people‘), spoken in the northern or flatter regions nearer the Finnic peoples, and the lower or anatri (from anat ‘lower part‘ + -ri ‘the one in‘), spoken in the
    southern forested areas. There are definite differences between them, but the official language of books, newspapers, magazines, the radio, schools and theater, was largely formed on the basis of the lower (anatri) dialect of Chuvash. When there are two words in the Chuvash vocabulary for an item, the one from the lower dialect was usually taken for the literary norm, such as the words anne ‘mother,‘ şerşi ‘sparrow‘ asatte ‘grandfather,‘ sehet "watch, hour," inşe ‘far,‘ kăshkăr- ‘to cry out,‘ hăşan ‘when,‘ şăkăr ‘bread,‘ timĕrşĕ ‘smith,‘ and so on. Words from the upper dialect are ash ‘meat,‘ pichche elder brother‘ and others. Sometimes, there are two words, one from each major dialect, as uj and hir ‘field,‘ ulăh and hăpar_ ‘to risc, ascend,‘ or vărş-. and sapăş- ‘to fight, Struggle.‘
    The difference between the various spoken dialects of modern Chuvash is very slight, so that for native speakers, there is no difficulty in mutual comprehension. The upper dialect regions correspond mostly to the districis of the old Kazan Province, and the lower dialect regions to those of the old Simbirsk Province. The exact boundary of the dialects (dialect isogloss) can be indicated on a map by following the data given in Ashmarin‘s Thesaurus, Vol. 1, pp. 217-226, under the entry anatri chăvash.

1.1 Orthography and Alphabets of Chuvash

    The Volga Bolgars, being under the influence of Islam, naturally used the Arabic script for whatever writing in their own language they may have done. There is some evidence that books may have been produced in this script, but our chief source of information is some inscriptions on Volga Bolgarian tombstones from the 13th and 14th centuries, and a list of Bolgar princes from the 8th century in a Slavic source. It may be presumed that these ancestors of the present-day Chuvash, like other Turkic peoples, had a rich heritage of lays, ballads, epics and sagas which were transmitted orally, but it does not appear that any of them were ever written down.
    Thus, quite a few centuries went past in which the Chuvash language was not written down at all. In the 18th century, as Russian expansion, colonization and missionary activity moved eastward, a need arose to reach the Chuvash people in their own language. The natural choice for a script was of course the Russian or Cyrillic alphabet, just as the languages of native America have been written with alphabets deriving from English. The first transcriptions of Chuvash were rather unscientific, and made use of many more letters than were necessary. In 1871 Ivan Yakovlevich Yakovlev, a Chuvash teacher in Simbirsk, devised an improved form of the Chuvash alphabet, based on the Russian with addition of five new letters to denote Chuvash sounds not found in Russian. Unlike English, where one letter may denote several sounds (phonemes), or even worse, where a combination of letters is used to denote a unit sound (as th, ch, sh), this Chuvash alphabet used only one letter for one sound, regardless of what combinatory vaiants that sound might undergo. This was a very good alphabet, and was used with hardly any change until 1938, when five letters were eliminated and the sounds indicated by them written in the Russian manner as part of a general program to bring Russian and non-Russian languages closer together in their writing systems.
    At present, Chuvash is written with all 33 letters of the modern Russian alphabet, to which 4 letters with diacritical marks above and below are added, making a total of 37 letters. Quite a few of these letters, however, occur only in Russian words which have made their way into Chuvash recently. Western Turcologists usually prefer to write Chuvash in a Latin alphabet with diacritics, as this makes the connections between Turkic languages clearer.

1.11 The Chuvash Alphabet

    The following alphabetical table gives the letters in the Chuvash alphabet of Yakovlev, that of the present-day, and the transcription into English letter s a s given in this book.
(б)бbIn Russ. &for. words only
(г)гgIn Russ. &for. words only
(д)дdIn Russ. &for. words only
еeyeOld=e everywhere; new=ye - initially and e elsewhere
ёyo or ёOnly in Russian loanwords
(ж)жzhIn RUSS. & for. words only
(з)зzIn Russ. &for. words only
и, iиi
ййi or yOccurs only after vowels. Transcribed as y except after i
љ(љ)l or lyNot a separate letter today
њ(њ)n or ny"Not a separate letter today
(o)ooIn Russ. & for. words only
pr or ry, r"Not a separate letter today
ттt (t")Not a separate letter today
(ф)фfIn Russ. & for. words only
xxh or x
(ц)цtsIn Russ. & for. words only
(ш)шshOnly in Russian loanwords
(ъ)ъ"" or omittedOnly in Russian loanwords
(ь)ь" or omittedBoth foreign and native words
эeOccurs initially and in loanwords

    Although the old Yаkovlev alphabet is no longer used, there are still many books in Chuvash in this alphabet which the student may have need to consult, as the works of Ashmarin on Chuvash. Those consonants given in parentheses in the preceding table did occur in Chuvash transcriptions of Russian and foreign names, but were not used in any native Chuvash words. Today, however, those consonants are counted as part of the regular Chuvash alphabet. The order of that alphabet, too, was rather different from the present one, which follows the Russian order closely. The old alphabet has all the vowels first, with the reduced ă and ĕ last, followed by the semivowels y and v. The consonants range in order after that. In transcription this alphabet ran as follows: a, e, y, i, u(o), ü, ă‚ ĕ, j, v, k, l, l", m, n, n"‚ p, r, r", s, ş‚ t, t", ch‚ (f), h and sh. This is the order used in Ashmarin"s 17-volume Chuvash dictionary. Note particularly that Russian e has the value of e, not of ye as it does in the present alphabet. Further, the sounds represented by the present-day Russian letters ю and я were given in the old alphabet as йу and йa.
    About 1938 a revision of the Yakovlev alphabet was introduced in Chuvashia, which meant the dropping of the four letters љ, њ, т (with breve) and ћ‚ the use of Russian ю and я, as well as э/e, the introduction of the voiced consonants (b, d, g, zh‚ z and so on) as part of the alphabet, and the adoption of the Russian order of letters as given in a second column.
    In Western works on Turcology, the student may encounter yet another transcription of Chuvash words. The chief differences are that ĭ=i, ə=ĕ, ê=ă‚ and tsh=ch. Other changes are easily understood.
    In the present work, we are going to use an English transcription of the Chuvash alphabet, for several reasons. In the first place, the English letters represent a mechanical substitution of certain English letters for the corresponding Chuvash or Russian letters, that is, a is a, t is t, and so on. The student faced with learning the vocabulary and grammar of a new language should not have the hurdle of new letters to contend with. When he has learned what some words mean, then it will be meaningful to see them in their native dress. Further, the relationships between Turkic languages and Chuvash are more apparent when a Latin alphabet is employed. Lastly, from a practical point of view, it is very difficult to prepare the text of such a work as the present one employing two or three typewriters at once, one for each of several scripts involved.
    The reading selections accompanying this work are, however, given in the regular Cyrillic alphabet for all contemporary selections, and the Latin alphabet is only used for folkloristic selections. The student should begin to familiarize himself with the Russian-type alphabet as soon as a few lessons have been covered, by beginning one of the first reading selections in the modern script.
    The English order of letters is used in the Glossary of the Reader, and is as follows: a, ă‚ b, ch‚ d, e, ĕ‚ f, g, i, y, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, ş‚ sh‚ t, u, ü, v, h, j, z, and zh. Note that the Russian
    order differs by placing at the end some letters we are accustomed to find at the beginning, and vice versa.

1.2 The Sound System of Literary Chuvash


1.20 Foreword to the Specialist or Teacher

    The Yakovlevian or prerevolutionary Chuvash phonemic System contained only voiceless consonants, liquids, nasals and semivowels. The voiceless consonants (stops, fricatives and affricates) had voiced allophones in intervocalic position and after (but not before) liquids, nasals and semi-vowels (l m n r v j). All consonants could occur geminated, except the voiced allophones in the positions mentioned. Thus, as voicing was always accompanied by absence of length in these positions, it was never necessary to write any voiced consonants, as the voiced allophones were used only under statable conditions. Free variation of voiced and unvoiced consonants also occurred initially and finally as a junctural or sandhi feature of word liaison.
    After the Revolution, however, Russian words with voiced consonants began to be introduced in large numbers, this being aided by the presence of voiced allophones already in the language (the voiced consonants in older Russian loanwords were converted to their unvoiced equivalents for the most part). At the same time, the feature of length after /l m n r v j/ began to be neutralized. Whereas formerly Ashmarin (III, 52-53) could oppose /yltăm/ [yldĕm] to /ilttăn/ [ylttăn] ‘gold, gold coin,‘ /kurka/ [kurga] (VII, 8) ‘scoop, ladle‘ to /kărkka/ [kĕrkka] (VII, 179) ‘turkey‘ and type s like /jultash/ [juldash] ‘comrade‘ to types like /ulttă/ [ulttĕl,‘ six,‘ at present, if we are to believe the statement of Yegorov (Chuvash-Russian Dictionary, p. 302) “this in our time is no longer a sign of length, but a mere orthographical device to denote voiceless consonants in a voiced position.“ Hence, a new opposition of volced to unvoiced after /l m n r v j/ has arisen. In other words, formerly /karta/ was [karda] ‘herd‘ and /karttă/ was [karttă] ‘map;‘ now, they would be [karda] versus [kartă], thus op-
    posing /d/ to /t/, formerly, /d/ being opposed only to /tt/. (It should also be mentioned that there are some cases of free variation, at least, insofar as the official orthography is concerned, between voiced and voiceless in the positions under discussion, e. g., /kakăra/
    and /kakkăra/, /jărka-/ and /jărkka-/, and /kărtăsh/ vs. /karttăsh/.)
    Consequently, the provisional phonemic analysis of Chuvash texts presented here (in heu of an analysis of a spoken corpus) considers, for pedagogical reasons, native voiced consonants to exist only as allophones to their voiceless counterparts under statable conditions. This means that the transcription between slant lines is not strictly phonemic, but rather morphophonemic or morphemic, based on the current orthography. From this orthography, a provisional phonemic writing may be constructed if desired, but for purposes of instruction, it is thought better to employ here only one system, making the transcription between slant lines essentially coincide with the spelling to be met by the student in contemporary printed texts.
    From a practical point of view, Chuvash writing is well suited to the language (although it does unnecessarily note the phonetic feature of palatalization). This is all the more remarkable considering that it was formulated in 1871, at a time when the word phoneme had not as yet been used (1879).
    The sounds of Chuvash are not difficult, and can be readily mastered by an English-speaking person, particularly if there is a native speaker of Chuvash to be of assistance in correcting one‘s pronunciation, If there is no one who can do this, then the student must endeavor to approximate the pronunciation from the written description of sounds until such. time as actual speakers of Chuvash can be utilized.
    The phonemes of a language are the essential sounds by which words are differentiated from one another. These functional sound units which are significant in Chuvash can be divided into two major categories, the vowels and the consonants.

1.21 Vocalism

    There are eight vowel phonemes in native Chuvash words, plus a ninth /o/ employed only in Russian loanwords and dialect words. The following symbols will be employed for them.
high unrounded	 low unrounded	high rounded	reduced low rounded
front	i		e		ü		ĕ
back	y		a		u		ă

    Note carefully the use of diacritical marks over some of these vowels. These do not indicate any modification of the basic sound, as some might think, but are instead the symbols for completely independent sounds. That is, ă with a short mark or breve above it is not simply another way of writing a, it is a distinct vowel sound in its own right, although of course bearing a dose connection to the other vowel phonemes.
    More important perhaps than the exact articulatory quality of these vowels is the fact that they are phonemically opposed to each other. That is, what distinguishes /u/ from /a/ is not its phonetic rendering as much as its relative height in the presence or absence of labialization or rounding. In other words, phonetic [a] can vary in the direction of [æ], or /u/ can vary towards /o/ as long as the opposition to another partner is not obscured.
    1.2101 The back, low, unrounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /a/, and may be compared with the [a] of German or Russian (but not the flat a of English can or at). It is pronounced further back and with lower timbre than the Russian [a]. It occurs initially, medially and finally, varying from close to open, and may be stressed or unstressed. Examples are: /ama/ ‘mother,‘ /urpa/ ‘barley,‘ and /urapa/ ‘carriage.‘ It is opposed to other vowels in such words as: /pat/ direction, /pit/ cheek, /pĕt/ end! finish!
    1.2102 The back, low, rounded vowel is denoted by the Symbol /ă/ and does not have equivalents in English or Western European languages. It is always reduced, and can occur stressed only in the first syllable of a polysyllabic word. It varies in its phonetic realization from a reduced /i/ or [ə] (the schwa-like sound of a in English sofa) to a labialized version of the a in English all (with rounded lips). lt is like Russian /o/ or /a/ after the accent (as in direktor or traktor). It is fleetingly pronounced, and sometimes so reduced as to sound almost coalesced with the following consonant as in /kăvak/ ‘blue,‘ almost > [kvak], somewhat as when an English speaker slows down a consonant cluster to yield ‘pul-leeze!‘ Hence doublets sometimes occur, as /arăslan/ and /arslan/ ‘lion.‘ This vowel is an unstable one and drops easily at the end of words, or in compounds, e. g. ‚ tăvat(ă) ura ‘four feet.‘ By itseif, it is rather like a short ǒ, and when with other vowels, like a schwa, ə. Hence:
	/şăltăr/ ‘star‘ = [şắldăr], but /şămarta/ ‘egg‘ = [şəmardáJ
	/văkăr/ ‘bull‘ = [vắgăr], but /hăvar/ ‘stay!‘ = [həvár].

    It occurs initially, medially and finally, as in /unăn/ his, /ăşta/ where, /pulă/ fish, /ăn/ reason, mind, and is opposed to other vowels in such words as: /pulă/ fish, vs. /pula/ thanks to; /păr/ ice, vs. /pĕr/ one, a; /ut/ horse, vs. /ută/ hay.
    1.2103 The front, low, unrounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /e/, and varies between a closed [e] and an open [e], that is approximately from the sound of e in English best to the open e of French or German, e. g. ‚ Schnee, or the sound in English day without the final diphthongization. It occurs initially, medially and finally, as /erne/ week, /etem/ man, and may be stressed or unstressed. It is opposed to other vowels in such pairs as /jen/ side, against /jun/ blood.
    1.2104 The front, low rounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /ĕ/, and, like its counterpart /ă/, does not have an equivalent in English. It is essentially the same as /ă/, except that it is pronounced in the front of the mouth, like an unlabialized schwa (ə). It too occurs only reduced, and may be stressed only in the first syllable. It varies from a reduced [i] or [e] to its rounded equivalent [ö], with protruded or widespread lips. It may also virtually disappear between consonants, as in slowed-up English words like buh-read, or gah-rage. It is fleetingly pronounced, and like /ă/, is unstable in compounds and at the end of words.
    It occurs initially, medially and finally, as in /ĕntĕ/ now, already, or /pĕr/ one, a, /epĕ/ I, /ĕne/ cow, and others. It is opposed to other vowels in words like /pĕr/ one, a, /pur/, there is, /par/ give!, /pyr/ go!, /păr/ ice, /pir/ hemp, linen, /pür/ pus, and /per/ throw!
    To judge from the remarks of Ashmarin (Materialy, p. 13), some dialects of Chuvash distinguish [ĕ] and [ö] as phonemes, not allophones. In the literary language treated here, however, no distinction is made between such homonyms as /şĕr/ hundred and /şĕr/ earth, or between /kĕr/ enter! and /kĕr/ autumn. This feature should be made the subject of later investigation.
    1.2105 The front, high, unrounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /i/, and is to be compared with the [i] of French, German or Russian (but never with the i as in English night). It may occur stressed or unstressed, and in initial, medial or final position, as /ikkĕ/ two, /irhi/ morning, /pft/ cheek, face, /pin/ thousand. In English terms, it may be said to vary from the I of is to the i of he, without however the final glide of the latter. It is opposed to other vowels in pairs like /im/ medicine, vs. /ĕm/ such!, vs. /um/ front, fore, and /pir/ hemp linen, vs. /pyr/ go!
    1. 2106 The back, high, unrounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /y/, a dotless or undotted i, and may be compared with the sound denoted by the same letter in Turkish, or with the Russian y (yery), although it is articulated further back than Russian /y/. The lips are not rounded. Approximately the same sound may be found in English in such plurals as glasses, roses or churches, or in the word ‘just‘ when given the pronunciation that it has in some sections of the United States as ‘jist‘. Unlike all other vowels, which may occur initially, medially and finally, /y/ may occur only in initial or medial position, but finally, there is no phonemic opposition of /y/ to /i/. It may be stressed or unstressed. Examples are /yvăl/ son, /yran/ tomorrow, /yltăn/ gold, /pysăk/ large. It is opposed to other vowels in such pairs as /yran/ tomorrow versus /aran/ somehow.
    1.2107 The back, high rounded vowel denoted by the symbol /u/, and is comparable to the [u] of French (spelled ou), German or Russian, or that sound in English without the final w-like glide. It may occur initially, medially or finally, and in stressed or unstressed position. In some dialects, /u/ tends towards a lowered [o], especially when followed by /ă/. Examples of its use are /yvălu/ your son, /ulma/ apple, and /juman/ oak. Its opposition to other vowels may be shown by the pair /pur/ all against /par/ give!
    In some transcriptions of Chuvash, especially of folkloristic content, the student may find /u/ written as o, although o does not normally occur except in obvious loanwords like /oktjabr/ October, or /sovet/, soviet, or /ko1hoz/ kholkhoz, collective farm.
    1.2108 The front, high rounded vowel is denoted by the symbol /ü/, and may be compared with the German ü, French u, and approximately with such sounds as in English Buick, but pronounced with greater tension and more liprounding. Some English speakers approximate this sound in “music“ or “Tuesday“ (‘Tyews-day‘). The usual instruction for producing this sound is to round the lips for ‘ee‘ while articulating ‘oo‘, and this will yield an approximation of it for our present purposes. This phoneme may occur initially, medially and finally, in stressed and unstressed position, as in /üpke/ lungs, /pĕlü/ fact, thing known, /şurt/ house. In such pairs as the following its opposition to other vowels is shown: /pürt/ room ve. /purte/ all, every; /hura/ black, vs. /hüre/ tail, and /jun/ blood vs. /jün/ cheap.
    1.2109 The phoneme /o/ may be given the value of a short open o as in German or Russian o under stress. This phoneme occurs only in Russian loanwords, or as dialect forms to Chuvash words in their standard spelling. As mentioned previously, /u/ is in some dialects lowered to [o] by a following /~/. Words containing /o/ are /sovet/ council, soviet, /revoljutsi/ revolution, /produktsi/ production, and many others.
    1.2110 Note the orthographic convention (also observed in our transcription in this book) to write the combination /jo/ in Russian loanwords as ë‚ thus, /samolët/ for /samoljot/, or /lëtchik/ for /ljotchik/, meaning, respectively, ‘airplane,‘ and ‘pilot.‘ (But note /jod/ ‘iodine.‘)
    1.2111 There are no long vowels or vowel sequences in Chuvash, and no diphthongs, although there are syllabic nuclei of which /y/ is the first or second member. This /j/ may occur preceding all eight (or nine) vowels, and after vowels as foliows: /aj, ej, oj, uj, lj, ăj/. No examples have yet been found for /ĕj/ and /üj/. Hence, /j/ is treated as a consonantal phoneme in Chuvash.
    1. 2112 It will be noted by some that the ö and o of other Turkic languages is not to be found in (native) Chuvash words, their positions instead being occupied by ĕ and ă. This does not mean that Chuvash /ĕ/ corresponds to general Turkic ö, but simply that instead of a midlow rounded ö , there is a somewhat labialized e (hence the symbol ĕ or ə in some transcriptions), and instead of an o, a schwa-like reduced sound symbolized by ă (or ə). Thus the dose vowels of parent Turkish have in general become wider vowels.
    1.2113 Vowel Harmony
    The principles of labial attraction (by which a rounded vowel may be followed in a given word only by other rounded vowels) and vowel harmony (likewise, by which only vowels from the top line or the bottom line of the table on p. 70 may occur with each other) is in general rather weakly carried through in Chuvash, in contrast to its rather strict operation in some other Turkic languages. Particularly often is a mixture of front and back vowels to be found in the final syllables of words, when the possessive suffix of the 3rd p. sg. /-ĕ/ is adjoined, when the plural morpheme /-sem/ is used (the variants /sam/ and /sem/ occur only in spoken dialects, but not in the formal written language), or in the use of /i/ for /y/ finally. Thus we may find such pairs as:
/sarăl-/ to enlarge		/şyrka1a-/ to write a lot
/syrĕl-/ to shun		/şürkele-/ to walk a bit

    In fact, a great many suffixed morphemes exist in two forms, one to be used with words containing front vowels, and the other for use with back vowel words. This feature will be pointed out again when such morphemes of dual shape occur in the Grammar lessons.

1.22 Consonantism


1.220 General Remarks

    The consonant phonemes of Chuvash may be subsumed under two categories, the native versus the borrowed. From the view-point of the learner, nothing is affected by such a division, but a better analysis is obtained this way.
    The native consonant phonemes of Chuvash are unvoiced stops and spirants, the liquids and nasals, plus the semivowels /j/ and /v/. The unvoiced consonants are fortes initially and finally, and lenes medially unless doubled, when they remain fortes. To the untrained ear, the medial lenes consonants sound like their voiced equivalents, and no great harm will be done if voiced soounds are given. According to Yegorov (Dictionary, pp. 301-302), if the degree of voicing found in Russian consonants is taken as 100, then Chuvash consonants are voiced only between 70 and 80 on such a scale.
    In medial position, then, consonants are voiced intervocalically, and after but not before the liquids, nasals and semi-vowels, viz., /l m n r j v/. Consonants remain unvoiced before any other consonant, and before 1 m n r j and v, and if they are doubled (geminated). Many instances of the medial unvoiced pronunciation are found in some hypocoristic forms of kinship terms, as /appa/, /akka/, and in such final combinations as -rkka, which give these words a definite Finnic overtone.
    Clusters of consonants remain unvoiced, as /kalarĕşpe/ ‘when he said,‘ or /tuhsa/ having arisen‘ and the presence of a third consonant in a medial cluster also inhibits the normal voicing, viz. /saltra, vyrtma, saltsa/. Likewise, a voiceless consonant in final position, even if after /1 m n j r v/ remains voiceless, e. g. ‚ /salt, shart, pürt/ (cf. Ashrnarin, Materialy, p. 46). In medial clusters, one of the three will be /1 m r/. There are no initial consonant clusters in native words, but words taken from Russian display all of those found in that language, particularly /pr-/ being very common. The elision of /ă/ and /ĕ/ gives the acoustic impression of a cluster, as /kĕrĕshnĕ/ ‘he hired himself out‘ > [kĕrshnĕ].
    Sporadic, perhaps regular, voicing occurs across word and morpheme boundaries under conditions not as yet susceptible of definition without analysis of a spoken corpus. This occurs in some set phrases, as /şĕn şu1/ New Year‘s> [şenźul], or /jala kilet/ ‘he comes to the village‘ > [jala gilet‘]. A fuller investigation of this phenomenon must be made later.

1.221 Native Consonant Phonemes

    1.22101 The unvoiced postdental (or perhaps alveopalatal?) affricate is denoted by the symbol /ch/‘ and represents the general sound of ch as in cheese, cheer, church, etc. ‚ except that it is always palatalized in Chuvash. It occurs initially and medially, but finally, it is almost always followed by a vowel, e. g. ‚ /pichche/ elder brother. In a few forms, it is in absolute word-final position, as /şich/ ‘seven,‘ the short form of /şichchĕ/. It is frequently geminated, and in such a case, remains unvoiced medially and after /1 m n r j v/, but retains its palatalization. After an unvoiced consonant, /ch/ is unvoiced. (/lajăhche, vileschĕ, kalamaschĕ/).
/chechek/		[tshedzhék]		flower
/acha/			[adzhá]			child
/purchchĕ/		[púrchĕ]		there was, he was
/yranchchen/		[iranchén]		until tomorrow
/kachchăm/		[káchăm]		my child
/şukchĕ/		[şúkchĕ]		there was not
/chăvash/		[chăvásh]		Chuvash

    /ch/ may also occur opposed to other consonant phonemes, as in /aka/ field, vs. /acha/ child, or in /kilchĕ/ he came‘ vs. /kilchchĕ/ ‘you would come‘ (Dmitriyev & Gorskii, Russian-Chuvash Dictionary, p. 875). The latter example, if it is pronounced [kildzhĕ] vs. [kilchĕ] as we have seen earlier (pp. 68-69) would furnish a perfect minimal pair to construct a voiced /ĵ/ phoneme opposing the unvoiced /ch/. The word for “much, for a great deal“ has been found in texts in free variation, viz. [nummajchchen) (206,17; 208,5)*, vs. [nummajdzhen] [250,13; 256,3J.*
    It would also be theoretically possible to analyze /ch/ not as a unit phoneme, but as a succession of /t/ and /sh/. The only word thus far found with this internal combination is /patsha/, clearly a borrowing from Persian padishah ‘king, emperor,‘ and the gerundial ending /-atshan/, which occurs only in dialects (cf. Andreyev et al. Grammar, p. 268). There seems to be no merit in such an analysis, and /ch/ Is here retained to conform the transcription to the contemporary spelling.
    Some writers have transcribed ch as [ţ’], which would indicate a palatalized domal t. Such an analysis would lead one to oppose /t‘/ (plus retroflexion) to /t/, and to isolate palatalization as a phonemic feature. More information about the articulatory nature of ch is needed to resolve the analysis.
    1.22102 The unvoiced velar stop is denoted by the symbol /k/, and has basically the k-sound of European languages. Before front vowels, viz. ‚ /e, i, ü, ĕ/ it is somewhat palatalized. It is not aspirated, and may occur initially, medially or finally. Initially and finally, it is fortis, and medially, lenis, giving the acoustic impression of [g] as in get. In intervocalic position, or immediately after /1 m n r j v/, it becomes voiced. When doubled between vowels, it retains its unvoiced articulation.
/alăk/		door
/aka/		arable field
/kapla/		such, such a

    It is opposed to other Chuvash phonemes in such pairs as /aka/ [aga] ‘field‘ versus /akka/ [akka] ‘elder sister,‘ versus /acha/ [adzha] ‘child‘ or in the series /kapla, apla, sapla/ ‘such‘ (each denotes a degree of distance).
    According to the semiphonetic data of Paasonen‘s Texts, in the verb infix morpheme /-kala/, of iterative and intensive meaning, the /k/ appears to retain its unvoiced nature even after /l m n r/ (cf. p. 206, line 25), viz.:
/kulkalasa/ [kulkalaza]; /shĕhĕrkalasa/ [shĕhĕrkalaza]; etc.

    If these data are correct, it makes the patterning somewhat asymmetrical.
    As stated above, the /k/ phoneme has palatalized (soft) and non-palatalized (hard) allophones, conditioned by front and back vowels respectively. However, old loanwords from Russian are pronounced with a soft [k‘} finally, e. g. ‚ [starik‘] old man, {praşnik‘} holiday, or [premĕk‘] gingerbread, whereas modern loanwords are pronounced with a hard /k/ as in Russian, viz., /tehnik/, technique, /chertëzhnik/ draftsman, /kolhoznik/ collective farm worker. This phonetic difference shows up in the declension of these words, the former taking front endings, the latter back endings.
nom.		/starik/	/tehnik/
gen.		/starikĕn/	/tehnikăn/
dat.		/starike/	/tehnika/
instr.		/starikpe/	/tehnikpa/

    1.22103 The lateral resonant is denoted by the symbol /l/, and may be compared with the l-sounds of Western languages. It is palatalized before /ch/, and may occur initially, medially and finally. Palatalization occurs particularly in the vicinity of front vowels, but is also found with back. Since /l/ and /l‘/ are two phonemes in Russian the Chuvash orthography has been influenced to write a soft 1 /l‘/ where it is heard, although this distinction is not a phonemic one (no minimal pairs having been found as yet). In the present transcription, no soft sign (‘) is written. As noted in the foregoing, the presence of /l/ makes a following unvoiced consonant voiced (or semi-voiced, the acoustic impressions vary), but /l/ after an unvoiced consonant has no effect an that consonant. From the phonetic data available, apparently /l/ does not make /h/ > /γ/ [e. g. ‚ 207, 6, 209, 1-2: julhav], hut this may be due to a deficiency of typography in the sources, or at least inconsistency (cf. Sergeyev, Grammatika, p. 9, l sting /sulhăn/ as pronounced [sulgăn], presumably [g] standing for spirantic [γ]).
    /l/ frequently occurs geminated, especially as a result of the common formative morpheme /. la/ or /. Lăh]. Note such oppositions as /killĕn/ ‘of mortar‘ vs. /ki1ĕn/ of a house,‘ /pilĕk/ belt vs. /pillĕk/ five, or /ală/ hand vs. /a1lă/ fifty. The /l/ may also be opposed to other consonants, as /şul/ road vs. /şur/ half. Examples of initial and final position are /lajăh/ good, well and /mal/ front.
    No minimal pair (or subminimal pair) exists between /jul/ remain! and /ijul‘/, because the soft sign in the latter comes from a Russian loan, ‘July.’
    1.22104 The bilabial nasal resonant is denoted by the symbol /m/ and corresponds to the m sound of other languages. It occurs, initially, medially and finally, as in /mĕn/ what? and /mamăk/ cotton. In opposition to other consonants may be mentioned /um/ front vs. /ut/ horse.
    1.22105 The nasal dental (or alveolar?) resonant is denoted by the symbol /n/, and is like the n sound of other languages, produced probably somewhat more forward than is the corresponding sound in English. It occurs initially, medially and finally, and before /ch/ is palatalized to [ń]. Before /k/ and /h/, /n/ employs its allophone /ŋ/, namely, the sound of sing! as opposed to sin (compare an English pair such as can go vs. Congo.).
/nachar/				bad
/manăn/					my, mine
/anchah/ 	[andzhăh]		but, only, however
/an kar/ 	[aŋ gar]		don‘t spread out!
/an hup/ 	[aŋ hup] (γup?)		don‘t shut!

    In the hypocaristic form /anne/ ‘mother, a loanword from other Turkic languages, the /n/ is always palatalized, viz. [ańńe]. As remarked previously, when voiceless consonants follow /n/, they become voiced unless geminate.
    Note the combination /n/ + /l/> [ll], e. g. ‚ /mĕnle/ ‘what sort‘ being pronounced [mĕlle].
    1.22106 The unvoiced bilabial plosive is denoted by the symbol /p/, and corresponds to the /p/ of other languages, except that it is not aspirated, that is, followed by the slight breathiness that non-distinctively marks English utterances (compare pan with span). It occurs initially, medially and finally, and between vowels it becomes voiced or semi-voiced as it does when following /l m n r j v/ (but not preceding these). When written doubled between vowels, it is unvoiced, but this is restricted to only a few forms.
/tăpra/		earth, soil
/arpa/ [arba]	barley
/appa/		elder sister
/epĕ, epir/	I, we
/păs/		steam
/chap/		fame

    A [p] may also arise as an assimilation of /tp/> [pp~ (see /t/).
    1.22107 The alveolar trilled consonant is denoted by the symbol /r/, and may occur medially and finally. Initially it is restricted to loanwords: at least, all instances of Chuvash words beginning with r- are clearly loans, except for a small number of cases in which the etymology is not clear, and which are in all probability not ultimately native words. This feature is shared by other Altaic languages. In the phonetic material examined, no palatalized /ŕ/ occurs, but such an allophone is a feature of some Chuvash dialects. /r/ may occur geminate, witness /surăn/ ‘of a swamp‘ vs. /surrăn/ ‘of whiteness,‘ or /pattărăn/ hero‘s, of a hero, vs. pattărrăn/ heroically. Other instances of the use of /r/ are /vără/ seed, /pĕr/ one, a, and /rajon/ region (< Russian). In opposition, it may be seen in such pairs as /şar/ army vs. /şak/ this, or /ĕnen/ believe! vs. /ĕner/ yesterday.
    1.22108 The alveolar (presumably, that is) voiceless sibilant is denoted by the symbol /s/, and represents the s sound of English and other Western European languages. It may occur initially, medially and finally, and like other unvoiced consonants, becomes voiced or semi-voiced in intervocalic position, as well as after but not before the phonemes /1 m n r j v/. It may occur with front or back vowels. In the presence of /ş/ and /sh/‘ an /s/ readily assimilates, so that /ş + s/ > [şş] and /sh + s/ > [shsh], and vice versa (progressive and regressive assimilation). Instances are:
/namăssăr/		dishonorable
/sămsa/ [sămza]		nose
/păs/			steam

    In opposition, it occurs as follows: /suha/ plow vs. /şuha/ collar, and /sĕr/grease! vs. /şĕr/hundred.
    1.22109 The palatal voiceless sibilant is denoted by the symbol /ş/. Take care not to confuse this symbol with the following phoneme /sh/. The /ş/ has been selected for typographical ease and visual clarity, instead of the ş symbol found in the traditional Chuvash orthography (Cyrillic ç), and also because in modern Turkish ş denotes the sh sound.
    It must be stressed that this is an s of a different quality than the preceding s, and to acquire its pronunciation, a native speaker should be used. The presence of two s‘s is not unknown in other languages, as Basque and Nez Percé. Russian and Western descriptions of this /ş/ all call it a palatalized s‘ similar to Russian palatalized s. This is not quite correct. It is a palatal s, that is, an s pronounced in the palatal region, not an s to which a feature of palatalization has been added. This is confirmed by only one source (Yegorov, Dictionary, p. 303: “The sound ş is not a soft variant to the sound s, but represents an independent sound (phoneme)“). Since palatalization has not been phonemic in the case of /1 m n t r/, it would be inconsistent to expect it to play a role here. Thus, there can be no attempt to analyze /ş/ as /s + j/, even though this combination does not otherwise occur in Chuvash (except across morpheme boundaries), but it must be treated as a unit phoneme. It should be noted that /ş/ is always transcribed into Russian with the Cyrillic ç, and vice versa. It is clear that the situation is strongly influenced by Russian phonemics and orthography.
    The presence of a palatalized ş in neighboring Finnic languages such as Mari (Cheremis) is clearly a contributing factor in the existence of the Chuvash phoneme. More information on its articulatory nature is needed.
    /ş/ may occur with front or back vowels. Instances of its uses are: /şerşi/ sparrow, and /şurşăr/ north. Minimal pairs are /kun/ day vs. /kuş/ eye, or /simĕs/ green vs. /şimĕsh/ food. In conjunction with /s/, that /s/ is assimilated to /ş/.
    1.22110 The broad post-dental (perhaps alveopalatal?) sibilant is denoted by the symbol /sh/. Take care not to confuse its diacritic with that of /ş/. This is the sound of sugar, she, sure, and is also found in French, German, Russian, etc. It occurs initially, medially and finally, and between vowels, and after but not before /1 m n r j v/ is semi-voiced to [zh]. When doubled it has a voiceless pronunciation, but this is restricted to a very few words, such as /ashshĕ/ ‘father‘ (< *aşshshe). In conjunction with /s/, that /s/ is assimilated to /sh/. Instances of its use are the following.
/ash/			meet vs. /ar/ male
/shiv/			water
/shupashkar/		Cheboksary, capital of Chuvashia
/chăvash/		Chuvash
/patsha/		king, czar, ruler  (< Persian padishah)
/lasha/			horse (cf. Russian  loshad‘)..

    1.22111 The voiceless dental plosive is denoted by the symbol /t/ and is probably articulated further front than the corresponding sound of English. It occurs initially, medially and finally, and like other unvoiced consonant phonemes, when it is intervocalic or following /l m n r j v/, it has voiced allophones. Examples of its occurrence are the following:
/pit/		cheek
/tus/		friend
/sĕtel/		table (Russian stol)
/ut/		horse
/pattăr/	hero

    Its oppositions to other consonants may be shown as /par/ give! vs. /pat/ direction, towards, or /ut/ horse vs. /um/ front. An example of gemination is /tĕtĕm/ [tĕdĕm} smoke, vs. /tĕttĕm/ [tĕttĕm] dark. Others are /şuttăn/ ‘of light,‘ vs. /şutăn/ ‘of a hill, ‘ or /păttăn/ ‘of porridge‘ vs. /pătăn/ of a pood‘ (old unit of weight).
    According to one source (Sergeyev, Grammatika, p. 4) words like /literatura/ are pronounced {litteratura] (Why not [litterattura]?) that is, foreign words with unvoiced t are subject to gemination of the unvoiced.
    The conjunction of /t/ + /p/, particularly in the 1st p. pl. of verbs, assimilates to [-pp-], e. g. ‚ /kajatpăr/> [kajappăr] ‘we go.‘ Whether this occurs in all positions is not known, e. g.‚ does /vut/ ‘fire‘ + /-pa/ ‘with‘ > {vuppa]? or [vutpa]?
    There is also a palatalized allophone [t‘], but the phonological conditions under which it occurs are not as yet clearly defined. In the modern spelling, it most frequently occurs in the 3rd p. sg. of verbs with back-stem vowels. In some words, the palatalization is a reflex of metathesis, e. g.‚ [at‘a] or [atja], for /ajta/ or /atja/. In the transcription between slant lines, the soft sign [‘] is omitted, but it is retained in the Reader as a part of the current orthography.
    1.22112 The labiodental (or bilabial?) voiced (!) fricative is denoted by the symbol /v/. Up until recent times, there was apparently no unvoiced counterpart to this (viz. [f]), even in Russian loans like /lavka/ ‘shop.‘ Now, however, a new phoneme /f/ has developed (formerly it was represented in a few loans by the combination /hĕv/ as in /hĕvetĕr/ Theodore < Russian Fjodor or Fëdor). To judge from the distribution and function of /v/ as a semi-vowel and counterpart to /j/, it would be bilabial instead of labiodental in articulation. It occurs initially, medially and finally, and after it, unvoiced consonants employ voiced allophones just as after /l m n r/.
/av/		house
/şav/		that vs. /şap/ hit!
/vak/		this
/avă/		there
/şavsa/	[şavza] elbow

    1.22113 The velar voiceless fricative is denoted by the symbol /h/ (or /x/), and has the values of the ich-laut and ach-laut in German, or of X in Russian (e. g. ‚ hotet‘). It is similar to the sound sometimes produced in English hue or Hugh, but greatly constricted initially. Some speakers use this sound when saying the name of the composer Bach. It is similar to the j in the Spanish names Méjico, San José, Trujillo, etc.). The semiphonetic data of Paasonen‘s text furnish no basis for concluding that this phoneme like other unvoiced consonants has a voiced allophone intervocalically, but the patterning of this language would appear to require such a sound as the [γ] of modern Greek, or the intervocalic -g- of North German sagen (viz., [zaγən]). One modern source does give an example (Sergeyev, Grammatika, p. 9) of /su1hăn/ being pronounced [sulgăn], which I interpret to refer to a spirantic [γ] and not the occlusive [g] for which there is a symbol in Russian.
/halăh/		people
/hapha/		gate

    Examples of opposition are /puh/ gather! vs. /pus/ press!, and /chux/ time vs. /chu1/ stone.
    1.22114 The medial palatal resonant, or semi-vowel j, is denoted by the symbol /j/, and may occur initially, finally or medially. It is mostly the second component of a syllabic nucleus with an accompanying vowel. After /j/, voiceless phonemes employ voiced allophones under the conditions frequently mentioned in the preceding paragraphs
/aj/		interjection, Ah!
/jal/		village
/kajma/ 	going, the act of going

    Its function throughout the language is consonantal, and not vocalic.

1.222 Borrowed Consonant Phonemes

    In addition to the previously listed native consonant phonemes, Chuvash also employs some other phonemes, many of which are the voiced equivalents to the foregoing. It is difficult to know whether these new phonemes have made much headway in the speech of the average Chuvash farmer or worker, but since nearly every one has been exposed to the Russian language, it would appear that anyone who has been to school must use words of Russian origin with these sounds. Although of restricted occurrence, they are fullfledged Chuvash phonemes. Old loans from Russian generally employed unvoiced phonemes.
    Modern Russian loans are spelled with the customary Russian letters, some of which would correspond to two letters in the transcription, as ц /ts/, щ /shş/, or the hard sign ъ (represented by /“/). We have also previously mentioned the convention to write /jo/ as in Russian, viz. ё.
The voiced bilabial plosive is symbolized by /b/, and occurs in such words as /barzha/ barge, and /brigada/, brigade, team of workers.
    1.2222 The voiced dental plosive is symbolized by /d/, and occurs in such words as /delegat/ delegate.
    1.2223 The voiceless labiodental fricative is symbolized by /f/, and occurs in such words as /fabrika/ factory, and also where /f/ occurs in Russian words with orthographic v, viz. ‚ /petrov/ [petrof], /avtomobil/ [aftomobil], and /avtor/ [aftor] author. See also § 1.22112.
    1.2224 The voiced velar (palatal?) stop is symbolized by /g/, and occurs in such words as /gosudarstvo/ state, and /granitsa/ border,
The voiced sibilant is symbolized by /z/, and occurs in words like /zastav/ guard post and /zadacha/ task, duty, assignment.
    1.2226 The voiced wide-spread palatal sibilant is symbolized by /zh/ and occurs in words like /zhurnal/ magazine.
    As previously mentioned, the phoneme /r/ in initial position is indicative of a borrowed word.

1.223 Table of Consonant Clusters

    The possible consonant combinations in native Chuvash words are given in the table on p. 85. This table is relatively complete, but probably additional research will produce a few more combinations. The combinations found in loanwords have not been entered here. The symbols employed are two: x to indicate the presence of a cluster, whether across morpheme boundaries or not, and + to indicate a cluster thus far found only with morpheme boundary intervening. Further study must be made. The table is based on a list in Ashmarin (Materialy, p. 46 ff.) to which items from Paasonen‘s texts have been added.

1.3 Accent (Stress)

    The accent or stress in Chuvash words is not the strong emphasis found in English words but simply a slightly increased intensity of sound perhaps accompanied with a slight shift of pitch. The stress on all syllables is approximately the same, except that the one bearing the accent is slightly greater (but not immensely greater) The best advice is to follow the practice of a native speaker.
    Accent in Chuvash is a suprasegmental feature that is one not a syntagmatic segment of the morpheme, but occurring as a feature of the entire morpheme (or syllable). Unlike Russian, English and some other languages, there is no phonemic opposition of accent in Chuvash, as in such English pairs as
fréquent	vs.	to frequént
cóntract	vs.	to contráct
cómbat		vs.	to combát
súbject		vs.	to subjéct
pérfect		vs.	to perféct
bláckbird	vs.	black bird

    Thus the accent in Chuvash is phonologically irrelevant, since its placement or misplacement does not create a different word. Although the accent does not occur on any fixed syllable as in some languages, it is as far towards the end of the word as the following rules allow. These formulations apply to the literary language, or Formal Written Chuvash; in the dialects, there may be different practices.
    1.31 The accent is on the last syllable unless this contains the reduced vowel phonemes /ĕ/ or /ă/
/lashá/		horse
/ĕné/		cow
/kămaká/	stove
/sarlaká/	widely

    1.32 If the last syllable does contain /ĕ/ or /ă/‘ then the accent is on the syllable immediately preceding. Should the last two syllables both contain /ĕ/ or /ă/, then the accent will immediately precede those two syllables.
/álăk/		door
/jĕnérchĕk/	saddle
/ĕşlérĕmĕr/	we worked
/kálăttămăr/	we would say

    1.33 If all syllables contain a reduced /ĕ/ or /ă/‘ then the stress will be on the first syllable. Or, if X successive syllables contain /ĕ/ or /ă/, then the accent will be on the first syllable preceding the succession of ă/ĕ syllables.
/ĕşlĕpĕr/		we shall work
/tătămăr/		we got up
/şávărănătămărchchĕ/	we would return (Ashmarin, Material, p. 19)..

1.34 Other Observations on Accent

    In a few set phrases, usually of a noun plus a functional word such as a postposition or particle, there may be only one accent or else a weakened secondary accent.
/sĕtĕl şinchi/	located on the table
/átăl tărăh/	on the Volga
/káj ha/	Go on!

    Intensifying particles employed with adjectives take the primary stress, and the key word which is strengthened may have a secondary stress.
/sháp-shură/	snow-white very white
/píte paxă/	most excellent

    Whether a Chuvash functional morpheme (suffix) may be accented or not depends on the quality of its vowel a suffix containing the reduced /ă/ or /ĕ/ may not take the accent although suffixes containing any other vowel may be accented.
/lashásăr/	horse1ess, without a horse
/ĕnésĕr/	cowless, without a cow
/lashapá/	having a horse, with a horse
/ĕnepé/		with a cow

    Old Russian loanwords are subject to the rules of Chuvash accent, viz.
/kĕneké/	book (< книга)
/kĕreplé/	rake (< грабли)
/chejník/	teapot (< чайник).

    Recent loanwords, however, preserve the Russian accent, viz.:
/secretár‘/	secretary (< секретарь)
/predsedátel’/	chairman (< председатель).

    When inflecting a borrowed word, the accent shifts to the suffix morpheme if the accent was originally on the last syllable of the stern; in all other instances, the accent, more often than not, is retained on the stern of the word.
/téhnikumra/		in the technical school
/predsedátel‘pe/	with the chairrnan
/kolhozrá/		in the collective farm - kolkhoz

1.4 Pitch, Juncture, Intonation

    In Chuvash, as in other languages, there are features of juncture, pitch and intonation, by which utterances are distinguished or characterized, hence, these features are phonemic. For instance, one can say “He‘s going today“ in several ways: to express surprise that he instead of someone else is going; to state that he is going instead of staying; or to say that it is today he is leaving, and not tomorrow. Such sentences are familiar to everyone. The same may occur in Chuvash.
    In the absence of phonetic material incorporating data on pitch levels, terminal contours, and indication of junctural phenomena, it is not as yet possible to state the details of these features in Chuvash, other than that they must exist. If the student has the opportunity of working with Chuvash speakers, the best general rule will be to imitate closely the pronunciation and all features of expression of those persons.

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