Proto-Slavic is the unattested, reconstructed proto-language of all the Slavic languages. It represents Slavic speech approximately from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; scholars have reconstructed the language by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic languages and by taking into account other Indo-European languages. Rapid development of Slavic speech occurred during the Proto-Slavic period, coinciding with the massive expansion of the Slavic-speaking area. Dialectal differentiation occurred early on during this period, but overall linguistic unity and mutual intelligibility continued for several centuries, into the 10th century or later. During this period, many sound changes diffused across the entire area, often uniformly. This makes it inconvenient to maintain the traditional definition of a proto-language as the latest reconstructable common ancestor of a language group, with no dialectal differentiation. (This would necessitate treating all pan-Slavic changes after the 6th century or so as part of the separate histories of the various daughter languages.) Instead, Slavicists typically handle the entire period of dialectally-differentiated linguistic unity as Common Slavic. One can divide the Proto-Slavic/Common-Slavic time of linguistic unity roughly into three periods:
an early period with little or no dialectal variation a middle period of slight-to-moderate dialectal variation a late period of significant variation
Authorities differ as to which periods should be included in
Proto-Slavic and in Common Slavic. The language described in this
article generally reflects the middle period, usually termed Late
Proto-Slavic (sometimes Middle Common Slavic) and often dated to
around the 7th to 8th centuries. This language remains largely
unattested, but a late-period variant, representing the late
9th-century dialect spoken around
1 Introduction 2 Notation
2.1 Vowel notation 2.2 Other vowel and consonant diacritics 2.3 Prosodic notation 2.4 Other prosodic diacritics
3 History 4 Phonology
4.1 Vowels 4.2 Consonants 4.3 Pitch accent 4.4 Phonotactics
5.1 Alternations 5.2 Nouns 5.3 Adjectives 5.4 Verbs
5.4.1 Grammatical categories 5.4.2 Aspect 5.4.3 Conjugation
5.5 Accent classes
5.5.1 Nouns 5.5.2 Verbs
6 Schleicher's PIE fable rendered into Proto-Slavic 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Further reading
The ancestor of
Proto-Slavic is Proto-Balto-Slavic, which is also the
ancestor of the Baltic languages, e.g. Lithuanian and Latvian. This
language in turn is descended from Proto-Indo-European, the parent
language of the vast majority of
Another division is made up of four periods:
Pre-Slavic (c. 1500 BC – AD 300): A long, stable period of gradual development. The most significant phonological developments during this period involved the prosodic system, e.g. tonal and other register distinctions on syllables. Early Common Slavic or simply Early Slavic (c. 300–600): The early, uniform stage of Common Slavic, but also the beginning of a longer period of rapid phonological change. As there are no dialectal distinctions reconstructible from this period or earlier, this is the period for which a single common ancestor (that is, "Proto-Slavic proper") can be reconstructed. Middle Common Slavic (c. 600–800): The stage with the earliest identifiable dialectal distinctions. Rapid phonological change continued, although with the massive expansion of the Slavic-speaking area. Although some dialectal variation did exist, most sound changes were still uniform and consistent in their application. By the end of this stage, the vowel and consonant phonemes of the language were largely the same as those still found in the modern languages. For this reason, reconstructed "Proto-Slavic" forms commonly found in scholarly works and etymological dictionaries normally correspond to this period. Late Common Slavic (c. 800–1000, although perhaps through c. 1150 in Kievan Rus', in the far northeast): The last stage in which the whole Slavic-speaking area still functioned as a single language, with sound changes normally propagating throughout the entire area, although often with significant dialectal variation in the details.
This article considers primarily Middle Common Slavic, noting when there is slight dialectal variation. It also covers Late Common Slavic when there are significant developments that are shared (more or less) identically among all Slavic languages. Notation See Proto-Balto-Slavic language#Notation for more detail on the most common diacritics for indicating prosody ⟨á à â ã ȁ a̋ ā ă⟩ and various other phonetic distinctions ⟨ą ẹ ė š ś⟩, etc. in Balto-Slavic languages. Vowel notation Two different and conflicting systems for denoting vowels are commonly in use in Indo-European and Balto-Slavic linguistics on one hand, and Slavic linguistics on the other. In the first, vowel length is consistently distinguished with a macron above the letter, while in the latter it is not clearly indicated. The following table explains these differences:
Vowel IE/B-S Slavic
Short close front vowel (front yer) i ĭ or ь
Short close back vowel (back yer) u ŭ or ъ
Short open back vowel a o
Long close front vowel ī i
Long close back vowel ū y
Long open front vowel (yat) ē ě
Long open back vowel ā a
For consistency, all discussions of words in Early Slavic and before (the boundary corresponding roughly to the monophthongization of diphthongs, and the Slavic second palatalization) use the common Balto-Slavic notation of vowels. Discussions of Middle and Late Common Slavic, as well as later dialects, use the Slavic notation. Other vowel and consonant diacritics
The haček on consonants ⟨č ď ľ ň ř š ť ž⟩ is used in this
article to denote the consonants that result from iotation
(coalescence with a /j/ that previously followed the consonant) and
the Slavic first palatalization. This use is based on the Czech
alphabet, and is shared by most
Prosodic notation For Middle and Late Common Slavic, the following marks are used to indicate tone and length distinctions on vowels, based on the standard notation in Serbo-Croatian:
Acute accent ⟨á⟩: A long rising accent, originating from the Balto-Slavic "acute" accent. This occurred in the Middle Common Slavic period and earlier. Grave accent ⟨à⟩: A short rising accent. It occurred from Late Common Slavic onwards, and developed from the shortening of the original acute (long rising) tone. Inverted breve ⟨ȃ⟩: A long falling accent, originating from the Balto-Slavic "circumflex" accent. In Late Common Slavic, originally short (falling) vowels were lengthened in monosyllables under some circumstances, and are also written with this mark. This secondary circumflex occurs only on the original short vowels e, o, ь, ъ in an open syllable (i.e. when not forming part of a liquid diphthong). Double grave accent ⟨ȁ⟩: A short falling accent. It corresponds to the Balto-Slavic "short" accent. All short vowels that were not followed by a sonorant consonant originally carried this accent, until some were lengthened (see preceding item). Tilde ⟨ã⟩: Usually a long rising accent. This indicates the Late Common Slavic "neoacute" accent, which was usually long, but short when occurring on some syllables types in certain languages. It resulted from retraction of the accent (movement towards an earlier syllable) under certain circumstances, often when the Middle Common Slavic accent fell on a word-final final yer (*ь/ĭ or *ъ/ŭ). Macron ⟨ā⟩: A long vowel with no distinctive tone. In Middle Common Slavic, vowel length was an implicit part of the vowel (*e, *o, *ь, *ъ are inherently short, all others are inherently long), so this is usually redundant for Middle Common Slavic words. However, it became distinctive in Late Common Slavic after several shortenings and lengthenings had occurred.
Other prosodic diacritics
There are unfortunately multiple competing systems used to indicate
prosody in different Balto-
Three-way system of Proto-Slavic, Proto-Balto-Slavic, modern
Lithuanian: Acute tone ⟨á⟩ vs. circumflex tone ⟨ȃ⟩ or
⟨ã⟩ vs. short accent ⟨à⟩.
History Main article: History of Proto-Slavic
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2013)
Phonology The following is an overview of the phonemes that are reconstructible for Middle Common Slavic. Vowels Middle Common Slavic had the following vowel system:
Front Central Back
Close ь/ĭ ъ/ŭ
Front Central Back
Close i y u
Nasal vowels (long)
Front Central Back
Mid ę ǫ
Front Central Back
Close ьl/ĭl, ьr/ĭr ъl/ŭl, ъr/ŭr
Mid el, er
The columns marked "central" and "back" may alternatively be interpreted as "back unrounded" and "back rounded" respectively, but rounding of back vowels was distinctive only between the vowels *y and *u. The other back vowels had optional non-distinctive rounding. Thus: The vowels described as "short" and "long" were simultaneously distinguished by length and quality in Middle Common Slavic. Vowel length evolved as follows:
In the Early Slavic period, length was the primary distinction (as
indicated, for example, by Greek transcriptions of Slavic words, or
early loanwords from Slavic into the Finnic languages).
In the Middle Common Slavic period, all long/short vowel pairs also
assumed distinct qualities, as indicated above.
During the Late Common Slavic period, various lengthenings and
shortenings occurred, creating new long counterparts of originally
short vowels, and short counterparts of originally long vowels (e.g.
long *o, short *a). The short close vowels *ь/ĭ and *ъ/ŭ were
either lost or lowered to mid vowels, leaving the originally long high
vowels *i, *y and *u with non-distinctive length. As a result, vowel
quality became the primary distinction among the vowels, while length
became conditioned by accent and other properties and was not a
lexical property inherent in each vowel.
Some authors avoid the terms "short" and "long", using "lax" and "tense" instead. Consonants Middle Common Slavic had the following consonants:
Consonants of Middle Common Slavic
Labial Coronal Palatal Velar
Plosive p b t d ť ď k g
c dz č (dž)
s z š ž x
The phonetic value (IPA symbol) of most consonants is the same as their traditional spelling. Some notes and exceptions:
*c denotes a voiceless alveolar affricate [t͡s]. *dz was its voiced
*š and *ž were postalveolar [ʃ] and [ʒ].
*č and *dž were postalveolar affricates, [t͡ʃ] and [d͡ʒ],
although the latter only occurred in the combination *ždž and had
developed into *ž elsewhere.
The pronunciation of *ť and *ď is not precisely known, though it is
likely that they were held longer (geminate). They may have been
palatalized dentals [tʲː dʲː], or perhaps true palatal [cː ɟː]
as in modern Macedonian.
*v was a labial approximant [ʋ]. It may have had bilabial [w] as an
allophone in certain positions (as in modern Slovene and Ukrainian).
*l was [l]. Before back vowels, it was probably fairly strongly
velarized [ɫ] in many dialects.
The sonorants *ľ *ň were either palatalized [lʲ nʲ] or true
palatal [ʎ ɲ].
The pronunciation of *ř is not precisely known, but it was
approximately a palatalized trill [rʲ]. In all daughter languages
except Slovenian it either merged with *r (Southwest Slavic) or with
the palatalized *rʲ resulting from *r before front vowels
(elsewhere). The resulting *rʲ merged back into *r in some languages,
but remained distinct in Czech (becoming a fricative trill, denoted
<ř> in spelling), in
In most dialects, non-distinctive palatalization was probably present
on all consonants that occurred before front vowels. When the high
front yer *ь/ĭ was lost in many words, it left this palatalization
as a "residue", which then became distinctive, producing a phonemic
distinction between palatalized and non-palatalized alveolars and
labials. In the process, the palatal sonorants *ľ *ň *ř merged with
alveolar *l *n *r before front vowels, with both becoming *lʲ *nʲ
*rʲ. Subsequently, some palatalized consonants lost their
palatalization in some environments, merging with their non-palatal
counterparts. This happened the least in Russian and the most in
Czech. Palatalized consonants never developed in Southwest Slavic
(modern Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian), and the merger of *ľ *ň
ř with *l *n r did not happen before front vowels (although Serbian
and Croatian later merged ř with r).
As in its ancestors,
Proto-Balto-Slavic and Proto-Indo-European, one
syllable of each Common Slavic word was accented (carried more
prominence). The placement of the accent was free and thus phonemic;
it could occur on any syllable and its placement was inherently part
of the word. The accent could also be either mobile or fixed, meaning
that inflected forms of a word could have the accent on different
syllables depending on the ending, or always on the same syllable.
Common Slavic vowels also had a pitch accent. In Middle Common Slavic,
all accented long vowels, nasal vowels and liquid diphthongs had a
distinction between two pitch accents, traditionally called "acute"
and "circumflex" accent. The acute accent was pronounced with rising
intonation, while the circumflex accent had a falling intonation.
Short vowels (*e *o *ь/ĭ ъ/ŭ) had no pitch distinction, and were
always pronounced with falling intonation. Unaccented (unstressed)
vowels never had tonal distinctions, but could still have length
distinctions. These rules are similar to the restrictions that apply
to the pitch accent in Slovene.
In the Late Common Slavic period, several sound changes occurred. Long
vowels bearing the acute (long rising) accent were usually shortened,
resulting in a short rising intonation. Some short vowels were
lengthened, creating new long falling vowels. A third type of pitch
accent developed, known as the "neoacute", as a result of sound laws
that retracted the accent (moved it to the preceding syllable). This
occurred at a time when the Slavic-speaking area was already
dialectally differentiated, and usually syllables with the acute
and/or circumflex accent were shortened around the same time. Hence it
is unclear whether there was ever a period in any dialect when there
were three phonemically distinct pitch accents on long vowels.
Nevertheless, taken together, these changes significantly altered the
distribution of the pitch accents and vowel length, to the point that
by the end of the Late Common Slavic period almost any vowel could be
short or long, and almost any accented vowel could have falling or
Most syllables in Middle Common Slavic were open. The only closed
syllables were those that ended in a liquid (*l or *r), forming liquid
diphthongs, and in such syllables, the preceding vowel had to be
short. Consonant clusters were permitted, but only at the beginning of
a syllable. Such a cluster was syllabified with the cluster entirely
in the following syllable, contrary to the syllabification rules that
are known to apply to most languages. For example, *bogatĭstvo
"wealth" was divided into syllables as *bo-ga-tĭ-stvo, with the whole
cluster -stv- at the beginning of the syllable.
By the beginning of the Late Common Slavic period, all or nearly all
syllables had become open as a result of developments in the liquid
diphthongs. Syllables with liquid diphthongs beginning with an o or e
had been converted into open syllables, e.g. *tort became *trot, *trat
or *torot. The main exception are the Northern Lekhitic languages
(Kashubian, extinct Slovincian and Polabian) only with lengthening of
the syllable and no metathesis (*tart, e.g. PSl. *gord > Csb. gard;
> Plb. *gard > gord). In West Slavic and South Slavic, liquid
diphthongs beginning with ĭ or ŭ had likewise been converted into
open syllables by converting the following liquid into a syllabic
sonorant (palatal or non-palatal according to whether an ĭ or ŭ
preceded). This left no closed syllables at all in these languages.
The South Slavic languages, as well as Czech and Slovak, tended to
preserve the syllabic sonorants, but in the
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2013)
Proto-Slavic retained several of the grammatical categories inherited from Proto-Indo-European, especially in nominals (nouns and adjectives). Seven of the eight Indo-European cases had been retained (nominative, accusative, locative, genitive, dative, instrumental, vocative). The ablative had merged with the genitive. It also retained full use of the singular, dual and plural numbers, and still maintained a distinction between masculine, feminine and neuter gender. However, verbs had become much more simplified, but displayed their own unique innovations. Alternations As a result of the three palatalizations and the fronting of vowels before palatal consonants, both consonant and vowel alternations were frequent in paradigms, as well as in word derivation. The following table lists various consonant alternations that occurred in Proto-Slavic, as a result of various suffixes or endings being attached to stems:
Labials Coronals Velars
Normal b p v m d t s z n l r g k x j
First palatalization b p v m d t s z n l r ž č š j
Second palatalization b p v m d t s z n l r dz c ś j
+j (iotation) bj pj vj mj ď ť š ž ň ľ ř ž č š —
+t (in infinitive) t t t1 t2 st st st st t2 lt3 rt3 ť ť ? t1
^1 Originally formed a diphthong with the preceding vowel, which then became a long monophthong. ^2 Forms a nasal vowel. ^3 Forms a liquid diphthong.
Vowels were fronted when following a palatal or "soft" consonant (*j, any iotated consonant, or a consonant that had been affected by the progressive palatalization). Because of this, most vowels occurred in pairs, depending on the preceding consonant.
Origin a e i u
ā ē ī ū
an en in un ūn
au ai ei
After hard consonants o e ь ъ a ě₁ i y ǫ ę ę, ь ǫ, ъ y u ě₂ i
After soft consonants e ь a i ǫ ę ę, ь ę̇, ь ę̇ u i
The distinction between *ě₁ and *ě₂ is based on etymology and have different effects on a preceding consonant: *ě₁ triggers the first palatalization and then becomes *a, while *ě₂ triggers the second palatalization and does not change. Word-final *-un and *-in lost nasal and became *-u and *-i rather than forming a nasal vowel, so that nasal vowels formed medially only. This explains the double reflex. *ā and *an apparently did not take part in the fronting of back vowels, or in any case the effect was not visible. Both have the same reflex regardless of the preceding consonant.
Most word stems therefore became classed as either "soft" or "hard", depending on whether their endings used soft (fronted) vowels or the original hard vowels. Hard stems displayed consonant alternations before endings with front vowels as a result of the two regressive palatalizations and iotation. As part of its Indo-European heritage, Proto-Slavic also retained ablaut alternations, although these had been reduced to unproductive relics. The following table lists the combinations (vowel softening may alter the outcomes).
PIE e ey ew el er em en
Long ē-grade ě₁ ? ? ? ? ę
e-grade e i ju el er ę
zero grade ? ь ъ ьl, ъl ьr, ъr ę, ǫ
o-grade o ě₂ u ol or ǫ
Long ō-grade a ? ? ? ? ǫ
Although qualitative alternations (e-grade versus o-grade versus zero
grade) were no longer productive, the Balto-
A suffix is added to a more basic perfective verb to form an imperfective verb. A prefix is added to a more basic imperfective verb (possibly the output of the previous step) to form a perfective verb. Often, multiple perfective verbs can be formed this way using different prefixes, one of which echoes the basic meaning of the source verb while the others add various shades of meaning (cf. English "write" vs. "write down" vs. "write up" vs. "write out"). The two verbs are suppletive — either based on two entirely different roots, or derived from different PIE verb classes of the same root, often with root-vowel changes going back to PIE ablaut formations.
Proto-Slavic and Old Church Slavonic, the old and new aspect
systems coexisted, but the new aspect has gradually displaced the old
one, and as a result most modern
Class Present Infinitive Examples Notes
1st -e-tь -ti -ati *nestì, *nesȅtь "carry" *bьrati, *beretь "take" PIE primary verbs, root ending in a consonant. Several irregular verbs, some showing ablaut. Not productive. Contains almost all infinitives in -Cti (e.g. *-sti or *-ťi), and a limited number of verbs in -Vti (*zъvati "to call" : *zovetь, *načęti "to start" : *načьnetь, *žiti "to live" : *živetь)
2nd -ne-tь -nǫ-ti *rìnǫti, *rìnetь "push, shove" From various PIE n-suffix verbs, the nasal vowel was a Slavic innovation. Two subclasses existed: those with -nǫ- also in the aorist and participle, and those without. Besides the infinitives in *-nǫti the verb *stati "to stand (up) : *stanetь) also belongs to this class.
3rd -je-tь -i-ti -ja-ti *bìti, *bь̏jetь "beat" *dajati, *dajetь "give" PIE primary verbs, root ending in a vowel. -j- is inserted into the hiatus between root and ending. Several irregular verbs, some showing ablaut. Not productive.
-aje-tь -a-ti *dělati, *dělajetь "do" PIE denominatives in -eh₂-ye-. Remained very productive in Slavic.
-ěje-tь -ě-ti *uměti, *umějetь "know, be able" PIE stative verbs in -eh₁-ye-. Somewhat productive.
-je-tь -uje-tь -a-ti -ova-ti *sъlàti, *sъljȅtь "send" *cělovàti, *cělùjetь "kiss" The basic type was marginally productive, and had iotation of the present stem. The subtype in -ovati was very productive and usually remains so in all Slavic languages.
-yje-tь -y-ti *myti, *myjetь "wash"
-uje-tь -u-ti *duti, *dujetь "blow"
In some cases.
In some cases, where not class I.
4th -i-tь -i-ti *prosìti, *prõsitь "ask, make a request" PIE causative-iteratives in -éye-, denominatives in -eyé-. Remained very productive.
-i-tь -i-tь -ě-ti -a-ti *mьněti, *mьnitь "think" *slỳšati, *slỳšitь "hear" A relatively small class of stative verbs. The infinitive in -ati was a result of iotation, which triggered the change *jě > *ja. In the present tense, the first-person singular shows consonant alternation (caused by *j): *xoditi "to walk" : *xoďǫ, *letěti "to fly" : *leťǫ, *sъpati "to sleep" : *sъpľǫ (with epenthetic *l). The stem of the infinitives in *-ati (except for *sъpati) ends in *j or the so-called "hushing sound".
5th -(s)-tь -ti *bỳti, *ȅstь "be" *dàti, *dãstь "give" *ě̀sti, *ě̃stь "eat" *jьměti, *jьmatь "have" *věděti, *věstь "know" PIE athematic verbs. Only five verbs, all irregular in one way or another, including their prefixed derivations.
Accent classes See also: Proto-Slavic accent Originally in Balto-Slavic, there were only two accent classes, barytonic (with fixed stem accent) and mobile (with mobile accent), corresponding to Slavic classes A and C. There was no class with fixed accent on the ending. Both classes originally had both acute and circumflex stems in them. After the operation of Dybo's law, three basic accent classes emerged for nominals (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, participles):
Class A, with a fixed accent on the stem (either on the root or on a morphological suffix). Class B, with largely fixed accent on the ending (on the first syllable of the ending, if multisyllabic). Class C ("mobile"), with alternation of the accent between the first syllable of the stem and the ending, depending on the paradigmatic form.
For this purpose, the "stem" includes any morphological suffixes (e.g. a diminutive suffix), but not generally on the inflectional suffix that indicates the word class (e.g. the -ā- of feminine ā-stem nouns), which is considered part of the ending. Verbs also had three accent classes (A, B and C) with similar characteristics to the corresponding noun classes. However, the situation is somewhat more complicated due to the large number of verb stem classes and the numerous forms in verbal paradigms. Due to the way in which the accent classes arose, there are certain restrictions:
In class A, the accented syllable always had the acute tone, and therefore was always long, because short syllables did not have tonal distinctions. Thus, single-syllable words with an originally short vowel (*e, *o, *ь, *ъ) in the stem could not belong to accent class A. If the stem was multisyllabic, the accent could potentially fall on any stem syllable (e.g. *ję̄zū́k- "tongue"). These restrictions were caused by Dybo's law, which moved the accent one syllable to the right, but only in originally barytonic (stem-accented) nominals that did not have acute accent in the stem. Class A thus consists of the "leftover" words that Dybo's law did not affect. In class B, the stem syllable(s) could be either short or long. In class C, in forms where the accent fell on the stem and not the ending, that syllable was either circumflex or short accented, never acute accented. This is due to Meillet's law, which converted an acute accent to a circumflex accent if it fell on the stem in class C nominals. Thus, Dybo's law did not affect nouns with a mobile accent paradigm. This is unlike Lithuanian, where Leskien's law (a law similar to Dybo's law) split both fixed and mobile paradigms in the same way, creating four classes. Consequently, circumflex or short accent on the first syllable could only occur in class C. In class A, it did not occur by definition, while in class B, the accent always shifted forward by Dybo's law.
Some nouns (especially jā-stem nouns) fit into the class A pattern but have neoacute accent on the stem, which can have either a short or a long syllable. A standard example is *võľa "will", with neoacute accent on a short syllable. These nouns earlier belonged to class B; as a result, grammars may treat them as belonging either to classes A or B. During the Late Common Slavic period, the class B paradigm became mobile as a result of a complex series of changes that moved the accent leftward in certain circumstances, producing a neoacute accent on the newly stressed syllable. The paradigms below reflect these changes. All languages subsequently simplified the class B paradigms to varying degrees; the older situation can often only be seen in certain nouns in certain languages, or indirectly by way of features such as the Slovene neo-circumflex tone that carry echoes of the time when this tone developed. See History of Proto-Slavic#Accentual developments for more details. Nouns See also: Proto-Balto-Slavic The following tables are examples of Proto-Slavic noun-class paradigms, based on Verweij (1994). There were many changes in accentuation during the Common Slavic period, and there are significant differences in the views of different scholars on how these changes proceeded. As a result, these paradigms do not necessarily reflect a consensus. The view expressed below is that of the Leiden school, following Frederik Kortlandt, whose views are somewhat controversial and not accepted by all scholars. Class A nouns
Example Late Common Slavic paradigms in noun class A
Masc. long -o Neut. long -o Masc. long -jo Fem. long -ā Fem. long -jā Masc. long -i Fem. long -i Masc. long -u Fem. long -ū Fem. long -r Masc. long -n Neut. long -n Neut. long -s Neut. long -nt
bread summer cry wound storm son-in-law thread clay pumpkin mother stone seed miracle lamb
Singular Nom xlě̀bъ lě̀to plàčь ràna bùřā zę̀tь nìtь jìlъ tỳky màti kàmy sě̀mę čùdo àgnę
Acc xlě̀bъ lě̀to plàčь rànǫ bùřǫ zę̀tь nìtь jìlъ tỳkъvь màterь kàmenь sě̀mę čùdo àgnę
Gen xlě̀ba lě̀ta plàča ràny bùřę̇ zę̀tī nìtī jìlu tỳkъve màtere kàmene sě̀mene čùdese àgnęte
Dat xlě̀bu lě̀tu plàču ràně bùřī zę̀ti nìti jìlovi tỳkъvi màteri kàmeni sě̀meni čùdesi àgnęti
Inst xlě̀bъmь lě̀tъmь plàčьmь rànojǫ rànǭ[a] bùřējǫ bùřǭ[a] zę̀tьmь nìtьjǫ nìťǭ[a] jìlъmъ tỳkъvьjǫ tỳkъvljǭ[a] màterьjǫ màteřǭ[a] kàmenьmь sě̀menьmь čùdesьmь àgnętьmь
Loc xlě̀bě lě̀tě plàči ràně bùřī zę̀tī nìtī jìlū tỳkъve màtere kàmene sě̀mene čùdese àgnęte
Plural Nom xlě̀bi lě̀ta plàči ràny bùřę̇ zę̀tьjē zę̀ťē[a] nìti jìlove tỳkъvi màteri kàmene sě̀menā čùdesā àgnętā
Acc xlě̀by lě̀ta plàčę̇ ràny bùřę̇ zę̀ti nìti jìly tỳkъvi màteri kàmeni sě̀menā čùdesā àgnętā
Gen xlě̀bъ lě̀tъ plàčь rànъ bùřь zę̀tьjь zę̀tī[a] nìtьjь nìtī[a] jìlovъ tỳkъvъ màterъ kàmenъ sě̀menъ čùdesъ àgnętъ
Dat xlě̀bomъ lě̀tomъ plàčēmъ rànamъ bùřāmъ zę̀tьmъ nìtьmъ jìlъmъ tỳkъvьmъ màterьmъ kàmenьmъ sě̀menьmъ čùdesьmъ àgnętьmъ
Inst xlě̀bȳ lě̀tȳ plàčī rànamī bùřāmī zę̀tьmī nìtьmī jìlъmī tỳkъvьmī màterьmī kàmenьmī sě̀menȳ čùdesȳ àgnętȳ
Loc xlě̀bě̄xъ lě̀tě̄xъ plàčīxъ rànaxъ bùřāxъ zę̀tьxъ nìtьxъ jìlъxъ tỳkъvьxъ màterьxъ kàmenьxъ sě̀menьxъ čùdesьxъ àgnętьxъ
^ a b c d e f g h The first form is the result in languages without contraction over /j/ (e.g. Russian), while the second form is the result in languages with such contraction. This contraction can occur only when both vowels flanking /j/ are unstressed, but when it occurs, it occurs fairly early in Late Common Slavic, before Dybo's law (the accentual shift leading to class B nouns). See below.
Note that all class A stems are long. This is because all such stems had Balto-Slavic acute register in the root, which can only occur on long syllables. (Short syllables, and long syllables with Balto-Slavic circumflex register, became class B nouns in Common Slavic.) The distribution of short and long vowels in the stems without /j/ reflects the original vowel lengths, prior to the operation of Van Wijk's law, Dybo's law and Stang's law, which led to class B nouns and the differing lengths in /j/ stems. Class B nouns
Example Late Common Slavic paradigms in noun class B
Masc. long -o Neut. long -o Masc. short -jo Neut. short -jo Fem. short -ā Masc. long -i Fem. short -i Masc. short -u Fem. short -ū Masc. short -n Neut. short -n Neut. long -nt
bull wine knife bed woman way door ox turtle deer tribe baby animal
Singular Nom bỹkъ vīnò nõžь ložè ženà pǫ̃tь dvь̃rь võlъ želỳ elỳ[a] plemę̀ zvě̄rę̀
Acc bỹkъ vīnò nõžь ložè ženǫ̀ pǫ̃tь dvь̃rь võlъ želъ̀vь elènь plemę̀ zvě̄rę̀
Gen bȳkà vīnà nožà ložà ženỳ pǫ̃ti dvь̃ri volù želъ̀ve elène plemène zvě̄rę̀te
Dat bȳkù vīnù nožù ložù ženě̀ pǭtì dvьrì volòvi želъ̀vi elèni plemèni zvě̄rę̀ti
Inst bȳkъ̀mь vīnъ̀mь nožь̀mь ložь̀mь ženòjǫ žẽnǫ[b] pǭtь̀mь dvь̃rьjǫ dvь̃řǫ[b] volъ̀mь želъ̀vьjǫ želъ̀vljǭ[b] elènьmь[c] plemènьmь zvě̄rę̀tьmь
Loc bȳcě̀ vīně̀ nožì ložì ženě̀ pǫ̃ti dvь̃ri võlu želъ̀ve elène plemène zvě̄rę̀te
Plural Nom bȳcì vīnà nožì lõža ženỳ pǫ̃tьjē pǫ̃ťē[b] dvьrì volòve želъ̀vi elène plemènā zvě̄rę̀tā
Acc bȳkỳ vīnà nožę̇̀ lõža ženỳ pǭtì dvьrì volỳ želъ̀vi elèni plemènā zvě̄rę̀tā
Gen bỹkъ vĩnъ nõžь lõžь žẽnъ pǭtь̀jь pǫ̃ti[b] dvьrь̀jь dvь̃ri[b] volòvъ želъ̀vъ elènъ plemènъ zvě̄rę̀tъ
Dat bȳkòmъ vīnòmъ nõžemъ lõžemъ ženàmъ pǭtь̀mъ dvьrь̀mъ volъ̀mъ želъ̀vьmъ elènьmъ plemènьmъ zvě̄rę̀tьmъ
Inst bỹky vĩny nõži lõži ženàmī pǫ̃tьmī dvь̃rьmī võlъmī želъ̀vьmī elènьmī plemènȳ zvě̄rę̀tȳ
Loc bỹcěxъ vĩněxъ nõžixъ lõžixъ ženàxъ pǭtь̀xъ dvьrь̀xъ volъ̀xъ želъ̀vьxъ elènьxъ plemènьxъ zvě̄rę̀tьxъ
^ This word is reconstructed as *olỳ in Verweij. The initial e-, however, is what is found in Derksen (2008) and other sources. ^ a b c d e f The first form is the result in languages without contraction over /j/ (e.g. Russian), while the second form is the result in languages with such contraction. This contraction can occur only when both vowels flanking /j/ are unstressed, but when it occurs, it occurs before Dybo's law. At that point in this paradigm, stress was initial, allowing contraction to occur, resulting in a long *ī. As a result, after Dybo's law moved stress onto the vowel, it was retracted again by Stang's law. Without contraction, only Dybo's law applied. ^ Verweij has *olènьmъ here, with unexpected -mъ ending when class A *kàmy has expected *kàmenьmь. This may be a typo.
Class B jā stem nouns are not listed here. The combination of Van Wijk's law and Stang's law would have originally produced a complex mobile paradigm in these nouns, different from the mobile paradigm of ā-stem and other nouns, but this was apparently simplified in Common Slavic times with a consistent neoacute accent on the stem, as if they were class A nouns. The class B jo stem nouns were also simplified, but less dramatically, with consistent ending stress in the singular but consistent root stress in the plural, as shown. Class B s stem noun are not listed here, because there may not have been any. Class C nouns
Example Late Common Slavic paradigms in noun class C
Masc. short -o Neut. long -o Masc. long -jo Neut. short -jo Fem. short -ā Fem. long -jā Masc. long -i Fem. short -i Masc. long -u Fem. nonsyllabic -ū Fem. short -r Masc. short -n Neut. short -n Neut. short -s Neut. long -nt
cart belly man field leg soul wild animal bone son eyebrow daughter root name wheel piglet
Singular Nom vôzъ břûxo mǫ̂žь pȍľe nogà dušà zvě̂rь kôstь sŷnъ brỳ dъ̏ťi kȍry jь̏mę kȍlo pôrsę
Acc vôzъ břûxo mǫ̂žь pȍľe nȍgǫ dûšǫ zvě̂rь kôstь sŷnъ brъ̂vь dъ̏ťerь kȍrenь[a] jь̏mę kȍlo pôrsę
Gen vȍza břûxa mǫ̂ža pȍľa nogý dušę̇́ zvěrí kostí sŷnu brъ̏ve dъ̏ťere kȍrene jь̏mene kȍlese pôrsęte
Dat vȍzu břûxu mǫ̂žu pȍľu nȍdźě dûšī zvě̂ri kȍsti sŷnovi brъ̏vi dъ̏ťeri kȍreni jь̏meni kȍlesi pôrsęti
Inst vȍzъmь břûxъmь mǫ̂žьmь pȍľьmь nogojǫ́ dušejǫ́ zvě̂rьmь kostьjǫ́ sŷnъmь brъvьjǫ́ dъťerьjǫ́ kȍrenьmь[b] jь̏menьmь kȍlesьmь pôrsętьmь
Loc vȍzě břûśě mǫ̂ži pȍľi nodźě̀ dušì zvěrí kostí synú brъ̏ve dъ̏ťere kȍrene jь̏mene kȍlese pôrsęte
Plural Nom vȍzi břuxà mǫ̂ži poľà nȍgy dûšę̇ zvě̂rьjē zvě̂řē[c] kȍsti sŷnove brъ̏vi dъ̏ťeri kȍrene jьmenà kolesà porsętà
Acc vȍzy břuxà mǫ̂žę̇ poľà nȍgy dûšę̇ zvě̂ri kȍsti sŷny brъ̏vi dъ̏ťeri kȍreni jьmenà kolesà porsętà
Gen võzъ břũxъ mǫ̃žь põľь nõgъ dũšь zvěrь̃jь[d] kostь̃jь[d] synõvъ[e] brъ̃vъ dъťẽrъ korẽnъ jьmẽnъ kolẽsъ porsę̃tъ
Dat vozõmъ břuxõmъ mǫžẽmъ poľẽmъ nogàmъ dušàmъ zvě̂rьmъ[f] kȍstьmъ[f] sŷnъmъ[f] brъ̏vьmъ[f] dъťẽrьmъ[g] korẽnьmъ[g] jьmẽnьmъ[g] kolẽsьmъ[g] porsę̃tьmъ[g]
Inst vozý břuxý mǫží poľí nogàmi dušàmi zvěrьmì kostьmì synъmì brъvьmì dъťerьmì korenьmì jьmený kolesý porsętý
Loc vozě̃xъ břuśě̃xъ mǫžĩxъ poľĩxъ nogàxъ dušàxъ zvě̂rьxъ[f] kȍstьxъ[f] sŷnъxъ[f] brъ̏vьxъ[f] dъťẽrьxъ[g] korẽnьxъ[g] jьmẽnьxъ[g] kolẽsьxъ[g] porsę̃tьxъ[g]
^ This word is reconstructed as *kȍręnь in Verweij, with a nasal vowel in the second syllable (and similarly for the rest of the paradigm). This is based on Czech dokořan. Verweij notes that *kȍrěnь is an alternative reconstruction, based on Serbo-Croatian kȍrijen. The form with medial -e-, however, comports with the majority of daughters and with other n-stem nouns. ^ Verweij has *kȍręnьmъ here, with unexpected -mъ ending when class A *kàmy has expected *kàmenьmь. This may be a typo. ^ The first form is the result in languages without contraction over /j/ (e.g. Russian), while the second form is the result in languages with such contraction. See the corresponding class A footnote. ^ a b Verweij reconstructs i-stem genitive plural *zvěrь̃jь and *kostь̃jь, even though his reconstructed dative plural forms are *zvě̂rьmъ, *kȍstьmъ (see note below). This is because the strong yer preceding /j/ is a tense yer that is strong enough to block the supposed rule that skips intervening yers when retracting from a yer (see note below). ^ Verweij has *synóvъ here, with unexpected long rising accent on an originally short vowel. This may be a typo. ^ a b c d e f g h These forms originally had final accent, which was retracted. Retraction from a yer skipped over intervening yers, even if strong. The result still should show neoacute accent, but according to Verweij, this is rarely found, and falling accent is the norm. ^ a b c d e f g h i j These forms originally had final accent, which was retracted, skipping over the intervening yer (see footnote above).
The accent pattern for the strong singular cases (nom., acc.) and all plural cases is straightforward:
All weak cases (gen., dat., inst., loc.) in the plural are ending-stressed. The *-à ending that marks nom. sg. of the (j)ā-stems and nom./acc. pl. of the neuter (j)o-stems is ending-stressed. All other strong cases (sg. and pl.) are stem-stressed.
For the weak singular cases, it can be observed:
All such cases in the (j)o-stems are stem-stressed. All such cases in the j(ā)- and i-stems are end-stressed except the dative. (However, the masculine i-stem inst. sg. is stem stressed because it is borrowed directly from the jo-stem.)
Note also that the long-rising vs. short-rising accent on ending-accented forms with Middle Common Slavic long vowels reflects original cirumflex vs. acute register, respectively. Verbs
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2013)
The same three classes occurred in verbs as well. Middle Common Slavic
class B verbs in *-ī́tī had a neoacute retraction in Late Common
Slavic in the present tense; that is, these verbs had original acute
accent on the *-i- inflectional suffix in the infinitive, but neoacute
accent on the stem in the present tense. This is due to the same
process that caused neoacute retraction in class B jā-stem nouns (see
Schleicher's PIE fable rendered into Proto-Slavic
Ovьca i konji: Ovьca kъja bez vьlny estь, konję vidě, edinъ tęžьkъ vozъ tęglъ, i edinъ veliko bermę, i ešče edinъ čolvěka nosilъ bъrzo. Ovьca kǫnjemъ reče: "Sьrdьce moje bolitь, viděti konję že vozitь čolvekъ". Konji rekošę: "Slušaji, ovьče! sьrdьca naša bolętь kogda vidimъ: mǫžъ, gospodь, ovьčьjejǫ vьlnojǫ sebě teplъ drabъ tvoritь. A ovьca bez vьlny estь." To slyšavъ, ovьca vъ dolъ poběže.
The Sheep and the Horses: a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing horses carrying a man". The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool". Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.
History of the Slavic languages Old Church Slavonic Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony Slavic languages Balto-Slavic languages Language family
^ Lunt 1987. ^ Savel Kliachko (1968). The sharpness feature in Slavic. Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures. p. 57. Its immediate successors were Proto-East Slavic, Proto-South Slavic, and Proto-West Slavic. The Proto-Slavic era itself is often divided arbitrarily into three periods: (1) early Proto-Slavic, until about 1000 B.C.; (2) middle Proto-Slavic, during the next millenium; (3) late Proto-Slavic, from the 1st to the 6th century A.D., although it was not until the 12th century that Slavic linguistic unity actually ceased to function. ^ Lunt 2001, p. 192. ^ Schenker 2002, p. 82. ^ Schenker 2002, p. 75. ^ Scatton 2002, p. 213. ^ Derksen 2008, p. 8, echoing Stang 1957. ^ Kortlandt 1994. ^ Kortlandt 2011.
Derksen, Rick (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited
Lexicon, Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series, 4,
Kortlandt, Frederik (1994), "From
Bethin, Christina Yurkiw (1998), Slavic Prosody: Language Change and Phonological Theory, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-59148-1 Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville G., eds. (2002), The Slavonic Languages, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-28078-8 Curta, Florin (2004), "The Slavic Lingua Franca. Linguistic Notes of an Archaeologist Turned Historian", East Central Europe/L'Europe du Centre-Est, 31 (1): 125–148, doi:10.1163/187633004x00134 Samilov, Michael (1964), The phoneme jat’ in Slavic, The Hague: Mouton Schenker, Alexander M. (1993), "Proto-Slavonic", in Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville G., The Slavonic languages (1 ed.), London, New York: Routledge, pp. 60–121, ISBN 0-415-04755-2 Sussex, Roland; Cubberley, Paul (2006), The Slavic Languages, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521223157
In other languages
Belić, Aleksandar (1921), "Најмлађа (Трећа) Промена Задњенепчаних Сугласника k, g и h у Прасловенском Језику", Јужнословенски Филолог (in Serbian), II: 18–39 Bräuer, Herbert (1961), Slavische Sprachwissenschaft, I: Einleitung, Lautlehre (in German), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., pp. 69–71, 89–90, 99, 138–140 Kiparsky, Valentin (1963, 1967, 1975), Russische Historische Grammatik (in German), 1–3 Check date values in: date= (help) Lehr-Spławiński, Tadeusz (1957), "Z dziejów języka prasłowiańskiego (Urywek z większej całości)", Езиковедски Изследвания В Чест На Академик Стефан Младенов (in Polish), Sofia Matasović, Ranko (2008), Poredbenopovijesna gramatika hrvatskoga jezika (in Croatian), Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, ISBN 978-953-150-840-7 Milan Mihaljević (2002), Slavenska poredbena gramatika, 1. dio, Uvod i fonologija (in Croatian), Zagreb: Školska knjiga, ISBN 953-0-30225-8 Moszyński, Leszek (1984), "Wstęp do filologii słowiańskiej", PWN (in Polish), Warszawa Vaillant, André (1950), Grammaire comparée des langues slaves, t.I: Phonétique (in French), Lyon—Paris: IAC, pp. 113–117 Van Wijk, Nikolaas (1956), Les langues slaves: de l'unité à la pluralité, Janua linguarum, series minor (in French) (2nd ed.), 's-Gravenhage: Mouton Vasmer, Max (1950–1958), Russisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (in German), Heidelberg
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Slavic first palatalization Slavic second palatalization Slavic liquid metathesis and pleophony Dybo's law Havlík's law Hirt's law Illič-Svityč's law Ivšić's law Meillet's law Pedersen's law Ruki sound law Winter's law
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