Proto-Baltic-Slavic language

The Indo-Europeans migrated from the Pontic-Caspian steppe to Europe. They brought their language to Europe but they was migrating from the southern parts to the northern. Their way explored by Marja Gimbutas in the middle of the  20th century and the back way from the Scandinavian Peninsula was been started in this series of the articles.  The Proto-Sami and Proto-Finnish were compared with PIE and the stage of the migration was coasts of the Baltic Sea and its proto-language, respectively.

The Proto-Baltic-Slavic language (PBS) was been reconstructed by linguists which used the comparative method for it. PBS was an unwritten language and no one text was found before.  It was used as a language after the Proto-Indo-Europeans, which went to the Western Europe. Both of these two languages connected one another.

A comparison has the three stages. The first shows comparison of sounds, the second is a grammar comparison and the last is a comparison of words, respectively.

A table of the PBS sounds is shown below.

Labial Coronial Palatal Velar
Nasal m n
Plosive (Stop) p, b t, d k, g
Fricative s (z) ś, š, ź
Trill r
Lateral l
Approx. w j

The Proto-Indo-European consonants were shown in one of the previous articles. PBS language had several additional groups of sounds like Trill, Lateral, Approximant, Palatal and Velar. The Proto-Baltic sounds are only ś, š and ź sounds from the group of Fricative-Palatal sounds (some of sounds changed their groups in PBS). The PIE language had aspirated consonants but PBS not. It means that the phonology of PBS less complex than of PIE.

After consonants’ review, the next part of this brief analyze is a showing of vowel sounds, and they carry meaning of words by this way.

PBS vowels are shown here, they are i, u, a, e (the short vowels) and ī, ū, ē, ō, ā (the long vowels). The long vowels the only one specific vowel that isn’t existed in the short vowels and it is ō sound. Others long vowels duplicate shorts. Vowels in PIE don’t reconstructed except the series of probably sounds, *e, *o, *ē and *ō is assumed. The double long-short vowels are existed in PBS. Any others vowels are theoretical. It gives a conclusion that PBS vowels were risen from PIE’s.

A conclusion about all PBS phonology is that it was formed with some influence of PIE. Consonant chain shift will be shown and defined in the next article and now, the grammars need be compared. The PIE grammar traits was shown in the previous articles and it is repeated here once more.

Nouns and adjectives

8 or 9 cases 8 cases
3 grammatical genders (and ending types) 3 numbers (singular, dual, plural)
prefix-root-suffix structure dual number system
thematic and athematic nouns 3 genders (reduced form had 2 genders)
verbal nouns “definity” inflection of adjectives
adjectives similar grammatically to nouns root-ending structure (?)


3 grammatic classes 3 genders
4 grammatical moods thematic and athematic vebs
2 grammatical voices tenses’ suffixes
3 grammatical persons and numbers moods similar to PIE
developed system of participles persons’ endings

The PBS language borrowed the main points of grammar from PIE and it is shown above. The several differences are formed in PBS but they aren’t important for its morphology and syntax. It had a big number of words, which were changed like their own native. The grammatical system in PBS was similar to PIE and many other its traits were borrowed too.

The last stage of observation is a comparing of words. This question is widely explored and several phonetic laws were formed which gave a decision that PBS used a lot of borrowed PIE words.

This observation shows that Proto Balto-Slavic (PBS) had the similar grammar and phonological traits because of the migration of Proto-Indo-Europeans. They formed the most part of the Proto-Balto-Slavic language on the base of Indo-European.



This article was written by Ilya Duchanin.

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