Phonetic, orthoepic, pronunciational position: New approaches

2022. №3, 7-13

Maria L. Kalenchuk
Vinogradov Russian Language Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;


The concept of “position” is one of the basic concepts of the Moscow Linguistic School. “Phonetic position” is understood as the conditions of use and realization of phonemes in speech, and it is generally assumed that the realization of a phoneme is completely determined by the quality of its phonetic position. It follows from this that knowing the specifi c phoneme and its phonetic position is enough to determine the sound representing this phoneme. Linguists have repeatedly stressed an important limitation — phonetic position should be determined by purely phonetic conditions. But the analysis of linguistic data shows that the procedure for bringing a phoneme to sound is always multi-step, involving formulation of many restrictions and conditions of a very diff erent (and not necessarily phonetic) nature. This makes us reconsider the criteria for the allocation of phonetic positions and allows us to apply to phonetic positions the approach developed earlier for the allocation of orthoepic positions. At the same time, it is advisable to introduce the concept of “pronunciational position”, which can combine the concepts of phonetic and orthoepic position. As it was shown in the author’s earlier works, there is a common thing between phonetic and orthoepic patterns — both zones are arranged positionally. In the light of the proposed approach, we can add that the concepts of phonetic and orthoepic positions are also similar in that, when formulating these positions, we implicitly or explicitly take into account non-phonetic factors of various kinds, primarily grammatical and lexical ones. It can be concluded that phonetic sound is a function of two determinants: a given phoneme and a pronunciational position, which integrates the traditional concepts of phonetic and orthoepic position and takes into account any linguistic factors that can infl uence the phoneme realization.

For citation:

Kalenchuk M. L. Phonetic, orthoepic, pronunciational position: New approaches. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2022, 3: 7–13.