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Preliminary communication

Orthography influencing orthoepy: Old methodological issues and new challenges

Mihaela Matešić ; Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Rijeci
Ermina Ramadanović ; Institut za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovlje

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page 107-123

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All contemporary Croatian books on orthography consider semantic shift that causes a distinction between prepositional phrase and preposition or the adverb derived from the same prepositional phrase. According to the orthoepic norms, both the prepositional phrases and the derived prepositions or adverbs should follow the same accentuation pattern, ‘which turns them into homophones. Within the prepositional phrase the word accented by the short falling accent undergoes the norm rules of weakened or nonweakened shift of stress to the preposition. However, speakers generally tend not to shift the accent to proclitics, except with the adverbs or the prepositions derived from the prepositional phrases. When they do that, the accent shifts relate not only to the phrases containing a shortfalling accented word, but also to those containing a shortraising accented word (which is contrary to the rules). We argue that semantic reasons explain these accent shifts. At the level of orthography, prepositional phrases and the derived adverbs or the prepositions create minimal pairs that only differ in writing (spelling), the orthographic level becomes a dominant one. In other words, semantic contribution of the orthographic norms in communication exceeds the possibilities predicted by the orthoepic norm. Therefore, the orthographic possibility of differentiation is transferred to the orthoepic plan, and the choice of pronunciation that is contrary to the norm is functional, because it strengthens the semantic difference between two linguistic units.


Croatian language; orthography; orthoepic norms; prepositional phrases; prepositions; adverbs

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