Using an Estonian dictionary

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jahimees
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Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby jahimees » 2014-05-27, 13:52

Tere!

This is my first post here on this forum so I want to say hello to everyone (kõigile tere öelda?).
There is an Estonian dictionary on the web, namely: (Eesti õigekeelsussõnaraamat). I have read somewhere that students mark the overlong vowels/consonants using the '`' sign. However, recently I've encountered something really baffling to me. The mark indicating 'overlongness' appears even by words like 'külm', 'silm', 'üks'. My question is: which sound is overlong in these words? Am I guessing right that the series of consonants like: /lːm/ and /kːs/ give an overlong sound sequence (one long consonant plus one short consonant equals one overlong sound).
Please, correct my mistakes whenever it's possible.
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ainurakne
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby ainurakne » 2014-05-27, 18:21

Hello and welcome, jahimees!

The 'overlongness' sign (`) affects the entire syllable (although it stands in front of the first vowel in the syllable which may not be the first letter/sound in that syllable), but you are right that in words 'silm', 'külm' and 'üks' the longest sound is the first consonant after the vowel. Although in my opinion it's not the entire consonant sequence that is overlong, but the first consonant itself is overlong.

This makes sense especially if you look at the partitive forms of these words (partitive plurals in this example): 'silmi', 'külmi' and 'üksi'. As you can see now, the second consonants in the consonant clusters are not in the overlong syllable any more (sil-mi, kül-mi, ük-si), thus not affected by the overlongness.

If a syllable is marked overlong and has double vowel in it (for example 'kaame'), then the vowel is overlong. If the double vowel is followed by 'k', 'p' or 't' (for example 'haakima', 'krooksuma'), then it seems that the vowel itself is just long and the consonant gets overlong, as if it were written with 'kk', 'pp' or 'tt'.


Also, just in case: there are two more similar signs in the ÕS: ´ and ' - the first one is used for showing the stress in foreign words and the second one for palatalization (after the first palatalized consonant).


EDIT: I was thinking about the overlong words where two consonants follow the double vowel and so the first consonant is also part of the overlong syllable - in these cases it also seems that the consonant gets longer instead of the double vowel.
For example if I take the word 'kääne' (which means 'grammatical case') and compare its nominative ('kääne' - long) and genitive ('käände' - overlong) forms, then I am not sure if the 'ää' is any longer in the second one at all, but at the same time 'n' seems to be longer, at least 1.5 times, almost as if it were written 'käännde'.
For comparison, overlong 'käänamine' seems to have true overlong 'ää'.

Anyway, I am not a linguist, so I only write what and how I perceive things.
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby jahimees » 2014-05-27, 22:58

Thank you, ainurakne for a fast and thorough response!

Now it seems to be much more clear. Another question connected to the phenomenon of overlongness: are diphthongs always overlong? And what about a situation when there is p, t or k followed by a diphthong? Does p, t or k become overlong?

Does not distinguishing between long and overlong vowel/consonant variants of the phonems cause problems with understanding in everyday situations? Are there any Estonian dialects that don't have such a distinction?

PS Käänemine on 'declension', eks ole?
Please, correct my mistakes whenever it's possible.
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby ainurakne » 2014-05-28, 7:49

Võta heaks!
jahimees wrote:PS Käänemine on 'declension', eks ole?
Yes, indeed.

Another question connected to the phenomenon of overlongness: are diphthongs always overlong?
No, for example 'koera' (genitive - long) vs. 'koera' (partitive - overlong), just like regular double vowels are not always overlong: 'hoone' (nominative - long) vs. 'hoone' (genitive - overlong).
And what about a situation when there is p, t or k followed by a diphthong? Does p, t or k become overlong?
Wait... did you mean 'k', 'p' or 't' is in front of a diphthong ('kaun') or after ('auk')?
In the first case it depends on what comes before 'k', 'p' or 't', in the second case (diphthong + 'k', 'p' or 't') - I'm not sure... I would have said that for example 'väike' is not overlong, but according to ÕS it should be - I'm confused now, I have never pronounced it overlong. :?
I guess you are right then, that diphthong + 'k', 'p' or 't' always make up an overlong syllable.

Does not distinguishing between long and overlong vowel/consonant variants of the phonems cause problems with understanding in everyday situations?
I guess it could, but I haven't had very many conversations with non-natives in Estonian, so I haven't experienced that.
Are there any Estonian dialects that don't have such a distinction?
I don't know. I haven't noticed the lack of it in South Estonian languages - but on the other hand, I haven't listened to them very much either. Maybe North-East Estonian, which should be more Finnish like, if I remember correctly - if it still exists, of course. Haven't heard it myself, though.
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby jahimees » 2014-05-28, 14:11

ainurakne wrote:
And what about a situation when there is p, t or k followed by a diphthong? Does p, t or k become overlong?
Wait... did you mean 'k', 'p' or 't' is in front of a diphthong ('kaun') or after ('auk')?
In the first case it depends on what comes before 'k', 'p' or 't', in the second case (diphthong + 'k', 'p' or 't') - I'm not sure... I would have said that for example 'väike' is not overlong, but according to ÕS it should be - I'm confused now, I have never pronounced it overlong. :?
I guess you are right then, that diphthong + 'k', 'p' or 't' always make up an overlong syllable.

Of course, what I meant was a combination of a diphthong and p, t or k. That would be just quite obvious since we can treat the diphthong as a doubled consonant, can't we?

I'm obliged to say that it is quite predictable, that overlongness!

Thank you again, ainurakne, for your intelligible explanations ;)
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby ainurakne » 2014-05-28, 21:37

You are welcome!

Also, I noticed an irregularity:
Double vowel / diphthong + 'ks', 'ps' or 'ts' doesn't have to be always overlong: for example 'jooksma' (overlong) and 'jooksen' (long); 'säutsuma' (overlong) and 'säutsun' (long); 'kaitse' (nominative - long) and 'kaitse' (genitive - overlong).
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jahimees
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby jahimees » 2014-05-29, 4:05

ainurakne wrote:You are welcome!

Also, I noticed an irregularity:
Double vowel / diphthong + 'ks', 'ps' or 'ts' doesn't have to be always overlong: for example 'jooksma' (overlong) and 'jooksen' (long); 'säutsuma' (overlong) and 'säutsun' (long); 'kaitse' (nominative - long) and 'kaitse' (genitive - overlong).


Such minute irregularities do happen but mastering them is just matter of memorising and repetition, I think. For the time being I better focus on "E nagu Eesti". And studying for my preliminary exams, of course! :roll:

Thank you again for a concise and quick feedback, ainurakne!
Please, correct my mistakes whenever it's possible.
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Re: Using an Estonian dictionary

Postby Virankannos » 2014-05-29, 8:58

jahimees wrote:Does not distinguishing between long and overlong vowel/consonant variants of the phonems cause problems with understanding in everyday situations? Are there any Estonian dialects that don't have such a distinction?
The Northeastern coastal dialects (kirderanniku murded) that are spoken in a narrow strip of land from the northeastern coast up to the northern shore of Lake Peipus lack the three-quantity distinction and only have two quantities, short and overlong, like in Finnish (e.g. sepp : sebad ~ seppad). They also resemble Finnish in other ways, as ainurakne correctly remembers.


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