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George Y. Shevelov - Prehistory of Slavic

George Y. Shevelov - Prehistory of Slavic

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George Y. Shevelov's A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC, published by Carl Winter of Heidelberg in 1964, is an exhaustive exploration of the phonological changes in the Slavonic languages from Proto-Indo-European to the turn of the second millennium, basically what made the Slavonic languages distinct from surrounding groups, and then what made them West, East or South Slavonic. Shevelov was long a professor of Slavic philology at Columbia University and one of the titans of the field--that this 662-page volume was wrought by him alone might tell you something of his great powers. While a few of its details are now superseded, A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC is one of the few handbooks of its type and merits close attention from any interested in the history of the Slavonic languages.

The book begins with the Indo-European phonemic system inherited by Common Slavonic. Shevelov was ahead of his time in his embracing of laryngeal theory. From there, Shevelov proceeds in the order that the changes much have happened in, with a careful explanation of the motivations for these changes. For example, the description of how long a and o coalesced into a, while short a and o coalesced into o shows how natural this development was.

Shevelov did not intend his work to represent only universally held opinions about the phonological history, and by his own admission a few conclusions here are his own. The most noticeable perhaps is his believe that the yers as such did not belong to the Common Slavonic phase, and instead of a contrast of full and reduced vowels, CS contrasted short and long vowels. Nonetheless, he makes a good case for this. The only matters here that the student would be well to overlook entirely is the coverage of the Slavonic accent and its connection if any to that of Proto-Indo-European, as over the last forty years much new work has been done.

I would not recommend Shevelov's work as an introduction to the diachrony of Slavonic phonology, as it is a very dense work. Nonetheless, for someone with some basic training in the field A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC will provide hours of pleasurable reading and answer whatever questions you have about when exactly each of the changes occurred.
George Y. Shevelov's A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC, published by Carl Winter of Heidelberg in 1964, is an exhaustive exploration of the phonological changes in the Slavonic languages from Proto-Indo-European to the turn of the second millennium, basically what made the Slavonic languages distinct from surrounding groups, and then what made them West, East or South Slavonic. Shevelov was long a professor of Slavic philology at Columbia University and one of the titans of the field--that this 662-page volume was wrought by him alone might tell you something of his great powers. While a few of its details are now superseded, A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC is one of the few handbooks of its type and merits close attention from any interested in the history of the Slavonic languages.

The book begins with the Indo-European phonemic system inherited by Common Slavonic. Shevelov was ahead of his time in his embracing of laryngeal theory. From there, Shevelov proceeds in the order that the changes much have happened in, with a careful explanation of the motivations for these changes. For example, the description of how long a and o coalesced into a, while short a and o coalesced into o shows how natural this development was.

Shevelov did not intend his work to represent only universally held opinions about the phonological history, and by his own admission a few conclusions here are his own. The most noticeable perhaps is his believe that the yers as such did not belong to the Common Slavonic phase, and instead of a contrast of full and reduced vowels, CS contrasted short and long vowels. Nonetheless, he makes a good case for this. The only matters here that the student would be well to overlook entirely is the coverage of the Slavonic accent and its connection if any to that of Proto-Indo-European, as over the last forty years much new work has been done.

I would not recommend Shevelov's work as an introduction to the diachrony of Slavonic phonology, as it is a very dense work. Nonetheless, for someone with some basic training in the field A PREHISTORY OF SLAVIC will provide hours of pleasurable reading and answer whatever questions you have about when exactly each of the changes occurred.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: andreusDADA on Oct 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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