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Wiktionary:About Proto-Slavic

Accessories-text-editor.svg This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. Specifically it is a policy think tank, working to develop a formal policy.

This page contains guidelines for Proto-Slavic reconstructions - notation, templates, and formatting. Proto-Slavic reconstructions are created in the Reconstruction namespace, as subpages, e.g. Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/melko for the reconstruction *melko.

The term Proto-Slavic on Wiktionary refers to Common Slavic, the imagined last phase of the language that can be reconstructed on the basis of comparative evidence of recorded Slavic languages. That is the form that is most commonly listed in etymological dictionaries and for which editors can create entries.

Early Proto-Slavic reconstructions (the forms with distinctive length, diphthongs, closed syllables etc.) are not supported, but can be mentioned in the etymology sections (see below).


Proto-Slavic on Wiktionary uses the following symbols for reconstructed segments:

Labial Dental Velar Alveolar
Hard p b m v t d l n r k g x s z
Soft (palatal) (see note) ť ď lj nj rj č ž š ś c dz
  • Palatal glide: j
Front e, ь, ě, i, ę
Back o, ъ, a, y, u, ǫ

Deviations from standard notation found in the dictionaries:

  • use *ť and *ď for iotated sequences instead of *tj and *dj
  • use *nj, *rj, *lj instead of *ņ, *ŗ, *ļ, or *ń, *ŕ, *ĺ, or *n', *r', *l'
  • use *ьr/*ъr, *ьl/*ъl instead of *r̥, *l̥
  • use *x, not *ch or *h
  • use *v and not *w
  • use dz and not ʒ
  • use and not ǯ

Consonant clustersEdit

Surface forms are preferred rather than underlying, morphophonological forms, which can be provided as alternatives in the headwords within slashes. This is only relevant in consonant clusters, in the following cases:

  • consonant assimilation, e.g. *melsti instead of *melzti
  • usage of *ť instead of sequences *kt (as well as the non-assimilated form *gt) and *xt before non-velar consonants, i.e. *moťi instead of *mogti, *noťь instead of *noktь
  • usage of *t instead of *pt (*teti instead of *tepti, *delto instead of *delbto)

Prothetic consonantsEdit

Always include prothetic *j- before *ь- and prothetic *v- before *ъ- and *y-. Otherwise, don't write any other prothetic consonants in page names. Optionally provide them in the |head= parameter of the headword-line template as (j) or (v).


  • write epenthetic l, i.e. *čaplja instead of *čapja.

Alternative reconstructionsEdit

Notational considerations listed above make sure that Proto-Slavic reconstructions on Wiktionary conform to the canonical representation. The differences from reconstructions which occur in the literature are of two types:

  1. Differences merely in spelling to represent the same segment, e.g. usage of *tj instead of *ť.
  2. Chronological differences, i.e. the stage of Proto-Slavic being reconstructed is not the same, e.g. Wiktionary canonical form *moťi is the posterior form of *mogti, which is commonly listed in books.

Reconstructed forms covering the second case deserve special treatment. They are to be listed in a separate section that should appear as the very first one below the ==Proto-Slavic== section, like this (an example taken from *moťi):

===Alternative reconstructions===
* {{qualifier|unassimilated form chronologically before the Common Slavic change *gt > ť}}: {{l|sla-pro|*mogti}}, {{l|sla-pro|*mogťi}}

In other words, by using the {{qualifier}} template editor should the describe the difference with Wiktionary form, list alternative reconstructions, and create redirects to the reconstruction page in Wiktionary canonical form.


Accents should not be marked in page names, but should be present in the headword line with |head= parameter and in links. We use the notation found in Wikipedia Proto-Slavic), which is similar to Derksen (2008) Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon but also marks the neoacute separately from other accents. The following symbols are used (where a stands for an originally long vowel, i.e. a ě i u y ę ǫ; o stands for an originally short vowel, i.e. e o ь ъ; and or stands for a liquid diphthong, i.e. el ol ьl ъl er or ьr ъr):

Accent Meaning
ȍ original short accent
ȃ ȏ ȏr circumflex accent, including on originally short vowels in monosyllables (lengthened from original short accent)
à òr original acute accent; only on original long vowels and liquid diphthongs
ã õ õr neoacute accent (retracted from a following syllable due to Ivšić's law)
ā ōr vowel length in unaccented syllables

The following table helps map between various notational systems (not all of which are completely equivalent to each other):

Traditional accent Context Traditional (WT:ASLA) Leiden school (Derksen 2008) Our notation
Old short original short vowel, "monosyllable" ȍ ȏ ȏ
Old short original short vowel, non-"monosyllable" ȍ ȍ ȍ
Old circumflex original long vowel or liquid diphthong, "monosyllable" ȃ, ȏr ȃ, ȏr ȃ, ȏr
Old circumflex original long vowel or liquid diphthong, non-"monosyllable" ȃ, ȏr ȁ, ȍr ȁ, ȍr
Old acute original long vowel or liquid diphthong a̋, őr à, òr à, òr
Neoacute original short vowel ò ò õ
Neoacute original long vowel or liquid diphthong ã, õr á, ór ã, õr
Final accented syllable, short original long or short vowel a̍, o̍ à, ò à, ò
Final accented syllable, long original long vowel á á

Mark accent paradigm just above the inflection table like this:

Accent paradigm X.

where X is a, b or c.

Format of entriesEdit

This section discusses format of entries without etymologies, list of descendants and references (on which see below).


The following is a template for new nouns:






The first optional positional parameter to the template {{sla-noun}} is the gender. Additional parameter |g2= can be used to indicate plurality in case of singularia/pluralia tantum. Optional parameter |head= can be used to provide alternative display for the headword in the headword line, which can be used to indicate accent.

For the declension of nouns a single template is used: {{sla-decl-noun}}. This template automatically generates appropriate declension table for all a-stem and o-stem nouns. For i-stem nouns additional parameter for gender is needed |g=, which can take two values, m for the masculine and f for the feminine.

For consonant-stem nouns (which mostly already have Proto-Slavic reconstructions created) additional parameter |stem= is needed to specify stem type (see the table below for examples).

Additionally, three optional parameters are available:

  • for uncountable nouns |unc= and pluralia tantum: |plurt=. They don't take any specific value, you just need to specify them by name. For uncountable nouns only singular forms will be listed, and for pluralia tantum only plural forms will be listed in the declension table.
  • |recons= to fix base (nominative singular) form to something other than the page name to provide multiple consecutive declensions. This is useful when the evidence of reflexes in the daughters is divergent and the original reconstruction cannot be determined with certainty. When there are truly variant forms of the reconstruction reconstructible, with the same meaning, they should be separated in individual articles (e.g. *olni and *olnę).

Usage for various stem types is illustrated in the following table:

Commonly used stem types (95% of all cases)
Stem type Example lemma Example template usage Notes
a-stem hard *koramore {{sla-decl-noun}} feminines ending in -a preceded by a hard, non-palatal consonant
soft *ovьcamore {{sla-decl-noun}} feminines ending in -a preceded by a soft, palatal consonant
o-stem masculine, hard *bogъmore {{sla-decl-noun}} masculines ending in -ъ (except a limited number of u-stem masculines)
masculine, soft *otьcьmore {{sla-decl-noun}} masculines ending in -ь preceded by a palatal
neuter, hard *melkomore {{sla-decl-noun}} neuters ending in -o (except the few neuters that are inflected as s-stems)
neuter, soft *sьrdьcemore {{sla-decl-noun}} neuters ending in -e
i-stem masculine *golǫbьmore {{sla-decl-noun|g=m}} masculines ending in -ь preceded by a hard, non-palatal consonant (except a limited number of such nouns belonging to the n-stem paradigm)
feminine *gǫsьmore {{sla-decl-noun|g=f}} feminines ending in -ь
Rarely used stem types
Stem type Example lemma Example template usage Notes
n-stem masculine *elenьmore
a limited number of masculines
neuter *sěmęmore {{sla-decl-noun|stem=n}} a limited number of neuters ending in
(n)t-stem *agnęmore {{sla-decl-noun|stem=nt}} neuters in denoting a young of an animal or human
r-stem *matimore {{sla-decl-noun}} used only for two nouns: *mati and *dъťi
s-stem hard *okomore {{sla-decl-noun|stem=s}} a limited number of neuters in -o
soft *licemore {{sla-decl-noun|stem=s}} a limited number of neuters in -e
u-stem *dǫbъmore {{sla-decl-noun|stem=u}} a limited number of masculines in -ъ
v-stem *cьrkymore
{{sla-decl-noun|stem=v}} a limited number of feminines in -y

Soft, palatal consonants are: *ť *ď, *č, *ž, *š, *c, *lj *nj *rj, *j. Hard, nonpalatal consonants are the ones that are not soft, palatal consonants.


The following is a template for new adjectives:






The first optional positional parameter to the template {{sla-adj}} is the comparative form of the adjective. Second optional positional parameter is available for adjectives that can have two comparative forms. Optional parameter |head= can be used to provide alternative display for the headword in the headword line, which can be used to indicate accent.

Templates available for the declension of adjectives are categorized in Category:Proto-Slavic adjective inflection-table templates. They are listed in the following table:

Stem type Example lemma Example template usage Notes
hard stem *dobrъ {{sla-decl-adj-hard|do|br}}more The last two letters of the reconstruction are the second positional parameter, the remainder of the stem is the first.
soft stem *velьjь {{sla-decl-adj-soft|velь|j}}more If the stem ends in consonant or consonant clusters that is covered by first palatalization (k, g, x, sk, zg, c, dz, sc, zdz), then this consonant or consonant cluster should be provided as the second parameter, and the first parameter should be the rest of the stem.
comparatives *novějь {{sla-decl-adj-comp|nově|j}}more




Etymologies are added as a L3 header. If the editor doesn't know anything at all about the etymology of Proto-Slavic reconstruction, they should use the following template to request it:


General considerations regarding the formatting and the manual of style for etymologies are described at WT:ETYM, and first-time editors are encouraged to study that page first.

Cognates should be listed first for Baltic languages (if they exist), and then for other Indo-European languages (if they exist).

Template for inheritance from Proto-Balto-Slavic and Proto-Indo-European:

From {{inh|sla-pro|ine-bsl-pro|*}}, from {{inh|sla-pro|ine-pro|*}}.

Template for loanwords, e.g. from Proto-Germanic:


Other useful language family codes are trk for Turkic languages, and ira for Iranian languages.

Proto-Balto-Slavic stage should be omitted when there is no attestation in Baltic languages. In case the editor doesn't have Proto-Balto-Slavic reconstruction available, they can skip that stage and directly list Proto-Indo-European reconstruction.

Etymology section should also contain discussion on sound changes that have occurred, possible semantic shifts, possible problems with the reconstruction or the origin thereof. Example entries that contain such prosaic discussions that the editor can use as a reference:


Descendants are added as a L4 header. The following is a template that can be copy pasted in new entries:

* East Slavic:
** Old East Slavic: {{l|orv|}}
*** Belarusian: {{l|be|}}
*** Russian: {{l|ru|}}
*** Rusyn: {{l|rue|}}
*** Ukrainian: {{l|uk|}}
** Old Novgorodian: {{l|zle-ono|}}
* South Slavic:
** Old Church Slavonic:
**: Cyrillic: {{l|cu|}}
**: Glagolitic: {{l|cu|}}
*** Church Slavonic (... recension): {{l|cu|}}
** Bulgarian: {{l|bg|}}
** Macedonian: {{l|mk|}}
** Serbo-Croatian:
**: Cyrillic: {{l|sh|}}
**: Latin: {{l|sh|}}
*** Molise Croatian: {{l|svm|}}
** Slovene: {{l|sl|}}
* West Slavic:
** Czech: {{l|cs|}}
** Kashubian: {{l|csb|}}
** Knaanic: {{l|czk||tr=}}
** Polabian: {{l|pox|}}
** Polish: {{l|pl|}}
** Silesian: {{l|szl|}}
** Slovak: {{l|sk|}}
** Slovincian: {{l|zlw-slv|}}
** Sorbian:
*** Lower Sorbian: {{l|dsb|}}
*** Upper Sorbian: {{l|hsb|}}
* Non-Slavic languages:
** Albanian: {{l|sq|}}
** Hungarian: {{l|hu|}}
** Romanian: {{l|ro|}}


  • In case the editor can provide only transcription (from Cyrillic or Glagolitic), they only needs to fill the |tr= parameter of the respective language, and the entry will be put in the hidden category so that the editors familiar with the script can provide it later.
  • In case the editor can provide native script, for languages that do automatic transliteration (Russian), |tr= parameter is not needed. However, it can be added if the editor cannot provide accent mark in Cyrillic script, but can in Latin transcription.
  • Church Slavonic refers to any national recension. If possible, editors are suggested to mention the name of the recension in the parentheses.
  • Pre-standardized forms of South and West Slavic languages (Old Polish, Old Czech, Middle Bulgarian, Old Serbo-Croatian, Pomeranian) are not listed in the template, but if the editor has their forms available they should add them indented as ancestral forms of the respective word. At the moment only the codes for Old Polish (zlw-opl), Old Czech (zlw-ocs), and Pomeranian (zlw-pom) are available, and the rest should use their modern language code equivalents.
  • In case a language doesn't have the reflex of the Proto-Slavic reconstruction, a dash "—" is used to mark absence of a reflex, or the language may simply be omitted. In case when an entire branch (South, West, or East Slavic) lacks a reflex, individual languages should be removed and a dash should be placed next to the branch name.
  • In case the editor doesn't know whether the word was attested or not in a particular language, they should list the language name followed by a colon, or the language may simply be omitted.
  • There shouldn't be any unnecessary remarks in parentheses on whether the word is archaic, obsolete, non-standard, dialectal, or similar. That kind of information belongs to entries.
  • The final clade Non-Slavic languages: is for non-Slavic languages that the word has been borrowed into, and for which the exact origin cannot be determined (usually due to the fact that the word has been borrowed in prehistoric times, or when individual Slavic languages as they are understood today didn't exist). These are sorted alphabetically. When the exact source language or source branch is known, group the descendant indented for one level below the etymon and use the arrow symbol before the language name to indicate that the word is not inherited, but borrowed.


References should be provided in the L3 section called ===References=== at the end of the entry. Creative effort by editors is strongly discouraged, due to the fact that large parts of vocabulary of modern Slavic languages were artificially standardized in the last few centuries, and during that period many words or morphological patterns to create words with similar/identical meaning were freely borrowed by lexicographers, and what appears to be an "obvious" Proto-Slavic word can easily be a later creation/borrowing in the historical period.

Templates to be used as references are listed in the category: Category:Proto-Slavic reference templates. There are three basic types of references:

  • dictionaries of Proto-Slavic
  • etymological dictionaries of individual Slavic languages
  • historical/comparative grammars of Slavic languages

References to such works should not be added directly, but by means of templates. Only in case when a template is not available should the editor list the reference as pure text, with the author, name of work, year of publishing, page number, and volume, in case of multi-volume works. Available references are listed in the following table:

Dictionaries of Proto-Slavic
Reference template Work Notes
{{R:Derksen 2008|}} Rick Derksen, Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, Brill: Leiden-Boston, 2008 The first positional parameter is page number.
{{R:sla:ESSJa|recons=|page-left=___|page-right=___|page=|vol=__}} Олег Трубачёв, ред. (1974–), Этимологический словарь славянских языков (Москва: Наука) recons= is the reconstruction with an asterisk as a headword in the dictionary, |page_left= and |page_right= are three-digit (pad with zeros to the left) page numbers of the left and right side where the entry is located so that a proper URL to online version of ESSJa can be generated (two possible combinations exist, try both to see which one works), |vol= is a two digit (pad with zeros to the left) volume number, in Hindu-Arabic numerals.
{{R:sla:SP|page=|vol=}} Franciszek Sławski (ed.). (1974–2001), Słownik prasłowiański (Wrocław : Polskiej Akademii Nauk)
Etymological dictionaries of individual languages
Reference template Work Notes
{{R:ru:Vasmer|}} М. Фасмер (1986), Этимологический Словарь Русского Языка (Москва: Прогресс), 2-е изд. — Перевод с немецкого и дополнения О.Н. Трубачёва The first positional parameter is the Russian word.
{{R:sh:Skok1971|vol=|page=}} Petar Skok (1971), Etimologijski rječnik hrvatskoga ili srpskoga jezika, JAZU: Zagreb
{{R:uk:ESUM|vol=|page=}} О. С. Мельничук (гол. ред.) (1982-2006), Етимологічний словник української мови, Наукова думка vol= for volume (Hindu-Arabic numeral), page= for page number
Historical/comparative grammars of Slavic languages
{{R:sh:PPGHJ|}} Ranko Matsović (2008), Poredbenopovijesna gramatika hrvatskog jezika, Matica hrvatska: Zagreb
Reference template Work Notes

Checking spellingsEdit

When adding Proto-Slavic reconstructions it can be time consuming to check various spellings or look up accents in different languages since many dictionaries that list those employ various non-standard (i.e. scholarly) transcriptions instead of the usual orthography. Here is a list of online resources that can save time:

Language name Web resource
Serbo-Croatian Hrvatski jezični portal (Croatian i.e. Ijekavian only, Latin input) (requires free registration, accepts both Cyrillic and Latin input, extremely comprehensive, both Ijekavian and Ekavian)
Slovene Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika
Czech Slovník spisovného jazyka českého
Příruční slovník jazyka českého
Slovak Krátky slovník slovenského jazyka, 2003; Pravidlá slovenského pravopisu, 2013
Upper Sorbian Upper Sorbian-German
Upper Sorbian-German (can accept wildcards)
Lower Sorbian German-Lower Sorbian
Lower Sorbian-German