Questions about Church Slavonic
This page contains questions that I have about Church Slavonic. As
they are answered, I will put the answers here, as well. Note: these
are the same questions that are posted on various pages throughout the
site, gathered here for easy reference. If you know the answers to
any of these questions, please e-mail me.
- How are passive participles formed?
- What are the correct spellings of the letter names? There are many
inconsistencies in the resources I have. They different in spelling
and in placement of stress. For example, Luke 1:34 has <kakw>,
but D'jachenko has <kako>. One book has the stress in
<mysljete> on the first syllable, another has the stress on the
second syllable. Are these just mistakes in the books or have these
changed over time?
- Are the meanings of the letter names correct?
- Is <kakw> a neutral consonant?
- Is <nash"> a neutral consonant?
- Is <pokoj> a neutral consonant?
- Is <rcy> a dental (not apico-alveolar) consonant?
- Is <ljudi> apico-dental?
- Do <jer"> and <jer'> indicate any pronunciation
information other than the hardness or softness of the preceding
- Does <jus malyj> cause palatalization of a preceding neutral
consonant (when <jus malyj> is not in syllable initial
position)? E.g. <imja> is palatalized (and pronounced "eemyah"),
while <nashja> is not palatalized and is pronounced the same as
- What are the exact rules of usage for </apostrof">?
- What is the <kav/yka> used for?
- Is the <kr/atkaja> ever used other than with the letter
<izhe>? What exactly does it do to the pronunciation?
- When is <erok"> used? What rules or historical circumstances
govern its use? (Why is it used so infrequently? Why bother to
abbreviate a hard sign? Was it just for decorative purposes?)
- What are the names of these letters? What is their history? How are/were
they used? Anything you can tell me about them would be appreciated.
- Is the version of <Vzhica> with the special accent used only
as a vowel? Is it supposed to be used every time is <Vzhica> is
used as a vowel or are there rules governing its use?
- What is the relationship between <uk"> and <Vzhica>?
It appears that both of them derive from the Greek letter upsilon. How
did they become separate letters?
First Declension Nouns
- Are the declensions for <bog"> and <carstvie> correct?
If so, why does are the accusative and instrumental plural
<bwgi> instead of <bogi>?
- Why do the nominative, accusative, and instrumental plural forms
of <car'> have a varia accent instead of a kamora accent, even
though they are identical to the prepositional singular form?
- Are there consonants other than <zhivete> that use the
- Does the "mixed" declension occur because a stem ending in a front
(e.g. palato-alveolar) consonant (such as <zhivete>) causes the
following vowel to be fronted? (e.g. <zho> --> <zhe>)
Fourth Declension Nouns
- Is <oko> a fourth declension noun? Why is its plural form
<ochi> (or is this its dual form)? Why is the plural not
<ochesa> (or <ochesi> if it is a dual form)?
The Verb <byti>
- What is the relationship of the verb <byvati> to the verb
- When do the dual forms of <byti> end in the letter <jat'>
instead of the letter <az">
- Why do some of the of the 1st and 3rd person singular forms end in
a hard sign and some end in a soft sign? I would have expected the
endings to be the same.
- One source gives <dadite> as the 2nd person plural of
<dati>. I assume this is because <dati> is perfective so
the 2nd person plural has imperative force and is therefore replaced
by an imperative form. Is this correct? Which form is more commonly
- What are the rules for using the <o> suffix on single-letter
prepositions (e.g. v" and vo, s" and so, k" and ko, etc.)?
- Why is <vo vjeki vjekwv"> used in one place (e.g. <slava
i nynje>); and <v" vjeki vjekwv"> used in another (e.g. Psalm
83:5)? Psalm 47:15 has both in the same verse, <vo vjek" i v" vjek"
vjeka>. What is going on?
- Is there a difference between <jakw> and
- What part of speech is the <i> in <jakozhe i>?
- How are adjectival nouns distinguished from abstract nouns?
E.g. How would "Deliver us from evil [in the abstract]" differ from
"Deliver us from the evil one"?
- Does same ambiguity/controversy (i.e. "daily/necessary" vs.
"supersubstantial") that surrounds the Greek "epiousios" apply to
Prayer after Meals
- What part of speech is <i> (meaning "even", "also")?
- Is <prishel> the perfect form of <priiti>? If so, why
does the <d> in the stem of <priiti> turn into
St. Symeon's Prayer
- When does the second person present tense have imperative mood (as
- What rule transforms <wtpustiti> into
- In general, how can you determine the gender/declension of proper
nouns and loan words?
- Is <ljudie> a collective noun? Is the genitive plural,
<ljudej>, better translated as "of people" or "of peoples"? Does
it have singular grammatical forms or are the plural forms always
- What grammatical form is <vidjestje>?
O Heavenly King
- What is <ispolnjajaj>? It looks like some kind of
participle, but I couldn't find any tables that listed a form exactly
- Since <sha> is a hard consonant, is <nashja> pronounced
as though it were written <nasha>?