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Wikipedia says:

  • ...
  • /e/ has merged with /i/ (or /i/ and /ɨ/ if /ɨ/ is considered a phoneme): for instance, лиса́ (lisá) 'fox' and леса́ 'forests' are both pronounced /lʲiˈsa/, phonetically About this sound[lʲɪˈsa].
  • ...

So I expected прише́дшие to sound like [priʃjedʃii], not [priʃjedʃije]. In other words, the sound of the unstressed e here should boil from [je] to [i] as per the rule above. Yet, many singers (in fact, this is from the song called Журавли) actually don't pronounce that way; I hear [e] at the end of the word. Can you explain why?

  • With the last syllable being stressed it looks like 1) a noun 2) borrowed from a foreign language, probably French. – Arhad Apr 25 at 7:59
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    teasing out pronunciation from songs is not the most reliable method, because singers tend to enunciate phonemes more clearly which defaults to the way they are written, especially singers from the Soviet era who generally had formal education as vocalists – Баян Купи-ка Apr 25 at 8:54
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Your expectation is justified, in speech прише́дшие is indeed pronounced like [priʃjedʃii], the final [е] gets reduced, пришеччыи

The transcription [priʃjedʃije] is also wrong about pronunсiation of [д] which here merges with [ш] to form geminated hard [чч] or is assimilated to form a combination [чш] and thus is essentially not pronounced.

Произношение окончания именительного падежа множественного числа прилагательных и причастий. В этой форме орфографические окончания прилагательных и причастий -ые, -ие по старомосковской норме произносятся как [ыи], [ии]: кра′сн[ыи] (красные), но′в[ыи] (новые), си′н[ии] (синие), раскры′т[ыи] (раскрытые), чита′ющ[ии] (читающие). Вариантной нормой современного русского литературного языка является произношение орфографических сочетаний -ые, -ие как [ииь], [ыиь]: кра′сн[ыиь] (красные), но′в[ыиь] (новые), си′н[ииь] (синие), раскры′т[ыиь] (раскрытые), чита′ющ[ииь] (читающие).

Мусатов В.Н. — «Русский язык. Фонетика. Фонология. Орфоэпия. Графика. Орфография», p. 175

В сочетаниях тш, дш на месте букв т и д в беглой речи произносится звук [т] с некоторым фрикативным шипящим элементом, т. е. по существу твердая аффриката [ч]: приве′[чш]ый (приведший), обве[чш]а′лый (обветшалый), мла′[чш]ий (младший), по[чш]у′бой (под шубой).

Аванесов - «Русское литературное произношение», p. 188


Examples of пришедшие pronunciation from Russian National Corpus' multimedia database where difference between speech and singing is apparent in particular.

  • Thanks for the clarification! Also, that germination rule is interesting. =) I should dig it further. – b1sub Apr 25 at 8:16
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    I think it depends on the speaker's region of origin. [пришеччыи] sounds very unusual to me. My own pronunciation is similar to [пришэтшиэ]. – Abakan Apr 25 at 8:34
  • true, since [e] is reduced into something amorphous i guess it's difficult to pinpoint how the resulting vowel exactly sounds, it could once sound closer to [ы] and then more like [э] the next time around with the same person – Баян Купи-ка Apr 25 at 8:46
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    @tum_ i downloaded the book from the Web and copy-pasted the text from the PDF, yes, it's probably ерь, but i haven't managed to locate in the book an explanation of its use in this position, it does seem to signify a reduced final , that is -ийэ/ыйэ = -ииь/ыиь, – Баян Купи-ка Apr 26 at 14:27
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    @БаянКупи-ка Похоже, что Ь и Ъ общепринятые обозначения для редукции гласных 2-ой степени. См., например последний ответ здесь. Т.е., если книга предназначена филологам, им не нужна отдельная расшифровка этих обозначений. Я, увы, не филолог, так что был не прав. Зато узнал что-то новое. – tum_ Apr 27 at 8:16
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Good question. Being a native speaker, I just pronounced this word a few times to see how I actually pronounce it.

My pronunciation is as follows: пришéдши-и. The part after ''ш'' is as follows: I start pronouncing the ''и'' sound, then it gets quieter, and then loud again, but does not break in the middle. It is like two waves, so to speak.

Pronounce the following word considering it English: pre-shed-shee-ee. This is practically identical to how I pronounce ''пришедшие.'' The syllable ''shee'' is like in ''sheep.''

If I speak fast (i.e., as usual in everyday communications) and use ''пришедшие'' in a sentence, then all vowels practically get swallowed (i.e., are almost not pronounced at all). For example, I pronounce the expression ''пришедшие солдаты'' like ''прьшедшислдаты,'' very fast and barely distinct enough for a native speaker to recognise what I am saying.

Note that there are various dialects in Russia, and mine is the Moscow one, notorious for fast indistinct pronunciation and preference of ''a'' over ''о.''

In other dialects the word ''пришедшие'' may sound differently. To give you an idea how different Russian dialects are, I point to the Novgorod dialect (''новгородский выговор''), in which the city name ''Новгород'' is pronounced exactly as written, with three distinct ''о,'' whereas I pronounce the same word rather as ''Навгрд.''

  • пришéдши-и - interesting.. pronouncing the ''и'' sound - well, is it not the "ы" sound? I can't say "и" after "ш" even if I try hard. What about лиса́ (lisá) 'fox' and леса́ 'forests' are both pronounced /lʲiˈsa/, phonetically - is this true for your Moscow dialect? Are the two sounds absolutely identical? – tum_ Apr 26 at 15:27
  • tum_, pronounce the following word considering it English: pre-shed-shee-ee. This is practically identical to how I pronounce ''пришедшие,'' except that I make the vowel in ''pre'' virtual, intending to pronounce that vowel but not actually pronouncing it. Or, if you will, that vowel is there just for a microsecond. The syllable ''shee'' is like in ''sheep.'' – Sandra Apr 26 at 18:43
  • tum_, yes, лиса́ ('fox') and леса́ ('forests') sound identically in the Moscow dialect, like ''льса.'' To learn to pronounce it properly in the Moscow dialect, do the following exercise: You first pronounce the word very distinctly in the classical way, i.e., ЛиииииСаааааа, then you make the first vowel shorter, ЛииСаааааа, then even more shorter, ЛиСаааааа, and continue shortening ''и'' until it virtually disappears. Do not change the consonant sounds. (continued below) – Sandra Apr 26 at 18:53
  • (continuation of the above comment) In the end, the ''и'' sound must be only virtually there, for a microsecond. It is like intending to pronounce it but not really pronouncing, similar to how ''u'' gets virtual in the word ''difficult.'' Then make ''а'' as short as needed, just enough for making a distinct stressed vowel sound. Then relax your lips, tongue, and all muscles involved in making sounds, and pronounce the word with the minimal physical effort. Voila. – Sandra Apr 26 at 18:53
  • :) You obviously mistook me for a foreigner, which was not my intention at all (and you could check my profile). Anyway, let's hope your exercises help someone else. Now, if I say 'shee' I have to pronounce English "soft sh' but I don't do English accent when I speak Russian. Similarly, 'льса' is not fair :) What sound do you pronounce when you have to pronounce it - say, in a song or a verse, where you break the rhythm if you drop it. – tum_ Apr 26 at 20:56
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You don't have to mind the original formal rules of pronunciation. Different regions or groups may have pronunciation specific to them. But they are still accepted, meaning that there is some range of pronunciations which are widely accepted regardless of the officially accepted one. That's right, if you pronounce it as "e", the word would be perfectly recognized as "correct" (also, you may intentionally pronounce it non-oficcially so that it would not sound similar to an almost same sounding word), albeit with the sense of "dialect" or something similar.

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