Serbian:Accent

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Stressing the Serbian words


Introduction
  • The Serbian language has four accents. Two of them are rising, and two are falling. In addition, two of them are long, and two are short.
  • Serbian accents are:
  1. Long rising {дугоузлазни);
  2. Short rising (краткоузлазни);
  3. Long falling (дугосилазни); and
  4. Short falling (краткосилазни).
  • The last syllable in word can't ever be stressed. - very important rule
  • Only vowels can be stressed. Stressed vowels are pronounced lauder and longer than those unstressed.
  • Words with one syllable can have only falling accents.
  • Words which have more than one syllable can be stressed with any of the four accents, but since they can't be stressed on the last syllable, if they have two syllables, then the first syllable is certainly stressed.
  • Falling accents can be only on the first syllable of a word, and rising can be anywhere but the last syllable.
  • Sometimes, two or more words have only one accent. That's for example when you've got a preposition with some noun in a sentence. In that case, accent is either on the preposition, either on the noun. If it's on the preposition, than the noun isn't stressed, and if it's on the noun, than the preposition isn't stressed.
  • Different forms of one single word (like cases, for example) may be differently stressed than the main word's form (like nominative case for nouns, or infinitive for verbs, etc.).
  • Many words can be stressed in more than one way. That's because many dialects were admitted while Serbian literary language was normed. Such words are called the accent doublets (акценатски дублети), and you can use any of the accepted accent norms, but this textbook will mark only one of them, the one recognized by the Eastern-Herzegovinian dialect.
  • Stress mainly isn't very important, and a lot of Serbian dialects have different stress than the standard literary language. However, sometimes only the stress can define a word's meaning. Thus, words грáд (city or town) and грäд (hail) are written in same way, but they have very different meaning.
  • In the lessons' vocabularies, stress is marked for every word.


Contents

The Long Rising Accent

The long rising (дугоузлазни акценат or дугоузлазни нагласак) can be on any syllable of a word but the last one. It is pronounced like the main English stress, and it's marked as: ΄.

Examples: глáва, рýка, бáка...

The Short Rising Accent

The short rising (краткоузлазни акценат or краткоузлазни нагласак) can be on every syllable of a word but the last one. It is pronounced like the English secondary stress, and it's marked as: `

Examples: жèна, вòда, мàгла...

The Long Falling Accent

The long falling (краткосилазни акценат or краткосилазни нагласак) can be only on the first syllable of a word. It is long, but the voice falls by the end of the stressed vowel. It's marked as: ^

Examples: мâјка, сêко, бâко...

The Short Falling Accent

The short falling (краткосилазни акценат or краткосилазни нагласак) can be only on the first syllable of a word. It is the shortest of all accents, and it's pronounced with a short "explosion" on the stressed syllable, which falls by the end of the stressed vowel. It's marked as: ¨

Examples: вëче, пëкар, вöду...

After-Accent Longness

The after-accent longness (послеакценатска/послијеакценатска дужина) isn't an accent, but a vowel which has an after-accent longness is a little bit stressed. This sub-accent can be found only after the main accent, and it can be anywhere in the word, including the last syllable. Some words needn't have the after-accent longness. The after-accent longness is marked as: ˉ

Example: сüнōва...


Питања и задаци ~ Questions&Tasks

  1. How many accents there are in literary Serbian language?

  2. Which accents does literary Serbian language recognizes?

  3. Try to accent these words. They are grouped by the longless of their pronunciation, and where it was nessesery the stressed vowel is bold, so it makes the task a little bit easier.

    Words with long accents:

    мајка, греда, стена/стијена, лево/лијево, ружа, рода, правда, лађа, сено/сијено, леђа, барка, бајка

    Words with short accents:

    магла, шума, острво, кућа, човек/човјек, воденица, корак, лекар/љекар, орах, вече, земља, улица, ветар/вјетар, срећа

Провери одговоре ~ Check the Answers