A claim has turned up on the Linguistics SE that двумястами and other such forms have two stressed syllables. I disagree; -мя- seems pre-emphatic to me here, and Wiktionary is with me on this.

However, one thing the two-stresses theory may have going for it is that there are no other (standard) examples of pre-emphatic /a/ failing to reduce to [ɪ] after a soft consonant.

And I can think of a test, but I'm not sure its result for me would be the same for most people.

Here's the test. With words that have a true secondary stress, the following cadence is possible at the end of a sentence:

...вагòноремóнтный завóд.

Now I can only imagine saying something like двумястами годами with two pitch drops:

...двумястами годами.

Yet I'm not entirely positive that no-one ever would say it with three drops:

...двумястами годами.

— which would indicate that for this speaker, there is a secondary stress on -мя-.

Does this occur? Are there any more arguments for either side?

  • Secondary stress if present obeys the same rules as the primary stress. A person who stresses both я and а in двумястами would stress both е and и in двести. This is quite common for Russians living in Czech (along with a fleeting vowel in names like Чапка and Гашка in oblique cases) but I doubt many Russians do that in their natural habitat.
    – Quassnoi
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:01
  • @Quassnoi I don't remember hearing double-stressed двести from Czech-based Russians in my time (1994–2008); second-generation maybe? Jul 28, 2015 at 2:42
  • I think you point it out correctly about reducing я to и. If there is a stress, -мя is pronounced clearly, otherwise you hear и. So I think it's enough to ask what vowel one pronounces. Personally, I don't hear this reduction and conclude that I make two stresses in this word, like if it were two separate ones.
    – user1514
    Jul 28, 2015 at 10:06
  • @NikolayErshov: maybe, my two anecdotes are far from being data.
    – Quassnoi
    Jul 28, 2015 at 11:56
  • 1
    @Quassnoi Not sure many people would really read it like that. Which of these examples sound more natural? soundcloud.com/halfgild-wynac/dvumyastami/s-8CayG
    – Shady_arc
    Jul 28, 2015 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


The claim of the word being a one-stress-syllable word can be proven/disproved through a process of elimination.

In four examples below we will use the leading word, which is familiar to the native speakers.

We have to pronounce two polysyllabic words exactly in one style making emphatic stress on the accented syllable. Those on the left have one only.

One of them sounds pretty understandable.

бр́омистыми   -->   дв́умястами

пухн́ястыми   -->   двум́ястами

мест́ами      -->   двумяст́ами        #

переназов́и   -->   двумястам́и

In the case (#) дву starts to be audible as a non-recognized prefix. The дву tend to reduce to a something as ду, and мя to ми, in rapid speech contracting upto дма. If we try make it sound more clear and sharp in consonants, we have got clearly two stresses, without going мя -> ми.

Tonally, the most closest pronunciation for двумястами will be двумя перстами.

  • Non-reduction on its own is not necessarily conclusive evidence of stress. Think of the formal pronunciation of поэт with a full [о]. Jul 28, 2015 at 17:38

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