2006 | 30 | 97-105
Article title

On one more Source of the Old Baltic Vocabulary

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Work on a dictionary of general Baltic vocabulary conducted at the University in Klaipeda indicates new, thus far unknown, or little utilized sources of vocabulary of the Baltic languages.Taking into account the latest studies on historic lexicology and onomastics of different languages, and based mainly on the dictionary 'Prusskii Yazyk' by W.N. Toporow, the team of authors of the dictionary began a systematic inclusion of Baltic appellatives and onomastics of Baltic origin in the Slavic languages. It is shown that the general Baltic vocabulary comprises also toponomastic lexemes reconstructed on the basis of onomastics (mainly hydronyms) of Baltic origin, which have real lexical equivalents (or roots) in the contemporary dialects of the Baltic languages or in relic forms. According to this principle, the Old Prussian reconstructed form '*alka' was added to the group of common vocabulary of all basic languages, despite the fact that counterpart appellatives are preserved only in the Lithuanian and Latvian languages (cf. Lith. alka/elka and others). Yet this group does not include the Old Prussian reconstructed root ' *ard-', because it is impossible to locate the individual appellative with which one could connect Old Prussian, Lithuanian and Latvian hydronyms and other names comprising this root. On the basis of Baltic lexemes or roots 'recovered' from Slavic onomastics of Baltic origin, one should reconsider also the origin of the (East) Slavic appellatives, which appear in restricted areas and have cognate equivalents only in the Baltic languages (and now - also 'cognate' words in onomastics of Baltic origin). They are still considered ethnic proto-Slavic dialectal words, cf. Ukr. (Polesian) 'bedra', 'lokno', or Russ. (Pskovsk) 'lamy', 'lom' (Pskovsk, Tversk), etc. In the inclusion of the reconstructed old Baltic vocabulary we can obtain more precise approach to semantics, phonetic variants and ancient, often prehistoric, territories of geographical distribution of those elements of the lexicon of the Baltic languages which have real attested appellatives at least in one of the Baltic languages. However, we cannot comment on the reconstruction of new, thus far unknown lexemes.
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  • J.S. Lauciute, Klaipeda University, H. Manto 84, Klaipeda, Lithuania
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