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Proto-Slavic language: what it is and how you can learn it in the absence of written sources
Proto-Slavic language: what it is and how you can learn it in the absence of written sources

You can troll, swear, hate and in other ways express your attitude to your roots, but the fact is a fact: up to a quarter of the words of the lexicon of a modern person speaking Russian come from the Proto-Slavic language. There is no escape from the origins of words that go back thousands of years, and is it worth it?

How they began to study the ancient language common to all Slavs

Despite the fact that the study of this predecessor of the Slavic languages ​​began relatively recently, the lexical, phonetic and grammatical similarity of the elements of speech of a group of peoples has always been obvious: even now, a native speaker of the Russian language can relatively easily communicate with a speaker in Bulgarian or Polish, not to mention the representatives even closer cultures - Belarusian and Ukrainian. By the way, no other language group has such a pronounced community. Hence the conclusion - many Slavic languages ​​once in the past had a "common ancestor", the same "root" from which new "branches" grew and continue to develop. … Linguists called this language Proto-Slavic. The first description of it was given in 1858 by the German philologist August Schleicher in his article "A Brief Outline of the History of the Slavic Languages".

August Schleicher

A remarkable feature of this ancient language was that not a single written Proto-Slavic monument, not a single document survived, that is, it had to be completely reconstructed, based on numerous comparisons and analysis of later languages. For this reason, when writing down words of the Proto-Slavic language, a sign is put at the beginning - an asterisk-asterisk, which emphasizes the hypothetical nature of the word.

S.V. Ivanov. Housing of the Eastern Slavs

There remains a controversial question of where those same speakers of the Proto-Slavic language lived - obviously, it was a relatively small territory. Various scientists propose as a homeland both the eastern part of Europe, and the central, and even the western - the banks of the Vistula River. As for the time frame in which the existence of a living Proto-Slavic language can be accommodated, they are defined as the period from the II - I millennium BC. until the V century new, when active migration processes began in Europe, and nomadic tribes not only forced the Slavs to move, but also influenced their language, contributed to the emergence of more and more dialects.

A little about Proto-Slavic

What is known about the Proto-Slavic language? First of all, it is precisely established that he really existed. That is, once within a certain large group of people, everyone could speak "Proto-Slavic" and everyone understood each other. This was long before the emergence of the state - in that period of Slavic history, life was built on tribal relations.

V.M. Vasnetsov. Battle of the Scythians with the Slavs

It is safe to say that the speakers of the Proto-Slavic language did not live on the seashore - this is evidenced by the fact that their vocabulary did not contain "sea" terms. It is possible to compose a picture of the life of those people, using the words "sheaf", "straw", "oats", "grain", "cheese", "sour cream", "ax", "onions", "spindle" as separate "puzzles" "And many others. Thanks to the research of philologists who find patterns in the analysis of numerous word forms, no less information appears about the life of the Slavic ancestors than from the data of archaeological excavations.

Alphonse Mucha. Slavic epic

The Proto-Slavic language did not arise out of the blue, by itself.It has become a derivative of Proto-Indo-European, to which all languages ​​of the Indo-European family go back. Most of the words of the common Slavic language came from there - for example, "house", "wife", "snow", many of the features of word formation remained unchanged, cases remained. Some researchers are also convinced that there was a time when the Pro-Balto-Slavonic language existed, which later split into two large separate branches.

Thanks to the Germans, a lot of borrowings appeared in the Proto-Slavic language

But in those centuries that Proto-Slavic existed as a single language, it was not unchanged: even then it was enriched with borrowings, which ensured communication with other peoples. So, for example, the words "servant", "mother-in-law", "shelter" were adopted from Celtic, and the Iranian language gave the Proto-Slavic "god" and "ax". The Pragermans presented the words "prince", "knight", "church", from the Goths the Proto-Slavs adopted "dish", "bread", "wine". Many lexemes came from West Germanic languages ​​- for example, "king", "hut", "monk". Borrowed, in addition, and words from the Greek and Latin languages.

What has become over time the Proto-Slavic language

The beginning of the completion of the history of the Proto-Slavic language is attributed to the fifth century of the new era. Then the processes of the emergence of new dialects intensified, and after several centuries the language spoken by the Slavs could no longer be considered a single one. By the end of the first millennium, it split into West Slavic, East Slavic and South Slavic branches. Among the languages ​​that still exist, the first group includes Czech, Slovak and Polish, the second - Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian, and among the third group - Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian.

The period of using the common Proto-Slavic language ended with the advent of writing

The very phenomenon of the Proto-Slavic language, the patterns of its development, the influence on other languages ​​were the subject of interest of scientists of the 20th century and continue to remain in the focus of modern philologists. The formation and addition of the Proto-Slavic dictionary is carried out constantly, thanks to research, a comparison of a huge number of words. Among scientists, discussions continue regarding both the geographical and time frames in which the Proto-Slavic language existed and developed. Probably, one should agree with the assumption that, if a modern native speaker of the Russian language appeared in front of a representative of the Slavic tribe who lived a thousand or two years ago, he, undoubtedly, he could explain himself and be understood. Even though life has changed beyond recognition, and the lines between language families have become much thinner.

But where in Russian the victorious "hurray" came and why the foreigners adopted this battle cry.

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