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Evidence for Past Coexistence: Romance Stratum in Croatian Glagolitic Sources from Krk, Croatia

From the book Between Separation and Symbiosis

  • Vyacheslav V. Kozak


The chapter1 discusses the application of the semantic and formalanalysis of lexical loans for the reconstruction of social, cultural, ethnic, and linguistic interaction between the Slavic and the Romance population in the island of Krk during the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period. As a source of linguistic material, two types of texts were selected: 1) the Old Croatian (Čakavian) portions of the Vrbnik Statute, a Glagolitic manuscript from the 16th century, containing different legal acts ranging from between the 14th and the 16th centuries, and 2) Old Croatian Glagolitic inscriptions from the 10th to 11th centuries and 14th to the 18th centuries. Semantic analysis guided by the conceptual system of Hallig and von Wartburg and formal analysis, including etymology, historical phonetics, grammar, and onomastics permits us to determine two main replication patterns for Romance linguistic phenomena: cultural borrowings and onomastic borrowings. The high number of borrowed Romance terms related to legal proceedings (e.g., apelaciunь, denuncie, fruštati, kaštigati), administrative acts (kuntentati, termenivati), economics (intrada, libra, soldinь, bagatinь, vьrnizь), and clerical organization (plovanь, prьvьdь) shows the key role the Romance (mainly Venetian) stratum played in legal, administrative, economic and religious discourse. The linguistic influence of Dalmatian can be found in fishing terminology (sipa, oliga, menula). In the domain of onomastics there are Slavic surnames derived from Romance proper names (Fugošiĉь < Fulgo, Malateštiniĉь < Malateste). In contrast to the usually postulated thesis of the Slavic-Romance cultural and linguistic separation in the island of Krk, the replication of Romance linguistic phenomena in the Glagolitic sources demonstrates a certain level of linguistic and ethnic convergence. However, a small relative share of loans, a low level of grammatical interference and the predominance of the addition mechanism of borrowing indicate that the depth of this convergence (within the written Glagolic culture) is rather small.

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