East Slavic languages

  • Countries with the East Slavic languages

The East Slavic languages ​​are in addition to the South and West Slavic languages ​​of the three branches of Slavic languages ​​, which in turn belong to the Indo-European language family. East Slavic languages ​​are spoken by about 224 million people as a native language. In particular, the Russian gained importance as a world language.

Members of the East Slavic group of languages

For East Slavic language group include:

  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
  • Belarusian
  • Carpatho - and - Jugoslawo Russinisch ( The latter is alternatively viewed as Westslawisch )
  • Westpolessisch

As well as historical forms of speech:

  • Altostslawisch †
  • Ruthenian †
  • Old Russian (in the narrow sense)

Features of the East Slavic languages

Features of the East Slavic languages ​​against the West and South Slavic are:

  • Proto-Slavic * or * ol * he * el between consonants are as oro, olo, ere, olo represented ( so -called full volume ); see russian moroz < Proto-Slavic * morzъ ' Frost' or moloko < * Melko ' milk '.
  • Proto-Slavic * tj and * dj are represented as č and ž; see russian sveča < Proto-Slavic * světja 'Light Candle ' or Meža < * Medja ' Rain'.


When the East Slavic languages ​​from pre-Slavic split, is difficult to determine ( from the 6th to the 11th century ).

The history of the East Slavic languages ​​is a very politically sensitive issue because it is considered by the East Slavs themselves from different perspectives, as they try to regain the national histories in their shared history ( " sicut ceteri Mortalium, originem suam quam vetustissimam east more cupientes " - " like all people, wanting to expand their origins as far back into the past ", as Aeneas Sylvius already in 1458 in his Historia Bohemical noticed ).

Therefore, it is particularly important to make a clear distinction between the history of the East Slavic dialects and the history of written languages ​​used by the East Slavs. For although the most ancient texts reveal the dialect of their authors and / or writers and allow a fairly accurate geographical classification, it should be noted the texts that their authors tried to write in a position different from its dialects written language and the ' error ', enabling today localization to avoid.

In both cases it is important to remember that the history of the East Slavic languages ​​( before the invention of the record ) just a story written texts. As the writers of the surviving texts would have spoken in everyday life or as a schreibunkundiger Bauer spoke with his family, can extrapolate only.

History of the written languages

The following is a brief overview of the old and the mean age. More information at Altostslawische language, Ruthenian language and Russian language.

After the Christianization of the East Slavs used this service books from Bulgaria, which were, that is written to " Old Bulgarian " in Old Church Slavonic. This language was still used in non- liturgical texts, however, was under the influence of the East Slavic dialects, so it developed into the so-called Russian Church Slavonic.

The entire Middle Ages ( and in some respects to the present) there was a certain duality between the Church Slavonic as a ' higher ' level of style, which (especially, but not only) been used in religious texts, and the East Slavic dialects more approximate vernacular, which was used in secular texts. This situation has been variously described as diglossia ( although mixed texts occur and although it is sometimes almost impossible to determine why a respective author a vernacular or Church Slavonic form used in a particular context ).

History of dialects

The first regional differences in the altostslawischen texts can be in the 12th century, nor in time of Kievan Rus, make up, that is, some strings can be assigned to regions due to their linguistic features that today in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus lie. Therefore, some East Slavic linguists assert the existence of separate languages ​​at this early time.