Wiktionary:About Proto-Balto-Slavic

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link={{{imglink}}} This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. Specifically it is a policy think tank, working to develop a formal policy.

This page contains guidelines for Proto-Balto-Slavic reconstructions - notation, templates, and formatting. Proto-Slavic reconstructions are created in the Reconstruction namespace, as subpages.

The Balto-Slavic protolanguage is still an active topic of research, and there is no consensus among historical linguists on what exactly it looks like. Different authors use different symbols, reconstruct different phonemic inventory and morphology. At Wiktionary, we made certain preliminary decisions concerning notation (see next section), while waiting for the specialists to arrive at a consensus on the topic.

Since most Proto-Balto-Slavic lexical material in Wiktionary comes from two dictionaries published by linguist Rick Derksen from the Leiden school, it comes with two caveats:[1]

  1. the reconstructions in those dictionaries are just projections of the attested Balto-Slavic lexemes to the assumed phonological system of the proto-language;
  2. the aforementioned phonological system differs from more traditional reconstructions, mainly in the assumption af a glottal stop where other scholars reconstruct an acute or glottalized long wovel.

Prior to the Balto-Slavic hypothesis, most linguists supported the existence of a Baltic protolanguage (excluding the Slavic branch). This theory, though still defended by some, appears to be falling out of favor among specialists (see Wikipedia:Proto-Balto-Slavic and the list of references at the end of this page).

Format and Notation[edit]


The following conventions are used when deciding how to spell a Proto-Balto-Slavic protoform:

  • (a)
  • (b)
  • (c)


The following is a template for new nouns with only one reconstruction:




# {{l|en|}}

The first optional positional parameter to the template {{ine-bsl-noun}} is the gender. Additional parameter |g2= can be used to indicate plurality in case of singularia/pluralia tantum.





Etymologies are added as a L3 header. If the editor doesn't know anything at all about the etymology of Proto-Balto-Slavic reconstruction, he should use the following template to request it:


Template for inheritance from Proto-Indo-European:

From {{inh|ine-bsl-pro|ine-pro|''source word''}}.


Descendants are added as a L4 header. The following is a template that can be copy pasted in new entries:

* East Baltic:
** Latgalian: {{l|ltg|}}
** Latvian: {{l|lv|}}
** Lithuanian: {{l|lt|}}
** Samogitian: {{l|sgs|}}
* West Baltic:
** Old Prussian: {{l|prg|}}
** Sudovian: {{l|xsv|}}
* Slavic: {{l|sla-pro|*}} {{see desc}}
* Other:
** Finnic: {{l|fiu-fin-pro|*}} {{see desc}}


  • Slavic cognates are listed only as a Proto-Slavic reconstruction. The {{see desc}} template leaves a notice for users that they should refer to its entry for further descendants.
  • The final clade Other: is for non-Balto-Slavic languages that the word has been borrowed into, and for which the exact origin cannot be determined, usually due to the fact that the word has been borrowed in prehistoric times, or when individual Balto-Slavic languages as they are understood today didn't exist. These are sorted alphabetically.


References should be provided in the L3 section called ===References=== at the end of the entry.

Available references are listed in the following table:

References to Proto-Slavic and Proto-Balto-Slavic
Reference template Work Notes
{{R:Derksen 2015|}} Rick Derksen (2015), Etymological Dictionary of the Baltic Inherited Lexicon, Leiden, Boston: Brill The first positional parameter is page number.
{{R:Derksen 2008|}} Rick Derksen (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, Brill: Leiden-Boston, 2008 The first positional parameter is page number.
{{R:lt:SEJL|}} Wojciech Smoczyński (2007), Słownik etymologiczny je̜zyka litewskiego, Uniwersytet Wileński: Wilno The first positional parameter is page number.
{{R:Kim PBS|}} Ronald Kim (forth.), The phonology of Balto-Slavic, In: Handbook of Indo-European Studies, ed. M. Weiss & A. Garrett, OUP The first positional parameter is page number.
{{R:Kortlandt PBS|}} Frederik Kortlandt (2002), From Proto-Indo-European to Slavic. Electronic publication, available online. The first positional parameter is page number.