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Re: Russian language

From:Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>
Date:Monday, April 3, 2006, 8:32
Roger Mills wrote:

| Joe wrote:
| >
| > To adopt a massive oversimplification, Latin is to French as OCS is to
| > Russian.  It's the liturgical, traditional language, and
| > half-comprehensible without further education at best.
| Not so sure-- I could be wrong, but I don't think OCS is the _direct_
| ancestor of Russian; though I'm also not sure which Slavic languages (if
| any) are direct descendants of OCS in the Latin > French sense.
| It could be the OCS is to Russian etc. as Gothic is to the other Germanic
| lgs.-- ultimately related, but not the parent language of any surviving
| language.

The Slavic language tree is tricky. OCS is the oldest literary standard that
was used by all Slavic peoples as a koine or lingua franca, and contributed
much to the vocabulary (and sometimes grammar) of all Slavic langs. By all
its features it is clearly a South Slavic lang. Nevertheless, it is NOT the
direct ancestor of Modern Bulgarian, just the same way Latin is not one for
Italian. Bulgarian originates, so to say, from "Vulgar OCS".
West Slavic langs went away from the OCS influence soon after the
Catholic/Orthodox schism: now Polish has hundreds of Latin loans!
Russian as an East Slavic lang remained in the gravity field of OCS, but it
descends from a different group of dialects, known as "Ancient Russian". You
can see OCS borrowings by their phonetic appearance: e.g. _vrag_ 'enemy'
(cf. to Ukrainian _vorog_ showing East Sl. "full vocalism"/polnoglasiye).
In general, Slavic langs show much less divergence than e.g. Romance ones,
and had permanent contacts one with another, so the origin of a particular
word can be usu. traced only by its phonetic appearance.

-- Yitzik
Disclaimer: I'm a Russian speaker and a linguist, but not an expert in
Slavistics to any extent.