Slavic languages

Slavic languages

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The Slavic languages a group of closely related language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

s of the Slavic peoples
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 and a subgroup of Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, in much of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, in parts of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, and in the northern part of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

Branches



Scholars traditionally divide Slavic languages on the basis of geographical distribution into three main branches, some of which feature subbranches:
| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • Eastern Slavic branch
    East Slavic languages
    The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

    • Old East Slavic (extinct)
      • Russian
        Russian language
        Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

      • Ruthenian
        Ruthenian language
        Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

         (extinct)
        • Ukrainian
          Ukrainian language
          Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

        • Rusyn
          Rusyn language
          Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

        • Belarusian
          Belarusian language
          The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

    • Old Novgorod
      Old Novgorod dialect
      Old Novgorod dialect is a term introduced by Andrey Zaliznyak to describe the astonishingly diverse linguistic features of the Old East Slavic birch bark writings from the 11th to 15th centuries excavated in Novgorod and its surroundings...

       (extinct)


| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • West Slavic branch
    West Slavic languages
    The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian and Sorbian.Classification:* Indo-European** Balto-Slavic*** Slavic**** West Slavic***** Czech-Slovak languages****** Czech...

    • Czech & Slovak
      • Czech
        Czech language
        Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

      • Slovak
        Slovak language
        Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

    • Lechitic
      Lechitic languages
      The Lechitic languages include three languages spoken in Central Europe, mainly in Poland, and historically also in the eastern and northern parts of modern Germany. This language group is a branch of the larger West Slavic language family...

      • Old Polish
        Old Polish language
        Old Polish is a name used to describe the period in the history of the Polish language between 9th and 16th centuries.-History:...

         (extinct)
        • Polish
          Polish language
          Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

        • Silesian
          The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related language
          Language
          Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

          s of the Slavic peoples
          Slavic peoples
          The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

           and a subgroup of Indo-European languages
          Indo-European languages
          The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

          , have speakers in most of Eastern Europe
          Eastern Europe
          Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

          , in much of the Balkans
          Balkans
          The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

          , in parts of Central Europe
          Central Europe
          Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

          , and in the northern part of Asia
          Asia
          Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

          .

          Branches



          Scholars traditionally divide Slavic languages on the basis of geographical distribution into three main branches, some of which feature subbranches:
| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • Eastern Slavic branch
    East Slavic languages
    The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

    • Old East Slavic (extinct)
      • Russian
        Russian language
        Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

      • Ruthenian
        Ruthenian language
        Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

         (extinct)
        • Ukrainian
          Ukrainian language
          Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

        • Rusyn
          Rusyn language
          Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

        • Belarusian
          Belarusian language
          The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

    • Old Novgorod
      Old Novgorod dialect
      Old Novgorod dialect is a term introduced by Andrey Zaliznyak to describe the astonishingly diverse linguistic features of the Old East Slavic birch bark writings from the 11th to 15th centuries excavated in Novgorod and its surroundings...

       (extinct)


| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • West Slavic branch
    West Slavic languages
    The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian and Sorbian.Classification:* Indo-European** Balto-Slavic*** Slavic**** West Slavic***** Czech-Slovak languages****** Czech...

    • Czech & Slovak
      • Czech
        Czech language
        Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

      • Slovak
        Slovak language
        Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

    • Lechitic
      Lechitic languages
      The Lechitic languages include three languages spoken in Central Europe, mainly in Poland, and historically also in the eastern and northern parts of modern Germany. This language group is a branch of the larger West Slavic language family...

      • Old Polish
        Old Polish language
        Old Polish is a name used to describe the period in the history of the Polish language between 9th and 16th centuries.-History:...

         (extinct)
        • Polish
          Polish language
          Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

        • Silesian
          The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related language
          Language
          Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

          s of the Slavic peoples
          Slavic peoples
          The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

           and a subgroup of Indo-European languages
          Indo-European languages
          The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

          , have speakers in most of Eastern Europe
          Eastern Europe
          Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

          , in much of the Balkans
          Balkans
          The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

          , in parts of Central Europe
          Central Europe
          Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

          , and in the northern part of Asia
          Asia
          Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

          .

          Branches



          Scholars traditionally divide Slavic languages on the basis of geographical distribution into three main branches, some of which feature subbranches:
| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • Eastern Slavic branch
    East Slavic languages
    The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

    • Old East Slavic (extinct)
      • Russian
        Russian language
        Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

      • Ruthenian
        Ruthenian language
        Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

         (extinct)
        • Ukrainian
          Ukrainian language
          Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

        • Rusyn
          Rusyn language
          Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

        • Belarusian
          Belarusian language
          The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

    • Old Novgorod
      Old Novgorod dialect
      Old Novgorod dialect is a term introduced by Andrey Zaliznyak to describe the astonishingly diverse linguistic features of the Old East Slavic birch bark writings from the 11th to 15th centuries excavated in Novgorod and its surroundings...

       (extinct)


| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • West Slavic branch
    West Slavic languages
    The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian and Sorbian.Classification:* Indo-European** Balto-Slavic*** Slavic**** West Slavic***** Czech-Slovak languages****** Czech...

    • Czech & Slovak
      • Czech
        Czech language
        Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

      • Slovak
        Slovak language
        Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

    • Lechitic
      Lechitic languages
      The Lechitic languages include three languages spoken in Central Europe, mainly in Poland, and historically also in the eastern and northern parts of modern Germany. This language group is a branch of the larger West Slavic language family...

      • Old Polish
        Old Polish language
        Old Polish is a name used to describe the period in the history of the Polish language between 9th and 16th centuries.-History:...

         (extinct)
        • Polish
          Polish language
          Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

        • Silesian{{Ref label|Silesian|a|}> }
      • Pomeranian
        Pomeranian language
        The Pomeranian language is a group of dialects from the Lechitic cluster of the West Slavic languages. In medieval contexts, it refers to the dialects spoken by the Slavic Pomeranians...

         (extinct)
        • Kashubian
          Kashubian language
          Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

      • Polabian
        Polabian language
        The Polabian language is an extinct West Slavic language that was spoken by the Polabian Slavs in present-day North-Eastern Germany around the Elbe river, from which derives its name...

         (extinct)
    • Sorbian
      Sorbian languages
      The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

      • Upper Sorbian
      • Lower Sorbian
    • Knaanic
      Knaanic language
      Knaanic is an extinct West Slavic Jewish language, formerly spoken in the lands of the Western Slavs, notably the Czech lands, but also the lands of modern Poland, Lusatia and other Sorbian regions...

       (extinct)


| Style = "vertical-align: top;" |
  • South Slavic branch
    South Slavic languages
    The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...

    • Eastern Group
      • Old Church Slavonic
        Old Church Slavonic
        Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

         (extinct)
        • Bulgarian
          Bulgarian language
          Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

        • Macedonian
          Macedonian language
          Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

        • Church Slavonic
    • Western Group
      • Serbo-Croatian
        Serbo-Croatian language
        Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

        • Bosnian
          Bosnian language
          Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

        • Serbian
          Serbian language
          Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

        • Croatian
          Croatian language
          Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

        • Montenegrin
          Montenegrin language
          Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

        • Bunjevac
          Bunjevac language
          The Bunjevac dialect or Bunjevac language is a Štokavian dialect used by members of the Bunjevci community. The speakers live in parts of the autonomous province of Vojvodina in Serbia as well as in southern parts of Croatia. The speech has an exclusive Serbo-Croatian Ikavian reflex of the Common...

      • Slovenian
        Slovenian language
        Slovene or Slovenian is a South Slavic language spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 1.85 million people and is one of the 23 official and working languages of the European Union...


|}
{{note|Silesian}}a. Some linguists consider Silesian a dialect of the Polish language
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, apart from Lach dialects
Lach dialects
The Lach dialects , are a group of dialects of Silesian language. They represent a hybrid or mix of the West Slavic languages.The Lach dialects are spoken in parts of Czech Silesia, the Hlučín region, and northeastern Moravia, as well as in some adjacent villages in Poland...

, which belong to the Czech language
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

.


Some linguists speculate that a North Slavic
North Slavic languages
The term North Slavic languages has three meanings.- North versus South Slavic :It is sometimes used to combine the West Slavic and the East Slavic languages into one group, as opposed to the South Slavic languages...

 branch has existed as well. The Old Novgorod dialect
Old Novgorod dialect
Old Novgorod dialect is a term introduced by Andrey Zaliznyak to describe the astonishingly diverse linguistic features of the Old East Slavic birch bark writings from the 11th to 15th centuries excavated in Novgorod and its surroundings...

 may have reflected some idiosyncrasies of this group. On the other hand, the term "North Slavic" is also used sometimes to combine the West and East Slavic languages into one group, in opposition to the South Slavic languages, due to traits the West and East Slavic branches share with each other that they do not with the South Slavic languages.

The most obvious differences between the West and East Slavic branches are in orthography of standard languages; West Slavic languages are written in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

, and have had more Western European influence due to their speakers' being historically Roman Catholic, whereas the East Slavic languages are written in the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 and with Eastern Orthodox or Uniate faithful have had more Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 influence. East Slavic languages such as Russian have, however, during and after Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

's Europeanization campaign, absorbed many international words of Latin, French, German, and Italian origin, somewhat reducing this difference in influence.

The tripartite division of the Slavic languages does not take into account the spoken dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of each language. Of these, certain so-called transitional dialects and hybrid dialects often bridge the gaps between different languages, showing similarities that do not stand out when comparing Slavic literary (i.e., standard) languages. For example, Slovak (West Slavic) and Ukrainian (East Slavic) are bridged by the Rusyn
Rusyn language
Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

 of Eastern Slovakia and western Ukraine. Polish has similar transitionality with both western Ukrainian and Belarusian dialects. The Croatian Kajkavian dialect is more similar to Slovene than to the Croatian standard language itself.

Although the Slavic languages split from a common proto-language
Proto-language
A proto-language in the tree model of historical linguistics is the common ancestor of the languages that form a language family. Occasionally, the German term Ursprache is used instead.Often the proto-language is not known directly...

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

Common roots and ancestry


{{Main|Proto-Slavic language|Proto-Balto-Slavic language}}
All Slavic languages descend from Proto-Slavic
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

, their immediate parent language, ultimately deriving from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, the ancestor language of all Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, via a Proto-Balto-Slavic
Proto-Balto-Slavic language
Proto-Balto-Slavic is reconstructed proto-language descending from Proto-Indo-European and out of which all later Balto-Slavic languages and dialects descended, such as modern Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Russian.The Proto-Balto-Slavic language is not directly attested by any surviving texts...

 stage. During the Proto-Balto-Slavic period a number of exclusive isogloss
Isogloss
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss —is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature...

es in phonology, morphology, lexis, and syntax developed, which makes Slavic and Baltic
Baltic languages
The Baltic languages are a group of related languages belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family and spoken mainly in areas extending east and southeast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe...

 the closest of all the Indo-European branches. The secession of the Balto-Slavic dialect ancestral to Proto-Slavic is estimated on archaeological and glottochronological criteria to have occurred sometime in the period 1500–1000 BCE.

A minority of Baltists maintain the view that the Slavic group of languages differs so radically from the neighboring Baltic group (Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

, Latvian
Latvian language
Latvian is the official state language of Latvia. It is also sometimes referred to as Lettish. There are about 1.4 million native Latvian speakers in Latvia and about 150,000 abroad. The Latvian language has a relatively large number of non-native speakers, atypical for a small language...

, and the now-extinct Old Prussian
Old Prussian language
Prussian is an extinct Baltic language, once spoken by the inhabitants of the original territory of Prussia in an area of what later became East Prussia and eastern parts of...

), that they could not have shared a parent language after the breakup of the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 continuum about five millennia ago. Substantial advances in Balto-Slavic accentology that occurred in the last 3 decades make this view however very hard to maintain nowadays, especially when one takes into account the fact that there was most likely no "Proto-Baltic" language, and that West Baltic and East Baltic differ from each other as much as each of them does from Proto-Slavic.


Evolution


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

Lockwood also notes that these languages have "enriched" themselves by drawing on Church Slavonic for the vocabulary of abstract concepts. The situation in the Catholic countries, where Latin was more important, was different. The Polish Renaissance poet Jan Kochanowski
Jan Kochanowski
Jan Kochanowski was a Polish Renaissance poet who established poetic patterns that would become integral to Polish literary language.He is commonly regarded as the greatest Polish poet before Adam Mickiewicz, and the greatest Slavic poet, prior to the 19th century.-Life:Kochanowski was born at...

 and the Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 writers of the 16th century all wrote in their respective vernaculars (though Polish itself had drawn amply on Latin in the same way Russian would eventually draw on Church Slavonic).


Although Church Slavonic hampered vernacular literature
Vernacular literature
Vernacular literature is literature written in the vernacular—the speech of the "common people".In the European tradition, this effectively means literature not written in Latin...

s, it fostered Slavonic literary activity and abetted linguistic independence from external influences. Only the Croatian vernacular literary tradition nearly matches Church Slavonic in age. It began with the Vinodol Codex and continued through the Renaissance until the codifications of Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 in 1830, though much of the literature between 1300 and 1500 was written in much the same mixture of the vernacular and Church Slavonic as prevailed in Russia and elsewhere.

The most important early monument of Croatian literacy is the Baška tablet
Baška tablet
Baška tablet is one of the first monuments containing an inscription in the Croatian language, dating from the year 1100.The tablet was discovered by scholars in 1851 in the paving of the Romanesque church of St. Lucy in Jurandvor, near Baška, on the island of Krk...

 from the late 11th century. It is a large stone
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 tablet
Commemorative plaque
A commemorative plaque, or simply plaque, is a plate of metal, ceramic, stone, wood, or other material, typically attached to a wall, stone, or other vertical surface, and bearing text in memory of an important figure or event...

 found in the small church of St. Lucy on the Croatian island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 of Krk
Krk
Krk is a Croatian island in the northern Adriatic Sea, located near Rijeka in the Bay of Kvarner and part of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar county....

, containing text written mostly in Čakavian dialect of in angular Croatian Glagolitic script. The independence of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

 facilitated the continuity of the tradition.

The languages of the Catholic Slavs tottered precariously near extinction on many occasions. The earliest Polish is attested in the 14th century; before then, the language of administration was Latin. Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 was always in danger of giving way to German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, and Upper and Lower Sorbian, spoken only in Germany, have nearly succumbed just recently. Under German and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 for many centuries, the Slovene language was a regional language
Regional language
A regional language is a language spoken in an area of a nation state, whether it be a small area, a federal state or province, or some wider area....

 spoken by peasant
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

s, and was brought to written standards only by the followers of the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 in the 16th century.


More recent foreign influences follow the same general pattern in Slavic languages as elsewhere, and are governed by the political relationships of the Slavs. In the 17th century, bourgeois Russian (delovoi jazyk) absorbed German words through direct contacts between Russians and communities of German settlers in Russia. In the era of Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

, close contacts with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 invited countless loan words and calque
Calque
In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal, word-for-word or root-for-root translation.-Calque:...

s from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, a significant fraction of which not only survived, but replaced older Slavonic loans. In the 19th century, Russian influenced most literary Slavic languages by one means or another. Croatian writers borrowed Czech words liberally, whereas Czech writers, scrambling to revive their dying language, had in turn borrowed many words (e.g. vzduch, air) from Russian.

Differentiation


The Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

 existed approximately to the middle of the first millennium AD. By the 7th century, it had broken apart into large dialectal zones.

There are no reliable hypotheses about the nature of the subsequent breakup of West and South Slavic. East Slavic is generally thought to converge to one Old Russian or Old East Slavonic language, which existed until at least the 12th century. It is now believed that South Slavs came to the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 in two streams.{{Citation needed|date=May 2010}}

Linguistic differentiation received impetus from the dispersion of the Slavic peoples over large territory, which in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 exceeded the current extent of Slavic-speaking majorities. Written documents of the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries already have some local linguistic features. For example the Freising monuments show a language which contains some phonetic and lexical elements peculiar to Slovene dialects (e.g. rhotacism
Rhotacism
Rhotacism refers to several phenomena related to the usage of the consonant r :*the excessive or idiosyncratic use of the r;...

, the word krilatec). The Freising monuments are the first Latin-script
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 continuous text in a Slavic language.

The movement of Slavic-speakers into the Balkans in the declining centuries of the Byzantine empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 expanded the area of Slavic speech, but pre-existing writing (notably Greek) survived in this area. The arrival of the Hungarians in Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 in the 9th century interposed non-Slavic speakers between South and West Slavs. Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 conquests completed the geographical separation between these two groups, also severing the connection between Slavs in Moravia
Moravia
Moravia is a historical region in Central Europe in the east of the Czech Republic, and one of the former Czech lands, together with Bohemia and Silesia. It takes its name from the Morava River which rises in the northwest of the region...

 and Lower Austria
Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria...

 (Moravians
Moravians (ethnic group)
Moravians are the modern West Slavic inhabitants of the historical land of Moravia, the easternmost part of the Czech Republic, which includes the Moravian Slovakia. They speak the two main groups of Moravian dialects , the transitional Bohemian-Moravian dialect subgroup and standard Czech...

) and those in present-day Styria
Styria (state)
Styria is a state or Bundesland, located in the southeast of Austria. In area it is the second largest of the nine Austrian federated states, covering 16,401 km². It borders Slovenia as well as the other Austrian states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Burgenland, and Carinthia. ...

, Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

, East Tyrol
East Tyrol
East Tyrol, or East Tirol , is an exclave of the Austrian state of Tyrol, sharing no border with the main North Tyrol part of the state. It corresponds with the administrative district of Lienz....

 in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and in the provinces of modern Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, where the ancestors of the Slovenes settled during first colonisation.

Common features

  • Slavic languages have a substantial number of palatal and palatalized
    Palatalization
    In linguistics, palatalization , also palatization, may refer to two different processes by which a sound, usually a consonant, comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate....

     consonants, often forming pairs with related non-palatalized consonants.
  • All Slavic languages are fusional
    Fusional language
    A fusional language is a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by its tendency to overlay many morphemes in a way that can be difficult to segment....

    , having a rich morphology largely as a result of conserving the inflectional morphology of Proto-Indo-European.
  • Similarly, Slavic languages exhibit extensive morphophonemic alternations in their derivational and inflectional morphology including between velar and postalveolar consonants, front and back vowels, and between a vowel and no vowel.
  • In all Slavic languages, most verbs come in pairs with one member having an imperfective aspect
    Grammatical aspect
    In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

     and the other having a perfective one.
  • Complex consonant cluster
    Consonant cluster
    In linguistics, a consonant cluster is a group of consonants which have no intervening vowel. In English, for example, the groups and are consonant clusters in the word splits....

    s as in the Russian word встретить ˈfstrʲetʲɪtʲ ('to encounter').

Selected cognates


{{Main|Swadesh list of Slavic languages}}
The following is a very brief selection of cognates in basic vocabulary across the Slavic language family, which may serve to give an idea of the sound changes involved. This is not a list of translations: cognates have a common origin, but their meaning may be shifted and loanwords may have replaced them.
Proto-Slavic
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

Belarusian
Belarusian language
The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

Silesian Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

Slovak
Slovak language
Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

Slovene Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian language
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

*uxo (ear) ухо (ukho) вухо (vukho) вуха (vukha) ucho ucho ucho ucho uho уво / uvo; uho ухо (ukho) уво (uvo)
*ognь (fire) огонь (ogon) вогонь (vohon) агонь (ahon) ogień ůgiyń oheň oheň ogenj огањ / oganj огън (ogăn) оган/огин (ogan/ogin)
*ryba (fish) рыба (ryba) риба (ryba) рыба (ryba) ryba ryba ryba riba риба / riba риба (riba) риба (riba)
*gnězdo (nest) гнездо (gnezdo) гнiздо (hnizdo) гняздо (hnyazdo) gniazdo gniozdo hnízdo hniezdo gnezdo гн(иј)ездо / gn(ij)ezdo гнездо (gnezdo) гнездо (gnezdo)
*oko (eye) око (oko) око (oko) вока (voka) oko ůko oko oko oko око / oko око (oko) око (oko)
*golva (head) голова (golova) голова (holova) галава (hałava) głowa gowa hlava hlava glava глава / glava глава (glava) глава (glava)
*rǫka (hand) рука (ruka) рука (ruka) рука (ruka) ręka rynka ruka ruka roka рука / ruka ръка (răka) рака (raka)
*noktь (night) ночь (noč) ніч (nič) ноч (noč) noc noc noc noc noč ноћ / noć нощ (nosht) ноќ (noḱ)

Influence on neighboring languages


Most languages of the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Russia and neighboring countries (for example, Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

) are significantly influenced by Russian
Russianism
Russianism, Russism, or Russicism is an influence of Russian language on other languages. In particular, Russianisms are Russian or russified words, expressions, or grammar constructs used in Slavic languages, languages of CIS states and languages of the Russian Federation.However, the scope of the...

, especially in vocabulary. In the south, the Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

, Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 and Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 languages witness the influence of the neighboring Slavic nations, especially in the vocabulary pertaining to urban life, agriculture, crafts and trade—the major cultural innovations at times when few long-range cultural contacts took place. In each one of them Slavic lexical borrowings represent at least 20% of the overall vocabulary. The Romanian language in particular shows strong and profound Slavic influences at all levels, including phonetics, syntax, and grammar. This situation is due to the fact that Slavic tribes crossed and partially settled the territories inhabited by ancient Illyrians and Vlachs on their way to the Balkans.

Despite a comparable extent of historical proximity, the Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 show less significant Slavic influence partly because Slavic migrations were mostly headed south rather than west. Due to political reasons, there is a tendency to diminish Slavic contributions to Germanic languages. For instance, Max Vasmer
Max Vasmer
Max Vasmer was a Russian-born German linguist who studied problems of etymology of Indo-European, Finno-Ugric and Turkic languages and worked on history of Slavic, Baltic, Iranian, and Finno-Ugric peoples....

 has claimed that there are no Slavic loans into Common Germanic. The only Germanic language that shows significant Slavic influence is Yiddish. However, there are isolated Slavic loans into other Germanic languages. For example the word for "border", in modern German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Grenze, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 grens was borrowed from the Common Slavic *granica. English derives quark
Quark (cheese)
Quark is a type of fresh cheese, also known as tvorog , topfen , biezpiens , and varškė . It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of denaturation of milk proteins is met, and then strained...

 (a kind of cheese, not the subatomic particle
Quark
A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly...

) from the German Quark, which in turn is derived from the Slavic tvarog, which means "curd". Many German surnames, particularly in Eastern Germany and Austria, exhibit Slavic origins. Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 also has torg (market place) from Old Russian tъrgъ, tolk (interpreter) from Old Slavic tlŭkŭ, and pråm (barge) from West Slavonic pramŭ.

The Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 word robot is now found in most languages worldwide, and the word pistol, probably also from Czech, is found in many Indo-European languages, including Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 (πιστόλι, pistóli).

A well-known Slavic word in almost all European languages is vodka
Vodka
Vodka , is a distilled beverage. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits....

, a borrowing from Russian водка (vodka), lit. "little water", from common Slavic voda (water, cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 to the English word) with the diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 ending -ka. Owing to the mediæval fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 with Northern Russia, Pan-European loans from Russian include such familiar words as sable
Sable
The sable is a species of marten which inhabits forest environments, primarily in Russia from the Ural Mountains throughout Siberia, in northern Mongolia and China and on Hokkaidō in Japan. Its range in the wild originally extended through European Russia to Poland and Scandinavia...

. The English word vampire
Vampire
Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person...

 was borrowed (perhaps via French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 vampire) from German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Vampir, in turn derived from Serbian vampir, continuing Proto-Slavic
Proto-Slavic language
Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the seventh century AD. As with most other proto-languages, no attested writings have been found; the language has been reconstructed by applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic...

 }, although Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 scholar K. Stachowski has argued that the origin of the word is early Slavic *vąpěrь going back to Turkic *oobyr. Several European languages including English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 have borrowed the word polje
Polje
A polje is a large flat plain in karst territory, with areas usually 5 to 400 km². The name derives from the Slavic languages and is a cognate with the English word field.-In geology:...

 (meaning large flat plain) directly from the former Yugoslav
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 languages (i.e. Slovene, Croatian
Croatian language
Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

 and Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

). During the heyday of the USSR in the 20th century, many more Russian words became known worldwide: da, soviet, sputnik, perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

, glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

, kolkhoz
Kolkhoz
A kolkhoz , plural kolkhozy, was a form of collective farming in the Soviet Union that existed along with state farms . The word is a contraction of коллекти́вное хозя́йство, or "collective farm", while sovkhoz is a contraction of советское хозяйство...

, etc. Also in the English language borrowed from Russian is samovar
Samovar
A samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Central, South-Eastern, Eastern European countries,Kashmir and in the Middle-East...

 (lit. self boiling) to refer to the specific Russian tea urn.

Detailed list with ISO 639 codes



The following tree for the Slavic languages derives from the Ethnologue
Ethnologue
Ethnologue: Languages of the World is a web and print publication of SIL International , a Christian linguistic service organization, which studies lesser-known languages, to provide the speakers with Bibles in their native language and support their efforts in language development.The Ethnologue...

 report for Slavic languages. It includes the ISO 639-1
ISO 639-1
ISO 639-1:2002, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 1: Alpha-2 code, is the first part of the ISO 639 series of international standards for language codes. Part 1 covers the registration of two-letter codes. There are 136 two-letter codes registered...

 and ISO 639-3
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-3:2007, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages, is an international standard for language codes in the ISO 639 series. The standard describes three‐letter codes for identifying languages. It extends the ISO 639-2...

 codes where available.

East Slavic languages
East Slavic languages
The East Slavic languages constitute one of three regional subgroups of Slavic languages, currently spoken in Eastern Europe. It is the group with the largest numbers of speakers, far out-numbering the Western and Southern Slavic groups. Current East Slavic languages are Belarusian, Russian,...

:
  • Ruthenian section
    Ruthenian language
    Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

    • Belarusian
      Belarusian language
      The Belarusian language , sometimes referred to as White Russian or White Ruthenian, is the language of the Belarusian people...

       (alternatively Belarusan, Belarussian, Belorussian): ISO 639-1 code: be; ISO 639-3 code: bel;
    • Ukrainian
      Ukrainian language
      Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

      : ISO 639-1 code: uk; ISO 639-3 code: ukr
    • Rusyn
      Rusyn language
      Rusyn , also known in English as Ruthenian, is an East Slavic language variety spoken by the Rusyns of Central Europe. Some linguists treat it as a distinct language and it has its own ISO 639-3 code; others treat it as a dialect of Ukrainian...

       (a language or a dialect of Ukrainian): ISO 639-3 code: rue;
  • Russian
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

    : ISO 639-1 code: ru; ISO 639-3 code: rus


West Slavic languages
West Slavic languages
The West Slavic languages are a subdivision of the Slavic language group that includes Czech, Polish, Slovak, Kashubian and Sorbian.Classification:* Indo-European** Balto-Slavic*** Slavic**** West Slavic***** Czech-Slovak languages****** Czech...

:
  • Sorbian
    Sorbian languages
    The Sorbian languages are classified under the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbs, a Slavic minority in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany. Historically the language has also been known as Wendish or Lusatian. Their collective ISO 639-2 code...

     section (also known as Wendish
    Wends
    Wends is a historic name for West Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas. It does not refer to a homogeneous people, but to various peoples, tribes or groups depending on where and when it is used...

    ): ISO 639-3 code: wen
    • Lower Sorbian (also known as Lusatian): ISO 639-3 code: dsb;
    • Upper Sorbian: ISO 639-3 code: hsb
  • Lechitic
    Lechitic languages
    The Lechitic languages include three languages spoken in Central Europe, mainly in Poland, and historically also in the eastern and northern parts of modern Germany. This language group is a branch of the larger West Slavic language family...

     section
    • Polish
      Polish language
      Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

      : ISO 639-1 code: pl; ISO 639-3 code: pol
    • Pomeranian
      Pomeranian language
      The Pomeranian language is a group of dialects from the Lechitic cluster of the West Slavic languages. In medieval contexts, it refers to the dialects spoken by the Slavic Pomeranians...

      • Kashubian
        Kashubian language
        Kashubian or Cassubian is one of the Lechitic languages, a subgroup of the Slavic languages....

        : ISO 639-2 code: csb;
      • Slovincian—extinct
    • Silesian: ISO 639-3 code: szl
    • Polabian
      Polabian language
      The Polabian language is an extinct West Slavic language that was spoken by the Polabian Slavs in present-day North-Eastern Germany around the Elbe river, from which derives its name...

      —extinct: ISO 639-3 code: pox
  • Czech-Slovak section
    • Czech
      Czech language
      Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

      : ISO 639-1 code: cs; ISO 639-3 ces
    • Knaanic
      Knaanic language
      Knaanic is an extinct West Slavic Jewish language, formerly spoken in the lands of the Western Slavs, notably the Czech lands, but also the lands of modern Poland, Lusatia and other Sorbian regions...

       or Judeo Slavic—extinct: ISO 639-3 code: czk
    • Slovak
      Slovak language
      Slovak , is an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages .Slovak is the official language of Slovakia, where it is spoken by 5 million people...

      : ISO 639-1 code: sk; ISO 639-3 code: slk


South Slavic languages
South Slavic languages
The South Slavic languages comprise one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches by a belt of German, Hungarian and Romanian speakers...

:
  • Western Section
    • Bosnian
      Bosnian language
      Bosnian is a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

      : ISO 639-1 code: bs; ISO 639-3 code: bos
    • Croatian
      Croatian language
      Croatian is the collective name for the standard language and dialects spoken by Croats, principally in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian province of Vojvodina and other neighbouring countries...

      : ISO 639-1 code: hr; ISO 639-3 code: hrv
    • Serbian
      Serbian language
      Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

      : ISO 639-1 code: sr; ISO 639-3 code: srp
    • Slovene: ISO 639-1 code: sl; ISO 639-3 code: slv
    • Montenegrin
      Montenegrin language
      Montenegrin is a name used for the Serbo-Croatian language as spoken by Montenegrins; it also refers to an incipient standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect of Serbo-Croatian used as the official language of Montenegro...

       (not regulated but official in Montenegro
      Montenegro
      Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

      )
    • Bunjevac
      Bunjevac language
      The Bunjevac dialect or Bunjevac language is a Štokavian dialect used by members of the Bunjevci community. The speakers live in parts of the autonomous province of Vojvodina in Serbia as well as in southern parts of Croatia. The speech has an exclusive Serbo-Croatian Ikavian reflex of the Common...

       (used in some media in Serbia)

  • Eastern Section
    • Bulgarian
      Bulgarian language
      Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

      : ISO 639-1 code: bg; ISO 639-3 code: bul
    • Macedonian
      Macedonian language
      Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

      : ISO 639-1 code: mk; ISO 639-3 code: mkd
    • Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic
      Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

      —extinct: ISO 639-1 code: cu; ISO 639-3 code: chu


Para- and supranational languages
  • Church Slavonic language, derived from Old Church Slavonic, but with significant replacement of the original vocabulary by forms from the Old Russian language and other regional forms. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church
    Bulgarian Orthodox Church
    The Bulgarian Orthodox Church - Bulgarian Patriarchate is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church with some 6.5 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas and Australia...

    , Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

    , Polish Orthodox Church
    Polish Orthodox Church
    The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, commonly known as the Polish Orthodox Church, , is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Churches in full communion...

    , Macedonian Orthodox Church
    Macedonian Orthodox Church
    The Macedonian Orthodox Church – Ohrid Archbishopric or just Macedonian Orthodox Church is the body of Christians who are united under the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, exercising jurisdiction over Macedonian Orthodox Christians in the Republic of Macedonia and in exarchates in the Macedonian...

    , Serbian Orthodox Church
    Serbian Orthodox Church
    The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

    , and even some Roman Catholic Churches in Croatia continue to use Church Slavonic as a liturgical language. While not used in modern times, the text of a Church Slavonic Roman Rite Mass survives in Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     and the Czech Republic
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

    , which is best known through Janáček
    Leoš Janácek
    Leoš Janáček was a Czech composer, musical theorist, folklorist, publicist and teacher. He was inspired by Moravian and all Slavic folk music to create an original, modern musical style. Until 1895 he devoted himself mainly to folkloristic research and his early musical output was influenced by...

    's musical setting of it (the Glagolitic Mass
    Glagolitic Mass
    The Glagolitic Mass is a composition for soloists , double chorus, organ and orchestra by Leoš Janáček. The work was completed on 15 October 1926...

    ).

See also

  • Slavic microlanguages
    Slavic microlanguages
    Slavic microlanguages are literary and linguistic forms that exist alongside the better-known Slavic languages of historically prominent nations...

  • Slavistics
    Slavistics
    Slavic studies or Slavistics is the academic field of area studies concerned with Slavic areas, Slavic languages, literature, history, and culture. Originally, a Slavist or Slavicist was primarily a linguist or philologist who researches Slavistics, a Slavic or Slavonic scholar...

  • Slavic names
  • Language families and languages
  • Freising manuscripts
    Freising manuscripts
    The Freising Manuscripts are the first Latin-script continuous text in a Slavic language and the oldest document in Slovene.The monuments consisting of three texts in the oldest Slovene dialect were discovered bound into a Latin codex...

  • False Friends of the Slavist

External links


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