Last modified on 4 March 2011, at 17:38

Belarusian/Lesson 5

Consonant AssimilationEdit

There are occasions when voiced consonants are pronounced like their surd mates (e.g. п instead of б) and vice versa (б instead of п).

Voiced consonants being at the end of a word, before a surd or assimilated voiced consonant are pronounced as surd sounds.

го́рад "horat" a town (final д pronounced as т)

мар́оз "maros" frost (final з pronounced as с)

Пары́ж "Parysh" Paris (final ж pronounced as ш)

адка́з "atkas" an answer (final з pronounced as с; д before к pronounced as т)

дождж "doshch" rain (final дж pronounced as ч; ж before assimilated дж pronounced as ш)

This process causes a number of homophones, i.e. words having different spelling but the same pronunciation.

кот a cat - код a code

ка́зка a tale - ка́ска a helmet

The opposite phenomenon takes place when a surd consonant occurs after a vowel before a voiced (and not assimilated) consonant. Then it is pronounced as a voiced consonant itself.

футбо́л "fudbol" football (т after у and before б pronounced as д)

вакза́л "vagzal" a railway station (к after а and before з pronounced as English g)

This process does not take place before в, л, м, н and р sounds though they are voiced.

патрэ́бны "patrebny" necessary (т not assimilated to д)

Noun GenderEdit

Each noun belongs to one of the three genders. The "theoretical" rule for noun gender is the following.

  • nouns ending by а or я are feminine: вада́ water, Ірла́ндыя Ireland
  • nouns ending by о, ё; э or е are neuter: вакно́ a window, ра́дыё radio
  • nouns ending by a consonant are masculine кот a cat, го́рад a town

In practice, however, the things are far not so simple. First of all, with neuter nouns, final unstressed о or э due to akannie transform into а to get an ending typical for feminine nouns.

мо́ра a sea (а is used instead of unstressed э)

ко́ла a wheel (а is used instead of unstressed о)

There is a large number of nouns ending by a consonant but belonging to the feminine gender.

мыш a mouse

ноч a night

Finally, there exist a number of nouns ending by а or я but being masculine.

мужчы́на a man

саба́ка a dog

чарапа́ха a turtle

Plural NounsEdit

Plural nouns usually end by ы.

With feminine and neuter nouns, the plural ending is never stressed. If a feminine noun has a stressed ending in singular, it becomes unstressed in plural.

вада́ - во́ды water (waters)

акно́ - во́кны a window (windows) (в here appears only before o, because native Belarusian words can't begin with o-)

гара́ - го́ры a mountain (mountains)

каза́ - ко́зы a goat (goats)

цана́ - цэ́ны a price (prices)

царква́ - цэ́рквы a church (churches)

With feminine and neuter nouns having unstressed endings, the stress remains unshifted.

варо́на - варо́ны a crow (crows)

дрэ́ва (neuter) - дрэ́вы a tree (trees)

жа́ба - жа́бы a toad (toads)

жанчы́на - жанчы́ны a woman (women)

каро́ва - каро́вы a cow (cows)

ко́ла (neuter) - ко́лы a wheel (wheels)

краiна - краiны a country (countries)

кра́ма - кра́мы a shop (shops)

мо́ра (neuter) - мо́ры a sea (seas)

мыш - мы́шы a mouse (mice)

ноч - но́чы a night (nights)

фа́ра - фа́ры a headlight (headlights)

ха́та - ха́ты a house (houses)

шко́ла - шко́лы a school (schools)

Masculine nouns may have either stressed or unstressed ending in plural. The first case applies to most monosyllabic nouns. But there is no strict rule to determine the stress position in plural for masculine nouns.

Stressed plural ы Unstressed plural ы
кот-каты́ a cat (cats)

го́лас-галасы́ a voice (voices)
го́рад-гарады́ a town (towns)
дождж-дажджы́ rain (rains)
маро́з-маразы́ frost (frosts)
па́шпарт-пашпарты́ a passport (passports)
сакрата́р-сакратары́ a secretary (secretaries)
слон-сланы́ an elephant (elephants)

адка́з-адка́зы an answer (answers)

бара́н-бара́ны a sheep (sheep)
вакза́л-вакза́лы a railway station (railway stations)
дырэ́ктар-дырэ́ктары a manager (managers)
пала́ц-пала́цы a palace (palaces)
партыза́н-партыза́ны a guerrilla (guerrillas)
студэ́нт-студэ́нты a student (students)
туры́ст-туры́сты a tourist (tourists)
тэа́тр-тэа́тры a theatre (theatres)

Notice the last word, тэатр. The э letter here violates the rule of akannie - a situation which is common with borrowed words.

ExercisesEdit

GenderEdit

Make three sentences with the given pair of words: "This is a <noun>"; "It/he/she is <adjective>"; This is a <adjective> <noun>". Take note that nouns and adjectives must be coordinated by gender, i.e. masculine adjectives are used with masculine nouns etc.

Sample church, new: Гэта царква. Яна новая. Гэта новая царква.

(1) frost, strong

(2) tree, old

(3) woman, ill

(4) voice, beautiful

(5) goat, young

(6) palace, old

Clue: (1) Гэта мароз. Ён моцны. Гэта моцны мароз. (2) Гэта дрэва. Яно старое. Гэта старое дрэва. (3) Гэта жанчына. Яна хворая. Гэта хворая жанчына. (4) Гэта голас. Ён прыгожы. Гэта прыгожы голас. (5) Гэта каза. Яна маладая. Гэта маладая каза. (6) Гэта палац. Ён стары. Гэта стары палац.

NumberEdit

Transform all sentences from the previous exercise into plural.

Sample church, new: Гэта цэрквы. Яны новыя. Гэта новыя цэрквы.

Clue: (1) Гэта маразы. Яны моцныя. Гэта моцныя маразы. (2) Гэта дрэвы. Яны старыя. Гэта старыя дрэвы. (3) Гэта жанчыны. Яны хворыя. Гэта хворыя жанчыны. (4) Гэта галасы. Яны прыгожыя. Гэта прыгожыя галася. (5) Гэта козы. Яны маладыя. Гэта маладыя козы. (6) Гэта палацы. Яны старыя. Гэта старыя палацы.

TranslationEdit

Translate into Belarusian.

(1) I am a strong man.

(2) These are strong men.

(3) What is this? This is an old town.

(4) Who are these? These are women. They are beautiful.

(5) They are young students.

(6) This is a wheel. It is new. This is a new wheel.

Clue: (1) Я дужы мужчына. (2) Гэта дужыя мужчыны. (3) Што гэта? Гэта стары горад. (4) Хто гэта? Гэта жанчыны. Яны прыгожыя. (5) Яны маладыя студэнты. (6) Гэта кола. Яно новае. Гэта новае кола.