Title: The geographic distribution of Proto-Slavic dialectisms and the genesis of the South Slavic languages. Ph. D. dissertation. (Географическое распределение протославянских диалектизмов и происхождение южнославянских языков)
Author: Vergunova, Ludmila (Вергунова, Людмила)
Publisher: University of Michigan, 1996
According to recent scholarship, the ancient dialectal division of Proto-Slavic does not overlap with the geography of modern Slavic dialects and was obscured by the migrations of Slavic peoples in the first millennium C. E. Traces of the ancient Proto-Slavic dialects are evident on the level of smaller dialectal units and regional vernaculars. The isoglosses (mainly lexical and semantic), connect modern South Slavic subdialects with different territories of the northern Slavic world. These connections expose the compound nature of modern Slavic dialects and the convergent processes of linguistic acculturation, based on geographical proximity or political unity, which led to their creation.
The goal of this work is to provide additional arguments to support a hypothesis that rejects the idea of a homogeneous Proto-Slavic or the direct development of modern Slavic dialects from Proto-Slavic ones. This is accomplished through retrospective analysis of the modern geographical distribution of selected Proto-Slavic words and their meanings. The data were drawn from samples of dialectal speech recorded during this century, toponyms, regional dictionaries and linguistic atlases, and the author’s own fieldwork. Among the findings of this work is a sharp division of Carpathian dialects into western and eastern. The eastern part includes Ukrainian Carpathian and sub-Carpathian dialects and east Slovak dialects. The dialects of this region differ sharply from Ukrainian dialects east of the Dnestr river but have numerous correspondences with the southeastern part of the central Balkan peninsula. On the other hand, west Slovenian, Chakavian-island, and some Macedonian dialects (the so-called Balkan lateral area) do not share ancient lexical and semantic isoglosses with the east Carpathian region. Kajkavian and east Slovenian dialects also show no correspondences in the east Carpathian region and no traces of a Dacian or Thracian substratum.
The author comes to the conclusion that the Slavic colonization of the Balkan peninsula was actually a starting point for leveling tendencies which with time brought the rise of a Balkan linguistic unity and not the beginning of a dialectal division of South Slavic dialects. The work is written in Russian with numerous citations in other Slavic languages and summary in English.