Historical lexicology, historical lexicography and historical grammar


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

Lexicology, Lexicography, Gramaticography

Course code: 58

Year of study: Brez letnika 

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Andreja Legan Ravnikar, Ph.D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective 

Languages: Slovene 

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussion classes 


Course Syllabus

Content (Syllabus outline)

1. Historical lexicology

  • Introduction (lexeme, structure and meaning). Synchronic and diachronic methodology;
  • Semantics in historical linguistics. Intralexical semantic relations: monosemy, polysemy (semantic envelopment, semantic transference). Interlexical semantic relations (synonymy, antonymy, hyper-, hyponymy). External lexical links: homonymy, paronymy;
  • Word formation in historical linguistics (word families, word-formational processes, derivational patterns);
  • The dynamics of lexical and non-lexical borrowing (loanwords) in the history of the Slovene language. Calquing;
  • Set phrases, phraseological units, terminological phrases in linguistic history;
  • Stylistic value in synchrony and diachrony: neutral and stylistically marked words, temporally marked words.


2. Historical lexicography

  • Introduction (lexical entry, headword, structure and typology of historical dictionaries). Methodological peculiarities of historical lexicography;
  • The question of language material in historical lexicography. Textual sources from different periods in the development of the Slovenian language;
  • The assignment of word class and other grammatical features in the categorisation of headwords;
  • Labeling and sense discrimination in a historical dictionary;
  • Explanation of meaning, subsense and semantic nuances. Phraseological and terminological units. Etymological explanations in a historical dictionary (relevant examples);
  • The special role of cross-references in a historical dictionary (phonetic variants, graphic, morphological and word-formational variant forms). Cross-referencing entries;
  • Illustration of meaning (selection principles, editorial redaction);
  • Responsibilities of contemporary Slovene historical lexicography.


3. Selected chapters in historical grammar of Slovene

  • Medieval literature (10th century – 1st half of the 16th century);
  • Reformation (1550–1600);
  • Catholic Revival (1600–1758);
  • Enlightenment (1758–1808);
  • The Age of Purism (1808–1850);
  • The formation of the standard language (up to 1918).


Seminar classes

Seminar classes accompany the lectures and complement them by exploring individual chapters covered by the course syllabus. The main objective is to provide the opportunity for the student to do lexicographical work: the analysis of intralexical semantic relationships and the relationships between the lexemes pertaining to the older stages of the standard language, identification of contextual meaning, presentation of the lexeme’s phonological, written and morphological form, formative patterns, stylistic use, borrowing. PowerPoint presentations.


Cross-curricular integration

A good knowledge of Slovene on all linguistic levels as well as basic knowledge of contemporary lexicology, contemporary lexicography (the 20th century: SSKJ), and both contemporary and historical grammar of Slovene (including text genres) is required. The course is particularly well integrated in the programme and is especially relevant for a better understanding of lexicology and lexicography of the Slovene language, the history of Slovene lexicography and lexicology, and the use of language technologies, which support and modify the work of a contemporary lexicographer. The course is also relevant for Slovene cultural and ecclesiastical history, history of literature, and various other fields in linguistic research such as sociolinguistics, textual linguistics, stylistics, terminology, phraseology, and etymology.



The following list contains basic secondary literature. A series of additional readings for individual lectures and/or seminars will be supplied subsequently.

  • Ahačič, Kozma. 2007. Zgodovina misli o jeziku in književnosti na Slovenskem: protestantizem. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica 18).
  • Ahačič, Kozma. 2012. Zgodovina misli o jeziku in književnosti na Slovenskem: katoliška doba. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica 28).
  • Breznik, Anton. 1982. Jezikoslovne razprave. Ur. Jože Toporišič. Ljubljana: Slovenska matica.
  • Filipović, Rudolf. 1986. Teorija jezika u kontaktu: uvod u lingvistiku jezičnih dodira. Zagreb: JAZU, Školska knjiga.
  • Greenberg, Marc L. 2002. Zgodovinsko glasoslovje slovenskega jezika. Maribor: Aristej. = A Historical Phonology of the Slovene Language. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 2000.
  • Hock, Hans Henrich. 21991. Principles of Historical Linguistics. Berlin – New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Joseph, Brian D. – Janda, Richard D. 2005. The handbook of historical linguistics. Malden (MA), Oxford (UK), Carlton (Australia): Blackwell.
  • Legan Ravnikar, Andreja. 2008. Slovenska krščanska terminologija: od Brižinskih spomenikov do srede 19. stoletja. Ljubljana: ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Lingua Slovenica 4).
  • Merše, Majda. 2009. Slovenski knjižni jezik 16. stoletja: razprave o oblikoslovju, besedotvorju, glasoslovju in pravopisu. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica 23).
  • Merše, Majda. 2013. Slovenski knjižni jezik 16. stoletja: razprave o jezikovnem sistemu, besedju in prevodni problematiki. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica 29)
  • Novak, France. 2004. Samostalniška večpomenskost v jeziku slovenskih protestantskih piscev. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica).
  • Orožen, Martina. 1996. Poglavja iz zgodovine slovenskega knjižnega jezika (Od Brižinskih spomenikov do Kopitarja). Ljubljana: Filozofska fakulteta.
  • Orožen, Martina. 2010. Kulturološki pogled na razvoj slovenskega knjižnega jezika: od sistema k besedilu, Maribor: Mednarodna založba Oddelka za slovanske jezike in književnosti, Filozofska fakulteta (Mednarodna knjižna zbirka Zora, 74).
  • Pogorelec, Breda. 2011. Zgodovina slovenskega knjižnega jezika: jezikoslovni spisi I. Ur. Kozma Ahačič. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete.
  • Ramovš, Fran. 1997. Zbrano delo 2: razprave in članki. Ur. Jože Toporišič. Ljubljana: SAZU.
  • Rigler, Jakob. 1963. Začetki slovenskega knjižnega jezika. Ljubljana: SAZU.
  • Striedter-Temps, Hildegard. 1963. Deutsche Lehnwörter im Slovenischen. Berlin, Wiesbaden: Im Kommision bei Otto Harrasowitz.
  • Škrabec, Stanislav. 1994–1998. Jezikoslovna dela 1–4. Ur. Jože Toporišič. Nova Gorica: Frančiškanski samostan Kostanjevica.
  • Toporišič, Jože. 2006. Besedjeslovne razprave. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Zbirka Linguistica et philologica 13).
  • Vidovič Muha, Ada. 2013. Slovensko leksikalno pomenoslovje. 2., dopolnjena izd. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete. (Razprave FF).


Objectives and competences

The aim of the post-graduate course on historical lexicology is the acquisition of basic concepts: lexeme – word, lexical meaning of older Slovenian lexis (temporal markedness), semantic relations within lexemes (polysemy, types of semantic transfers) and between them (synonymy, antonymy, homonymy, etc.), methods of determining lexical meaning and recognizing stylistic etc. markedness (e.g. expressiveness) of older lexis. Based on examples from Slovenian texts from the 16th to the end of the 19th century and from older Slovenian dictionaries, students will learn about the characteristics of historical vocabulary, i.e. the relationship between domestic and borrowed words, developmental dynamics of word formation and formation of word families, formation of idioms and developmental changes, historical terminology. By independent lexicographical analysis of historical words in the seminar, students will learn about the practical dilemmas of editorial work (based on the example of the explanatory Dictionary of the 16th-Century Slovenian Literary Language (SSKJ16)), which are different from those faced by the editors of a synchronic dictionary of a modern language due to the great temporal remoteness of linguistic material. In the third part, the focus is on selected chapters on phonology and morphology of the Slovenian (literary) language of the 16th century. The acquired knowledge will increase the understanding of the oldest literary Slovenian on the basic levels of the language system and equip the listener with the necessary competencies for potential editorial work at SSKJ16.


Intended learning outcomes

  • Specific problems of historical linguistics – lexicology;
  • The problems of lexicographical description (recension) of the historical lexicon;
  • Practical classes in lexicography;
  • Knowledge of semantic, word-formational and other characteristics of older Slovene standard lexicon;
  • Understanding and integration of various facts of historical linguistics in the preparation of the seminar paper.



Long written assignments (80 %), Final examination (written/oral) (20 %).


Historical lexicology, historical lexicography and historical grammar

Assist. Prof. Andreja Legan Ravnikar, Ph.D.,


Lexicology, lexicography, contemporary grammar

Assoc. Prof. Nataša Jakop, Ph.D.,

Prof. Andreja Žele, Ph. D. ,


Linguistic normativity and the sociolinguistic aspect of dictionaries, grammars and orthographic dictionaries

Assist. Prof. Nataša Gliha Komac, Ph.D.,

Assoc. Prof. Helena Dobrovoljc, Ph. D.,


Terminology and terminography

Assist. Prof. Mojca Žagar Karer, Ph. D. ,

Assist. Prof. Mateja Jemec Tomazin, Ph. D. ,