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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?
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    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
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 8:44
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    I agree with this point of view: ekburg.ru/news/18/53302-kak-pravilno-inache-ili-inache
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 12:17
  • Here is a somewhat informative link: rus.stackexchange.com/questions/31543/…
    – Avi Gordon
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 18:48
  • "и́наче" sounds uneducated/dialectal/archaic. I did not know it is even considered correct officially.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:33

3 Answers 3

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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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    in my opinion "more common" is underestimation, I'd rather say waaay more common.
    – shabunc
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 7:13
  • @shabunc As all estimations are based on personal experience, and as I say "Иначе" sometimes, so...
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 8:23
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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
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 1:53
  • It's called 'poetic license' when a rare or forgotten form is used for keeping proper rhythm or rhyme.
    – Alex_ander
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 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
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 18:47

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