Expressing Possession in Old Church Slavonic—and Related Issues

Jan 21, 2015 by

In Old Church Slavonic (OCS), there were two ways to express possession (loosely defined)—and modern Russian, as we shall see in the following post, is not very different. The first way of expressing possession in OCS involved the...

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The “Who is Who” in Matthew 14: 1-12

Jan 21, 2015 by

The Old Church Slavonic passage we are reading this week and the next, Matthew 14: 1-12 tells the story of the death of John the Baptist (in Russian: Иоанн Креститель),an itinerant preacher who is said to have baptized...

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Is There a Vocative Case in Russian?

Jan 15, 2015 by

As we’ve discussed in class, Old Church Slavonic (OCS) had seven cases (cf. Lunt 2001: 52-54): the six cases familiar from modern Russian and the vocative, used to address someone. As noted in Lunt (2001: 52), “a separate vocative...

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“And He said, saying”?

Jan 13, 2015 by

[This post draws heavily on the work of Joel M. Hoffman.] In an earlier post, I have examined a millennium-long historical connection between Old Church Slavonic (OCS) and modern Russian. Here, I will look at another peculiarity of...

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Influence of Old Novgorod Dialect on the Russian Literary Language

Jan 12, 2015 by

[This post is based largely on the work on Andrei Zaliznjak, particularly his lecture available here.] In my earlier post, I noted that the Russian literary language (aka modern standard Russian) differs from its closest relatives,...

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The Influence of Old Church Slavonic on Russian

Jan 12, 2015 by

As mentioned in my earlier post, besides being the liturgical language used by the Russian Orthodox Church, Old Church Slavonic (OCS) played a pivotal role in the formation of the Russian literary language. In the Middle Ages, OCS...

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The Story of Jers

Jan 11, 2015 by

Let’s start with a puzzle that concerns not OCS directly but modern Russian. Consider the following nominative and genitive forms of nouns; in addition to the suffix –a for the genitive, something else happens...

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