LSSlaL 21: Genesis of the Slovak Literary Language

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Genesis of the Slovak Literary Language

Konstantin Vasilievich Lifanov
Lomonosov State University of Moscow

Contrary to Slovak historical linguistics, the Slovak Literary Language did not arise in the 18th century as a result of Anton Bernolak's codification of the West Slovak dialect. It developed gradually, over a much longer period of time from the Old Czech Literary Language, which was adopted by the Slovaks as their own written medium as early as by the end of the 14th century. As a result of its interaction with mainly the West Slovak dialect, its specific Slovak version arose in the 15th century. By the 1630s, this written standard acquired the features of an original literary language, separate from the literary language based on the Prague standard.

However, since the first decades of the 17th century, a further development of this written standard was complicated by the Counter-Reformation. The use of the literary language followed different paths among the Lutherans and among the Catholics. The Old Slovak Literary Language attained a high degree of development among the Catholics. Rich and varied spiritual literature was written in this language, including a translation of the Bible in 1750, high-quality secular baroque poetry, etc. In the 1780s, this standard was codified by Bernolak.

Diglossia emerged among the Lutherans. They used both the Czech Literary Language and the Old Slovak Literary Language. However, they did not perceive the latter one as a literary norm and considered it acceptable only in the "low" kinds of literature -- e.g., in popular poetry -- and in administrative and legal documents. This diglossia was not abolished until the 1820s, which opened the way for Ludovit Stur's codification of the Modern Slovak Literary Language based on the Central Slovak folklore koine.

Contents: Introduction. Chapter 1. The main thesis of the general theory of literary language. Chapter 2. The formation of specific idiom functioning in Catholic spiritual literature of the XVIth - XVIIIth centuries and Bernolak's codification. Chapter 3. Interrelation of Catholic "high" poetry language of the XVIIth - XVIIIth centuries and the language of spiritual literature. Chapter 4. The character of territorial differentiation and the evolution of the language of Slovak administrative-legal documents. Chapter 5. Central Slovak koine and the language of poetry from the end of XVIIIth to the beginning of the XIXth centuries. Chapter 6. A new concept of the genesis of the Slovak Literary language. Conclusion. [written in Russian]

ISBN 9783895864421. LINCOM Studies in Slavic Linguistics 21. 220pp. 2001.

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