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In these verses by Alexander Radishchev:

– Почто, мой друг, почто слеза из глаз катится,
Почто безвременно печалью дух крушится,

I find it weird that катится rhymes with крушится. Indeed, according to Грамматический словарь русского языка by Andrey Zaliznyak, катиться is classified as 4c, hence we have ка́тится, and крушиться is classified as 4b, hence we have круши́тся. That's why I was wondering if at that time we had кати́тся and where I could find such an information. Otherwise, what are the rules of classical Russian poetry allowing such rhymes?

N.B. I already asked a related question and I have been told that "In the past few hundred years many verbs have changed their stress in the 2nd and 3rd persons from the ending to the root", that's why I assumed it could be the case of катиться but I don't know where to find a confirmation of this assumption.

1 Answer 1

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That's why I was wondering if at that time we had кати́тся and where I could find such an information.

If you are looking for a diachronic analysis of Russian stress in general, the most comprehensive work on it is Andrey Zaliznyak's От праславянской акцентуации к русской (1985).

Poetry in accentual-syllabic verse (силлабо-тоническое стихосложение) is one of the primary sources of this information (of course, only covering the relatively brief period of time when it was a thing).

The first book that systematically addresses Russian orthoepy, Русская Грамматика by Alexander Vostokov (1831), already lists ка́тишь as a verb with a mobile stress pattern. Both крути́шь and верти́шь mentioned in the other answer are listed as having the fixed stress pattern (unlike now).

However, the vast majority of poems (although not all) written before 1840 use the stress on the inflectional ending (кати́шь). By 1870, the use of this pattern in poetry significantly declined, and by 1900 all but disappeared.

Otherwise, what are the rules of classical Russian poetry allowing such rhymes?

Accentual-syllabic verse, as the name suggests, puts a constraint on the stress pattern (the rhythm) in addition to the one on the sequence of syllables (the meter). Such verses should use stress patterns close to the ones generally used by speakers in prose, although small deviations are tolerated. If you are reading a poem in accentual-syllabic verse (virtually everything written after 1770), there is a good chance that the rhythm of the poem reflects the actual stress pattern of the word as of the time of its writing.

This is opposed to the earlier syllabic verse, which only paid attention to the meter and tolerated the deviations in stress to a much greater extent. Reading poetry in syllabic verse takes a lot of getting used to, although they do use the rhyme as well.

One of the most prominent authors of syllabic poetry in Russian was Antiochus Cantemir.

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  • Very nice answer, thank you very much! "However, the vast majority of poems (although not all) written before 1840 use the stress on the inflectional ending (кати́шь)." Do you deduce this only from rhymes (for instance, катится / молиться in the result 2) or can you have this information also whenever it does not appear in rhymes (for instance in the result 1 by knowing how the verse "Час за часом, день за днем, -" is stressed)?
    – Bruno
    Apr 14 at 15:39
  • @Bruno: of course you can. час за часом, день за днём is a disyllabic foot, as evidenced by the syllabic structure of the words. The stresses of the words should match the long syllables of the foot. You can scan it as an iamb or as a trochee. Scanning it as an iamb *час за́ часо́м, день за́ днем is not anything like people talk in real life, hence its a trochee.
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 14 at 16:34
  • I was asking (my phrasing was clumsy): from knowing that we have ча́с за ча́сом, де́нь за днём you can know whether we have Вре́мя кати́т чередо́м, or Вре́мя ка́тит чередо́м,? Some guess: ча́с за ча́сом is stressed-unstressed-stressed-unstressed and thus if we want the same for the next verse we should have Вре́мя ка́тит and not Вре́мя кати́т. Or (from what I understood from your comment) the logic is: Вре́мя кати́т чередо́м, is not allowed because it would be neither a iamb or a trochee, so it has to be: Вре́мя ка́тит чередо́м,?
    – Bruno
    Apr 14 at 17:07
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    @Bruno: in isolation, вре́мя кати́т чередо́м could indeed be scanned as a trisyllabic foot, but the rest of the poem can't
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 14 at 17:31

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