Universiteit Leiden

nl en


The Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic: origin and accentuation

This dissertation provides a thorough review of the words belonging to the oldest layer of Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic and answers the question of how these words were adapted to the Proto-Slavic accentual system.

Saskia Pronk-Tiethoff
28 November 2012
Full text in Leiden University Repository

The dissertation contains a corpus of 78 words that can be regarded as Germanic loanwords in Proto-Slavic. The discussion of the etymology of these words is followed by a comprehensive linguistic analysis of the material, focussing on formal clues for establishing the Germanic donor language of the Slavic forms. It was found that, contrary to earlier ideas, West Germanic loanwords are more numerous in Proto-Slavic than Gothic loanwords. It turned out that there is even a small number of loanwords from Low German in Proto-Slavic.

Research into the accentuation of the loanwords has resulted in the establishment of a distribution of the words over the three Proto-Slavic accent paradigms (a), (b) and (c). It is concluded that accent paradigm (b) was the “default” accent paradigm for Germanic loanwords when they were adapted to the Proto-Slavic phonological system, as opposed to all earlier theories, which assume that Germanic loanwords regularly joined accent paradigm (a). The only loanwords that did not generally take accent paradigm (b) are loanwords with a long vowel in a stressed heavy syllable. Under certain conditions, these words adopted accent paradigm (a). This is the case with Proto-Slavic masculine  o-stems deriving from a Germanic masculine word (because there were no original masculine  o-stems in accent paradigm (b) at a certain point in the history of Proto-Slavic).

The West Germanic words with a root ending in a voiceless stop also joined accent paradigm (a) when they were borrowed into Proto-Slavic. This distribution allows a connection between the glottalic realization that has been reconstructed for the Proto-Germanic voiceless stops and the glottalized tone that is reconstructed for Proto-Slavic accent paradigm (a). 

This website uses cookies.  More information.