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Article

Intra-speaker stress variation in Russian: A corpus-driven study of Russian poetry

Piperski A., Kukhto A.

Russian lexical stress exhibits both inter-speaker variation, defined by the speaker’s regional affiliation, social status, age, etc., as well as intra-speaker variation. The latter is difficult to capture due to the need for large corpora of spoken text produced by one speaker. These are lacking, but can be replaced with poetic corpora. We use automatic analysis of poetic texts by 10 poets, drawn from the Russian National Corpus, in order to find word forms that can have stress variation. The number of such forms for an individual speaker ranges between 30 and 200 words, distributed among different parts of speech. We propose a quantitative measure of overall stress variability independent of the corpus size and show that there is a tendency for this variability to diminish over time, at least in poetic texts.