Proto-Slavic and Old Bulgarian Sound Changes

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)