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What is Old East Slavic?

A language spoken by East Slavs from the 5th to the 16th centuries

What is the appropriate term for the language known as Old Russian?

Old East Slavic

What is pleophony?

A linguistic feature that differentiated Old East Slavic from other Slavic dialects

What was the major language difference in the East Slavic territories until the 14th or 15th century?

Between the north-west and center

Which language evolved as a convergence of the Old Novgorodian dialect and the central ones?

Russian

What literary monuments survived from Old East Slavic?

Justice of the Rus, a corpus of hagiography and homily, the epic Song of Igor, and the earliest surviving manuscript of the Primary Chronicle

What is the Lay of Igor's Campaign?

A narrative of Prince Igor Svyatoslavich’s expedition against the Cumans with a mix of Christianity and ancient Slavic religion

What is the Pouchenie?

A work by Vladimir Monomakh that gives a picture of the daily life of a Slavonic prince

What is the Zadonshchina?

A prose poem about the battle of Kulikovo

Study Notes

Old East Slavic Language and its Literature

  • Old East Slavic was a language spoken by East Slavs from the 5th to the 16th centuries, from which Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian languages later evolved.

  • The language is also known as Old Russian, but Old East Slavic is considered to be the more appropriate term.

  • The language developed pleophony, which differentiated it from other Slavic dialects.

  • Due to the lack of written records, it is difficult to determine the level of its unity. It is probable that there were many dialects of Old East Slavonic.

  • The language evolved into several more diversified forms, which were the predecessors of the modern Belarusian, Russian, Rusyn, and Ukrainian languages.

  • Until the 14th or 15th century, major language differences were not between the regions occupied by modern Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, but rather between the north-west and center of the East Slavic territories.

  • Russian language developed as a convergence of the Old Novgorodian dialect and the central ones, whereas Ukrainian and Belorusian were a continuation of development of the central dialects of the East Slavs.

  • Some scholars deny the existence of a common Old East Slavic language at any time in the past.

  • Old East Slavic language developed a certain literature of its own, influenced as regards style and vocabulary by religious texts written in Church Slavonic.

  • Surviving literary monuments include the legal code Justice of the Rus, a corpus of hagiography and homily, the epic Song of Igor, and the earliest surviving manuscript of the Primary Chronicle.

  • The earliest dated specimen of Old East Slavic must be considered the written Sermon on Law and Grace, by Hilarion, metropolitan of Kiev.

  • From the writings of Theodosius, we see that many pagan habits were still in vogue among the people.Overview of Old East Slavic Literature

  • Old East Slavic literature includes chronicles, sermons, works of early travelers, and more.

  • Many cities had their annalists, such as Novgorod, Kiev, and Volhynia.

  • Bishop Cyril of Turov's sermons imitated the Byzantine style and represented Christianity as spring and Paganism and Judaism as winter.

  • The Pouchenie, written by Vladimir Monomakh, gives a picture of the daily life of a Slavonic prince.

  • The Paterik of the Kievan Caves Monastery is a collection of stories from the lives of monks.

  • The Lay of Igor's Campaign is a narrative of Prince Igor Svyatoslavich’s expedition against the Cumans with a mix of Christianity and ancient Slavic religion.

  • The Zadonshchina is a prose poem about the battle of Kulikovo.

  • Old East Slavic laws include the Russkaya Pravda of Yaroslav the Wise.

  • The earliest attempts to compile a comprehensive lexicon of Old East Slavic were undertaken by Alexander Vostokov and Izmail Sreznevsky in the nineteenth century.

  • Notable Old East Slavic texts include the works of Nestor the Chronicler, the Lay of Igor's Campaign, and the Zadonshchina.

  • Old East Slavic literature provides insight into the daily life of Slavonic princes, monks, and early travelers.

  • There are still many untranslated words and meanings in Old East Slavic literature.

  • A 24-volume academic dictionary of Old East Slavic was published in 1975-99.

Test your knowledge of Old East Slavic language and literature with our quiz! From the development of the language to its literary monuments, this quiz covers key topics and facts about Old East Slavic. Challenge yourself with questions about the language's evolution into modern languages, its regional differences, and the surviving literary works that give insight into the daily life of Slavonic princes, monks, and early travelers. Whether you're a history buff or a language enthusiast, this quiz is a great opportunity to learn more

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