Lina Murinienė (Vilnius Pedagogical University)
The situation is compounded by the fact that the letter i figures prominently in the Lithuanian language. Two spelling studies based on thorough data collections have been conducted to research the pronunciation problems of the consonant [j] and the vowel [i] in international words such as genialus, oficialus, specialybė. They showed that more than two thirds of respondents did not comply with the spelling rules of the consonant [j] in international words.
A problematic relationship between spelling and pronunciation of the consonant [j] and the vowel [i] was examined at the international conference of Arturs Ozols’ Day, Riga. It provoked a scientific debate over the need to revise the standard pronunciation rules in order to reflect its present usage. To provide a more tangible scientific foundation, pronunciation of the target sounds was researched with the PRAAT computer programme of Paul Boersma and David Weenink, phonetics scientists, University of Amsterdam.
The study measured the total sound duration and the value of the first three formants. The finding confirmed the previous statement that the majority of respondents perceived the letter i as a sign of softness in international words but did not pronounce the short vowel [i]. Now on the grounds of this finding, it seems reasonable to promote the idea of revising the pronunciation norms of the Lithuanian language.