Proto-slavic: Schleicher's Fable

Reader reviews of the book A Grammar of Modern Indo-European
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Proto-slavic: Schleicher's Fable

Post by ereandel » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:35 pm

Although the subject is not especially up-to-date, i want to share some remarks on proto-slavic translation of schleicher's fable.
I can understand the author's idea - i.e. to show general sound laws in IE dialects, however some of presented words and constructions are just not tenable.
First of all, the presented date (500 CE) suggests, that we have to do with some form of Common Slavic proto-language, which is just not. If it was such a late stage of its development, I (as polish speaker) and other slavic speakers would be able to understand presented words and assign them properly to expressions in their native languages.
Actually, i can find here only two words of slavic origin, which are reconstructed in the right way (vozŭ, to) and few more with some misspelings (vlîna instead of vîlna, ovîs istead of ovîca, mě instead of nasal mę). These are nevertheless not the most important mistakes.
The biggest sin of this translation is, as for me, unawareness in terms of vocabulary changes proper to every IE dialect. Let's take even a title: Ovĭs esvŭ-če.
First word is, as mentioned previously, reconstructed in the wrong way. It should stay like Ovĭca here. The second word, coming from eqos, has no corresponding word in slavic languages at all. It's possibly one of the examples of taboo connected to the animal names, but there are no traces of equus-like word in proto-slavic whatsoever. Finally, ending če has virtually no meaning for a slavic speaker. There is nothing I can even compare it with. As far as i know, there are even no cognates of -que in baltic languages.
What i propose here is either a change of fable's dating in proto-slavic, or inserting here a version prepared entirely in CS, like this, taken from wikipedia:
Ovьca i konji: Ovьca kъja bez vьlny estь, konję vidě, edinъ tęžьkъ vozъ tęglъ, i edinъ veliko bermę, i ešče edinъ čolvěka nosilъ bъrzo. Ovьca kǫnjemъ reče: "Sьrdьce mę bolitь, viděti konję že vozitь čolvekъ". Konji rekošę: "Slušaji, ovьce! sьrdьca nasъ bolętь kogъda vidimъ: možъ, gospodь, ovьčьjejǫ vьlnojǫ sebě teplъ drabъ tvoritь. A ovьca bez vьlny estь." To slyšavъ, ovьca vъ dolъ poběže.

I suggest this, as a person interested in linguistic reconstruction will easily find out the fallacies of the translation and point them out. Supposedly, disenchantment of potential proponent is not really wishable thing for your foundation.

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Re: Proto-slavic: Schleicher's Fable

Post by cquiles » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:06 pm

Thank you for your comment.

I agree, the Slavic version and most others are a mess. They were intended as a sample of phonetic evolution, not as true samples of the proto-languages.

I will try to correct them in an update within two months or so.
Carlos Quiles - Academia Prisca

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