'ZPRAWA PJSMA SLOWENSKEHO' (1696) BY TOBIAS MASNICIUS AND THE PROBLEM OF SLOVAK IDENTITY
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'Zprawa pjsma slowenskeho' (1696) by Tobias M a s n i c i u s is the first Slovak secular publication printed in Slovakia (on its actual territory). Its Latin 'Praefatio', alongside a Latin foreword in D. Sinapius' 'Neo-Forum latino-slavonicum', gives an expression to the experience of two authors acquired during their religious exile. Both found that while the intellectual Europe had detailed knowledge concerning the Slavonic languages of Europe and Asia, there was no knowledge of the existence of the Slovak language and people. Both authors felt, that this was caused by their own people themselves, since writers of Slovak origin switched to other ethnic identities and subsequently told 'calumnies', meaning 'gossip' or 'slights' about their own 'Mother', i e their own people and language. 'Zprawa' is - in the present interpretation - a 'message' meant to signal the existence of the Slovak people as distinct from the Czech, and their use of the Czech literary language as their own standard language. 'Zprawa was thus the initial point of the writing and compiling of the Slovak grammars. It was followed immediately by grammars written by Masnicius' nephew Daniel Krman: Krman coined the term 'lingua slavico-bohemica' for this literary language, and compiled an extensive grammar for it (which remains unpublished until today, with the ms. stored in the old 'Lyceum' library in Bratislava). Krman himself was unable to complete a second grammar, having been given a life sentence by the Counter-reformation authorities, and died in prison. This grammar tradition culminated in the 'Grammatica Slavico-Bohemica', Posonii (Bratislava) 1746 by Krman´s follower Paul Dolezal (Doleschalius. Dolezal uncovered the structuring principles underlying both the verbal (6 classes) and the nominal.
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