East, West and South Slavic


Languages, their linguistic and sociolinguistic status; Common Eastern Slavic features; Common Western Slavic features; Common South Slavic Features; Further differentiation of the Westerb and Southern Slavic branches

Printout of this page


HW # 3 (due end of Week 3): Take a look at this list. It contains seven columns with lexical lists of basic 200 lexical items from the software package Glotto by j.guy@trl.oz.au. The list includes English and seven mysterious languages. Do the following: a) determine which languages are Slavic, b) determine to which branch of Slavic languages each of these languages belong, c) provide examples of ten common Slavic vocabulary items, d) for each Slavic language provide three examples of the structural features characteristic for their respective branch (East, West or South). Your task is exacerbated by the fact that there are inconsistencies in transcribing the lexical items on the list (one Slavic language is transcribed phonetically, others are not) and in the choice of lexical items. If you are an adroit detective, you will still be able to acomplish your task. If you need more help, use Your Dictionary. Good luck!

Three Branches of Slavic Languages

The following three branches of Slavic Languages have evolved from the CS:

The present-day distribution of these languages is as follows (the map taken from http://indoeuro.bizland.com/aarchive.html)

Structural Characteristics

In addition to the features characteristic for each of the Slavic branches, there are also common features of the Eastern and Western branch as well as common features of the Eastern and Southern Branch. There are no common Western-Southern features. This is explained by geographical proximity and historical ties of Eastern and Western Slavic langauges (as opposed to their isolation from the Southern branch by the Romanian-Hungarian-German continuum and also by cultural ties (Cyrillo-Methodian tradition) of the Southern and Eastern branch.

Not all languages of any given branch share each of the characteristic features. The features are as follows:

Sociolinguistic Status

Slavic languages exibit varied socio-linguistic status in both their dialectal variation and in their standard forms. The following relevant facts should be stated at this point: