Baltic Slavic

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The Baltic-Slavic hypothesis assumes that the (North) West-Indo-European was first separated into an original Baltic -Slavic language, which was later divided into a Baltic and a Slavic group.

State of the discussion

Closer or wider language relationships can be determined using various methods.

The linguistic evidence of a common Baltic-Slavic preliminary stage consists of common isoglosses from the fields of phonology , morphology , lexicons and syntax . In this way, famous linguists have worked out such a common preform. Meier-Brügger has not commented so far and refers to a research report from 1994.

In addition, without exception, all lexico-statistical and - with all reservations - glottochronological examinations, despite the most varied databases and methods, consistently come to a Baltic preliminary stage.

Opponents of a common preliminary stage derive the similarities from an alleged isogloss community (this is also how Vladimir Toporow and Vytautas Mažiulis put it ). Baltic, Germanic and Slavic would have developed as neighboring dialects from Northwest Indo-European.

Positions in the 19th and 20th centuries

The Thuringian Indo-Europeanist August Schleicher (1821–1868) was the first to comment on the relationship between the Baltic and Slavic languages in the 19th century . He assumed a long Baltic-Slavic language unit after the Germanic dialects had split off. A contrary opinion was held e.g. B. the French Antoine Meillet (1866–1936).

The Polish Slavist Jan Michał Rozwadowski (1867–1935) attributed the unmistakable similarity of the language families to the fact that the Indo-European dialects mentioned diverged in the early phase of the separation, but later converged again; however, there was no Baltic-Slavic language unit. The Latvian Balticist Jānis Endzelīns (1873–1961) represented a kind of Solomonic solution . He speaks of a Baltic-Slavic epoch, but not from the beginning.

It is possible that the political situation in the 20th century also influenced the dispute. A closer relationship between the Baltic and Slavic languages, for example, from the point of view of Soviet ideologues and Slavic nationalists, could have spoken in favor of the Baltic states being incorporated into the Russian-dominated Soviet Union , while independent Baltic languages ​​would have acted more like an argument for national independence.


  • Oleg Poljakov: The problem of the Baltic-Slavic language community . Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 1995. ISBN 3-631-48047-4 .
  • Bernd Barschel, Maria Kozianka, Karin Weber (eds.): Indo-European, Slavic and Baltic. Materials of the colloquium from 21. – 22. September 1989 in Jena, in cooperation with the Indo-European Society. Munich: Sagner 1992. ISBN 3-87690-515-X .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Porzig (1954, 1974): The structure of the Indo-European language area . Heidelberg: winter
  2. ^ Claus-Jürgen Hutterer (1975): The Germanic languages: their history in basic features . Beck, Munich
  3. ^ Raimo Anttila (1989): Historical and Comparative Linguistics . Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamin's PC, Fig. 15-2
  4. ^ Gert Klingenschmitt (2003, lecture in Regensburg): Sprachverwandschaft in Europa . In Günter Hauska (ed.): Genes, languages ​​and their evolution. How related are people - how related are their languages? University Press Regensburg, 2005.
  5. David Sankoff (1969): Historical Linguistics as Stochastic Process . PhD available as microfiche
  6. Petra Novotná, Václav Blažek (2007): Glottochronology and its application to the Balto-Slavic languages . Baltistica XLII-2: 185-210
  7. ^ Robin J. Ryder (2010): Phylogenetic Models of Language Diversification (dissertation). The Queen's College. Department of Statistics, University of Oxford.