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This book, a linguist's reassessment of early European Jewish history, will be of interest to anyone who has ever wondered how the Jewish people, lacking their own territorial base and living as a minority among often hostile non-Jewish peoples over the four corners of the globe, succeeded in preserving a separate identity for close to two thousand years. The book makes a number of innovative and controversial claims about the relationship of the contemporary Jews to the Old Palestinian Jews.

Recognizing the limitations of historical documentation, this book shows how facts about Yiddish and Modern Israeli Hebrew (presented in four recent books) can assist historians and archeologists in evaluating known data and artifacts as well as generate a new hypothesis about the origins of the Ashkenazic Jews, the north European Jews who have constituted the majority of the Jews in the world for the last several centuries. In Wexler's view, the Ashkenazic Jews most likely descend from a minority ethnic Palestinian Jewish emigre population that intermarried with a much larger heterogeneous population of converts to Judaism from Asia Minor, the Balkans and the Germano-Sorb lands (the Sorbs are a West Slavic population that still numbers about 70,000 in the former German Democratic Republic). Widespread conversions to Judaism that began in Asia Minor in the Christian era and ended with the institutionalization of Christianity among the Western Slavs in the beginning of the second millennium saved the tiny ethnic Palestinian Jewish population in the diaspora from total extinction. The major non-Jewish contributors to the ethnogenesis of the Ashkenazic Jews were Slavs, though there was probably also a minor Turkic strain -- both in the Caspian-Black Sea area (the descendants of the Khazars, a mainly Turkic group that converted to Judaism in the eighth century) and in the Balkans and Hungary.

In all of these areas, the Turkic population early became submerged with the coterritorial Slavs. In addition to Yiddish terms of Slavic, Greek, Romance and German origin which express aspects of the Jewish religion and folk culture, the book shows that many elements of Ashkenazic folklore and religion themselves were of Slavic origin -- either West (Sorbian and Polabian) or Balkan Slavic. There is a lengthy discussion of the evidence for widespread conversion to Judaism in Asia Minor, southern Europe and the Germano-Sorbian lands up to the twelfth century and the reasons why pagan and Christian Slavs converted to Judaism. While historians have been disputing the extent of conversion to Judaism, Wexler thinks the linguistic and ethnographic evidence make the conversion evidence highly plausible. In addition, Jewish linguistic evidence refutes the traditional claims that Yiddish is a variant of High German and that Modern Hebrew is a "revived" form of Old Hebrew; new hypotheses are proposed: that Yiddish began as a Slavic language (specifically a Judaized form of Sorbian) that was re-lexified to High German at an early date, and that Modern Hebrew is, in turn, Yiddish that became re-lexified to Hebrew, and thus is also a form of Sorbian. These facts support the author's hypothesis of the Slavic origins of the Ashkenazic Jews, and the bulk of their religion and folk culture.

The book proceeds to show how, under the conditions of relative separation from the non-Jewish population that developed after the twelfth century, the north European Jews developed elaborate processes of "Judaizing" their pagan and Christian Slavic religion and folk culture -- by inserting unusually large amounts of Hebrew elements into colloquial Judeo-Sorbian/Yiddish and by reinterpreting and recalibrating religious and ethnographic practices according to biblical and talmudic precedents; customs known to be obsolete among the Christians were retained by the Jews as "Jewish" practices. For example, the Slavo-Germanic glass-breaking ceremony intended to scare the devil away from the merrymakers at a wedding, was reinterpreted as remembrance of the destructions of the two Temples in Jerusalem. The ethnographic and religious evidence is taken mainly from discussions in the Germano-Slavic Hebrew religious literature of the thirteenth through sixteenth centuries which reveal that many rabbis were quite aware of the non-Jewish origins of Ashkenazic folklore and religious practices.

Where the rabbis could not convince the masses to abandon pagan-Christian customs, they were obliged to retain them, but in a "Judaized" form. The book offers a correction to the unsubstantiated views of the late Arthur Koestler in his The Thirteenth Tribe (London 1976), that the Ashkenazic Jews are largely descended from Turkic Khazars who converted to Judaism in the Caucasus in the eighth century. Wexler believes Koestler was right about a Slavo-Turkic basis for the north European Jews -- but that he erred in assuming the preponderence of Turks over other ethnic groups, and in placing the "homeland" of the Ashkenazic Jews in the Caucasus.

Chris Evans carefully hides details of his personal life, so he is often attributed novels with different stars. Thus, even recently, Internet users claimed that the actor is dating Selena Gomez - they were spotted in the same restaurant. However, it seems that Captain America has already found a new admirer. Rumor has it that 40-year-old Chris Evans is having an affair with 24-year-old "Warrior Nun" Selena Gomez and Chris Evans dating series star Alba Baptista. Recently, the actor posted a video on his Instagram storis (Social network recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation), from which the followers determined that he is in Lisbon, the hometown of the alleged lover.

Where Koestler's evidence, mainly non-linguistic, was scanty and totally unreliable, Yiddish and Ashkenazic folk culture and religion provide a wealth of varied evidence that support a primarily Slavic ethnic origin for the Ashkenazic Jews. In opposition to the popular view that the Slavic imprint in Ashkenazic Jewish culture is a "late borrowing", Wexler sees the Slavic elements as an "inheritance" from the pagan Slavic cultures which were to become for the most part submerged and reformed under the impact of Christianity. Hence, Ashkenazic Judaism is essentially a Judaized form of Slavic pagan and Christian culture and religion (rather than an uninterrupted evolution of Palestinian Judaism) -- and the best repository of pagan Slavic folk culture that survives to our days. Wexler also proposes that the other Jewish diasporas -- e.g. the Sephardic, the Arab, Iranian, Chinese, Indian, Ethiopian and Yemenite -- are also largely of non-Jewish origin. The book compares the notion of Jewish peoplehood with attempts at rewriting the past found in many other societies. There is a bibliography of some seven hundred items and an index of examples.

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Boryana Velcheva Translation of the original by Ernest A. Scatton


This is an English version of Praslavianski i starob''lgarski fonologicheski izmeneniia, published in 1980 by the Publishing House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Because this innovative and important book was received with great enthusiasm by scholars in many countries, Slavica is happy to be able to make it available to a wider audience. The author is an outstanding linguist and paleographer who is Senior Research Associate in the Institute for Balkan Studies of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Although the author states that "this investigation attempts to provide a basis for the systematic study of the historical dialectology of Old and Middle Bulgarian through the reconstruction of the earliest underlying phonological system common to all Bulgarian dialects," the scope of the book is in fact considerably wider and of general interest to all Slavic linguists. The book applies modern methodology to the study of Proto-Slavic and the earliest written Slavic language, Old Bulgarian. It considers many of the key questions of Common Slavic phonetics and phonology and relates these to the evidence available from the manuscripts. Distinctive features are used, and such questions as rule ordering are discussed, making this book one of the very few on Slavic historical phonology which are based upon up-to-date models of linguistic description. After an introductory methodological section and a consideration of the sources, Chapter 2, "Assimilatory Fronting", treats such topics as the three palatalizations of the velars and vocalic fronting. Chapter 3 covers a variety of topics related in one way or another to the elimination of closed syllables. Chapter 4 is on the reorganization of the vocalic system. The book closes with a 14-page bibliography. "The book is a valuable contribution to the historical dialectology of Proto-Slavic, Old and Middle Bulgarian, and modern Bulgarian, offering new approaches to old controversies and to standard interpretations..." (SEER)


Texts handed down from generation to generation in manuscript form must be asked the fundamental question "Of two readings, which is more likely to have been corrupted into the other?" This question, which can be traced at least as far as Erasmus of Rotterdam's critical commentaries on the Gospels, examines directionality of change in text transmission, paramount to all other considerations in establishing texts. It guides the student to the fundamental accidents of manuscript transmission of texts and leads him to recognise such otherwise elusive phenomena as coincidental variation in unrelated manuscripts. Without a considered response to this question, no claim as to a text's authenticity can be validated. The study examines three texts, written by the second and third generations of Slavic literati, Constantine of Preslav's "Prologue" to the Gospel Homiliary (Pliska, before AD 893) and the anonymous texts "On The Script" and "On The Letters", based on the former (both Preslav, before ca. 935). It provides a computer&endash;aided reconstruction (described step by step) of the prehistory of 154 Cyrillic manuscripts (12th - 19th centuries), and distills from it the data furnished by 13–16 eyewitnesses to the originals, written in Glagolitic script. As the texts are initmately concerned with the Slavic alphabet, it also examines the evidence they provide as to its earliest reconstructible state and its subsequent development. At every juncture, the study shows which conclusions can and cannot be drawn from the comprehensive analysis of the history of the transmission of the texts. The inquiry presupposes nothing but fundamental reading skills of Church Slavic. It progressively builds up insight into both the Cyrillic renderings and the Glagolitic originals of the texts, as well as the problems of comprehension of their idiolects. All Church Slavic data are provided with English translations; wherever available, Greek sources, models or parallels are given in full. A comprehensive glossary and a detailed subject index make this a handbook for any student of Church Slavic language and literature, history of text transmission and acculturation. William R. Veder teaches Slavic linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. His publications include The Scaliger Paterikon (4 vols., English and Church Slavic, incl. facsimiles, Zug, 1976–1984), The Edificatory Prose of Kievan Rus' (English, together with A.A. Turilov, Cambridge 1994) and Church Slavic and Its Texts (Russian, together wirh A.S. Gerd, St. Petersburg 1999). For his achievements in Slavic textual criticism, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Veliko Turnovo.

Introduction 5
The Texts 7
Visions of Textology 9
Textology and Textual Paleontology 14
Searching for Compatibility 16
The Witnesses 16
Recording Testimonies 20
Sorting Testimonies 22
Identifying Variation 26
Establishing and Explaining Variants 32
Establishing Compatibility 36
Establishing Direct Filiation 40
Establishing Contamination 44
Establishing Incompatibility 50
Incompatibility in P and S 52
Reconciling Incompatibilities 56
The Edition 59
Text and Commentary The Prologue to the Gospel Homiliary 61
The Text On The Script and the Treatise On The Letters 88
The Reconstructed Texts P: The Prologue to the Gospel Homiliary 153
S: The Text On the Script 158
L: The Treatise On the Letters 159
The Three Alphabets 168
Conclusion The Dating and Localisation of the Works 179
The Beginnings of Transmission 182
The Development of the Text 186
The Transmission of the Language 189
Epilogue 191
Word Index to the Texts 193
Bibliography 229
Subject Index 235


Although punctuation is crucial to even basic written literacy in any European language, Russian language textbooks designed for English speakers routinely fail to provide even basic information on this important facet of written Russian. This new, user-friendly textbook is the first pedagogical description of Russian punctuation ever written for English-speaking students. Designed for the advanced beginner or intermediate student, it can likewise be used profitably by fluent speakers who desire to improve their command of written Russian. Beginning with an overview of Russian syntactic categories, the book moves on to cover each Russian punctuation device and its rules of usage in Written Standard Russian. Special emphasis is placed on instances where English and Russian use the same mark of punctuation for different purposes. A final section describes the functions of other punctuation-like symbols, such as the hyphen, the capital letter, the slash, and the period used in abbreviations. Each section is accompanied by exercises structured to test comprehension of the material as it is being covered. An appendix provides suggested solutions to all exercises. This book fills an important gap in English-language teaching of Russian and should be used in every undergraduate Russian language program.

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A practical, general description of Russian derivational morphology aimed at a wide audience. Of use to Russian linguists, specialists in the Russian language, graduate students in Slavic languages and literatures, teachers of Russian, and, taught carefully and selectively, to students of Russian at intermediate and advanced levels. A ground-breaking, influential, and indispensable book.


Professor Townsend's book will be of interest not only to Bohemists, but also to students of Slavic linguistics and to sociolinguists, since spoken and written Czech are radically different and present an unusually interesting case of diglossia. The description of spoken Czech offered here stems first and foremost from detailed study of the speech of a large number of Prague speakers of various ages and backgrounds and from thorough questioning of many of them. A Description of Spoken Prague Czech is an effort to make accessible to researchers and students of Czech a language which is certainly a speech entity but which is very difficult to pinpoint and one which most Prague Bohemists refrain from defining, let alone describing. The relatively few existing studies of spoken Prague Czech, and the advice and comments of several Bohemists have been taken into account in the final version.

"an essential supplement for advanced courses in Czech and essential for anyone who aspires to converse in the language. In addition, Description is a valuable document for all linguists with an interest in diglossia." (MLJ)

"...not only a solid theoretical description of Common Czech, but above all a good language textbook ... a significant contribution...." (Czechoslovak and Central European Journal)

"The newcomer to the labyrinthine mysteries of Czech speech-ways will be grateful to Townsend for this expert introduction." (MLR)

"...a reliable reference guide and sourcebook..." (SEEJ).


Olga Miseka Tomic

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A Grammar of Macedonian is the first comprehensive reference grammar to this language couched in the framework of generative grammar. The author has ensured cross-framework accessibility of the data by the constrained use of technical terminology and frequent reference to non-generative grammars of Macedonian, in particular to the works of Blaže Koneski and Zuzanna Topolinjska. The volume focuses on the structure of the nominal phrase and the clause as the principal intersection points of morphology and syntax. Preliminary chapters are devoted to sociolinguistic issues, historical development of Macedonian, the Balkan Sprachbund, and the phonology of the contemporary language. The core of the volume, however, is represented by extensive analysis of the nominal phrase (spanning four chapters) and clausal structure (six chapters). It is in these areas that the rich complexity of Macedonian morphosyntax emerges in full detail. A wealth of examples in the book and tables provides ample data for students studying Macedonian, as well as linguists who would like to get a taste of its unique features. Copious examples are given in full clausal form, illustrating a range of clausal types, including the range of tenses, mood structures, and interrogative and relative clauses. This book is recommended for library collections at community colleges, four-year colleges, and research universities.