Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

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Otto Kretschmer
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Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by Otto Kretschmer »

Let's assume some polity unifies all Slavs from Saloniki to Novgorod between 900 and 1000 AD. The Slavic religion becomes Orthodoxy and the official language is Church Slavonic.

How would being in the same state with a single official language affect the evolution of various Slavic languages. I wonder how would my languge - Polish - be affected if it's evolution was affected by Church Slavonic rather than Latin/German?
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by eldin raigmore »

IMO for only one century? Not much.

700 to 1200? Radically.
450 to 1450? Totally.
800 to 1100? At least noticeably, maybe a lot.
850 to 1050? Maybe noticeably. Maybe not.
Otto Kretschmer
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Re: Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by Otto Kretschmer »

Lol no

The unification should take place between 900 and 1000 AD but it dhould ladt for at least several centuries, likely permandntly
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Re: Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by Salmoneus »

I think one problem here is that for there to have been a single pan-slavic nation created in the 10th century and maintaining unity permanently from then on, you'd need to have some sort of intervention by space aliens, or direct appearances in the flesh by Czernabog or the like. It's hard to say what would have happened in such a scenario, given how unlike reality it would have to be.

[the closest thing in reality was the Jagiellonian Empire (covering what's now Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Belarus, most of Ukraine, parts of Russia, Croatia and Serbia, control over Moldova, as well as Hungary, Lithuania, and parts of Germany) which in its largescale form lasted less than a century, and was never fully united anyway]

More generally, there are probably two things to bear in mind here.

First, Slavic was essentially a single language, albeit with some dialectical differences, until as late as the 12th century - so the scope for change in an alternate timeline isn't that great anyway.

Second, I think you may be thinking anachronistically. There were few really meaningfully united polities in the 10th century, and they didn't act like modern nation-states. There may have been an 'official religion', at least de facto, but there certainly would not have been an official language - official languages are a modern concept. Some old states did have specific languages for official communications - but these were only relevant to a very small percentage of the population, and typically only related to a standardised written form, not to actual spoken language. Even if a country had tried to standardise its language, it would have failed: communications were poor and communities were isolated, so that there was no way to adequate expose all parts of an empire to the prestige speech - let alone a state having sufficient power to actually enforce speech (states in the middle ages in Europe were extremely weak and decentralised). Hence, even in powerful, bureaucratic, centralised empires, languages have not bee unified: Chinese dialects diverged into independent dialects (the rise of Mandarin across most of the country is a modern phenomenon), just as spoken Latin had already diverged into early Romance languages by the time of the empire's fall, and continued to remain diverse and diverging even in a relatively centralised country like France.


So if your scenario had occured, I don't think it would have had major effects. Having a different liturgical language would have changed some things - so compare to Orthodox countries rather than Catholic ones - and the balance of loanwords would have been a bit different.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by eldin raigmore »

Otto Kretschmer wrote: 03 Jan 2021 18:33 Lol no

The unification should take place between 900 and 1000 AD but it dhould ladt for at least several centuries, likely permandntly
Oh!
Well, that’s very different!
Never mind!
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Omzinesý
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Re: Unified Slavdom - impact on evolution of Slavic languages

Post by Omzinesý »

Salmoneus answers better than I would have.

In, Polish blocking German influence might have affected stressing, or rather German hadn't affected it, and Polish might have "more Slavic" stressing. That would of course affect vowel reduction etc.
I don't know how similar semantic spaces of words are between German and Polish. I just know translating between Finnish and Swedish is very easy, because of long-lasting contacts.

Maybe appearance of Hungarian is still the major factor making Slavic sub-branches distinct.
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