Proto-Balto-Slavic language

Proto-Balto-Slavic Language

Proto-Balto-Slavic language

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Proto-Balto-Slavic is reconstructed proto-language descending from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and out of which all later Balto-Slavic languages (represented by Baltic and Slavic branches) and dialects descended, such as modern Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Russian.

The Proto-Balto-Slavic language is not directly attested by any surviving texts but has been reconstructed using the comparative method. There are number of isoglosses that Baltic and Slavic languages share in phonology, morphology and accentology, which represent common innovation from Proto-Indo-European times, and which can be chronologically arranged.


Proto-Indo-European phonological system has exhibited several significant changes in Balto-Slavic period:
  • the three series of PIE stops were reduced to two series (voiced and unvoiced)
  • PIE syllabic sonorants were substituted with sequences of a short vowel (*i or *u) and a non-syllabic sonorant
  • the three PIE laryngeals merged into one (*H), which may have disappeared even during the Balto-Slavic period
  • the complex system of PIE dorsals was simplified due to the delabialization of labiovelars and the change of PIE palatovelars into fricatives


PIE voiced and unvoiced stops were preserved in Balto-Slavic and Proto-Slavic, and aspirated series was deaspirated.

Winter's law was still operable when there was phonemic distinction between the series of plain and aspirated voiced stops. As a result of Winter's law, the distinction between those...
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