Why are Baltic languages not considered Slavic?

  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Words cognitive with English (not loan words):

    Kalte (Eng. guilt; Lat. culpa)

    Other Lith. words cogn. with Eng.:

    AR (or)
    JUS (you)
    BET (but)
    TILTAS (bridge), yet English "TILT" means "slope, slant" while old bridges are usually sloped or tilted.
    GRINDINYS (pavement) reminds of English GRIND (ground) which looks like ground stones.
    GRIEBT (to grip; to grab)
    GRIEZT (to grit)
    GROTOS (grid)
    PERKA, PIRKT (buys; to buy) = perk = to become more interested (to buy?)
    BITE (a bee)
    APSEST(AS) (obsessed)
    MENUO - (moon)
    AUGINT (augment, to grow, to increase) or should I say: augmenti, grauti, increasti :)
    Please, don't just pile up vague similarities irrespective of whether or not they make etymological sense. English guilt and Latin culpa are certainly not cognate. One word "reminding" you of another doesn't make them cognate.
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I don't understand your question. Why would you think of connecting Albanian with Baltic languages in the first place? I can't think of anything.
    It was very late, I was very tired, and I got very confused because I thought the title was Balkan languages. Which doesn't exist as a grouping as far as I know. But now I must contribute something to make up for that.

    May I ask, as someone who knows little more than that the baltic states have a language from a different group i.e. Estonian, why this grouping even exists? It seems rather peculiar.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    May I ask, as someone who knows little more than that the baltic states have a language from a different group i.e. Estonian, why this grouping even exists? It seems rather peculiar.
    The Baltic languages are clearly Indo-European and it is totally obvious that they don't belong to either of the other two IE language groups that are relevant in the broader area, viz. Slavic and Germanic.

    These things are obvious and undisputed. What we are discussing in this thread is whether Baltic and Slavic are independent sub-groups of IE like, say, Italic and Germanic or whether, as some researchers have proposed, the commonalities between between Slavic and Baltic are significant enough to assume a common ancestral proto-language within the IE group.
     

    killerbee256

    Senior Member
    American English
    I mean no offense when I say this, but I think the Lithuanian posters belief that their language is not and can not be related to Slavic languages has more to do with the cold war and their countries treatment by the soviets during that time then it does with linguistics.
     
    Why are the Batic languages not considered Slave?

    He probably meant: Are Balts slaves? Because there's a lot of this talk in the so-called West where Slav and Slave are considered the same word by some semi-literate people; almost insulting. Some people would intentionally misspell Slave instead of Slav, just to pinch.

    Why would Baltic languages (Lithuwanian, Latvian) should be Slavic? They're not. Just like Hungarian, Estonian, Romanian, Suomi, Sami, Karelian languages in the region, they're not Slavic at all. They may have influence on Slavic languages or have Slavic influence on them, but not in the same group. While they have several hundred borrowed words and similarities with Slavic languages (one way or another, either they borrowed or the words were borrowed by Slavs), they also have a lot in common with Latin, Greek, Anglo-Saxon languages and languages of northern India and Iran. I just found an old English word HERK (hear me). In Lithuwanian (should be the correct spelling) that is GIRDEK, where the roots are HEAR/HER vs. GIR. Pretty close. Same situation with DRINK vs. GERK. "To drink" comes from "gert(i)" (ger+to = gert). "Slavic" -ti is also Lithuanian "t" and English "to".

    In the past and in my other posts I posted many examples like those. I believe it is incorrect to bundle Baltic languages with Slavic languages into one group. While there's nothing wrong with Slavic, and they're well respected (by me at least), but now I see all these people at StormFront etc. coming up with comments such as "Oh you Balts are slaves" etc. because they see Balto-Slavic language group. Speaking both Baltic and Slavic languages as well as many others I can see that there's equal amount of similarity between Lithuanian and other Indo-European languges, very little indeed, but equal similarity, and especially with English, Greek and Latin and with Russian etc. as well. None overwhelms the other. There is no more similarity of Lithuanian to Russian than to English or Latin if we are talking about original words and not borrowings. Anyone who could prove in one post that Baltic belongs to a Slavic group, please post your proof or your references and links here.
     
    Please, don't just pile up vague similarities irrespective of whether or not they make etymological sense. English guilt and Latin culpa are certainly not cognate. One word "reminding" you of another doesn't make them cognate.

    I wasn't comparing Lithuanian KALTE, with Latin CULPA as much as I was comparing Lithuanian KALTE with English GUILT, which are clearly cognate.
     
    These two branches of the Indo-European languages — Baltic and Slavic — initially developed separately and independently of each other, directly from Proto-Indo-European. Onomastic evidence shows that Baltic languages were once spoken in much wider territory than the one they cover today, from Berlin all the way to Moscow, and were later replaced by Germans and Slavs. Polabian language example clearly has Lithuanian/Baltic influence (see the first line of the prayer) and so does Ukrainian and Russian - Baltic influence:

    http://ls78.sweb.cz/otcenas.htm
     
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    Why are the Batic languages not considered Slave?

    Another example is Lord's Prayer in two Baltic languages (now extinct) Prusian and Curonian. If you find anything similar to any Slavic language, call me:

    Lord's Prayer in Old Prussian (from the so-called "1st Catechism")
    Thawe nuson kas tu asse Andangon,Swintits wirst twais Emmens;Pergeis twais Laeims;Twais Quaits audasseisin na Semmey, key Andangon;Nusan deininan Geittin deis numons schindeinan;Bha atwerpeis numans nuson Auschautins, kay mas atwerpimay nuson Auschautenikamans;Bha ny wedais mans Enperbandan;Sclait is rankeis mans assa Wargan. Amen

    Lord's Prayer after Simon Grunau (Curonian-Latvian)
    Nossen Thewes, cur tu es Delbes,Schwiz gesger thowes Wardes;Penag mynys thowe Mystalstibe;Toppes Pratres giriad Delbszisne, tade tymnes sennes Worsinny;Dodi momines an nosse igdenas Magse;Unde geitkas pamas numas musse Nozegun, cademas pametam nusson Pyrtainekans;No wede numus panam Padomum;Swalbadi mumes newusse Layne. Jesus. Amen.

    Lithuanian: 'Tėve mūsų, kuris esi danguje,
    teesie šventas tavo vardas,
    teateinie tavo karalystė,
    teesie tavo valia
    kaip danguje, taip ir žemėje.
    Kasdienės mūsų duonos duok mums šiandien
    ir atleisk mums mūsų kaltes,
    kaip ir mes atleidžiame savo kaltininkams.
    Ir neleisk mūsų gundyti,
    bet gelbėk mus nuo pikto'.Amen

    ENGLISH:

    Our Father, Who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be Thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. Amen.
     
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    In the past and in my other posts I posted many examples like those. I believe it is incorrect to bundle Baltic languages with Slavic languages into one group. While there's nothing wrong with Slavic, and they're well respected (by me at least), but now I see all these people at StormFront etc. coming up with comments such as "Oh you Balts are slaves" etc. because they see Balto-Slavic language group. Speaking both Baltic and Slavic languages as well as many others I can see that there's equal amount of similarity between Lithuanian and other Indo-European languges, very little indeed, but equal similarity, and especially with English, Greek and Latin and with Russian etc. as well. None overwhelms the other. There is no more similarity of Lithuanian to Russian than to English or Latin if we are talking about original words and not borrowings. Anyone who could prove in one post that Baltic belongs to a Slavic group, please post your proof or your references and links here.
    That is not quite true. First of all, this depends on the level of discussion. The Internet wisdom is different from that one found in the linguistic literature and is targeted at a different audience. Linguistic palaeontology distinguishes between similarities of different origin and values. Modern English has more words of Romance than of Germanic origin, but that does not make it a less Germanic language from the evolutionary viewpoint. Likewise, in the order of branching on the evolutionary tree, English and northern German dialects are noticeably closer to each other than the northern and southern German dialects, yet the latter now constitute one language clearly different from English.

    The English Wikipedia has a decent article about Balto-Slavic, may be even too serious for this resource. In particular, investigations of the last decades have shown that both Baltic and Slavic had an almost identical starting point as to their accentuation system, very complicated and pretty different from those in all the other attested IE branches. A complex accentuation is the thing that is extremely difficult to learn when adult, and this is the aspect extremely unlikely to be borrowed from one language to the other. We may hypothesize, if we want, that the Genitive after negative verbs, or Instrumental after "to be", or compound definite adjectives are borrowings, or that declension similarities are shared archaisms, but the ir/ur reflexes, the Winter law, and the accentuation put Baltic and Slavic apart from any other IE branch. This simply cannot be independent.

    One thing may save the pride of Baltic patriots not wishing to have special relations to the Slavs. The history decided so that all the IE languages of the ancient Central Europe went extinct. We know about Baltic Venetians, Pannonians, Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians, but we know almost nothing about their languages. Many tribes undoubtedly disappeared with no traces in the written history. For linguistic palaeogeography it means that the links found between Baltic, Slavic, Gemanic, Albanian, Italic or Celtic may have been results of indirect contacts of, say, Balts–Venetians–Germanics or Balts–?–Slavs.
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    I would like to point out that the theory of a common `Balto-Slavonic', which was initially proposed by Schleicher, is only ONE theory out of many. The distinguished Russian linguist Trubachev http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleg_Trubachyov listed at least 5 theories:

    1) Common Balto-Slavonic proto-language (Schleicher),
    2) Independent parallel development (Meillet),
    3) Independent development and secondary later convergence (Endselin),
    4) Ancient common stage then separation then convergence (Rozwadowski),
    5) Formation of Slavonic from peripheral dialects of Baltic (Ivanov - Toporov).

    Trubachev's view was between 2 and 3 and I am also of the same opinion. Over several pages Trubachev meticulously demonstrated the cardinal differences between Slavonic and Baltic on all levels: lexico-semantic, phonetic (particularly, different character and course of palatalisation) but, most importantly, in morphology and particularly in the verbal system. Trubachev noted that the Baltic verbal system with one Present and one Preterite is reminiscent of Finnish rather than IE and that Slavonic verbal system could not derive from Baltic. He wrote [my translation]:
    "Those linguists who endeavoured to resolve or at least to put the question of the origin of proto-Slavonic were mostly inclined to connect this with its emergence from a Balto-Slavoinic unity dating this event at the beginning of AD or a few centuries before [...] it. Presently, there is an objective tendency to push back the dating of the history of ancient Indo-European dialects. This also applies to Slavonic as one of the Indo-European dialects. However, the question now is not that the history of Slavonic may be measured by the scale of the II to III millenniums B.C. but that we can hardly date the ‘emergence’ or ‘separation’ of pra-Slavonic or pra-Slavonic dialects from Indo-European dialects because of the proper uninterrupted Indo-European origin of Slavonic. This is in concordance with Meillet's assertion that Slavonic [and Baltic*] is an IE language of the archaic type which has not experienced any radical shake-over like, for example the Greek language [...]". (Etnogenez i kultura drevneyshikh Slavian: lingvistichesskiye issledovaniya, 1991 [Ethnogenesis and culture of the oldest Slavs: linguistic studies], pp. 19-25).

    note (*) The quote of the passage to which Trubachev referred:

    “[..] Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. [...] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. [...] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European.” (The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens(1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp. 59-60).
     
    Trubachev belonged to that numerous kind of scientists, especially philologists, who pretend to know more than the data could allow. They waste their lives for building castles in the sky and only a minor part of their scientific heritage survives a critical review.

    In particular, the "different character and course of palatalization" you have mentioned was based, if memory serves, on the single word "sьrna/stirna", which was considered by Trubachev an evidence that the Slavic palatalized IE palatovelars to ts>s and dz>z, while Baltic did so through tš>š(>s) and dž>ž(>z). No comments.

    The verbal system can change pretty seriously for a period of several centuries: e. g., most Northern Slavic languages show little evidence of the Imperfect and scarce remnants of the Aorist, which allowed people like Khaburgayev to suggest that the development of the past tenses was profoundly different in Polish/East Slavic in the one hand and South Slavic/Sorbian in the other. I don't think it is justified, but we are dealing here with pretty dramatic changes that took only several centuries.

    The situation with Baltic/Slavic is such that we cannot doubt the number of their unique shared innovations in the early period of history (due to direct contacts, or as I had mentioned, through some now extinct Central European IE branch) and somewhat parallel development in the subsequent periods. The question is when did the split happen. The latest dating is the middle of the 1st millennium BC (based, I guess, on the substantial differences of Prussian vs. East Baltic), the earliest — a couple of millennia before (i. e. the latest stages of the IE). I personally don't think there is any practical value of regarding Balto-Slavic as a group like Germanic, since these are taxa of different levels, but that Baltic and Slavic originally belonged to a single dialect continuum is reflected in their useful grouping as an informal Balto-Slavic branch.

    I suspect, if we had now living descendants of the Osco-Umbrian dialects, and those would have been able to escape the Latin influence, the divergence between Romance and modern Osco-Umbrian would have been pretty dramatic. Likewise, modern Indo-Iranian languages hardly show any signs of particular affinities. It is the archaic character of Lithuanian that makes comparisons with Slavic still possible.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    note (*) The quote of the passage to which Trubachev referred:

    “[..] Baltic and Slavic show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. [...] there is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. [...] Baltic and Slavic are consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common Indo-European.” (The Indo-European Dialects [Eng. translation of Les dialectes indo-européens(1908)], University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp. 59-60).

    I saw recently some texts that claim that Baltic and Slavic languages are the only ones of IE languages that have avoided being influenced in a considerable degree by any non IE language, thus being the most direct descendants, and continuators of PIE. I don't know how plausible this claim is, but it is, at least, interesting.
     
    I saw recently some texts that claim that Baltic and Slavic languages are the only ones of IE languages that have avoided being influenced in a considerable degree by any non IE language, thus being the most direct descendants, and continuators of PIE. I don't know how plausible this claim is, but it is, at least, interesting.
    That's not true, since there are clear areal features common for languages distributed to the south and east of the Baltic sea, namely Baltic, Slavic and Baltic-Finnic — such as a non-Accusative after negative verbs (Genitive in B and Sl and Partitive in BF) or a non-Nominative after "to be" (Instrumental in B and Sl and Essive and Translative in BFi), not to mention the secondary locative cases in Old Lithuanian.

    Also, there is a popular mistake that the most conservative dialect is the most direct descendant of the proto-language. However, in cases when the historical development can be traced, we find various situations, including those that contradict this assumption. Say, in Italian the dialect of Rome is just an average dialect among others, with nothing especially conservative. In contrast, the Tuscan dialect, spoken by descendants of the non-IE Etruscans *is* the most conservative. In Slavic languages, dialects of the Slavic homeland — in Slovakia, southern Poland and western Ukraine have no striking signs of conservatism or more "Slavicness" comparing to any other. Almost every Slavic language preserves some features better than the others, and without direct knowledge of the OCS we would have had a hard time to decipher what exactly is archaic and what is not. It is safe to assume that the same is true for the PIE.
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Trubachev belonged to that numerous kind of scientists, especially philologists, who pretend to know more than the data could allow. They waste their lives for building castles in the sky and only a minor part of their scientific heritage survives a critical review.

    For those who do not know whom we are talking about:

    Oleg Trubachyov (October 23, 1930, Stalingrad - March 9, 2002, Moscow) - Soviet and Russian linguist, one of the leading Russian scholars in the field of the etymology of Slavonic languages ​​and Slavonic onomastics. Specialist in comparative-historical linguistics, Slavonic, lexicography, etymology, PhD. He was an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and served as the editor-in-chief of Etimologiya yearbook. He was engaged in the translation and editing of "Etymological dictionary of Russian language" by Max Vasmer. Editor of the multi-volume "Etymological dictionary of Slavonic languages. Proto-Slavonic lexical fund".


    I am glad that I have set the discussion into a more academic course.
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    In particular, the "different character and course of palatalization" you have mentioned was based, if memory serves, on the single word "sьrna/stirna", which was considered by Trubachev an evidence that the Slavic palatalized IE palatovelars to ts>s and dz>z, while Baltic did so through tš>š(>s) and dž>ž(>z). No comments.

    You obviously over-simplify his theory.

    Those who are lucky enough to read German may want to get an idea of Trubachev's approach from this article: Trubačev, O. N.
    "Die Sprachwissenschaft und die Ethnogenese der Slawen." ZfS, 1987, 32, 911–919
    .

    Russian texts are widely available on the web.
     
    You obviously over-simplify his theory.

    Those who are lucky enough to read German may want to get an idea of Trubachev's approach from this article: Trubačev, O. N.
    "Die Sprachwissenschaft und die Ethnogenese der Slawen." ZfS, 1987, 32, 911–919
    .

    Russian texts are widely available on the web.
    Trubachev's opus magnum on the topic: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJeXkyWi1aQlNtVVk/edit?usp=sharing see pp. 21 & 31.

    Looking at the working method of people like Trubachev or Vyacheslav Ivanov it is easy to notice that it is not a careful analysis of all the data according to some transparent procedures: authors of this type see no fun in the boring aspects of scientific research. What they do is closer to writing essays: "what if I am right and the things are so and so", then, the original assumption is taken as proven and new essays are being written on that basis. As a result, the final conclusions are not necessarily wrong, but they represent some chain of probabilities randomly chosen among an ocean of other, not less probable, interpretations. It strongly resembles the approach by the ancient Greek philosophers: when thousands of people generate random ideas ("Universe is fire" — "no, Universe is water"), some of these ideas casually turn out right with time, and we praise e. g. Democritus for first discovering the atomic structure. This is in striking contrast to people like Meillet and Zaliznyak who leave proven facts and widely accepted interpretations.
     
    Just to conclude with Trubachev. The greatest problem of minor sciences is that there is very little feedback. When one is involved in some physical research, the correctness is verified by the practice: if the plane eventually flies and lands, everything is OK, otherwise... There is usually no such possibility in philology, and the only feedback here is the existence of an audience of competent and reasonable colleagues. Unfortunately, this was definitely not so with the palaeoetymological Slavic studies in Russia — there simply were not enough people to evaluate Trubachev's research.

    I spoke once with Otkupschikov about the reaction on his book about the pre-Greek substrate: he said that there was virtually no reaction, since nobody read it carefully — some people looked at the complexity of the book and decided that it must have been a serious research, the others looked at the conclusions that contradicted their own ideas and rejected the book entirely (well, if recent Carian achievements by Adiego are not another vaporware, like many others before, Otkupschikov eventually was wrong with the palaeo-Balkanic nature of the Carian language, though the book itself is just fine).

    There is a classical phrase from Solovyov's «Возмутитель спокойствия» that describes how things work in such kind of sciences:

    «[х]отя он очень сильно подозревал Ходжу Насреддина в мошенничестве и невежестве, но подозрение не есть уверенность, можно и ошибиться; зато о своем крайнем невежестве мудрец знал точно и не осмелился спорить».
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Just to conclude with Trubachev. The greatest problem of minor sciences is that there is very little feedback. When one is involved in some physical research, the correctness is verified by the practice: if the plane eventually flies and lands, everything is OK, otherwise... There is usually no such possibility in philology, and the only feedback here is the existence of an audience of competent and reasonable colleagues. Unfortunately, this was definitely not so with the palaeoetymological Slavic studies in Russia — there simply were not enough people to evaluate Trubachev's research.

    Very wise words indeed, but is not it the essence of this, as you rightly said, `minor science'? “Historical linguistics often resorts to generalizations based on limited evidence, making statements that are far from obvious and often subject to discussion and various interpretations.” (Maciej Wencel. “Making Archaeology Speak - Archaeology and Linguistics”). The fundamental problem has been formulated by Pulgram as: “Now when we reconstruct, through the methods of comparative historical linguistics, an array of asterisked Proto-Indo-European forms, the procedure itself implies that the result of our endeavors is a uniform construct. We are, in fact, creating an idiolect -- not of a speaker, to be sure, but of the scholar, of the method, as it were. This procedural circumstance spares us a priori all scruples and worries over uniformity. But note that the result emanates from the method, that different procedures would deliver different results.” (Pulgram, E. “Proto-Indo-European Reality and Reconstruction”. Language, Linguistic Society of America, 1959, 35, pp. 421--426).

    Returning to the topic, many years ago I started from the concept of Balto-Slavonic but in the course of lexicographic an comparative research my views on this have changed. I can now clearly see the gap separating the two groups and quite agree with Trubachev that despite the apparent similarity there is an even larger disparity at the very fundamental lexical stratum. I can now better understand why Meillet wrote that `The general resemblance of Baltic and Slavic is so apparent that no one challenges the notion of a period of common development. Nevertheless, upon close examination the innovations and the individual features, common to the two groups are less probative than they appear at first" (See the ref. in my earlier post p.58). In my opinion, Baltic and Slavonic come from separate but closely related IE dialects and I came to accept Meillet's conclusion: " [...] Baltic and Slavic had identical points of departure and [...] they developed under the same conditions and influences. There may even been some period of common development, but, if so, neither Baltic nor Slavic, the most conservative of the Indo-European languages, produced any notable innovations in the course of it. It is sufficient to examine the verb system to see that the two developments were independent at an early date." (p. 67).
     
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    Look, that's all true, but Baltic and Slavic share at least three unique and very specific kinds of phonetic innovations I had mentioned some posts before:
    (1) i/u reflexes of syllabic sonants — there are other groups with u-coloring (Germanic and some Palaeobalkanic — reflexed in Greek borrowings with yr/yl/yn/ym), with i (some cases in Celtic, though i there goes after the sonant, not before it) — but no other branch has both at the same time (and often with parallel development: when it is i in Baltic, it usually corresponds to i in Slavic);
    (2) Winter law (acute lengthening of old short vowels before IE voiced/glottalized stops) — again, no group has anything comparable, plus it must have been quite old since the IE o in Baltic lengthens to o:, while a — to a:, suggesting this law operated before the merger of short o and a;
    (3) the extreme similarity if not identity of the accentuation system (see Dybo) — a thing that cannot be borrowed in principle.
    Points (2) and (3) were not known at the time of major Balto-Slavic discussions since they became clear only in the eighties.

    This all implies that the split must have happened after the rest of the documented IE branches had diverged from the common stock, so in any case there must have been a serious period of time necessary to create the new accentuation system, with an acute/non-acute opposition, identical rules of accent placement (different at the same time from those in Indo-Iranic, Greek, pre-Werner's Germanic and pre-Dybo's Italic and Celtic) etc. I can only repeat my arguments that languages change and diverge with time and that e. g. the modern Indo-Aryan and Iranian languages have diverged for 3,5–4 millennia to such an extent that it is hard to imagine they have any special connections, yet it is often claimed that the language of older parts of Avesta can be converted into a decent Vedic by standard phonetic replacements (and vice versa).

    I think the following can be considered proven:
    (1) We don't know how close the ancestors of both branches were at various IE periods.
    (2) After the split of IE, both branches experienced a period of common unique innovations (outlined above + many less unique).
    (3) After that, they developed separately but influencing each other from time to time so they exhibit many similar (but not always identical) innovations, even at pretty late periods (e. g. yotations occurred in parallel in the 1st millenium in Slavic and in the 1st or early 2nd millennia in Baltic, the compound adjectives formed on the local material but in a fully parallel manner (including avoidance of trisyllabic endings), the aspectual opposition in verbs developed separately but in parallel (though in Slavic it went further), finally the modern Lithuanian consonantism is so astonishingly close to the modern Russian one, to the extent that the academic grammar by Ambrazas et al. (1985) wrote «Согласные фонемы ... литовского языка реализуются по существу такими же звуками, как и соответствующие фонемы русского языка, и потому они не нуждаются в подробных артикуляционных характеристиках» (p. 34)).

    Practically, for the title question of this topic, it means that Baltic and Slavic do not belong to the same group of the level of Germanic, but they do belong to an informal supergroup. Since all this taxonomy exists first of all for didactic and mnemonic purposes, there are numerous contexts when it is more convenient to operate with Baltic and Slavic as independent groups with their particular peculiarities, but there are numerous contexts when it is more convenient to treat them together, like e. g. the ancient Indo-Iranic.
     
    Just for fun, here is the beginning of "Pater noster" in the 11th century Old Church Slavonic (http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Отче_наш) (Wikipedia text has Russifying mistakes):
    «Otĭče našĭ jĭže jesi na nebesĭxŭ,
    da svętitŭ sę jĭmę tvoje,
    da prijĭdetŭ carĭstvĭje tvoje,
    da bǫdetŭ voļa tvoja
    jako na nebese i na zemļi».

    Now, hocus-pocus, leaving all the grammar and lexis as is, I change the phonetics as it must have sounded one thousand years before, at Christ's time (I voluntarily distinguish between ō and ā, and write an older ṣ instead of x, and ž/š instead of z/s from IE palatovelars, though honestly nobody knows if these changes had already occurred to that time):
    «Atike nōsjas jas ge esei nō nebesiṣu,
    dō šwenteiti sen inmen twaja,
    dō prei ideti [waldūkistwa] twaja,
    dō būndeti waljā twajā
    jāka nō nebese ei nō žemjai».

    Now, hocus-pocus again, I take this text, pretend it to be a proto-Baltic text of the same period, and change the phonetics as it developed to the modern Lithuanian, sound after sound:
    «Atike nuosias, jas ge esi nuo nebesisu,
    duo šventietis įmę tvaja,
    duo priideti [karalystė] tvaja,
    duo bundeti valia tvaja
    joka nuo nebese ie nuo žemei».

    Enjoy ,-)
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Look, that's all true, but Baltic and Slavic share at least three unique and very specific kinds of phonetic innovations I had mentioned some posts before:
    (1) i/u reflexes of syllabic sonants — there are other groups with u-coloring (Germanic and some Palaeobalkanic — reflexed in Greek borrowings with yr/yl/yn/ym), with i (some cases in Celtic, though i there goes after the sonant, not before it) — but no other branch has both at the same time (and often with parallel development: when it is i in Baltic, it usually corresponds to i in Slavic);

    The question of sonorants is still one of the disputed areas. For example in the Watkin's Dictionary of IE Roots you can still find different reflexes for OCS (*rъ/*lъ) and Lithuanian (*ir/*il).

    (2) Winter law (acute lengthening of old short vowels before IE voiced/glottalized stops) — again, no group has anything comparable, plus it must have been quite old since the IE o in Baltic lengthens to o:, while a — to a:, suggesting this law operated before the merger of short o and a;

    As you know, Winter's Law is one of the most disputed and controversial 'sound laws' which Sylvain Patri clearly called a `fiction` based on `coïncidences aléatoires': “Il s’ensuit que les principes nécessaires à l’élaboration d’une règle cohérente que sont la régularité et l’économie descriptive sont l’un et l’autre contredits par les données. Toutes les conditions sont donc réunies pour conduire à la conclusion que l’hypothèse d’une relation entre la durée des syllabe et la position de leur noyau par rapport aux consonnes de la série *b, *dy *g, *g, *gw est réfutée; en d’autres termes, que la loi de Winter est une fiction. Les quelques exemples qui ont été invoqués à l’appui de sa formulation relèvent de ce que les ouvrages de probabilité et de statistiques désignent sous le nom de « coïncidences aléatoires »: dès lors que n’existe nulle contrainte sur la répartition des voyelles allongées dans le mot (Varbot 1984), il est naturel que celles-ci puissent se rencontrer, devant toutes consonnes, y compris devant *b, *d, *g, même si cette constatation ne permet évidemment pas d’inférer l’existence d’une régularité prégnante.”

    (3) the extreme similarity if not identity of the accentuation system (see Dybo) — a thing that cannot be borrowed in principle.
    Points (2) and (3) were not known at the time of major Balto-Slavic discussions since they became clear only in the eighties.

    I admit that I am not an expert in accentuation, which appears to be the corner-stone of the `Leiden School' (which I believe you embrace), but I know that it is not without controversies and problems. There are considerable dialectal variations in Lithuanian, which is practically the only source of information about Baltic accentuation. We have no direct information about Pra-Slavonic accent. Also there is no consensus in IE accentuation as it is directly linked to the problem of laryngeals which is an issue in itself.

    Practically, for the title question of this topic, it means that Baltic and Slavic do not belong to the same group of the level of Germanic, but they do belong to an informal supergroup. Since all this taxonomy exists first of all for didactic and mnemonic purposes, there are numerous contexts when it is more convenient to operate with Baltic and Slavic as independent groups with their particular peculiarities, but there are numerous contexts when it is more convenient to treat them together, like e. g. the ancient Indo-Iranic.

    In my opinion, the 1-3 arguments are hardly sufficient to support `Balto-Slavonic' unity in the `classic' form as envisaged by Schelicher. I would agree with your definition `informal supergroup'. This goes well with the results of my etymological research. Thank you for the excellent post!
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    "Now, hocus-pocus, leaving all the grammar and lexis as is, I change the phonetics as it must have sounded one thousand years before, at Christ's time"

    Bravo! Could have been signed "Frederik Kortlandt" :)

    Lithuanian:

    Tėve mūsų, kuris esi danguje,
    teesie šventas Tavo vardas,
    teateinie Tavo karalystė,
    teesie Tavo valia
    kaip danguje, taip ir žemėje.
    Count the number of cognates but, for God's sake, without [karalystė]!!!.
    Atike nuosias, jas ge esi nuo nebesisu,
    duo šventietis įmę tvaja,
    duo priideti [karalystė] tvaja,
    duo bundeti valia tvaja
    joka nuo nebese ie nuo žemei.
     
    Last edited:
    The question of sonorants is still one of the disputed areas. For example in the Watkin's Dictionary of IE Roots you can still find different reflexes for OCS (*rъ/*lъ) and Lithuanian (*ir/*il).

    This is actually the area with the least amount of problems. There is a number of mismatching reflexes (ginti/гънати), but these can occur in the same language as well (жерло/горло from *gwrtlo). Anyway, double reflexes are a very striking and strong shared innovation.

    As you know, Winter's Law is one of the most disputed and controversial 'sound laws' which Sylvain Patri clearly called a `fiction` based on `coïncidences aléatoires': “Il s’ensuit que les principes nécessaires à l’élaboration d’une règle cohérente que sont la régularité et l’économie descriptive sont l’un et l’autre contredits par les données. Toutes les conditions sont donc réunies pour conduire à la conclusion que l’hypothèse d’une relation entre la durée des syllabe et la position de leur noyau par rapport aux consonnes de la série *b, *dy *g, *g, *gw est réfutée; en d’autres termes, que la loi de Winter est une fiction. Les quelques exemples qui ont été invoqués à l’appui de sa formulation relèvent de ce que les ouvrages de probabilité et de statistiques désignent sous le nom de « coïncidences aléatoires »: dès lors que n’existe nulle contrainte sur la répartition des voyelles allongées dans le mot (Varbot 1984), il est naturel que celles-ci puissent se rencontrer, devant toutes consonnes, y compris devant *b, *d, *g, même si cette constatation ne permet évidemment pas d’inférer l’existence d’une régularité prégnante.”

    These problems have been largely resolved in the last decades. The dictionary by Derksen (Leiden school you'd mentioned) is built entirely around the Winter law: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJb0J4a1VKMVlPRXM/edit?usp=sharing And here are a couple of recent papers: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJeFNRTEE0OGxZRzA/edit?usp=sharing (Dybo) and https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJWWE4MFFQdzlnaDA/edit?usp=sharing (Young). I think, Winter law has matured enough to be used safely.



    I admit that I am not an expert in accentuation, which appears to be the corner-stone of the `Leiden School' (which I believe you embrace), but I know that it is not without controversies and problems. There are considerable dialectal variations in Lithuanian, which is practically the only source of information about Baltic accentuation. We have no direct information about Pra-Slavonic accent. Also there is no consensus in IE accentuation as it is directly linked to the problem of laryngeals which is an issue in itself.
    I don't adhere to the Leiden school and I find Kortland to be a scientist of the same calibre as Trubachov and Ivanov. This list by him (still largely accepted by Leiden scientists — see Derksen's preface in the dictionary from the first link) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJVTZkaEkxMUl2elk/edit?usp=sharing is a classical example of «краткое введение в сравнительное слоноведение» from the old joke — I don't imagine in principle how the existing data can lead anyone to such a detailed construction (and highly doubtful in so many details).

    As to the Balto-Slavic accentology — in the last thirty years the things have become increasingly clearer. Here is the huge research by Dybo (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJVUhZYi1pbFR3ODA/edit?usp=sharing), the main person behind the revolution. Please, note that, in contrast to Trubachov and Ivanov, Dybo goes from material to conclusions, and analyses the bulk of the data, instead of flittering from assumption to assumption.

    The Latvian and Samogitian data have turned out to be not less important than the Aukstaitian ones, since each branch has preserved different aspects of the original system.

    In brief, what has changed since the situation found in the old manuals.
    (1) The original IE had an opposition of high- and low-toned syllables, like e. g. the Japanese. The place and quality of the accent depended on the interplay of such syllables in the word form. In B and Sl the stress originally fell on the first high-toned syllable of the word form. If all syllables were low-toned, the stress of a special kind fell on the first syllable (hence e. g. modern за'нял but заняла' or рука' but ру'ку and на' руку).
    (2) The high-toned stems are reflected as Lithuanian stress patterns (1) and (2) and the Slavic (a), (b) and (d). The low-toned stems are reflected as Lithuanian patterns (3) and (4) and Slavic (c).
    (3) There were thus four original kinds of stems: high-toned acute (Lithuanian 1), high-toned non-acute (Lithuanian 2), low-toned acute (Lithuanian 3), low-toned non-acute (Lithuanian 4).
    (4) In high-toned stems, the Lithuanian acute corresponds to the Slavic acute, the Lithuanian circumflex corresponds to the Slavic new acute (when the latter is not secondary before ь and ъ). In low-toned stems, the Lithuanian merged its acute with the high-toned acute and its circumflex with the high-toned circumflex (not so in Latvian), while Slavic has merged both low-toned intonations into the Slavic circumflex — thus, what is called circumflex in BSl and L is not the same as the circumflex in the attested Slavic (the major wrong assumption in the entire old literature).
     
    "Now, hocus-pocus, leaving all the grammar and lexis as is, I change the phonetics as it must have sounded one thousand years before, at Christ's time"

    Bravo! Could have been signed "Frederik Kortlandt" :)

    Lithuanian:

    Tėve mūsų, kuris esi danguje,
    teesie šventas Tavo vardas,
    teateinie Tavo karalystė,
    teesie Tavo valia
    kaip danguje, taip ir žemėje.
    Count the number of cognates but, for God's sake, without [karalystė]!!!.
    Atike nuosias, jas ge esi nuo nebesisu,
    duo šventietis įmę tvaja,
    duo priideti [karalystė] tvaja,
    duo bundeti valia tvaja
    joka nuo nebese ie nuo žemei.
    Well, let's also compare this:
    "Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth, as it is in heaven"

    with this:
    "
    Atta unsar þu in himinam,
    weihnai namo þein,

    qimai þiudinassus þeins,
    wairþai wilja þeins

    swe in himina jah ana airþai".

    Or this:
    «
    Notre Père, qui es aux Cieux,
    Que ton nom soit sanctifié,
    Que ton règne vienne,
    Que ta volonté soit faite
    Sur la terre comme au ciel».

    with this:
    «
    Tatăl nostru Care ești în ceruri,
    sfințească-se numele Tău,
    vie împărăția Ta,
    fie voia Ta,
    precum în cer așa și pe Pământ».

    Languages have a habit to change.
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    The Lithuanian nominal accentuation is pretty transparent. For a historical explanation check here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJTXdsbjA1a2dHVGc/edit?usp=sharing on pp. 34–36 and e. g. 42–43, for a synchronous one — here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_7IkEzr9hyJMWs2ODBpRG0tMzQ/edit?usp=sharing on pp. 77–81.

    Thank you very much, I know most of the sources you quoted and daily use Derksen, however, accentuation has not been relevant to my current work but I definitely need an update here.
     
    Sorry, we are discussing specifically the relations between Baltic and Slavonic.
    ?

    If this is a reply to "Pater noster", I just wanted to emphasize how far two obviously related languages (English vs. Gothic and French vs. Romanian) can diverge lexically for a period of 20+ (in the case of the first pair) or 20- (in the case of the second one) centuries. I am rather skeptical to the studies of lexical affinities and I regard them as the least conclusive. Both Russian and English are examples of languages strongly diverging in their vocabularies from their closest relatives (resp. Frisian/Dutch/Low German and Belarusian/Ukrainian). On the other hand, Icelandic vs. modern Norwegian are an example of abrupt phonetical and especially grammatical differences between sister languages.

    In biology, shared innovations guarantee the affinity since organisms are unable to exchange characters. Not so in languages: mutual influence is a norm here. It will be therefore impossible to make the study of relationships between languages as precise as the evolutionary biology is becoming in the recent two decades. In the absence of direct evidence, what remains is the old method of accumulating all the data available and trying to evaluate which of them outweigh the other.

    Back to the Balto-Slavic relationships, there is no doubt that both branches were influencing each other during much of their history. The question is at what level did they split: within IE or some time later? I think, in the absence of written documents and without inventing the time machine, we have no tools to decide between both variants. I mentioned some posts before that the Low German, originally a separate dialect, in the course of history has become part of the German (originally High German) language. The same is documented for the north-western Russian dialects, which were quite peculiar in the 11th century but lost virtually all of their specific characters to the early 20th century. So, languages split and merge, and Baltic and Slavic may have passed through something like this several times until the phonetic changes in the latter made this impossible at some point. Let's not forget the West Baltic that was perceptibly closer to Slavic, and the extinct languages of Central Europe that may have been intermediate dialects in what is known now as Balto-Slavic.
     

    arvistro

    New Member
    Latvian
    "Now, hocus-pocus, leaving all the grammar and lexis as is, I change the phonetics as it must have sounded one thousand years before, at Christ's time"

    Bravo! Could have been signed "Frederik Kortlandt" :)

    Lithuanian:

    Tėve mūsų, kuris esi danguje,
    teesie šventas Tavo vardas,
    teateinie Tavo karalystė,
    teesie Tavo valia
    kaip danguje, taip ir žemėje.
    Count the number of cognates but, for God's sake, without [karalystė]!!!.
    Atike nuosias, jas ge esi nuo nebesisu,
    duo šventietis įmę tvaja,
    duo priideti [karalystė] tvaja,
    duo bundeti valia tvaja
    joka nuo nebese ie nuo žemei.
    This interesting post brought me here :)

    Actually on cognates, they are all in Old Prussian. More of those in Old Prussian and Latvian than Lithuanian. I would guess this thing was in Old Prussian if presented randomly :) and I would be able to read and understand this text.
    nuosias - Old Prussian cognate. Dodi momines an nosse igdenas Magse
    nuo - Latvian is No, spelled as nuo.
    Nebesisu - ok, Latvian is Debesis
    duo - hm, duod is to give
    Šventietis - Šventas is cognate
    ime - Emmens, Old Prussian
    priideti -pradėti (lith) start, begin, initiate, launch, open, come
    tvaja - tava
    bundeti - is actually būti :)
    valia - vaļa freedom, laid vaļā - let me go, savvaļa - wilderness Latvian
    joka - should be kaip, or Latvian kā
    žemei - zemei
     

    arvistro

    New Member
    Latvian
    This is actually the area with the least amount of problems. There is a number of mismatching reflexes (ginti/гънати), but these can occur in the same language as well (жерло/горло from *gwrtlo). Anyway, double reflexes are a very striking and strong shared innovation.
    Ginti/гънати - hmm.
    Ginti in Latvian is attested as dzīti (to chase), but then we have another word in Latvian ganīt(i)/Lithuanian ganyti (to shepherd). I guess ganyti and gnati is close enough for reflexes :)
     
    Ginti/гънати - hmm.
    Ginti in Latvian is attested as dzīti (to chase), but then we have another word in Latvian ganīt(i)/Lithuanian ganyti (to shepherd). I guess ganyti and gnati is close enough for reflexes :)
    Gъnati has the same root vowel as the Prussian guntwei. Ganyti/ganīt correspond to the Old Church Slavonic goniti "to drive". This root is attested in most IE languages: the Balto-Slavic peculiarity is the i/u-reflexation of the former zero grade (Sanskrit has ī/ū in laryngeal roots before sonorants, otherwise no branch shows this development).
     
    nuosias - Old Prussian cognate. Dodi momines an nosse igdenas Magse
    Not quite: Prussian preserves the plain root (nousesmu, nousons, nousā), while Slavic adds a -ı̯- suffix (našь, naša, naše from earlier *nōsı̯as, *nōsı̯ā, *nōsı̯a).
    nuo - Latvian is No, spelled as nuo.
    True. Lithuanian usually has it shortened (nu), but the original form is preserved as nominal prefix (nutrauktinuotrauka).
    Nebesisu - ok, Latvian is Debesis
    True.
    duo - hm, duod is to give
    No, this is casual: this Slavic particle has no cognates in Baltic.
    Šventietis - Šventas is cognate
    True.
    ime - Emmens, Old Prussian
    True.
    priideti -pradėti (lith) start, begin, initiate, launch, open, come
    No, the Slavic pri (<*preı̯) corresponds to the Lithuanian prie (prievadas=привод, both from *preı̯ u̯adas), but *ideti is a specifically Slavic form with no Baltic cognate: Baltic has an athematic, simple thematic or n-Present from this root: eimi, einu; ēisei, ēit; eju, iet (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/iet#Etymology), whereas Slavic has used the ancient Imperative Sg. 2 form (IE *i-dʰi) as the base for the Present stem. *Priideti corresponds to prieina.

    By the way, I now find it probable that the Old Church Slavonic da priidetъ directly continues the Optative *dō prei idetu: the meaning is the same, and the mysterious -ъ nicely corresponds to the Present Optative -u. The Old East Slavic da priidetь, on the other hand, continues the Present Indicative * prei ideti. The Optative -*tu/-*ntu thus must have been generalized in Old Church Slavonic and north-eastern East Slavic whereas the primary Indicative -*ti/-*nti — in southern East Slavic. Other Slavic dialects may also continue the secondary -*t/-*nt.
    tvaja - tava
    Latvian preserves the older thematic form, whereas Slavic and Prussian add the ı̯-suffix: tvojь/twais (<*tu̯aı̯as) (likewise mojь/mais (<*maı̯as) and svojь/swais (<*su̯aı̯as)).
    bundeti - is actually būti :)
    Again, this is the same root as in Latvian but in a specifically Slavic formation: - (reflected in byti, būti, būt) had received a d-extension (probably in the same manner as *eı̯-, i. e. from the Imperative Sg. 2. *bʰuH-dʰi) and then a nasal infix (cp. the same formation in Lithuanian with a different root: busti—bundu—budau, the root *bʰeu̯dʰ-, reflected in the Slavic Praes. Pl. 2 bļudete [from *bʰeu̯dʰete], budite [from *bʰou̯dʰeı̯te] and -bъnete [from *bʰudʰnete, here, unlike in Lithuanian, -n- is added after the root]; Slavic has a couple of other verbs with a nasal infix, e. g. Pl. 2. sędete [<*sendete], lęžete [<*lengʰete]).
    valia - vaļa freedom, laid vaļā - let me go, savvaļa - wilderness Latvian
    True.
    joka - should be kaip, or Latvian kā
    There is a set of correspondences: kakъ—koks, takъ—toks, śakъ—šioks, viśakъ—visoks, jakъ—joks. Otherwise, jako indeed means kaip/kā.
    žemei - zemei
    No, this is the Locative, which in East Baltic has been augmented by a postposition (žemėje is a new creation from the old Locative *źemēı̯ and the postposition -e; Latvian zemē has lost -ı̯e but has preserved the long vowel inside the word). Slavic has the same Locative in the consonant stems (Loc. Sg. na nebese "in heaven" instead of the expected etymological **nebesь from IE *nebʰesi).
     
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    arvistro

    New Member
    Latvian
    Thanks for deeper analysis, in my post I just replied that in your experiment almost all words do have cognates in Baltic (except Da - Duo, which I suggest comes deeply from duod, also used in let us go = duod mums iet; Latvian lai seems to derive from laid (let) in similar but bit different, laid mūs/mums iet = let us go OR maybe not, please comment).
    I did not say those cognates were exact matches :) which would be a bit far stretched for sound replacement experiment ocs-> proto-Slavic -> = proto-Baltic -> Lithuanian.
     

    arvistro

    New Member
    Latvian
    Gъnati has the same root vowel as the Prussian guntwei. Ganyti/ganīt correspond to the Old Church Slavonic goniti "to drive". This root is attested in most IE languages: the Balto-Slavic peculiarity is the i/u-reflexation of the former zero grade (Sanskrit has ī/ū in laryngeal roots before sonorants, otherwise no branch shows this development).
    Could be, I still believe dzīt (ginti), ganīt is not a big thing. For example we have
    Locīt/loks, liekt, līks with basically same meaning.
     
    except Da - Duo, which I suggest comes deeply from duod, also used in let us go = duod mums iet; Latvian lai seems to derive from laid (let) in similar but bit different, laid mūs/mums iet = let us go OR maybe not, please comment).
    This is not absolutely impossible, but pay attention at the construction: da and lai require a personal form (lai dzivo), whereas dod and laid require an Infinitive. Traditionally, the Baltic lai is compared with the Slavic particles li and .

    P. S. On the other hand, if -/-ntъ forms after da in Old Church Slavonic do continue the old Optative, the connection with "to give" becomes syntactically possible: da stanetъ < *dō stānetu, literally something like "give (=let) it for it to stand", cp. Spanish déjale hacer and déjale que haga "let him do" with the Infinitive (hacer) and the Subjunctive (que haga).
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    I am surprised that this thread still goes on! Just to remind you, I support the opinion that Baltic and Slavonic are two separate lineages of the so called "Indo-European" dialects. I believe that they have existed side by side and intermingled at various periods but neither the Baltic system can be derived from Slavonic nor the other way round. The disparity is particularly evident in their verbal systems.

    As for the affinity in their vocabularies, indeed, we find a lot of common words but there is a rational explanation for this. Citing Meillet (The Indo-European Dialects. University of Alabama Press, 1967, pp.59-60):

    "[...] Baltic and Slavic are the descendants of almost indentical Indo-European dialects. [they] show the common trait of never having undergone in the course of their development any sudden systemic upheaval. [...] There is no indication of a serious dislocation of any part of the linguistic system at any time. [...] The sound structure has in general remained intact to the present. [...] Baltic and Slavic are, consequently the only languages in which certain modern word-forms resemble those reconstructed for Common-Indo-European."

    Consequently, it is only natural that these two groups would show striking resemblances in many aspects. As for their vocabulary, I made a little exercise of comparing the texts of the first part of the prayer adding Sanskrit (I do not use the hypothetical "reconstructed" Proto-Slavonic, kindly proposed by ahvalj, simply because there is no proof that it ever existed*). For simplicity I do not use the sandhi and also reproduce the final visarga as a "historical s" (e.g. pitas instead of pitaḥ `father'). The construction da svjatitjsja I transpose as Optative śveteta `let be bright!' As you can see from the table, all three idioms are definitely similar but they are also approx. equally different from each other. Therefore, the similarity in the vocabularies of Baltic and Slavonic only confirms that they preserve a good deal of the ancient common word-stock (+Millets arguments as above) and not necessarily testifies that they come from an imaginary "proto-Balto-Slavic".


    LithuanianSlavonicSanskrit
    tėveotčepitas
    mūsųnašnas
    kurisižeyas
    esijesiāsi
    dangujena nebesěxъnabhaḥsu
    teesie šventasda svjatitjsjaśveteta
    tãеvotvojetva
    vardasimjanamas
    teateinieda pridetjpari yāyāt (or Imp. pari yātu)
    tavotvojetva
    karalystėcarstvijerājyam
    teesieda bǫdetjbhavet
    tavotvojatva
    valiavoljavaras
    kaipjakauta
    dangujena nebesinabhasi
    taip iriuta
    žemėjena zemlikṣamāyām


    *note
    I side here with
    Pulgram, E. (“Proto-Indo-European Reality and Reconstruction Language”, Linguistic Society of America, 1959, 35, pp. 421-426). This is a quote from his article:
    “Now when we reconstruct, through the methods of comparative historical linguistics, an array of asterisked Proto-Indo-European forms, the procedure itself implies that the result of our endeavors is a uniform construct. We are, in fact, creating an idiolect-not of a speaker, to be sure, but of the scholar, of the method, as it were. This procedural circumstance spares us a priori all scruples and worries over uniformity. But note that the result emanates from the method, that different procedures would deliver different results. I am not, of course, attempting to refute the validity of comparative linguistics; it is, as scholars have repeatedly said, our only choice, for any other modus operandi ‘removes the basis for scientific [historical] linguistics’. But it must be conceded that such a reconstruction is something of a fiction, since ‘the terms Proto-, Ur-, Primitive are firmly attached to formulae which are timeless, non-dialectal, and non-phonetic.’ Anything in linguistics that is timeless, nondialectal, and nonphonetic, by definition does not represent a real language. That is to say, the uniformity which reconstructed Proto-Indo-European exhibits is not representative of a reality“
     
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    I don't think I can add anything to what has been already said in this thread, but what is the purpose of this comparative table? For a half of isolated Slavic words I can find Lithuanian cognates, and where it is impossible, Prussian or Latvian ones. Actually, only otьcь and carьstvьje have no roots (or prefixes+roots+suffixes) attested somewhere in Baltic, the former casually (*atta was an IE word) and the latter for obvious reasons (if we don't count caras). Religious texts are normally calqued between closely related languages, but let's take something less sacral, e. g. The Internationale in English and German (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale and https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Internationale): how many related (not to mention identical) words do you find?
     
    “Now when we reconstruct, through the methods of comparative historical linguistics, an array of asterisked Proto-Indo-European forms, the procedure itself implies that the result of our endeavors is a uniform construct. We are, in fact, creating an idiolect-not of a speaker, to be sure, but of the scholar, of the method, as it were. This procedural circumstance spares us a priori all scruples and worries over uniformity. But note that the result emanates from the method, that different procedures would deliver different results. I am not, of course, attempting to refute the validity of comparative linguistics; it is, as scholars have repeatedly said, our only choice, for any other modus operandi ‘removes the basis for scientific [historical] linguistics’. But it must be conceded that such a reconstruction is something of a fiction, since ‘the terms Proto-, Ur-, Primitive are firmly attached to formulae which are timeless, non-dialectal, and non-phonetic.’ Anything in linguistics that is timeless, nondialectal, and nonphonetic, by definition does not represent a real language. That is to say, the uniformity which reconstructed Proto-Indo-European exhibits is not representative of a reality“
    That is true in the ultimate sense, since we will of course never be able to *reconstruct* an extinct language, but the history of research of many groups of languages proves that some aspects of the extinct stages can be rather successfully estimated. E. g., Romance languages, especially taken in their development, shed a lot of light on their common ancestor, and, comparing these reconstructions with the actual Latin, we can tell that the look of many basic words and grammatical forms can be reconstructed with sufficient precision. The same can be said e. g. about later Slavic languages in comparison with the attested Old Church Slavonic. Lithuanian and Latvian in their turn can be largely derived from a common prototype, etc. As any model, the reconstruction is a work in progress, it is constantly being compared to the actual data and is being updated when necessary, but as long as it doesn't face totally inexplicable blocks of data, it can be considered satisfactory. This is how the brain works, in everyday life and in any science.
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    I don't think I can add anything to what has been already said in this thread, but what is the purpose of this comparative table? For a half of isolated Slavic words I can find Lithuanian cognates, and where it is impossible, Prussian or Latvian ones. Actually, only otьcь and carьstvьje have no roots (or prefixes+roots+suffixes) attested somewhere in Baltic, the former casually (*atta was an IE word) and the latter for obvious reasons (if we don't count caras). Religious texts are normally calqued between closely related languages, but let's take something less sacral, e. g. The Internationale in English and German (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale and https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Internationale): how many related (not to mention identical) words do you find?
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    Sorry, I have just used this piece because it has already been discussed earlier in the thread. We could take any other piece of text, it does not matter. What I tried to illustrate with it was that "all three idioms are definitely similar but they are also approx. equally different from each other. Therefore, the similarity in the vocabularies of Baltic and Slavonic only confirms that they preserve a good deal of the ancient common word-stock (+Millets arguments as above) and not necessarily testifies that they come from an imaginary "proto-Balto-Slavic". I think it is exactly what this thread is about.
     
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    OK, Meillet was one of the rare IE linguists with a disciplined mind, he made much less mistakes than average in this science, so it is hard not to agree with his position on the Baltic-Slavic relationships (though, I should add, he was at the same time a proponent of the Italo-Celtic unity, which was and remains endlessly less substantiated). There is, however, one aspect that he was unable to consider: the prosody. In the first half of the 20th century, the studies of the Baltic and Slavic prosodies were at their infancy, were based on cherrypicked examples, and the results, as it turned out later, were often wrong or placed in the wrong context (e.g. the Slavic circumflex). In the last decades, the situation has become much more clear, and we can safely tell that (a) the Baltic and Slavic prosodies are the most complicated ones attested in the entire IE family, and (b) until pretty late in history the changes and their results were almost identical. This has been discussed already some 100 posts ago, but I'd like to repeat: the prosody is among the most complicated things to master when studying a language, it is very difficult to share, and the strongly divergent prosodic systems even between modern Baltic and Slavic dialects testify that at the first opportunity the prosody tends to evolve separately. If, despite all this, we are able to reduce the in-Baltic and in-Slavic systems to some common Baltic and common Slavic unities, and then to impose one on another (the Baltic one, as usual, turning out more archaic), it may only suggest that the shaping and evolution of these systems were anything but not independent.
     
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    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    We have, on the one hand, the vast amount of tangible evidence (grammar, vocabulary) and, on the other hand, an even greater amount of a less palpable and more fluid and elusive prosody. Obviously, prosody is your area of research so your view on the Balto-Slavonic unity is bound to be biased. Removing the axiom of "Balto-Slavonic" from Dybo's "балто-славянской акцентуационной системы, которая оказалась организованной как парадигматическая акцентная система" would render the whole theory void.
     
    Between the IE prototype (in Dybo's and anybody else's reconstructions) and the actual Baltic and Slavic prosodic systems lies a chain of non-trivial shared innovations not attested anywhere else. I don't imagine how it was technically possible without a permanent language contact in a limited territory. Even Winter's law, regardless of whether somebody accepts it as a law or a collection of words with a similar development, leads to the same results in both branches in the same lexemes. I'd also remind you Meillet's words that Baltic and Slavic aren't separated by any ancient isogloss... Modern Baltic and Slavic are, surely, not reducible to a common post-IE proto-language (as aren't modern Indo-Iranic languages despite we know that they have developed from a common post-IE prototype) but to say that they aren't any more related that any of them to Indic is obviously an overstatement.
     
    By the way, about the dissimilar verbal systems. Let's take the Russian verb as it is, with the Infinitive, full set of participles, and the single л-Past, and the Bulgarian verb without the bookish and Russian-influenced present participles and imagine that the л-tenses have been lost or, better, replaced with имам constructions: the only shared verbal forms between Russian and this imaginary Bulgarian will be the Present tense and the Past Passive Participle — and all this for just a millennium of divergent development.
     

    Dhira Simha

    Senior Member
    UK
    Russian
    I'd also remind you Meillet's words that Baltic and Slavic aren't separated by any ancient isogloss... Modern Baltic and Slavic are, surely, not reducible to a common post-IE proto-language (as aren't modern Indo-Iranic languages despite we know that they have developed from a common post-IE prototype) but to say that they aren't any more related that any of them to Indic is obviously an overstatement.

    I agree. My remark was made solely in the context of my little comparative exercise. Surely, we compare two systems which co-existed for millenniums side by side with a system separated from them by at least three thousand years. However, if both Slavonic and Baltic had started from the same system and given the long-time co-existence and interference, one would expect an even greater similarity.
     

    arvistro

    New Member
    Latvian
    However, if both Slavonic and Baltic had started from the same system and given the long-time co-existence and interference, one would expect an even greater similarity.
    :D
    As if they started from some different system. They surely both started from proto-IE and co-existed after, so "given the long-time co-existence and interference one would expect and even greater similarity" ;)
    Which they had until Slavic expanded and assimilated crazy number of other dialects and people.
     
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