Proto-Slavic - Historical Development - Regressive Palatalizations

Regressive Palatalizations

As an extension of the system of syllable synharmony, velar consonants were palatalized to postalveolar consonants before front vowels (*i, *ĭ, *e, *ę) and *j:

  • *k → *č
  • *g → *ž → )
  • *x → *š

This was the first regressive palatalization. Although *g palatalized to an affricate, this soon lenited to a fricative except when following *z. *s and *z palatalized to š and ž, respectively, before palatal consonants (*j, *č, ž). Subsequently, a number of vowel changes took place: *ū lost its labialization (possibly, represented hereafter as , as in modern Polish) both *ou and *eu became *u, and back vowels became front vowels after palatal consonants (including *j). This was closely followed by the monophthongization of diphthongs in all environments:

  • *ū → *y
  • *ou → *u
  • *eu → *u
  • *o → *e / J_
  • *ŭ → *ĭ / J_
  • *y → *i / J_
  • *oi → *ei / J_
  • *ei → *i
  • *oi → *ě†
  • *oi → *i†

^† In many common grammatical forms such as the nominative plural of o-stems (Schenker 2002:89), the second person imperative (Schenker 2002:103), in the second singular of athematic verbs and in the dative singular of the clitic personal pronouns, *oi became *i (Schenker 2002:90).

By this point, Proto-Slavic had the following vowel system:

Front Central Back
long short long short long short
Close i ь/ĭ y u ъ/ŭ
Mid ě e, ę o, ǫ
Open a

Proto-Slavic was still operating under the system of syllabic synharmony; because it had a new front vowel, yat (possibly an open front vowel ), the language underwent the second regressive palatalization, in which velar consonants preceding the new (secondary) phoneme *ě (derived from *oi) were palatalized. As with the progressive palatalization, these became palatovelar. Soon after, palatovelar consonants from both the progressive palatalization and the second regressive palatalization became sibilants:

  • ḱ → *c
  • ǵ → *dz → *z
  • x́ → *s/*š

In noun declension, the second regressive palatalization originally figured in two important Slavic stem types: o-stems (masculine and neuter consonant-stems) and a-stems (feminine and masculine vowel-stems). This rule operated in the o-stem masculine paradigm in three places: before nominative plural and both singular and plural locative affixes.

'wolf' 'horn' 'spirit'
Nominative vlŭkŭ rogŭ duxŭ
vlŭci rozi dusi
Locative vlŭcě rozě dusě
vlŭcěxŭ rozěxŭ dusěxŭ

Read more about this topic:  Proto-Slavic, Historical Development

Famous quotes containing the word regressive:

    Unable to create a meaningful life for itself, the personality takes its own revenge: from the lower depths comes a regressive form of spontaneity: raw animality forms a counterpoise to the meaningless stimuli and the vicarious life to which the ordinary man is conditioned. Getting spiritual nourishment from this chaos of events, sensations, and devious interpretations is the equivalent of trying to pick through a garbage pile for food.
    Lewis Mumford (1895–1990)