Alan Timberlake: Trade and Early Slavic

December 21, 2017
Friday, April 6, 2018 - 10:30am to 12:00pm
Ohio Union Senate Chamber
Oval

"Trade and Early Slavic"

As the dust settled from the Great Migration (500 AD through 800 AD), Slavic peoples began to participate in long-distance trade. Three trade routes, from different times, are critical in the history of Slavic languages. Baltic trade involving the Hanse League (1200 to 1500) used a Low German lingua franca, which language had modest effect on Polish more on Slovincian, but little on Novgorod, though all three did borrow ‘half’ numerals characteristic of Low German (vifte-half ‘half five’ = ‘4½’, Polish półpięta, Novgorod полъ п<тh).

In the Balkans a lingua franca of trade based on Greek may have been responsible for spreading the familiar Sprachbund features throughout the Ottoman colony (at least 1389 to 1699). The third instance of trade is the slave trade involving Moravia and Bohemia and source areas to the north (Silesia and beyond). Interestingly, that trade did not lead to contact change (as Baltic trade did). Yet this trade may have had the effect of making Bohemia a center of linguistic change in the tenth and eleventh centuries: early contraction, early liquid metathesis, generalization of athematic 1st singular (dám ‘I give’), frequent in speech, to contract verbs (*děl aje  > děl-á-m), denasalization, revival of Wackernagel’s Law. Evidently trade is a powerful force for societal and consequently linguistic innovation, with or even without contact effects.

A reception will follow in Hagerty 406.

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31