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The History of Linguistic Thought and Language Use in 16 th Century Slovenia


Kozma Ahacic

This book is the first work on this topic to have been published in English and is thus brought before the international public. A preliminary sociolinguistic survey of the major issues concerning language use in 16th century Slovenia is followed by the central section – an analysis of Adam Bohorič’s pioneering grammar of Slovenian (1584) that establishes its position in the framework of contemporary European linguistics. Other subjects include the four-language grammatical appendix to Hieronymus Megiser’s dictionary (1592), the linguistic work of the German writer and teacher Nicodemus Frischlin during his stay in Slovenia, and the language issues addressed in the writings of various Slovenian Protestant writers.
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This monograph lays out the pioneering grammatical description of the Slovenian language in the 16th century, prefacing it with the language situation in which the Slovenian Protestant writers of the time founded and established the Slovenian ‘literary language’ (a standard written version of Slovenian). Previous written examples of Slovenian can be traced back to the 10th century, but only through individual manuscript recordings that were intended mainly for the recorders’ private use. Slovenian holds many points of interest for historians of European grammar-writing and for historical sociolinguists; in addition to being a minor European language which nevertheless acquired its first grammar book relatively early (1584), it is distinguished from other European languages by a number of features. These are both intralingual, such as the use of the dual number, and extralingual: it belongs, for example, to a formerly stateless, administratively fragmented nation, and still displays a rare dialectal diversity. Without at least a basic grasp of the linguistic tradition of the Slovenian language and the circumstances of its emergence, it is impossible to appreciate the scholarly work of such internationally active Slovenian linguists as Žiga Popovič (1705–1774), Jernej Kopitar (1780–1844) and Fran Miklošič (1813–1891); nor is it possible to appreciate the work of European linguists like Lucien Tesnière (1893–1954), who addressed the Slovenian language, or those who considered the relations between Slavic languages within the European group (e.g. Konrad Gesner, 1516–1565).

The chief aim of this study, a longer...

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