Slavs vs. Slavophones

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by el_tigre, Mar 1, 2007.

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  1. el_tigre Senior Member

    Split from here.
    First of all :there ar no Slavs. We can talk only about slavophones.(speakers of Slavic languages) . Besides the similar languages slavophones have almost nothing in common. There are no Slavic culture, Slavic menthality etc...
  2. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Well... that depends on your perspective. Across Eastern Europe, there are indeed vast cultural differences from an inside perspective, but when you meet a fellow Slav somewhere far away, you get to realize that you have a lot in common even in comparison with the Western Europeans, let alone with non-European cultures. That's in my experience, at least.

    Not just for them, but also for people from other parts of Croatia (just like a heavy Torlakian dialect is just about equally incomprehensible for someone speaking either the standard Serbian or the standard Croatian). Generally, people speaking only their local South Slavic dialects can have serious communication difficulties even if they are from places only a few dozen kilometers apart.

    Interestingly, I was taught in school that the similarities between Kajkavian and Slovenian were in fact superficial and accidental. :D Of course, that was during the years of wartime nationalism, when it was highly politically incorrect to point out the quite obvious fact that there exists a virtually unbroken dialect continuum from Slovenia to Macedonia and Bulgaria.

    Yes! And this TV-series in fact featured a pretty mild form of Kajkavian -- in some regions such as Međimurje, the local Kajkavian dialects are far harder to understand for non-locals. My parents used to know someone who worked as a doctor in Međimurje, and came there speaking only the standard Croatian. He had immense difficulties understanding his older patients who spoke only the local dialect.
  3. el_tigre Senior Member

    Well, if I came to France, especially in some rural place, I could pretend that I am whether American,Bulgarian, Russian , Brazilian... with no big difficulties!
    I am not sure that they would disclose me so easily...
    there are some similarity amoung all Slavophones but not much bigger in comparison with ex. Germans or Frenches.

    If you stop somebody on the street in Croatia, (s)he would be able to tell you names of 5 cities in Germany or Italy... in a breath almost.
    It will be quite harder with with cities in Serbia.... even harder in other slavophone countries.
    People often don't want to speak any dialect but their own. When they are home.
    And it was the duty of that doctor was to learn the local dialect.
  4. Your point is that Croats know more about western countries rather than ex-yugoslav republics? It sounds odd to me.
    About your comment on Slavophones.I hardly believe that Slavs are coming from the same brunch of people.When language moves from one place to another (Poland->Yugoslavia->Russia) it means that people moved there.
  5. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    Of course people moved there, but they were not the only people at their new location. Indeed, the (Slavic-speaking) people that migrated to whichever country in the Eastern half of Europe that was non-Slavic-speaking prior to the 6th/7th Centuries AD were probably a minority in most places. Whether the language of the Slavic newcomers or that of the old inhabitants, or in some cases that of even later newcomers survived and managed to supress the other might reflect historical accidents rather than the make-up of the population of any given area at 700AD. During the Migration Period, Slavs settled, among others, in at least the northern half of Greece and the eastern two thirds of Austria, as well as present day Hungary. Parts of Austria, far away from any present-day Slavic-speaking areas, are believed to have been bi- or trilingual well into the 12th or even 13th centuries (pre-Migration Romance, Slavic, and Germanic/Bavarian). If these areas had been integrated into a Slavic rather than German empire, power relations between the languages would have been different and I might be speaking a language intermediate between Slovenian and Czech today (and you possibly a language close to Bulgarian under similar circumstances). It is well imaginable (in fact, expectable) that the genetic make-up of the populations of parts of Greece, Austria, Hungary, etc. shows more "Slavic" elements than that of some Slavic-speaking areas. Indeed, I believe I read of some article that claims that genetic markers whose distribution makes it likely to identify them as a trace of the Slavic migration are found more commonly in Hungary than in any South Slavic speaking area.

    EDIT: An off-topic side-note: The historical border between Austria and Bavaria until the late 18th century (now within the federal state of Upper Austria) which approximates the western limit of Slavic settlement during the early Middle Ages, is locally called "Granitz" - compare Slavic "granica" (from which, less obviously, the Standard German "Grenze"=border derives as well).
  6. el_tigre Senior Member

    Croatia has been in common country with Hungary for 800 years, with Austria 400 years. With Serbia less than 80.
    On the other hand Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosova have always been in the same circuit ... under the influence of Byzanthium empire.

    On the other hand, Czech republic has been the part of Austria/Germany for 1000 years. And Slovakia was in Hungary at the same time. Czechs and Slovaks do speak similar languages, but does it make them similar???

    At the end : Do you believe that ex. Moldavians and Romanians have lot of the things in common with people from Portugal or France???

    Anyway, how much do you (and other Greeks) know about Albania???
  7. cajzl Senior Member

    Jana, again some urgent need of the history refresher. :)
  8. We know a lot about them but certainly some Greeks do need proper education.Albanians do exist( as a country) because the Great Powers had that wish.

    Moldavians and Romanians have been isolated from the rest of the Roman world for ages.Thats why they dont look similar to Spanish(latin in general) people.And they are located in a different part of Europe.Thats important as well.

    What seperates you Croats from the rest of the Jugoslav world is religion and only that.Thats my point of view.And the influence of the Austro-Hungarian empire had a huge impact on your nation.
    The same happened with us but in our case the influence came from the east and to be more specific from the Ottoman empire.
  9. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    I seriously doubt that!
    So you are basically saying that all Croats suffer from short-term memory loss? And that you remember more things about the country under which rule you were some 100 years ago, but not so much about the country with which you were neighbors for centuries, lived in the joined state only 15 years ago, with which you share same language, in which your fathers and grandfathers served military service, married Serbian women, went to universities, shared television, had the same newspapers, same school books, etc??? Come on!!!
    What makes them similar (in some sense) is their Slavic origin. Similar languages and the fact that they are neighbors, and that they lived in a joined state and correlated with each other greatly is only a bonus!
  10. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    Which part do you doubt? The one about the average Croatian being able to tell you five cities in Germany in a breath? You're probably right. Or the one about him/her not being able to tell you five cities in Serbia? el_tigre is probably right, though maybe for reasons other than the ones he claims. And this is not saying anything about Croatian education system, the same probably holds for any country I've been to long enough to tell.
  11. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    This thread is likely due for some serious axing, but still I can't resist noticing that plenty of German and Italian cities would be easily named thanks to the respective soccer leagues of those countries. At least among the male population. :D
  12. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    You are right. Concentrating on evaluating people's general knowledge in geography, I forgot about those other aspects of life...l
  13. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Indeed. :)
    Your claims are a bit inaccurate. Here's a brief history. If you don't want to read it, have a brief look at this scheme. :)
    My father and I speak the same language. As far as mentality is concerned, my friends (of my age approximately) from other continents are closer to me than my own father. You can pick some alleged national traits of Czechs and Slovaks, and you can easily refute each of them. If you want to prove that Czechs and Bavarians are closer than Czechs and Slovaks, you will surely find plenty of arguments to support your claim. So I'd be careful with sweeping generalizations. :)

    Still, I feel there is something we Slavs have in common - and not just because we speak similar languages and because geography allows history to treat us similarly. For example, I am sure we share a great deal of legends and fairy-tales. It might be interesting to know more about their impact on one's personality in the formative years. I agree with Athaulf:
    Of course exaggerated but I believe you are on to something although we'd not agree on an explanation. Due to the vagaries of history, our peoples spent decades in a barbed-wire enclosed empire (which speaks volumes about its nature). This makes you naturally more attracted to and interested in the free, rich outside world with its appealing pop culture. I think that many of you can confirm that the prevailing attitude towards other Slavic peoples in your countries is a manifest, occasionally even pompous lack of interest. This is a somewhat natural reaction to that yearlong pressure and hardly a proof that we do not have much in common.

    To me, being exposed to other Slavic languages (and, indirectly, cultures) through this forum is something totally novel. I wouldn't be surprised if Slavic speakers not initiated in the wonderful and stimulating atmosphere we have here (I hope I am not the only one to perceive it :D) considered the idea of joining a Slavic forum totally uncool.
  14. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    Well, now that you mentioned, both I guess. :)
    But in my previous post I was referring to "knowing better German cities then Serbian ones". I explained why:
    At least people over 30 (who finished primary school before the split).
    So true. And many women too (like my mum, what with my father and brother in the house?!). :D
  15. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    Nicely put. However, it is more in question here then just being interested in smt foreign and exciting. There were just too many relations and connections at so many levels between Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro (Slovenia and Macedonia as well, but slightly less because of the language).
    If you as a Czech, for example, finished at least primary school during Czechoslovakia, the claim that you know say France better then Slovakia (in terms of history, geography, religion, literature etc.) would be non-realistic one.
    That is my opinion, at least.
    Yes, I love "our" forum as well! :D
    Some probably!!! :)
  16. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Exactly so. And I'd add that it's the fault of not just the Soviet empire, but also of other historical initiatives to politically unite Slavic peoples based on dubious (at best) ideological schemes. By this I primarily mean some rather hypocritical attempts at using Pan-Slavism as a political tool by the Imperial Russia, as well as two tragically failed attempts at uniting South Slavs minus Bulgarians into a single state. (One could argue that the first of those two attempts wasn't going so badly when it was suddenly interrupted by WW2, but that's a topic for some other discussion.)
  17. el_tigre Senior Member

    I think there should be here some part for all Slavic languages.For comparison etc.

    But, the fact that ALL Slavic language have just ONE(1) FORUM is really unpleasant to me. Especially if we see that here are separate fora (some even 2-3 of them) for German and Italian=> languages that have 2-4 less speakers than slavophones.
    Or Spanish whose dialectiacal differences are much less than ex. "dialects" of Croatian.

    That is like putting us in the second class !
  18. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Aggregation is sometimes a pain...
    ...sometimes a virtue. :)

    Numbers are clear, my dear friend. The traffic that our Spanish forums generate in one week easily dwarfs the annual output of the Slavic forum. The number of natives does not matter at all, traffic does (as well as other criteria). Many widely spoken languages are poorly represented in this forum because the external demand is negligible and conversations among natives are too scarce to justify separate forums.

    You seem to believe that if we didn't have a common Slavic forum, Croatian would be somehow entitled to a forum of its own. Let me debunk this fallacy. The decision to create this forum was not uncontroversial, and I swear I weighed all pros and contras carefully. The alternative was to keep the Slavic languages in Other languages. Predictably, Russian would soon emerge strong enough to have its own forum. Polish and Czech maybe as well, much later. The other Slavic languages, Croatian included, would have had to dwell in OL and wait for a miracle.

    You may claim it is not fair because Spanish is not intrinsically better than Croatian. Sure, it is not. But if nature, history and deities are not egalitarian, why should WordReference Forums be?
  19. el_tigre Senior Member

    Not just that!
    Let's don't forget that there is a huge Croatian diaspora in German speaking countries.
    According to some predictions up to 1 000 000
    In Stuttgart cca 200 000 , Berlin 15 000

    Captain of our football team was born and raised in Berlinč

    as well as some othersččkićć
  20. el_tigre Senior Member

    OK , I might be wrong about the Czech history.

    But the fact is that Sloavkia has been Hungarians occupied Slovakia when they came in central Europe at the end of 9th century.
    Slovakia had united with Czech rep. after ww1 after almost 1000 years.
  21. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    The topic started by El Tigre is aggresive. Why do we need to highlight and emphasise differences? Yes, there are always differences, even between people living next door, belonging to the same ethnic group and you can find similarities between between people who have nothing in common culturally.

    National identity is about what we think we are, no doubt. Same applies to belonging to language groups. If we think we are Slavs, we accept the fact that we have similarities in languages and traditions, show interest in these similarities and in other similar nations, then it all makes sense.

    The war in Yugoslavia has created a lot of hatred between similar peoples and many are now trying to highlight how dissimilar they are. It will take a long time before the hatred is reconciled, IMHO.

    The term "Slavophone" may apply to people who don't belong a Slavic group but speak a Slavic language, for example Jewish people living in Russia (for many of them Russian is their first language), a large portion of russified nationalities who lost their language or Greek Macedonians (or rather Greeks, speaking a Macedonian dialect) or any other native who speaks a Slavic language as their first language for whatever reason but who don't consider themselves belonging to a Slavic nation but by no means to Slavs themselves, unless we want to say that Slavs, among other things speaks a Slavic language.

    Slavic languages and people speaking them have been classified long ago and I don't see reasons to change it, even we take into account current or past hostilities between some of them.
  22. Athaulf

    Athaulf Senior Member

    Toronto, Canada
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Not to mention that even if Croatian ever got separated from the OL group, this might easily happen in the form of placing it (at least initially) into a company, shall we say, both narrower and less desirable to most Croats than the general Slavic group. :D
  23. el_tigre Senior Member

    First of all :it was not me who strted the topic. Jana has made it from one of my statements.
    Second:aggressive is too rude word ... Don't you think so?

    To make myself clear I need to say something. Yes , there are some similarities between Slavophones. As well as there are ome similarities beetween speakers of Germanic or Romance languages.

    But , what ex. English people have in commons with Germans or Scandinavians(Norwegians, Swedes, Danes)?? Similar languages ?? yes
    Something else????

    No. The idea of Yugoslavia was to join all countries where were spoken similar (South Slavic) languages. Presuming that we (by default ) have similar inheritage etc...
    Differences (huge ones) existed before 1918 ....
  24. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    If the word "agressive" offends you, I apologise. I didn't say that you are aggressive, personally. It's nothing personal but the topic is aggressive in itself. There's too much going on about how different we are (not in linguistic sense), which creates aggression far beyond online forums. If Slavic, Semitic, etc. nations talked more about how close they are, we would have less aggression.

    I understand your point, just don't see why this is so important. Language is one of the things that distinguishes an ethnic group from others (I am agnostic, not worried about the religion at all), communication is established much faster between non-linguists who move/travel to an area speaking a similar language.
  25. beclija Senior Member

    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    As I said, I do believe that there are similarities and shared traits between the Slavic people, but I don't believe that any of these is strictly limited to Slavic speaking people. Most common historical experiences and common ancestry (starting at least from the Slavic migrations in the Early Middle Ages) that contributed to the similarities are shared by non-Slavic people in the region (most notably, Romania, Hungary, Albania, most of Austria and Greece as well as Friulio).
  26. el_tigre Senior Member

    Precisely that was my idea!!!
  27. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    What makes the Christian (or by any other way non-Jewish) speaker of Russian more Slavic? :confused:
  28. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Their own identity - Jews speaking Russian say about themselves that they just happen to be Russian speaking if they haven't mastered Hebrew or Yiddish (both non-Slavic language). If they move to US, their first language may become English and they will not try to save it (it depends, of course) for their kids. Nothing to do with the religion. Bosnians Muslims are Slavs (it's their native, not just first language). In this case people of non-Slavic origin who use a Slavic language as a means for communications but don't consider themselves belonging to that language might be called Slavopones, IMO.
  29. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    Allright, and how can you decide wether a people is of 'Slavic origin' or not? Could you give a precise definition of 'a Slav'? For instance, a Jew is someone who was born to a Jewish mother, a German is a citizen of the FRG - what is a Slav? If it is a culture, the belonging only relies on a personal statement and thus you cannot generalise about 'the Bosnians', 'the Japanese' or any other peoples, for these entities consist of individuals each of whom decides for himself wether he is 'Slavic', 'Elven', 'Martian', 'Klingon' or anything else.
    I allways thought "first language" and "native tongue" were just synonyms, I see I was wrong - were's the difference? :) Can your native language be one you never ever even heared?
  30. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    I think you might fight something about it in the Cultural forum. Imagine that your native language is, say, Yiddish but you were schooled in, say, German. Your exposure to German makes you more comfortable in this language than in Yiddish. Not an unlikely scenario, is it?
  31. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I can't see any problem with this description, I have already explained what I meant and I don't mean to insult anyone, it's just your personal feeling who you belong to. If you think you are a Gypsy, Armenian, Jew, Kazakh but you grew up in Russia, can you call yourself a Slav? Yes, if you only wish so, you can call yourself Russian, not Russian speaking (a very common term is "русскоговорящие" (the Russian speaking) if they want to avoid saying Russians in Kazakhstan or Azerbaidjan, for example. The term "русскоговорящие" means people who normally speak Russian, it doesn't have to be their native tongue.

    Even the word "Russians" can be translated into Russian as "русские" or "россияне". The former meaning ethnic or native Russians, the latter meaning "the citizens of Russia". The 2nd one is more politically correct and is used by politicians to address the Russian public. "Россияне" includes (ethnic) Russians and non-Russians (Slavophones among them).

    "Native vs first language". E.g, a Chinese person who grew up in Australia speaks English much better than Chinese, let alone writing, etc. His first language is English but according to his parents it's Chinese (maybe according to himself too). It's maybe hard to say - how can a native language be less known than another one. I guess, it's your own attitude to your native language, maybe you're trying to learn it, remember traditions but it's hard because you have no time, enough exposure, etc.
  32. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Your first language is the first language you learned

    Your native language: well, that depends on what culture you define your identity to be around. If your parents are Chinese but you are Australian, then your native language is English, and your first language probably English as well unless you immigrated after you learned Mandarin. If you are in Canada but you identify yourself as a Polish person, then your native language is Polish, whether or not you might have learned English first and speak it best.

    Unfortunately, in places where there is a lot of ethnic nationalism, i.e. where people's belonging in a state depends on their "blood" (in other words, how 'skillfully' they chose their parents when being born rather than on actual loyalty, culture, values, and beliefs), there is little debate between who's a Slav and who's a slavophone. If your parents are Slav, you are forever a Slav and so will your children even if they want to become Canadian/Australian later on. Slavophones are merely anyone who speaks a Slavic language.
  33. el_tigre Senior Member


    I can guarantee for my statements for the people till 30 . In fact I am quite sure.
    I started to attend school in 1990.
    In geography classes I learned much more about countries like USA , Germany, Italy. Serbia was mentioned in just short lesson, basic geographic fact. Just like one country in the neighbourhood, part of SE Europe etc.
    I have seen bunch of American movies, we are able to see 3-4 of them every day. but some Serbian movie ,rarely.
    In fact , during 90s we almost haven't seen Serbian movies at Croatian tv-stations at all. Neither Serbian music on radio stations.

    Summa summarum , to Croatian youth people(under 30) Serbia is equally terra incognita as are ex. Albania or Hungary, whose languages we don't understand at all.
  34. el_tigre Senior Member

    Well, they are superficial and accidental because these similarities were not made just by somebody's decision. They existed for centuries. Untill cca 200 years kajkavian was spoken in practically all Panonian Croatia.
    Division of languages by nationality sometimes really makes no sense.
    Ex. Indians with 800 languages (20 officiall)+ english.
  35. el_tigre Senior Member

    The Panslavism has been one ideology from 19th century. That period of time was period of sing the nationalism and creating the nations in modern meaning of that word.

    One of the theories from that time prsumed that similarity of the languages must mean similarity of culture , menthality, compatiblity of the ethnic groups. It meant that also that speakers of the similar languages are natural allies .

    That theories appeared to be true in case of Italian unification (Risorgimento) and creating the Italian nation. But on the other cases failed.
    Czech & Slovaks , Scandinavians (Danes, Norwegians, Swedes ) , Pan-German Unification ( ) have shown us that it was the wrong theory.

    And case of South Slavic countries (Yugoslavia+Bulgaria) has shown that these theories were complete disaster.

    Apart from these "language=nation" theories, we can see the example of Switzerland. Very sccessful, rich country and multilingual!
    Swiss brand is always recognized as Swiss . Whether is Germanic or Romance it is irrelevant.
    Man from Switzerland can be Johann , Jean or Giovanni , but first of all: Swiss!
  36. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    Anglophone: adj: of, having, or belonging to an English-speaking population especially in a country where two or more languages are spoken; noun: an English-speaking person especially in a country where two or more languages are spoken

    The similar explanations are given for Francophone, Spanofone (Hispanophone) etc. Those terms refer to people who may live in different countries and be of different ethnical origin (like Americans - they are Anglophones), but speaking the same language. We are speaking about Hispanophonic areas - which include Spain and the giant part of South America. So "slavophonic" would mean people who live anywhere, and are of any origin, but speak Slavic language. Slavic language doesn't exist itself, though Slavs do exist as a grupation, as well as many other grupations. So that's a wrong term, and though some good and interesting things were said in some of the other posts, the very premise is utterly wrong from a linguistical point.

    Does one feel like a Slav or not - that's his personal right and a matter of choice. Russians and Serbs have a lovely expression for that - "Slavyanska duša"; it refers to a specific Slavic sentiment and shows that some of us still feel like Slavs though we speak different languages. So no, we are not "Slavophonic", we feel like Slavs.
  37. el_tigre Senior Member

    Hm ...

    In school we have learned a lot of the things about Greek mythology! And almost nothing about Slavic! :(

    So , that is so!

    Anyway I have seen somobody here taliing about Moldavians and Latino Americans:

    Roman Emperor Traian conqueresd Romania and Moldova in 2nd century A.D. that territory was Roman until 270 A.D. In that time their inhabitants accepted Latin language that evolved into todays' Romanian/Moldavian.

    Territory of Spain/Portugal was conquered 2 centuries before. Their inhabitants accepted Latin language as well. In the 16th century
    inhabitants of these countries started to colonize the South and Central America imposing their languages to the indigenous population. Today , the indigenous population of South and Central America speak Romance language(s). what does make them similar to Romanians/Moldavs??

    Almost nothing. it is not truth that they were separated! they have never been connected. So , expression Romance nation makes no sense . As well as it makes no sense to talk about Polinesian people.
  38. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    I would agree with el_tigre: there are no Slavic culture, Slavic menthality, Slavic genotype etc but Slavic languages.

    I use both terms Slavs and Slavophones as synonyms.

    Please realise that, in the past, people could change their language as easily as they could change their religion.

    In the 7th century, the population of Egypt changed their religion (from Christianity to Islam) and their language (from Coptic or Greek to Arabic) at the same time. No more new-comers were necessary for the language change than the priests necessary for the religion conversion.

    The same happened in the Great Russia (or Moskovia): the Slavophonia was brought there by the Christian priests, first of all.

    Please realise that, in the past, the religion was of greater importance than usually modern people could suppose.

    The middle Danube was the area where the Slavophonia initially developed. The Slavophonia spread from the middle Danube into all directions. The territory of present Rumania and Hungary was presumably Slavophone in the 9th century, e.g..

    I would agree again. Although Croates and Serbs, generally speaking, share the same language, they do not share the past. Thus, I would say that Croates and Hungarians have the same culture but different languages.

    Another example: although the Bulgarian (incl. Macedonian) language is much close to Serbo-Croatian and Russian, Bulgarians (&Macedonians) have more in common with Greeks and Romanians than with Serbs or Russians. (For FYRO-Macedonians, this was true some 100 years ago and is not true anymore. Present-day FYRO-Macedonians are presumably serbophiles and, as part of their national ideology, hate all their neighbours except the Serbs.)

    Albanians have always existed, at least during the last five centuries.

    Albania, as an independent country, does exist because the Great Powers had that wish. The same is true for Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and any other country in Europe, Mediterranean area and Middle East except the Great Powers themselves.

    E.g., Greece exists as an independent country just because the Great Powers had that wish at the beginning of the 19th century.

    These are the languages (Serbian&Croatian) that have Slavic origin. The term "origin of a nation" is undefined, generally speaking.

    Anyway, the nation of Croates emerged in the Danubian empire (Hungary/Austria) while the nation of Serbs emerged in the Ottoman empire. Any events in the more distant past are of less importance now. During the last 100 years, although in the same state named Yugoslavia, Croates and Serbs lived as separate nations. For instance, during the WW2, there was a civil war in Yugoslavia between Croatian nationalists and Serbian nationalists, both sides being supported by the German nazis.

    Actually, there are much stranger events in the Slavic world than the separation of Serbs and Croates: these are the separation of Belorussia and Ukraina from Russia.

    In my opinion, there is nothing common for the Slavs but the Slavophonia. I mean all the Slavophones. E.g. Russians and Czechs have nothing in common but the Slavophonia and perhaps the panslavic idea that I can see in your thoughts, dear Jana. There are no legends and fairy-tales especially common to all the Slavophones. There are Christian legends and European fairy-tales, most probably.

    The idea that Slavs have something in common beyond the Slavophonia (the panslavic idea) emerged in 19-th century in both the Russian and the Danubian empires. In Russia, it was (or is?) a part of its imperial ideology. In the Danubian empire, it was used to emancipate Slavophones. Later, both sources of the panslavic idea met in Serbia which became a fire-place for wars in Europe's miserable 20th century.

    All nations are products of the vagaries of the history. The centuries spent in multi-ethnic empires are not wasted: they actually gave birth to our modern nations.
  39. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Highlighting and emphasising similarities (between Slavophones in this case) is highlighting and emphasising differences at the same time.

    If we emphasise the similarity of Croates and Serbs as two nations sharing the same language, at the same time, we emphasise the difference between Croates and Hungarians. In my opinion, the main and only difference between Croates and Hungarians is the language while among the differences between Croates and Serbs one might list religion, culture, long imperial past etc.

    If we emphasise the similarity of Bulgarians and Russians, e.g., as Slavophones, we emphasise at the same time the difference between Bulgarians and Romanians and Greeks thus ignoring the things Bulgarians and Romanians and Greeks have in common: culture, imperial past, neighbourhood (comşuluk) etc.

    Belonging to language groups is not the same as the national identity. While the latter is a self-identification, the former is actually a diagnosis. The Slavophonia is rather a diagnosis than a self-identification.

    We do not think we are Slavs. We rather think we are Bulgarians, Serbs, Russians, Poles, etc. We accept the fact that we have similarities in languages in the same manner as we accept a medical diagnosis: it is true and we simply have to accept the true.

    However, there are no such traditions which are shared by all the Slavophones beyond those common to all civilized peoples.

    The war in Yugoslavia was caused by Milošević's attempt to change the borders between former Yugoslave republic. Eltsyn, being much smarter than Milošević, did not make any attempt to change the border between Russia and Ukraina, e.g.: that's why we observed a peacefull separation there.

    The Jewish people living in Russia are Slavophones, of course.

    If you define "Slavic groups" as an enumeration of Russians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Croates, Poles, etc, then Jewish people living in Russia do not belong to any "Slavic group". Nevertheless, we merely could enumerate "Jewish people speaking Russian" as a "Slavic group" along with the other "Slavic groups" if "Jewish people speaking Russian" wished that.

    However, we could merely live without defining any "Slavic groups" and only think about Slavic languages.

    People speaking Slavic languages have their own self-identification (Russian, Bulgarian, etc) which we have to respect.

    Slavic languages were classified just two centuries ago. Before the 17th century, there was no common term to name the Slavophones.

    The past cannot be comprehensible to those ignoring religion and empires.

    In the past, there were large and stable communities based on the religion and/or on the imperial idea rather than on the common language. Such nations were Romans, Ottomans, e.g.

    I would agree.

    What about the descendents of German (or Slavic) immigrants to Latin America (e.g. Argentina)? Are they true latinos (argentinos)? I think yes, they are.

    Anyone who speaks a Slavic language is a Slavophone (or Slav). Anyone who cannot speak any Slavic language cannot be a Slav even if his/her parents were Slavs.

    Yes. Please note that there are no common term for "Germanophones". This is because there was not such an empire to explore the pangermanic idea neither were there people to use such an idea for emancipation.

    Yes. This is a good example.

    By the way, about 100 years ago, there were two slogans among fighters for freedom of Macedonia, still belonging to the Ottoman empire at that time: "Macedonia - Switzerland of the Balkans" and "Macedonia to the Macedonians". The idea was not to divide Macedonia but to establish an independent country named Macedonia where all Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Turks living in that country would be first of all: Macedonians. That idea failed. Now, FYRO-Macedonians usurped this name and Greeks are so unhappy of that.

  40. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Those are myths.

    Romans did not reach Moldova.

    The Roman Emperor Traian did conquer Dacia, now part of Romania, but Romans did not stay there for too long and their language did not survive.

    The Romano-balkanic language originated in Balkan territories south of Danube that belonged to the Roman empire more than a millenium. The modern Romano-balkanic language (Romanian/Valachian/Moldovan) was brought to the territory of present-day Romania not earlier than in the 11th century.

    Yes, I agree.
  41. Maroseika Moderator

    Excuse me, but what language do you mean people spoke on the territory of Russia in the 6-10 centuries?
  42. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Please note that I did not mean Kiev or Novgorod, I specifically meant Moskovia.

    Before the Slavophonia was brought there, people on that territory spoke other languages - that is the right answer. Probably, at that large territory, many languages were spoken. Probably, most of them are extinct now. However, there are still relicts of those languages: uralic languages (Udmurt, Komi, etc), some turkic languages (Chuvash, eg), perhaps some baltic languages, perhaps some northern languages (as those in the far north of Finland).
  43. Maroseika Moderator

    May I ask you then, Christo, what does "Moskovia" mean in your terms?
  44. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Is it because there was no mentioning of Moscou (I don't know what you mean by Moskovia) as such until almost two centuries after arrival of Christianity to the then important Kiev and Novgorod?
  45. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member


    Anyway, I mean Moskovia is not only the Grand Duchy of Moscow, but it also includes the other Russian principalities in the Volga basin. However, Moskovia did not include the basin of the Dnieper River nor Novgorod which was annexed by Moskovia in 1478 only. In the 11th century, the territory of Moskovia was converted to Christianity and conquered by Russians at the same time. There is no evidences for the Slavophonia in Moskovia before that event. The probability for the presence of the Slavophonia in Moskovia before 11th century is approximately the same as the probability for the presence of the Hispanophonia in Latin America before 15th century.

    Note: Also, the probability for the presence of the Slavophonia in Kiev and Novgorod before 9th century is approximately the same.
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  46. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    By your opinion, Christo, what language is (mostly) spoken in these parts of Russia nowadays? Slavic or Russian? From your post one could conclude that they are speaking Old Slavonic even nowadays.
  47. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    I hardly understand your question.

    Since Russian is one of the modern Slavic languages, then speaking Russian actually implements the Slavophonia. Speaking Polish (Bulgarian, Serbian, etc) also implements the Slavophonia nowadays.

    It is usually supposed that before the 11th century, e.g., the Slavophonia was implemented by speaking various dialects of the common Slavic language, the common ancestor of the modern Slavic languages. From those dialects, modern Slavic languages have developed.

    However, my basic idea is that there cannot be another meaning of the word Slavs beyond the meaning of Slavophones. At least nowadays, but also in the past.

    Indeed, there is specific development of the Russian literary language. It is actually a merge of the Old Church Slavonic (which was brought to Russia by the Christian priests in 10th century) and the spoken eastern-Slavic dialects (brought there in the 9th century). As far as I know, this is a thesis of Likhachov. This means that continuous development can be traced from both the Old Church Slavonic and the spoken eastern-Slavic dialects to the Russian literary language.

    The fact described above and the relatively small variety of the Russian dialects nowadays, actually support the hypothesis that the Slavophonia cannot be brought to Moskovia too early, not earlier than the Gospel.
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  48. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    Hispanophones = all the nations or ethnic groups speaking Spanish
    Anglophones = all the nations or ethnic groups speaking English
    Slavophones = all the nations or ethnic groups speaking .....? (Slavic? No, it doesn't exist as a living language.)

    Further - if we say, supposedly, "Germanophones" - who are they? People speaking German (like in Germany, Austria and a part of Switzerland), or people speaking languages belonging to the group of German languages?

    In case of Russia, I would be more apt to accept "Russophones", but as the state boundaries are more or less identical to the language boundaries nowadays, probably there is no need for such a term.

    Likhachov thesis is not the only one. Actually, it's opposite to other theories we learnt at university. Also, the Christian priests you are mentioning were sent purposely to spread Cristianity in the language that people could understand, so it confirmes that the presence of Slavs in the therritories you are speaking of dates much earlier.
  49. Maroseika Moderator

    I'm afraid, Christo, archeological data of the recent time contradict to your version. According to them Great Russian Valley is inhabited by Slavs since 5-6 cent. In addition, according to the modern views, Novgorod was inhavited by the Slavs (Krivichs) from the West, i.e. this is quite another flow of colonization.
    By the way, your version oddly corresponds to the one of R. Rosenfeld, who assumed in the 70th that the central part of Russian Valley was occupied in the 11th century with the Slavs from the South, escaping from the Christianity.
    Another ancient town - Pskov - was first mentioned in chronicle of 903 (Повесть временных лет). Who, you think, lived there and what language they spoke?

    Anyway, the Slavs occupying the valley, forced out or absorbed Finno-Ugric tribes, but this process has begun long before 988. By the time Christianity came to Russia the people living there was more or less uniform, speaking one language (even though with the Ugro-Finnish spots). According to Zaliznyak, all Slavic languages (actually - dialects) were very similar that time, and Slavonians could easily understand each other between Elba and Oka and between Danube and Dvina.

    By the way, I guess it will be interesting for you to look here:
    This is the cite devoted to the "birch bark letters", the oldest of which are dated 1050-1075, and by that time people lived in Novgorod for a long time.
    Last edited: May 12, 2008
  50. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Anyway, I am confused. You do not accept the term Slavophones which is defined very well, in my opnion. What about the term Slavs? Do you accept it? How do you define it?

    My definition: Slavs = Slavophones.

    I agree - we need just a definition here. Before using the term Germanophones, it must be defined.

    I would not opose the term Rossophones. The Rossophonia is a sort of Slavophonia. So,all Rossophones are Slavophones.

    Yes. Other theories are more correct politically.

    Indoctrinating a religion in the language people spoke is just an idea. There are examples where that idea was implemented, there are also examples where that idea was ignored.

    North Africa was converted to Islam and Arabic at the same time.

    Large areas of Latin America was converted to Christianity and Spanish at the same time.

    The case of the translation of the Holly Scripture into Slavic was rather an exeption than a rule. Please note that this was the only translation of the Holly Scripture which was approved by the Holy See in the Middle Ages.
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