The Info List - Slavic Language

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The SLAVIC LANGUAGES (also called SLAVONIC LANGUAGES) are the Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
native to the Slavic peoples , originally from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic spoken during the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
, which in turn is thought to have descended from the earlier Proto-Balto-Slavic language , linking the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
to the Baltic languages
Baltic languages
in a Balto-Slavic group within the Indo-European family.

The Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are divided intro three subgroups: East , West , and South , which together constitute more than twenty languages. Of these, ten have at least one million speakers and official status as the national languages of the countries in which they are predominantly spoken: Russian , Belarusian and Ukrainian (of the East group), Polish , Czech and Slovak (of the West group) and Slovene , Serbo-Croatian
, Macedonian and Bulgarian (of the South group).

The current geographic distribution of natively spoken Slavic languages covers Eastern Europe, the Balkans , the eastern parts of Central Europe
Central Europe
and all of the territory of Russia
, which includes northern and north-central Asia. Furthermore, the diasporas of many Slavic peoples have established isolated minorities of speakers of their languages all over the world. The number of speakers of all Slavic languages
Slavic languages
together is estimated to be 315 million.


* 1 Branches

* 2 History

* 2.1 Common roots and ancestry * 2.2 Evolution * 2.3 Differentiation * 2.4 Linguistic history

* 3 Features

* 3.1 Consonants * 3.2 Vowels * 3.3 Length, accent, and tone * 3.4 Grammar * 3.5 Selected cognates

* 4 Influence on neighboring languages * 5 Detailed list * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 External links


Slavic language tree.

Scholars traditionally divide Slavic languages
Slavic languages
on the basis of geographical and genealogical principle into three main branches, some of which feature subbranches:


* Old East Slavic
Old East Slavic

* Old Novgorod
(extinct) * Ruthenian (extinct) * Belarusian * Russian * Ukrainian * Rusyn


* Czech–Slovak

* Czech * Slovak

* Lechitic

* Old Polish
Old Polish

* Middle Polish (extinct)

* Polish , Silesian

* Pomeranian

* Kashubian * Slovincian (extinct)

* Polabian (extinct)

* Sorbian

* Upper Sorbian * Lower Sorbian

* Knaanic (extinct)


* Eastern group

* Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic

* Bulgarian * Macedonian * Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic

* Western group

* Serbo-Croatian
* Slovenian

Some linguists speculate that a North Slavic branch has existed as well. The Old Novgorod dialect
Old Novgorod dialect
may have reflected some idiosyncrasies of this group. On the other hand, the term "North Slavic" is also used sometimes to combine the West and East Slavic languages into one group, in opposition to the South Slavic languages, due to traits the West and East Slavic branches share with each other that they do not with the South Slavic languages. Mutual intelligibility
Mutual intelligibility
also plays a role in determining the West, East, and South branches. Speakers of languages within the same branch will in most cases be able to understand each other at least partially, but they are generally unable to across branches (for which it would be comparable to a native English speaker trying to understand any other Germanic language ).

The most obvious differences between the West and East Slavic branches are in the orthography of the standard languages: West Slavic languages are written in the Latin script
Latin script
, and have had more western European influence due to their speakers being historically Roman Catholic , whereas the East Slavic languages are written in Cyrillic and, with Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox
or Uniate
faithful, have had more Greek influence. East Slavic languages such as Russian have, however, during and after Peter the Great 's Europeanization campaign, absorbed many words of Latin, French, German, and Italian origin, somewhat reducing this difference in influence. Although the South Slavic group has traits that distinguish it from the West or East Slavic branches, within itself it displays much the same variations: Bulgarian, for example, has some East Slavic traits (Cyrillic alphabet, Russian loanwords, and Greek influence) and Croatian many West Slavic ones (Latin alphabet, overall central European influence like Czech), despite both being South Slavic.

The tripartite division of the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
does not take into account the spoken dialects of each language. Of these, certain so-called transitional dialects and hybrid dialects often bridge the gaps between different languages, showing similarities that do not stand out when comparing Slavic literary (i.e. standard) languages. For example, Slovak (West Slavic) and Ukrainian (East Slavic) are bridged by the Rusyn of Eastern Slovakia and western Ukraine. Similarly, Polish shares transitional features with both western Ukrainian and Belarusian dialects. The Croatian Kajkavian
dialect is more similar to Slovene than to the standard Croatian language.

Although the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
diverged from a common proto-language later than any other group of the Indo-European language family, enough differences exist between the various Slavic dialects and languages to make communication between speakers of different Slavic languages difficult. Within the individual Slavic languages, dialects may vary to a lesser degree, as those of Russian, or to a much greater degree, as those of Slovene.


Part of a series on


Languages -------------------------

* List of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages

------------------------- Historical

* Albanian * Armenian

* Balto-Slavic

* Baltic * Slavic

* Celtic * Germanic

* Hellenic

* Greek

* Indo-Iranian

* Indo-Aryan * Iranian

* Italic

* Romance


* Anatolian * Tocharian

Paleo- Balkan
Dacian Illyrian Liburnian Messapian Mysian Paeonian Phrygian Thracian ------------------------- Reconstructed

* Proto- Indo-European language

* Phonology : Sound laws , Accent , Ablaut

------------------------- Hypothetical

* Daco-Thracian * Graeco-Armenian
* Graeco-Aryan
* Graeco-Phrygian * Indo-Hittite * Italo-Celtic * Thraco-Illyrian

------------------------- Grammar

* Vocabulary * Root * Verbs * Nouns * Pronouns * Numerals * Particles

------------------------- Other

* Proto-Anatolian * Proto-Armenian
* Proto-Germanic
( Proto-Norse
) * Proto-Celtic * Proto-Italic * Proto-Greek
* Proto-Balto-Slavic ( Proto-Slavic ) * Proto-Indo-Iranian (Proto-Iranian )


* Hittite texts * Hieroglyphic Luwian
Hieroglyphic Luwian
* Linear B
Linear B
* Rigveda
* Avesta
* Homer
* Behistun * Gaulish epigraphy * Latin epigraphy * Runic epigraphy * Ogam
* Gothic Bible
Gothic Bible
* Armenian Bible * Slanting Brahmi
Slanting Brahmi
* Old Irish glosses


* Homeland * Proto-Indo-Europeans
* Society * Religion

------------------------- Mainstream

* Kurgan hypothesis
Kurgan hypothesis
* Indo-European migrations
Indo-European migrations
* Eurasian nomads
Eurasian nomads

------------------------- Alternative and fringe

* Anatolian hypothesis
Anatolian hypothesis
* Armenian hypothesis
Armenian hypothesis
* Paleolithic Continuity Theory
Paleolithic Continuity Theory
* Baltic homeland * Indigenous Aryans
Indigenous Aryans

Archaeology Chalcolithic
(Copper Age)

Pontic Steppe

* Domestication of the horse
Domestication of the horse
* Kurgan
* Kurgan

* Steppe cultures

* Bug-Dniester * Sredny Stog * Dnieper-Donets * Samara * Khvalynsk

* Yamna

* Mikhaylovka culture
Mikhaylovka culture


* Maykop


* Afanasevo

Eastern Europe

* Usatovo * Cernavodă * Cucuteni

Northern Europe

* Corded ware

* Baden * Middle Dnieper

------------------------- Bronze Age
Bronze Age

Pontic Steppe

* Chariot
* Yamna * Catacomb * Multi-cordoned ware * Poltavka * Srubna

Northern/Eastern Steppe

* Abashevo culture
Abashevo culture
* Andronovo * Sintashta


* Beaker * Globular Amphora culture
Globular Amphora culture
* Corded ware * Tumulus * Unetice * Urnfield * Lusatian * Nordic Bronze Age
Bronze Age
* Terramare * Trzciniec


* BMAC * Yaz * Gandhara grave

------------------------- Iron Age
Iron Age


* Chernoles


* Thraco-Cimmerian
* Hallstatt * Jastorf


* Colchian


* Painted Grey Ware * Northern Black Polished Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware

Peoples and societies Bronze Age
Bronze Age

* Anatolians * Armenians
* Mycenaean Greeks
* Indo-Iranians

Iron Age
Iron Age


* Indo-Aryans


* Iranians

* Scythians
* Persians * Medes


* Celts

* Gauls
* Celtiberians
* Insular Celts

* Hellenic peoples * Italic peoples
Italic peoples
* Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples

* Paleo-Balkans /Anatolia :

* Thracians
* Dacians
* Illyrians
* Phrygians

Middle Ages
Middle Ages


* Tocharians


* Balts
* Slavs
* Albanians * Medieval Europe
Medieval Europe


* Medieval India


* Greater Persia
Greater Persia

Religion and mythology Reconstructed

* Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion
* Proto-Indo-Iranian religion
Proto-Indo-Iranian religion

------------------------- Historical

* Hittite


* Vedic

* Hinduism

* Buddhism
* Jainism


* Persian

* Zoroastrianism

* Kurdish

* Yazidism * Yarsanism

* Scythian

* Ossetian


* Armenian


* Paleo-Balkans * Greek * Roman

* Celtic

* Irish * Scottish * Breton * Welsh * Cornish

* Germanic

* Anglo-Saxon * Continental * Norse

* Baltic

* Latvian * Lithuanian

* Slavic * Albanian


* Fire-sacrifice * Horse sacrifice
Horse sacrifice
* Sati * Winter solstice
Winter solstice
/ Yule

Indo-European studies
Indo-European studies

* Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
* J.P. Mallory


* Copenhagen Studies in Indo-European


* Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
* The Horse, the Wheel and Language
The Horse, the Wheel and Language
* Journal of Indo-European Studies * Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch * Indo-European Etymological Dictionary

* v * t * e

Main article: History of the Slavic languages
History of the Slavic languages
See also: Proto-Slavic language , History of Proto-Slavic , and Proto-Balto-Slavic language


Area of Balto-Slavic dialectic continuum (purple) with proposed material cultures correlating to speakers Balto-Slavic in Bronze Age (white). Red dots = archaic Slavic hydronyms

Slavic languages
Slavic languages
descend from Proto-Slavic , their immediate parent language , ultimately deriving from Proto-Indo-European , the ancestor language of all Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
, via a Proto-Balto-Slavic stage. During the Proto-Balto-Slavic period a number of exclusive isoglosses in phonology, morphology, lexis, and syntax developed, which makes Slavic and Baltic the closest related of all the Indo-European branches. The secession of the Balto-Slavic dialect ancestral to Proto-Slavic is estimated on archaeological and glottochronological criteria to have occurred sometime in the period 1500–1000 BCE.

A minority of Baltists maintain the view that the Slavic group of languages differs so radically from the neighboring Baltic group (Lithuanian , Latvian , and the now-extinct Old Prussian ), that they could not have shared a parent language after the breakup of the Proto-Indo-European continuum about five millennia ago. Substantial advances in Balto-Slavic accentology that occurred in the last three decades, however, make this view very hard to maintain nowadays, especially when one considers that there was most likely no "Proto-Baltic" language and that West Baltic and East Baltic differ from each other as much as each of them does from Proto-Slavic. Baška tablet
Baška tablet
, 11th century, Krk
, Croatia


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The imposition of Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
on Orthodox Slavs
was often at the expense of the vernacular. Says WB Lockwood, a prominent Indo-European linguist, "It (O.C.S ) remained in use to modern times but was more and more influenced by the living, evolving languages, so that one distinguishes Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian varieties. The use of such media hampered the development of the local languages for literary purposes, and when they do appear the first attempts are usually in an artificially mixed style." (148)

Lockwood also notes that these languages have "enriched" themselves by drawing on Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
for the vocabulary of abstract concepts. The situation in the Catholic countries, where Latin was more important, was different. The Polish Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski and the Croatian Baroque
writers of the 16th century all wrote in their respective vernaculars (though Polish itself had drawn amply on Latin in the same way Russian would eventually draw on Church Slavonic). 14th-century Novgorodian children were literate enough to send each other letters written on birch bark .

Although Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
hampered vernacular literatures , it fostered Slavonic literary activity and abetted linguistic independence from external influences. Only the Croatian vernacular literary tradition nearly matches Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
in age. It began with the Vinodol Codex and continued through the Renaissance until the codifications of Croatian in 1830, though much of the literature between 1300 and 1500 was written in much the same mixture of the vernacular and Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
as prevailed in Russia
and elsewhere.

The most important early monument of Croatian literacy is the Baška tablet from the late 11th century. It is a large stone tablet found in the small Church of St. Lucy, Jurandvor
Church of St. Lucy, Jurandvor
on the Croatian island of Krk , containing text written mostly in Čakavian dialect in angular Croatian Glagolitic
script. The independence of Dubrovnik
facilitated the continuity of the tradition. 10th–11th century Codex Zographensis , canonical monument of Old Church Slavonic.

More recent foreign influences follow the same general pattern in Slavic languages
Slavic languages
as elsewhere and are governed by the political relationships of the Slavs. In the 17th century, bourgeois Russian (delovoi jazyk) absorbed German words through direct contacts between Russians and communities of German settlers in Russia. In the era of Peter the Great , close contacts with France
invited countless loan words and calques from French , a significant fraction of which not only survived but also replaced older Slavonic loans. In the 19th century, Russian influenced most literary Slavic languages
Slavic languages
by one means or another.


The Proto-Slavic language existed until around AD 500. By the 7th century, it had broken apart into large dialectal zones.

There are no reliable hypotheses about the nature of the subsequent breakups of West and South Slavic. East Slavic is generally thought to converge to one Old Russian or Old East Slavonic language, which existed until at least the 12th century.

Linguistic differentiation was accelerated by the dispersion of the Slavic peoples over a large territory, which in Central Europe exceeded the current extent of Slavic-speaking majorities. Written documents of the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries already display some local linguistic features. For example, the Freising manuscripts show a language that contains some phonetic and lexical elements peculiar to Slovene dialects
Slovene dialects
(e.g. rhotacism , the word krilatec). The Freising manuscripts are the first Latin-script continuous text in a Slavic language.

The migration of Slavic speakers into the Balkans in the declining centuries of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
expanded the area of Slavic speech, but the pre-existing writing (notably Greek) survived in this area. The arrival of the Hungarians
in Pannonia
in the 9th century interposed non-Slavic speakers between South and West Slavs. Frankish conquests completed the geographical separation between these two groups, also severing the connection between Slavs
in Moravia
and Lower Austria
Lower Austria
(Moravians ) and those in present-day Styria
, Carinthia , East Tyrol in Austria
, and in the provinces of modern Slovenia
, where the ancestors of the Slovenes
settled during first colonisation.


Main article: Historical development of the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
up to the Proto-Slavic See also: Proto-Slavic

The following is a summary of the main changes from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) leading up to the Common Slavic (CS) period immediately following the Proto-Slavic language (PS).

* Satem
sound changes:

* PIE *ḱ, *ǵ, *ǵʰ → *ś, *ź, *źʰ (→ CS *s, *z, *z) * PIE *kʷ, *gʷ, *gʷʰ → *k, *g, *gʰ

* Ruki rule: Following *r, *u, *k or *i, PIE *s → *š (→ CS *x) * Loss of voiced aspirates : PIE *bʰ, *dʰ, *gʰ → *b, *d, *g * Merger of *o and *a: PIE *a/*o, *ā/*ō → PS *a, *ā (→ CS *o, *a)

* Law of open syllables : All closed syllables (syllables ending in a consonant) are eventually eliminated, in the following stages:

* Nasalization : With *N indicating either *n or *m not immediately followed by a vowel: PIE *aN, *eN, *iN, *oN, *uN → *ą, *ę, *į, *ǫ, *ų (→ CS *ǫ, *ę, *ę, *ǫ, *y). (NOTE: *ą *ę etc. indicates a nasalized vowel.) * In a cluster of obstruent (stop or fricative) + another consonant, the obstruent is deleted unless the cluster can occur word-initially. * (occurs later, see below) Monophthongization of diphthongs . * (occurs much later, see below) Elimination of liquid diphthongs (e.g. *er, *ol when not followed immediately by a vowel).

* First palatalization : *k, *g, *x → CS *č, *ž, *š (pronounced , , respectively) before a front vocalic sound (*e, *ē, *i, *ī, *j).

* Iotation: Consonants are palatalized by an immediately following *j:

* *sj, *zj → CS *š, *ž * *nj, *lj, *rj → CS *ň, *ľ, *ř (pronounced or similar) * *tj, *dj → CS *ť, *ď (probably palatal stops , e.g. , but developing in different ways depending on the language) * *bj, *pj, *mj, *wj → *bľ, *pľ, *mľ, *wľ (the lateral consonant *ľ is mostly lost later on in West Slavic )

* Vowel fronting: After *j or some other palatal sound, back vowels are fronted (*a, *ā, *u, *ū, *ai, *au → *e, *ē, *i, *ī, *ei, *eu). This leads to hard/soft alternations in noun and adjective declensions. * Prothesis: Before a word-initial vowel, *j or *w is usually inserted. * Monophthongization : *ai, *au, *ei, *eu, *ū → *ē, *ū, *ī, *jū, *ȳ * Second palatalization : *k, *g, *x → CS *c , *dz, *ś before new *ē (from earlier *ai). *ś later splits into *š (West Slavic), *s (East/South Slavic). * Progressive palatalization (or "third palatalization"): *k, *g, *x → CS *c, *dz, *ś after *i, *ī in certain circumstances.

* Vowel quality shifts: All pairs of long/short vowels become differentiated as well by vowel quality :

* *a, *ā → CS *o, *a * *e, *ē → CS *e, *ě (originally a low-front sound but eventually raised to in most dialects, developing in divergent ways) * *i, *u → CS *ь, *ъ (also written *ĭ, *ŭ; lax vowels as in the English words pit, put) * *ī, *ū, *ȳ → CS *i, *u, *y

* Elimination of liquid diphthongs : Liquid diphthongs (sequences of vowel plus *l or *r, when not immediately followed by a vowel) are changed so that the syllable becomes open :

* *or, *ol, *er, *el → *ro, *lo, *re, *le in West Slavic . * *or, *ol, *er, *el → *oro, *olo, *ere, *olo in East Slavic . * *or, *ol, *er, *el → *rā, *lā, *re, *le in South Slavic . * Possibly, *ur, *ul, *ir, *il → syllabic *r, *l, *ř, *ľ (then develops in divergent ways).

* Development of phonemic tone and vowel length (independent of vowel quality): Complex developments (see History of accentual developments in Slavic languages
Slavic languages


The Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are a relatively homogeneous family, compared with other families of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
(e.g. Germanic , Romance , and Indo-Iranian ). As late as the 10th century AD, the entire Slavic-speaking area still functioned as a single, dialectally differentiated language, termed Common Slavic . Compared with most other Indo-European languages, the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
are quite conservative, particularly in terms of morphology (the means of inflecting nouns and verbs to indicate grammatical differences). Most Slavic languages
Slavic languages
have a rich, fusional morphology that conserves much of the inflectional morphology of Proto-Indo-European .


The following table shows the inventory of consonants of Late Common Slavic:

Consonants of Late Proto-Slavic


NASAL m n nʲ

PLOSIVE p b t d tʲː dʲː k ɡ


ts dz tʃ


s z ʃ, (sʲ1) ʒ x


r rʲ


l lʲ



1The sound /sʲ/ did not occur in West Slavic, where it had developed to /ʃ/.

This inventory of sounds is quite similar to what is found in most modern Slavic languages. The extensive series of palatal consonants , along with the affricates *ts and *dz, developed through a series of palatalizations that happened during the Proto-Slavic period, from earlier sequences either of velar consonants followed by front vowels (e.g. *ke, *ki, *ge, *gi, *xe, and *xi), or of various consonants followed by *j (e.g. *tj, *dj, *sj, *zj, *rj, *lj, *kj, and *gj, where *j is the palatal approximant (, the sound of the English letter "y" in "yes" or "you").

The biggest change in this inventory results from a further general palatalization occurring near the end of the Common Slavic period, where all consonants became palatalized before front vowels. This produced a large number of new palatalized (or "soft") sounds, which formed pairs with the corresponding non-palatalized (or "hard") consonants and absorbed the existing palatalized sounds *lʲ *rʲ *nʲ *sʲ. These sounds were best preserved in Russian but were lost to varying degrees in other languages (particularly Czech and Slovak). The following table shows the inventory of modern Russian:

Consonant phonemes of Russian

LABIAL Dental ">(help ·info ) and Polish mysz "mouse"

Common Slavic also had two nasal vowels : *ę and *ǫ . However, these are preserved only in modern Polish (along with a few lesser-known dialects and microlanguages; see Yus for more details).

* Polish wąż /vɔ̃ʐ/ and węże /vɛ̃ʐɛ/ "snake, snakes"

Other phonemic vowels are found in certain languages (e.g. the schwa /ǝ/ in Bulgarian and Slovenian, distinct high-mid and low-mid vowels in Slovenian, and the lax front vowel /ɪ/ in Ukrainian).


An area of great difference among Slavic languages
Slavic languages
is that of prosody (i.e. syllabic distinctions such as vowel length , accent , and tone ). Common Slavic had a complex system of prosody, inherited with little change from Proto-Indo-European . This consisted of phonemic vowel length and a free, mobile pitch accent :

* All vowels could occur either short or long, and this was phonemic (it could not automatically be predicted from other properties of the word). * There was (at most) a single accented syllable per word, distinguished by higher pitch (as in modern Japanese ) rather than greater dynamic stress (as in English). * Vowels in accented syllables could be pronounced with either a rising or falling tone (i.e. there was pitch accent), and this was phonemic. * The accent was free in that it could occur on any syllable and was phonemic. * The accent was mobile in that its position could potentially vary among closely related words within a single paradigm (e.g. the accent might land on a different syllable between the nominative and genitive singular of a given word). * Even within a given inflectional class (e.g. masculine i-stem nouns), there were multiple accent patterns in which a given word could be inflected. For example, most nouns in a particular inflectional class could follow one of three possible patterns: Either there was consistent accent on the root (pattern A), predominant accent on the ending (pattern B), or accent that moved between root and ending (pattern C). In patterns B and C, the accent in different parts of the paradigm shifted not only in location but also type (rising vs. falling). Each inflectional class had its own version of patterns B and C, which might differ significantly from one inflectional class to another.

The modern languages vary greatly in the extent to which they preserve this system. On one extreme, Serbo-Croatian
preserves the system nearly unchanged (even more so in the conservative Chakavian dialect ); on the other, Macedonian has basically lost the system in its entirety. Between them are found numerous variations:

* Slovenian preserves most of the system but has shortened all unaccented syllables and lengthened non-final accented syllables so that vowel length and accent position largely co-occur. * Russian and Bulgarian have eliminated distinctive vowel length and tone and converted the accent into a stress accent (as in English) but preserved its position. As a result, the complexity of the mobile accent and the multiple accent patterns still exists (particularly in Russian because it has preserved the Common Slavic noun inflections, while Bulgarian has lost them). * Czech and Slovak have preserved phonemic vowel length and converted the distinctive tone of accented syllables into length distinctions. Phonemic
accent is otherwise lost, but the former accent patterns are echoed to some extent in corresponding patterns of vowel length/shortness in the root. Paradigms with mobile vowel length/shortness do exist but only in a limited fashion, usually only with the zero-ending forms (nom. sg., acc. sg., and/or gen. pl., depending on inflectional class) having a different length from the other forms. (Czech has a couple of other "mobile" patterns, but they are rare and can usually be substituted with one of the "normal" mobile patterns or a non-mobile pattern.) * Old Polish
Old Polish
had a system very much like Czech. Modern Polish has lost vowel length, but some former short-long pairs have become distinguished by quality (e.g. > ), with the result that some words have vowel-quality changes that exactly mirror the mobile-length patterns in Czech and Slovak.


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Similarly, Slavic languages
Slavic languages
have extensive morphophonemic alternations in their derivational and inflectional morphology, including between velar and postalveolar consonants, front and back vowels, and between a vowel and no vowel.


Main article: Slavic vocabulary

The following is a very brief selection of cognates in basic vocabulary across the Slavic language family, which may serve to give an idea of the sound changes involved. This is not a list of translations: cognates have a common origin, but their meaning may be shifted and loanwords may have replaced them.


*UXO (EAR) ухо (úkho) вухо (vúkho) вуха (vúkha) ucho ucho ucho uho уво / uvo; uho ухо (ukhó) уво (úvo)

*OGNь (FIRE) огонь (ogónʹ) вогонь (vohónʹ) агонь (ahónʹ) ogień oheň oheň ogenj огањ / oganj огън (ógǎn) оган/огин (ógan/ógin)

*RYBA (FISH) рыба (rýba) риба (rýba) рыба (rýba) ryba ryba ryba riba риба / riba риба (ríba) риба (ríba)

*GNěZDO (NEST) гнездо (gnezdó) гнiздо (hnizdó) гняздо (hnyazdó) gniazdo hnízdo hniezdo gnezdo гн(иј)ездо / gn(ij)ezdo гнездо (gnezdó) гнездо (gnézdo)

*OKO (EYE) око (óko) (dated, poetic or in set expressions) modern: глаз (glaz) око (óko) вока (vóka) oko oko oko oko око / oko око (óko) око (óko)

*GOLVA (HEAD) голова (golová) глава (glavá) "chapter or chief, leader, head" голова (holová) галава (halavá) głowa hlava hlava glava глава / glava глава (glavá) глава (gláva)

*RǫKA (HAND) рука (ruká) рука (ruká) рука (ruká) ręka ruka ruka roka рука / ruka ръка (rǎká) рака (ráka)

*NOKTь (NIGHT) ночь (nočʹ) ніч (nič) ноч (noč) noc noc noc noč ноћ / noć нощ (nosht) ноќ (noḱ)


West Slav tribes in 9th–10th centuries

Most languages of the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and of some neighbouring countries (for example, Mongolian ) are significantly influenced by Russian , especially in vocabulary. In the south, the Romanian , Albanian , and Hungarian languages show the influence of the neighboring Slavic nations, especially in vocabulary pertaining to urban life, agriculture, and crafts and trade—the major cultural innovations at times of limited long-range cultural contact. In each one of these languages, Slavic lexical borrowings represent at least 20% of the total vocabulary. However, Romanian has much lower influence from Slavic than Albanian or Hungarian. This is because Slavic tribes crossed and partially settled the territories inhabited by ancient Illyrians
and Vlachs on their way to the Balkans.

Although also spoken in neighbouring lands, the Germanic languages show less significant Slavic influence, partly because Slavic migrations were mostly headed south rather than west. Slavic tribes did push westwards into Germanic territory, but borrowing for the most part seems to have been from Germanic to Slavic rather than the other way: for instance, the now-extinct Polabian language
Polabian language
was heavily influenced by German, far more than any living Slavic language today. The Slavic contributions to Germanic languages
Germanic languages
remains a moot question, though Max Vasmer , a specialist in Slavic etymology, has claimed that there were no Slavic loans into Proto-Germanic
. The only Germanic languages
Germanic languages
that shows significant Slavic influence are Yiddish and the historical colonial dialects of German that were spoken East of the Oder–Neisse line
Oder–Neisse line
, such as Silesian German
Silesian German
(formerly spoken in Silesia
and South of East Prussia
East Prussia
) and the Eastern varieties of East Low German , with the exception of Low Prussian
Low Prussian
, which had a strong Baltic substratum . Modern Dutch slang, especially the Amsterdam dialect, borrowed much from Yiddish
in turn. However, there are isolated Slavic loans (mostly recent) into other Germanic languages. For example, the word for "border" (in modern German Grenze, Dutch grens) was borrowed from the Common Slavic granica. There are, however, many cities and villages of Slavic origin in Eastern Germany, the largest of which are Berlin
, Leipzig
and Dresden . English derives quark (a kind of cheese, not the subatomic particle ) from the German Quark, which in turn is derived from the Slavic tvarog, which means "curd". Many German surnames, particularly in Eastern Germany and Austria, are Slavic in origin. Swedish also has torg (market place) from Old Russian tъrgъ or Polish targ, tolk (interpreter) from Old Slavic tlŭkŭ, and pråm (barge) from West Slavonic pramŭ.

The Czech word robot is now found in most languages worldwide, and the word pistol, probably also from Czech, is found in many Indo-European languages, including Greek (πιστόλι, pistóli).

A well-known Slavic word in almost all European languages is vodka , a borrowing from Russian водка (vodka) – which itself was borrowed from Polish wódka (lit. "little water"), from common Slavic voda ("water", cognate to the English word) with the diminutive ending "-ka". Owing to the medieval fur trade with Northern Russia, Pan-European loans from Russian include such familiar words as sable . The English word "vampire " was borrowed (perhaps via French vampire) from German Vampir, in turn derived from Serbian vampir, continuing Proto-Slavic *ǫpyrь, although Polish scholar K. Stachowski has argued that the origin of the word is early Slavic *vąpěrь, going back to Turkic oobyr. Several European languages, including English , have borrowed the word polje (meaning "large, flat plain") directly from the former Yugoslav languages (i.e. Slovene , Croatian , and Serbian ). During the heyday of the USSR
in the 20th century, many more Russian words became known worldwide: da, Soviet , sputnik , perestroika , glasnost , kolkhoz , etc. Also in the English language borrowed from Russian is samovar (lit. "self-boiling") to refer to the specific Russian tea urn.


The following tree for the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
derives from the Ethnologue
report for Slavic languages. It includes the ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-3 codes where available.


* Ruthenian section

* Belarusian : ISO 639-1 code: BE; ISO 639-3 code: BEL;

* Ukrainian : ISO 639-1 code: UK; ISO 639-3 code: UKR

* Rusyn (a language or a dialect of Ukrainian): ISO 639-3 code: RUE;

* Russian : ISO 639-1 code: RU; ISO 639-3 code: RUS


* Sorbian section (also known as Wendish ): ISO 639-3 code: WEN

* Lower Sorbian (also known as LUSATIAN): ISO 639-3 code: DSB; * Upper Sorbian : ISO 639-3 code: HSB

* Lechitic section

* Polish : ISO 639-1 code: PL; ISO 639-3 code: POL

* Silesian (see footnote above): ISO 639-3 code: SZL

* Pomeranian

* Kashubian : ISO 639-2 code: CSB;

* Slovincian (a language or a dialect of Kashubian)—extinct

* Polabian —extinct: ISO 639-3 code: POX

* Czech-Slovak section

* Czech : ISO 639-1 code: CS; ISO 639-3 CES * Knaanic or Judeo Slavic—extinct: ISO 639-3 code: CZK * Slovak : ISO 639-1 code: SK; ISO 639-3 code: SLK


* Western Section

* Serbo-Croatian

* Bosnian : ISO 639-1 code: BS; ISO 639-3 code: BOS * Croatian : ISO 639-1 code: HR; ISO 639-3 code: HRV * Serbian : ISO 639-1 code: SR; ISO 639-3 code: SRP * Montenegrin (not regulated but official in Montenegro

* Slovene : ISO 639-1 code: SL; ISO 639-3 code: SLV

* Eastern Section

* Bulgarian : ISO 639-1 code: BG; ISO 639-3 code: BUL * Macedonian : ISO 639-1 code: MK; ISO 639-3 code: MKD * Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
—extinct: ISO 639-1 code: CU; ISO 639-3 code: CHU


* Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
language , derived from Old Church Slavonic, but with significant replacement of the original vocabulary by forms from the Old Russian language
Russian language
and other regional forms. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church , Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
, Polish Orthodox Church
Polish Orthodox Church
, Macedonian Orthodox Church
Macedonian Orthodox Church
, Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
, and even some Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
Churches in Croatia
continue to use Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
as a liturgical language . While not used in modern times, the text of a Church Slavonic
Church Slavonic
Roman Rite Mass survives in Croatia
and the Czech Republic , which is best known through Janáček 's musical setting of it (the Glagolitic
Mass ).


* Slavic microlanguages * Slavistics * Slavic names
Slavic names
* Language families and languages * False Friends of the Slavist


* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Slavic". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ Britannica - Slavic languages * ^ According to the data taken from Anatole V. Lyovin, An Introduction to the Languages of the World, Oxford University Press, New York – Oxford, 1997. * ^ Encyclopedia of Rusyn history and culture, p 274, Paul R. Magocsi, Ivan Ivanovich Pop, University of Toronto Press, 2002 * ^ cf. Novotná & Blažek (2007) with references. "Classical glottochronology" conducted by Czech Slavist M. Čejka in 1974 dates the Balto-Slavic split to −910±340 BCE, Sergei Starostin in 1994 dates it to 1210 BCE, and "recalibrated glottochronology" conducted by Novotná & Blažek dates it to 1400–1340 BCE. This agrees well with Trziniec-Komarov culture, localized from Silesia
to Central Ukraine and dated to the period 1500–1200 BCE. * ^ Kapović (2008 , p. 94) "Kako rekosmo, nije sigurno je li uopće bilo prabaltijskoga jezika. Čini se da su dvije posvjedočene, preživjele grane baltijskoga, istočna i zapadna, različite jedna od druge izvorno kao i svaka posebno od praslavenskoga". * ^ A B C Comrie & Corbett (2002 :6) * ^ Schenker (2002 :82) * ^ Comrie & Corbett (2002 :8) * ^ Hellquist, Elof (1922). "torg". Svensk etymologisk ordbok (in Swedish). Project Runeberg . Retrieved 2006-12-27. * ^ Hellquist, Elof (1922). "tolk". Svensk etymologisk ordbok (in Swedish). Project Runeberg . Retrieved 2006-12-27. * ^ Hellquist, Elof (1922). "pråm". Svensk etymologisk ordbok (in Swedish). Project Runeberg . Retrieved 2006-12-27. * ^ Harper, Douglas. "vodka". Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
. Retrieved 2007-05-18. * ^ Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. Retrieved 28 April 2008 * ^ Harper, Douglas. "sable". Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
. Retrieved 2007-05-18. * ^ cf.: Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm. 16 Bde. , s.v. Vampir; Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé; Dauzat, Albert, 1938. Dictionnaire étymologique. Librairie Larousse; Wolfgang Pfeifer, Етymologisches Woerterbuch, 2006, p. 1494; Petar Skok, Etimologijski rjecnk hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika, 1971–1974, s.v. Vampir; Tokarev, S.A. et al. 1982. Mify narodov mira. ("Myths of the peoples of the world". A Russian encyclopedia of mythology); Russian Etymological Dictionary by Max Vasmer. * ^ Harper, Douglas. "vampire". Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary
. Retrieved 2007-09-21. * ^ Stachowski, Kamil. 2005. Wampir na rozdrożach. Etymologia wyrazu upiór – wampir w językach słowiańskich. W: Rocznik Slawistyczny, t. LV, str. 73–92 * ^ "Indo-European, Slavic". Language Family Trees. Ethnologue
. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-27.


* Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville. G. (2002). "Introduction". In Comrie, Bernard ; Corbett, Greville. G. The Slavonic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 1–19. ISBN 0-415-28078-8 . * Lockwood, W.B. A Panorama of Indo-European Languages. Hutchinson University Library, 1972. ISBN 0-09-111020-3 hardback, ISBN 0-09-111021-1 paperback. * Marko Jesensek, The Slovene Language in the Alpine and Pannonian Language Area, 2005. ISBN 83-242-0577-2 * Kapović, Mate (2008). "Uvod u indoeuropsku lingvistiku" (in Serbo-Croatian). Zagreb
: Matica hrvatska
Matica hrvatska
. ISBN 978-953-150-847-6 . * Novotná, Petra; Blažek, Václav (2007). "Glottochronolgy and its application to the Balto-Slavic languages" (PDF). Baltistica . XLII (2): 185–210. * Schenker, Alexander M. (2002). "Proto-Slavonic". In Comrie, Bernard ; Corbett, Greville. G. The Slavonic Languages. London: Routledge. pp. 60–124. ISBN 0-415-28078-8 .


Wikimedia Commons has media related to SLAVIC LANGUAGES .

* Slavic dictionaries on Slavic Net * Slavistik- Portal
The Slavistics Portal
(Germany) * Swadesh lists of Slavic basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix) * Leo Wiener (1920). "Slavic Languages". Encyclopedia Americana
Encyclopedia Americana

* v * t * e

Slavic languages
Slavic languages


* Proto-Balto-Slavic * Up to Proto-Slavic * Proto-Slavic (Accent ) * Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
* Modern languages * Cyril and Methodius * Cyrillic