Old Church Slavonic, Grammar

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Summary

Old Church Slavonic, also known as Old Church Slavic (often abbreviated to OCS; self-name , slověnĭskŭ językŭ) was the first Slavic literary language. The 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius are credited with standardizing the language and using it in translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek ecclesiastical texts as part of the Christianisation of the Slavic peoples. It is thought to have been based primarily on the dialect of the 9th century Byzantine Slavs living in the Province of Thessalonica (now in Greek Macedonia). It played an important role in the history of the Slavi

Details

As an ancient Indo-European language, OCS has a highly inflective morphology. Inflected forms are divided in two groups - nominals and verbs. Nominals are further divided into nouns, adjectives and pronouns. Numerals inflect either as nouns or pronouns, with one through four also showing gender agreement.

Nominals can be declined in three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), three numbers (singular, plural, dual) and seven cases: nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, dative, genitive, and locative. There are five basic inflectional classes for nouns: o/jo-stems, a/ja-stems, i-stems, u-stems and consonant stems. Forms throughout the inflectional paradigm usually exhibit morphophonemic alternations. Fronting of vowels after palatals and j yielded dual inflectional class o : jo and a : ja, whereas palatalizations affected stem as a synchronic process (N sg. vlьkъ, V sg. vlьče; L sg. vlьcě). Productive classes are o/jo-, a/ja- and i-stems. Sample paradigms are given in the table below.

Adjectives are inflected as o/jo-stems (masculine and neuter) and a/ja-stems (feminine), in three genders. They could have short (indefinite) or long (definite) variants, the latter being formed by suffixing to the indefinite form the anaphoric third-person pronoun .

Synthetic verbal conjugation is expressed in present, aorist and imperfect tenses, while perfect, pluperfect, future and conditional tenses/moods are made by combining auxiliary verbs with participles or synthetic tense forms. Sample conjugation for the verb vesti "to lead" (underlyingly ved-ti) is given in the table below.

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External Links

  • WikipediaOld Church Slavonic OnlineMedieval Slavic FontsOld Slavic data entry applicationCorpus Cyrillo-Methodianum Helsingiense: An Electronic Corpus of Old Church Slavonic Texts

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