Old Church Slavonic
The Old Church Slavonic was a written language created especially for the purpose of serving the needs of the Slavic Orthodox church. Although based on material of a South Slavic vernacular, it showed features most of which were fundamental for all Slavic languages, since at the time of OCS inception (late nineth century) Slavic dialects were still colse to each other. The life span of OCS in its original form, known under that name, comprises approximately two centuries from the time of its formation. Very few texts have reached us from that time; the data base of the OCS proper includes four more or less complete versions of the Gospel, fragments of a Psalterium, and some pieces of pious reading. Eventually, OCS was adopted by different Slavic Orthodox nations (Old Russians, Bulgarians, Serbs) as their sacral and cultural language. In the process, it has branched into different versions, each reflecting some features of the local vernacular. These later modifications of OCS, known as Church Slavic languages, have survived until present in the liturgical service, and layed foundation for literary languages of Slavic Orthodox nations.
Because of the pecularities of the OCS status and history, the author finds it necessary to partly modify the format of its presentation. The language essentially does not have a synchronic phonetics: all pronunciations assigned to it are grounded in later practices within different Church Slavic traditions. On the other hand, phonological shape of the OCS vividly reflects prehistorc processes that had evolved in the Common Slavic (CS). In particular, OCS paradigms feature numerous vocal and phonetic changes that had led to them. Because of that, the author incorporates informrtion on prehistoric phonetic development of the CS into an outline of its phonology. All points in grammar in need of a historical explanation will be then referred to this section.
Table of Contents:
Introduction. OCS: A created language
2. The sound shape of OCS and its historical background
3. An outline of OCS grammar: Forms and their functions
4. Texts: An annotated reading
Selected bibliography, Vocabulary, Index.
ISBN 9783895868894. Languages of the World/Materials 338. 216pp. 2001.