I read on Wiktionary that иначе could have stress on the first or second syllable.

  1. Which pronunciation is more common in your experience?
  2. Why does such a common word not have a standard pronunciation like most others?
  • 1
    I hear "и́наче" sometimes from older members of my family, but only in the expression "так или иначе". In other cases even they say "ина́че". Apart from that, I hear "и́наче" very rarely. – Lara Dec 27 '16 at 8:44
  • 2
    I agree with this point of view: ekburg.ru/news/18/53302-kak-pravilno-inache-ili-inache – Alex_ander Dec 27 '16 at 12:17
  • Here is a somewhat informative link: rus.stackexchange.com/questions/31543/… – Avi Gordon Dec 29 '16 at 18:48
  • "и́наче" sounds uneducated/dialectal/archaic. I did not know it is even considered correct officially. – Anixx Jan 3 '17 at 23:33

Which pronunciation is more common in your experience?

Ина́че is more common in speech though both variants are equal in terms of orthoepy.

Why does such a common word not have a standard pronunciation like most others?

Actually in Russian quite a few words may have different stresses. In this particular case, I guess, the form "и́наче" was due to Church Slavonic influence.

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  • 5
    in my opinion "more common" is underestimation, I'd rather say waaay more common. – shabunc Dec 27 '16 at 7:13
  • @shabunc As all estimations are based on personal experience, and as I say "Иначе" sometimes, so... – Matt Dec 27 '16 at 8:23

On the etymology, though.

Fasmer maintains that иначе is the comparative form of the Old Slavonic инáкъ (инакий, иной — different, other). The morphology may be the same as in the pairs яркий > ярче, громкий > громче, мелкий > мельче etc.

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On the pronunciation. You may find the following excerpt interesting:

Ваше имя в платочки рассоплено,
ваше слово слюнявит Собинов,
и выводит под берёзкой дохлой —
"Ни слова, о дру-уг мой, ни вздо-о-о-о-ха".
Эх, поговорить бы и́наче
с этим самым с Леонидом Лоэнгринычем!

В.Маяковский. "Сергею Есенину", 1926

I wonder whether stressing the first syllable used to be the standard pronunciation and we are witnessing it drawing its last breath today.

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  • Well, it's poetry is a different kind of beast, laws of rhythmics are also sacrificed to laws of rhyming. – shabunc Dec 28 '16 at 1:53
  • It's called 'poetic license' when a rare or forgotten form is used for keeping proper rhythm or rhyme. – Alex_ander Dec 28 '16 at 4:25
  • I never suggested that и́наче was a standard in Mayakovsky's days. But combined with the fact that this form has survived until nowadays, one can suppose that, at some period in the past, it was at the very least more widespread than it is today. The following page too has a couple of interesting quotations: rus.stackexchange.com/questions/31543/… – Avi Gordon Dec 29 '16 at 18:47

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