“And He said, saying”?

Jan 13, 2015 by

[This post draws heavily on the work of Joel M. Hoffman.] In an earlier post, I have examined a millennium-long historical connection between Old Church Slavonic (OCS) and modern Russian. Here, I will look at another peculiarity of...

read more

Influence of Old Novgorod Dialect on the Russian Literary Language

Jan 12, 2015 by

[This post is based largely on the work on Andrei Zaliznjak, particularly his lecture available here.] In my earlier post, I noted that the Russian literary language (aka modern standard Russian) differs from its closest relatives,...

read more

The Influence of Old Church Slavonic on Russian

Jan 12, 2015 by

As mentioned in my earlier post, besides being the liturgical language used by the Russian Orthodox Church, Old Church Slavonic (OCS) played a pivotal role in the formation of the Russian literary language. In the Middle Ages, OCS...

read more

Why the ‘Coffee’ Words Are Not Cognates

Dec 12, 2014 by

A former student of mine drew my attention to a recent article in Slate written by Alyssa Pelish and titled “The Stimulating History of Coffee: Why You Hear This Word Around the World” (the image on the left is reproduced from the...

read more

The Malagasy Language, Genes, and Gender Puzzle

Dec 9, 2014 by

[Many thanks to Rory van Tuyl for interesting and inspiring discussions.] Recent research by Peter Forster and Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge, discussed in my earlier post, shows that in gender-biased mixed communities,...

read more

The Origins of Yiddish—A Response to Philologos, Part Fir

Sep 5, 2014 by

[Many thanks to Merlin Dorfman for bringing the Philologos’ essay to my attention and to Martin W. Lewis for his helpful comments and corrections to this post! I am also grateful to Olaf Koeneman, George Walkden, Stephane Goyette,...

read more