In Remizov's (1877-1957) novel "Пруд" (The Pond), there are two passages with this word which is obscure for me. E.g.

— Колечка, — вдруг услышал он такой знакомый голос с ласкающей оттяжкой, это звала Маша, — Колечка, чай кушать ступайте! Коля обрадовался, вскочил, и неловко ему, что так обрадовался, супится.

...от звона стекла вздрогнули, а часы, под которыми в восемь Финогеновы топчут мышей, с оттяжкой пропели свои три часа.

The word definately means a kind of sound/pronunciation, but what kind of sound or pronunciation is it?

6 Answers 6


In "знакомый голос с ласкающей оттяжкой" some typically Russian melodious manner to prolong or drag out vowels seems to be implied. The quality of vocalization can differ due to a certain attitude of the speaker ranging from anger to tenderness or endearment. Here, obviously, Masha calls the boy with a soothing tenderness in her voice that is so familiar to him, as if singing [Ko-o-olye-e-tchka] (maybe not singing out too loudly)which adds even more palatalization to the already palatalized [L]consonant. Yes, "растягивая" would scan here as well (as shows a quote from B.Akunin's novel, 'Будет петь, подумал Романов. Но висельник не запел, а протяжно, подвывая и растягивая звуки, продекламировал...'

But, while taking into account the above mentioned observation, I would point out that the author's choice might presumably have been dictated by the syntactical or/and phonological/prosodic specificity of the whole sentence. Besides, from my perspective, "оттяжка" sounds a tad less trivial in this particular context.


Mechanically оттяжка means redirection of force. When a whip is used оттяжка means draw of the whip after shot to add pain. So vowels are pronounced with оттяжка -a prolonged ,sometimes accentuated melodic sound used purposefully for redirection of meaning, adding emotion-characteristic of an emotive prose. Clock in question reverberate with оттяжка-here it means reverberation.


1) Way of pronouncing when you are singing your vowels and extending them. Generally when you are seducing someone or try to be nice, not really in use any more

2) Same thing as above, but figurative, as if the clock was actually singing.

  • Is it really the case that "seducing someone" or "trying to be nice" not really in use anymore? :-)
    – Alex
    Aug 28, 2014 at 21:08
  • Not in this context. In the first example it is the case, but only because of "ласкающей", Sep 2, 2014 at 23:24

In the first quote it refers to the woman extending the vowels in this guy's first name; that's common when you call someone who's at some distance from you.

The second one refers to the way a sound of a bell of the striking clock lingers on.

  • Why оттяжка but not растяжка or растягивая слова?
    – Manjusri
    Mar 10, 2013 at 4:59
  • In my opinion it's just the author's choice of words.
    – Dmitry
    Mar 10, 2013 at 5:35
  • There should be some subtler overtones making a difference between растяжка and оттяжка.
    – Manjusri
    Mar 10, 2013 at 11:55
  • OK, imagine if there was a spring fixed at one end and someone was pulling it from the other end. In this case I would use оттяжка. If someone was stretching said spring holding one end in one hand and the other end in the other hand, I would use растяжка. As a native Russian speaker that's the way I feel because of the difference in prefixes. But I don't think this difference matters in these quotes.
    – Dmitry
    Mar 12, 2013 at 1:16

The quote"...от звона стекла вздрогнули, а часы, под которыми в восемь Финогеновы топчут мышей, с оттяжкой пропели свои три часа.", in this instance, gives an additional nuanced meaning to the previously highlighted noun. The noun phrase, metaphorical as it is, "С оттяжкой" modifies the sound of the clock's chime which appears to be not only rather lengthy and melodious but also flexible and smooth, akin, truly so, to an abrupt, swishing, whip-like motion preceding a strike. Needless to say, the word choice used in the description underscores a mild irony of the situation. One more cursory remark, it's interesting how the slang verb "оттягиваться" basically meaning "have a good time" or closer stylistically "hang loose", "chill out" relates to the whole bunch of connoted implications.


I deem голос с оттяжкой is a rough approximation of "drawl" usually with positive connotaion, likea voice sounding melodious & serene.

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