At least since Miklosich it has been customary to view the beginning of the dialectalization of Slovene from the isogloss for the tandem diphthongization of long reflexes of ě and long o, which runs SW-NE, parallel to the oldest set of isoglosses in W-SSl territory (Rigler 1963/1986: 147). A later isogloss is said to be the dual reflexes of the vocalized jers (a/schwa in the SW and e in the NE), which runs perpendicular (NW-SE) to the previously mentioned isogloss, effectively quartering the Slovene (Sn) speech territory. The significance of this set of parallel SW-NE isoglosses for the entire W-SSl territory has been elaborated by Ivić (1958), whose work is generally cited as the definitive view of the dialectalization of this territory.
In recent years various pieces of research have led to a new interpretation of the dialectalization of the Sn and Kaj(kavian) territories. In particular, the orientation of the Sava River, which runs NW to SE, appears to be a determinant in the earliest dialectalization of the territory, which correlates with archeological data (Baran et al. 1990; Andersen forthcoming). The new picture that emerges is based in part on the following isoglosses and their chronological relationships:
1. Examples of Illič-Svityč’s archaism (accentual paradigm D) are found to the S of the Sava River, thus conjoining the S portions of the Sn and Kaj speech territories (as well as N-Ča[kavian]).
2. Dialects that are innovative with respect to Križanić’s Law (the retraction of post-Dybo’s-Law stress onto first long, then short pretonic vowels, e.g., NW storí ‘to do, make’ vs. SE stvóri) are found to the N of the Sava, including E-Sn and most of Kaj.
3. Areas with the -ni- (ny-) in Leskien’s class II verbs are found S of the Sava; to the N are found both -ni- and *-n[on]- types (Andersen forthcoming 1999). Accoridng to Andersen this difference reflects heterogeneous migrations from the Slavic homeland.
4. As demonstrated in Greenberg (forthcoming 1998) the precondition for the dual reflexes of the jers is the retention of a labial reflex of Common Slavic *a, which is found N of the Sava in both NE-Sn and Kaj, as well as in peripheral dialects of Štokavian.
5. Retraction of internal long falling stress to the preceding syllable is found N of the Sava: Carinthian Sn, E-Sn and Kaj zábava vs. Standard Sn zabâva.
Isoglosses 1–3 date to the pre-migration period and thus belong to the oldest layer of dialect differences in the Sn-Kaj territory. Isoglosses 4–5 are dialect archaisms that date to a period when Ssl still carried through common innovations and thus belong to a layer of innovations older than the internal differentiation of Sn-Kaj.
Isoglosses with a N-S bias are found primarily in NW-Sn and continue in N-Sl, e.g.,
6. g || h;
7. tl || dl;
8. vy- || iz ‘out’ (prefix).
This set of isoglosses reflects the heterogeneity of the populations settled along the N reaches of the Sava at a time when the continuity between N-Sl and S-Sl had not yet been disrupted. Though these isoglosses are old, they do not have correlates far outside the Sn territory. The innovation in 6 is reaches only W-Sn and N-Ča; 7 is limited to the NW portion of Sn; in 8 the vy- morpheme is attested only in NW-Sn.
Later isoglosses that run SW-NE (roughly with Trieste forming the SW endpoint) are of two types:
At least one isogloss in SE-Sn stops S of the Sava:
9. *ou > u (mesu ‘meat’).
At least two significant isoglosses continue across the Sava, Drava and Mura Rivers to the end of the Sn speech territory, approximately at the point where the Austrian and Hungarian borders meet.
10. u > ü (continues in Kaj).
11. *ě, long *o > ie, uo || ei, ou.
The last isogloss is complex and may be particularly revealing for the settlement history. The Sn territory is bisected by this isogloss in a line running between Trieste and Maribor. NW of this isogloss is an area where diphthongal reflexes give way to monophthongal (tense e, o), with the exception of a small enclave at the source of the Sava in the NW, which has the same reflex as the SE (ei, ou). The monophthongal area is clearly innovative, leaving a W-E isogloss N of the Sava and a NW-SE isogloss S of the Sava with the two isogloss lines converging where the NW ei, ou enclave is located. These two isogloss lines run parallel to and precisely match the contour of the Sava.
The earliest history of Sn and Kaj, as reflected in dialect geography, is defined by the heterogeneity of settlement along and on either bank of the Sava River and by isoglosses that emanate from this loci. The sharp dialect differentiation is not, as usually treated, a result of later internal differentiation, but a mixture of archaic and innovative features from the pre-migration period, onto which later innovations (those traditionally considered “early” in the literature) are layered.
Andersen, H. Forthcoming 1999. “The Western South Slavic Contrast Sn. sah-ni-ti || sah-nu-ti.” Slovenski jezik—Slovene Linguistic Studies 2.
Baran, V. D., E. V. Maksimov, B. B. Magomedov et al. 1990. Slavjane Jugo-vostočnoj Evropy v predgosudarstvennyj period. Kiev: Naukova dumka.
Dybo, V. A., G. I. Zamjatina, and S. L. Nikolaev. 1990. Osnovy slavjanskoj akcentologii. Moscow: Nauka.
Greenberg, M. L. Forthcoming 1998. “Vatroslav Oblak and Early Innovations in the South Slavic Vocalic Systems.” Obdobja 17: Ob stoletnici smrti Vatroslava Oblaka. Ljubljana: Filozofska fakulteta.
Ivić, P. 1958. Die serbokroatischen Dialekte. Ihre Struktur und Entwicklung, 1: Allgemeines und die štokavische Dialektgruppe. The Hague: Mouton.
Rigler, J. 1963/1986. “Pregled osnovnih razvojnih etap v slovenskem vokalizmu.” Slavistična revija 14.