An Analysis of the Pannonian Slavic Lexicon

Ron Richards, University of California, Los Angeles

In previous papers I have discussed the problems involved in culling from all Slavic loanwords into Hungarian a corpus of lexemes which represent the Pannonian dialect of the Common Slavic protolanguage. The first part of this paper will concentrate on the analysis of this corpus, focusing on the morphological, phonological, and semantic aspects of these lexemes, giving examples of how these different linguistic characteristics were coordinated and weighted in reaching an evaluation of the lexemes indivudually and as a group. The second part of the paper will attempt to do the following:

1. provide a linguistic profile of Pannonian Slavic;

2. make clearer Pannonian Slavic’s position on the Common Slavic language continuum;

3. determine the extent to which Pannonian Slavic was (or was not) linguistically homogeneous;

4. determine the extent to which Pannonian Slavic can be associated with one or more of its contemporary Common Slavic dialects;

5. examine, in light of these results, claims by Xelimskij and others that Pannonian Slavic a) could have served as a koine/lingua franca for this region, and b) was itself a separate and independent dialect of Common Slavic, and therefore not the progenitor of any existing Slavic language.

In addition, I will touch briefly upon the question of whether or not these results can be used to shed light on current debates concerning the role of the Carpathian Basin in the geolinguistic history of the Slavs, such as Trubačev’s theory that the Urheimat of the Slavs is to be found in Transdanubia, or Nichols’s idea that Pannonia was not the starting point of Slavs as an ethnicity, but rather a possible epicenter of Slavic language expansion.