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 Post subject: lithuanian stress and intonation
PostPosted: 2007 11 16, 07:51 
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Joined: 2006 10 20, 23:31
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im currently studying lithuanian and i can speak it to a very limited extent. However i am told that my accent is very bad and needs work...

i bought the book called "Beginner's Lithuanian" by Leonardas Dambriunas et. al. In the book stress and intonation is described. They use three indicators for stress `,~, and ' i find these to be very confusing

` is said to stress short vowels ( this one is easy )
~ is said to cause rising intonation... does this mean rising tone and pitch?
' is said to cause falling intonation... does this mean falling tone and pitch?

they give some words as examples

įrašas has an ' on the į
whereas įprastas has an ~ on the į

so in įrašas do you pronounce the į starting with a higher pitch and then lowereing the pitch before finishing the word?

and in įprastas do you pronounce the į starting lower and then raising the pitch?


Im sorry for the lengthy post, but if anyone could clarify this i would greatly appreciate it, as i feel that this is a central element of pronouncing words correctly


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PostPosted: 2007 11 16, 14:53 
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Joined: 2006 07 06, 21:08
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Location: Kaunas
All what you said about intonation is right, but nowadays most people no longer differ between ~ and '. They are only able of doing that in some dialects. Of course, you can train to do this (all Lithuanians are expected to train this), but that wouldn't be what you are looking for to improve your accent.

The main causes of bad accents of English speakers are mainly aspirated consonants in their native language (especially t and d, which to Lithuanians sound as if you are spitting :)). Another cause is intonation overall: not of vowels, but of words and sentences. We had a discussion about this in some other post, but I couldn't find it right now. The point is that English speakers put too much logical stresses in their phrases, while we Lithuanians usually suffice with just one per phrase. This especially noticable in longer phrases:

Aš rytoj penktą valandą su draugais eisiu į kiną.
Tomorrow at five o'clock I'll go to the movies with friends.

The Lithuanian phrase would usually suffice with just stressing one word (depends on what is the most important: draugai, kinas, valanda...). Whereas an English speaker would accent at least 3 if not 5 or more words of the phrase.

These are just a few tips. I'm sure you would notice a lot more if you listened to Lithuanians speak.


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PostPosted: 2007 11 16, 21:51 
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Joined: 2006 10 20, 23:31
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Ačiū už atsakymą. Tai, kai jūs sakote žodžius "įrašas" ir "įprastas", jūs tariate kiekvieną "į" su tuo pačiu intonacija?

Thanks for the response. So when you say the words "įrašas" and "įprastas", you pronounce each "į" with the same intonation?


I guess this issue has more to do with stressing words correctly rather than pronouncing each sound correctly. However, i feel that stressing words correctly is very important in Lithuanian, isnt it? My teacher is constantly telling me that i stress words on wrong syllabals. So i thought that if i learned how to stress the words very well, i would be that much farther in being able to speak better. But learning how to stress words led me to the differences of ` ~ ' stresses. But since ` and ~ are apparently very similar, it makes things easier.


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PostPosted: 2007 11 17, 03:49 
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Joined: 2006 09 08, 19:28
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Location: La Plata, Argentinos Respublika
I think producing the right sounds is as important as it is the accentuation.
Code:
siusti:
expr.
  1)  to be frantic
  2)  (iš pykčio) to do one's nut
siųsti:
v
  1)  (užimti pareigas; į kitą šalį; užimti pareigas; į kitą miestą) post
  2)  send (sent)
  3)  consign
  4)  (bet kurios rûðies transportu) ship
...

And this one is just an example. Remember, language is about the sounds, not about the letters.


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PostPosted: 2007 11 21, 04:12 
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So, how do Lithuanians know where/how to stress words? I know there are accent classes which give outlines on how to stress words, but do all Lithuanians really know these classes by heart? What about when you are presented with a new word which doesn't have its accent class indicated.. how do you know where to stress it?


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PostPosted: 2007 11 21, 04:44 
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Joined: 2006 09 08, 19:28
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Location: La Plata, Argentinos Respublika
I'm gonna tell you what I know, from what I've been told. They know how to stress a word the same way you know how to stress a word in your mother tongue, just because they've learnt it. They know these classes by heart. Not that they can tell you how they work, but they can use them properly. When somebody spots a new word, which he or she has never heard, something that is not really common, they just take a guess, the same way you would do in your mother tongue. If this is an international word, like a trademark for example, they will keep the accent as it is in the language from where it comes, and they would choose how to stress it.

Anybody, feel free to correct me.


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