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 

Objectives and competences

The course is devised as an outline of Slovene historical (diachronic) linguistics and is planned in three consecutive and tightly related thematic sections. The following basic specialist terminology will be introduced: lexeme, intra- and interlexical semantic relations; closed- and open-class words; stylistically marked and stylistically neutral vocabulary – with particular emphasis being placed on temporal markedness and functional variety. The student will learn to recognise and comprehend the characteristics of the historical Slovene lexicon, based on relevant examples from 16th to 19th century texts in their sociolinguistic and culturological context. This will include native and borrowed lexical material, word families, phraseological units, and historical terminology. Sessions devoted to lexicography (the compilation of the explanatory dictionary of 16th century Slovene will be given special consideration) will bring the student’s attention to specific problems in historical lexicography which, unlike lexicographical research of the contemporary language, deals with archaic language material. The third section is devoted to selected chapters in the history of the Slovene language.


Competences and 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. 


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.


Suggested readings and learning tools:

The following list contains basic secondary literature (selected chapters only). A series of additional, non-compulsory 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 (Linguistica et  philologica 18).
  • Ahačič, Kozma. 2012. Zgodovina misli o jeziku in književnosti na Slovenskem: katoliška doba. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (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 (Lingua Slovenica 4).
  • Merše, Majda. 2009. Slovenski knjižni jezik 16. stoletja : razprave o oblikoslovju, besedotvorju, glasoslovju in pravopisu. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Linguistica et  philologica 23).
  • Merše, Majda. 2013. Slovenski knjižni jezik 16. stoletja : razprave o jezikovnem sistemu, besedju in prevodni problematiki. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Linguistica et  philologica 29) 
  • Novak, France. 2004. Samostalniška večpomenskost v jeziku slovenskih protestantskih piscev. Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (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. Kozma Ahačič (ed.). Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete.
  • Ramovš, Fran. 1997. Zbrano delo 2: razprave in članki. Jože Toporišič (ed.). 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. Jože Toporišič (ed.). Nova Gorica: Frančiškanski samostan Kostanjevica.
  • Toporišič, Jože. 2006. Besedjeslovne razprave. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU (Linguistica et philologica 13).
  • Vidovič Muha, Ada. 2013. Slovensko leksikalno pomenoslovje. 2., dopolnjena izd. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete. 

Student resposnibilities and assessment:

  • Active participation in lectures and seminar classes; seminar paper (8–10 pages).
  • The oral exam covers the entire course content.


Teaching requirements:

Staff requirements:

  • Qualified instructor; visiting lecturers and reserchers.

Teaching resources:

  • Classroom, 
  • AV equipment, internet.


Historical lexicology, historical lexicography and historical grammar ǀ

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


Lexicology, lexicography, contemporary grammar ǀ

Assist. Prof. Nataša Jakop, Ph.D.,