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Is it correct to say that all Russian consonants are subject to secondary articulation: the soft ones are palatalized, whereas the hard ones are velarized?

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  • What do you mean by velarized? Soft х is voiceless velar fricative (just like the hard х). – Anixx Mar 11 '20 at 5:08
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Most but not all:

  • й, ч and щ are always soft
  • ж, ш and ц are always hard.
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  • Do you mean that these do not have phonetically possible hard/soft counterparts? – Vadim Mar 9 '20 at 15:47
  • No, that's not what I mean. Phonetically they can have hard/soft pairs. E.g. in Ukrainian ц is always soft: Східниця. In fact, ш/щ are one such pair within Russian. But they just don't follow the same rules of positional softening as the rest of the consonants. E.g. рука - руке (к is softened) but ноша - ноше (ш does not become щ). So they are a pair phonetically but not morphophonologically. If you know what I mean. :) – Sergey Slepov Mar 9 '20 at 21:17
  • With the exception of й which is pure softness itself. I can't imagine what its hard counterpart would sound like. – Sergey Slepov Mar 9 '20 at 21:48
  • As far as I understand, й is a semivowel, so it is rather different from other consonants. What surprised me is the claim that all the consonants in Russian experience secondary articulation, as opposed to normal consonants in English(?). I am wondering how much of this view owes to English-speakers dominating linguistics in the last half of the century. – Vadim Mar 10 '20 at 8:59
  • @SergeySlepov the hard counterpart of й is Ukrainian/South Russian fricative г or voiced х. Compare её/его, сей/сего (его and сего formerly were pronounced with fricative г) – Anixx Mar 11 '20 at 4:59

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