Appendix:Proto-Slavic/korljь

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This Proto-Slavic entry contains reconstructed words and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.

Proto-Slavic

Etymology

Generally agreed to derive from Old High German Karl, name of the Frankish ruler Charlemagne (742-814) who ruled the western areas of Slavdom.

Extended derivation:

  • Old High German Karl > Early Proto-Slavic *kȁrlju (substantivized possessive adjective) > *kȁrlji (umlaut *u > *i) > *karlji̍ (Dybo's law) > *korlji̍ (change of *a to *o) > *korljь̍ (change of *i > *ь) > *korl'ь̍ (iotation of *lj > *l') > *kõrl'ь (neoacute due to Ivšić's law).

The shift from hard o-stem to the soft jo-stem, as outlined in the chronology above, has several theories of origin:

  • Holzer explains the j-suffix as originating from a substantivized possessive adjective
  • Schenker suggests analogical replacement after agent nouns ending in *-teljь or other words denoting leaders such as *cěsarjь and *kъnędzь
  • Pronk-Tiethoff suggests the final *-ljь is due to the fact that Proto-Slavs likely perceived the Old High German final consonant as soft, similarly as in the loanword *grędeljь.

The word has been described as "without doubt the most famous Germanic loanword in Slavic" (Pronk-Tiethoff 2013) due to the fact that it's the only loanword in Slavic that can actually be dated, thus giving clues to the absolute dating of Proto-Slavic phonological developments. The fact that it regularly underwent historical Proto-Slavic sound laws, and that it's reflected in all three branches, is one of the chief indications to date Late Proto-Slavic (Common Slavic) to the ninth century.

However, this is comparatively late (only a century before Old Church Slavonic manuscripts were written), so other etymologies have been suggested:

  • Holzer derives it from the name of the Frankish ruler Charles Martel (688-741). The issue with this theory is that Charles Martel was not particularly important to the contemporary Slavs.
  • Stender-Petersen derives it from Proto-Germanic *karla- (free man) (Old High German karl (man)) with a semantic shift explained as "very ordinary".

These theories are generally thought of as less convincing than from Karl "Charlemagne", who was an actual king of (some) Slavs.

Noun

*kõrljь m (accent paradigm b)

  1. king

Declension

Derived terms

Descendants

References