AHC/WI: One Slavic Language

How can one Slavic language, with distinctions such as “Polish” “Russian” “Bulgarian” being seen as mere vulgar dialects, be formed, and further what would be the implications of it? Please don’t do some lame cheating like having the dispersion of Slavic peoples be smaller, I’m aiming at having it be around OTL size. Further, what OTL language will this pan Slavic language be the most similar to?
 
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This is very hard to accomplish as the Slavic peoples are dispersed around an immense area, differences will inevitably emerge. Really the only way is to have all the Slavic peoples in a single state. Which is rather hard, especially with the south Slavs being disconnected
 
This is very hard to accomplish as the Slavic peoples are dispersed around an immense area, differences will inevitably emerge. Really the only way is to have all the Slavic peoples in a single state. Which is rather hard, especially with the south Slavs being disconnected

If the Arabs could do it...
 
If the Arabs could do it...

That's pretty much a matter of semantics, though. Moroccan dialect is as different from Iraqi is as different from Egyptian as Russian is from Czech or Serbo-Croatian.
As far as I understand, East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic are each dialect continua that even at their furthest are largely mutually intelligible. While it might be hard for Russians to understand Poles and so on, it's not radically different.

So if for some reason all Slavic people taught Church Slavonic in school and insisted what they spoke was just the local dialect of Slavonic, you'd meet the requirement. If the West Slavs were Orthodox for some reason, it would be possible. Outliers like the Bosniaks would be considered Actually Turks.

Disclaimer: I know Arabic, if not fluently, and am somewhat familiar with a few of its dialects. I don't speak any Slavic languages but I have heard Russian and Ukrainian speakers talk back and forth in their respective languages without missing a beat, which I can guarantee you North Africans and Iraqis could not do without knowing fusha or standard Arabic.
 
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How can one Slavic language, with distinctions such as “Polish” “Russian” “Bulgarian” being seen as mere vulgar dialects, be formed, and further what would be the implications of it? Please don’t do some lame cheating like having the dispersion of Slavic peoples be smaller, I’m aiming at having it be around OTL size. Further, what OTL language will this pan Slavic language be the most similar to?
If you want Slavic languages with roughly the same size and dispersion as OTL, then having this before the 18th century is just about ASB. After that point, we are dealing with the politics of nationalism, panslavism, and its effects on language categorizations. It becomes less of a question of linguistic change to make the Slavic languages more similar and more to do with preventing Slavic political units from emphasizing their differences with each other and creating their own nationalisms. You need a hegemonic Slav state that can essentially say that there is a 'pure Slavic tongue' (depending on the origin of said state) and the rest are vulgar dialects. It is a question of politics mostly. So conjure up a Slav superstate which attempts to standardize the different dialects and languages across a massive space (very difficult task) and build a panslavic system of thought and ta-da.
 
That's pretty much a matter of semantics, though. Moroccan dialect is as different from Iraqi is as different from Egyptian as Russian is from Czech or Serbo-Croatian.
As far as I understand, East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic are each dialect continua that even at their furthest are largely mutually intelligible. While it might be hard for Russians to understand Poles and so on, it's not radically different.

So if for some reason all Slavic people taught Church Slavonic in school and insisted what they spoke was just the local dialect of Slavonic, you'd meet the requirement. If the West Slavs were Orthodox for some reason, it would be possible. Outliers like the Bosniaks would be considered Actually Turks.

Disclaimer: I know Arabic, if not fluently, and am somewhat familiar with a few of its dialects. I don't speak any Slavic languages but I have heard Russian and Ukrainian speakers talk back and forth in their respective languages without missing a beat, which I can guarantee you North Africans and Iraqis could not do without knowing fusha or standard Arabic.

That's what I was intending, of course Polish/Russian/Bulgarian all remain like the Arabic dialects, but in the government buildings and academies from Warsaw to Belgrade to Moscow they all speak one language.
 
You just can't get Slavic speaking area which spans from Poland to Siberia and yet being spoken on Balkans. Different dialects would eventually esparate as different languages. Only way would be that Slavs remain on small area. But this is quiet hard to maintain only one Slavic language. And Slavs begun spread around already quiet early.
 
You just can't get Slavic speaking area which spans from Poland to Siberia and yet being spoken on Balkans. Different dialects would eventually esparate as different languages. Only way would be that Slavs remain on small area. But this is quiet hard to maintain only one Slavic language. And Slavs begun spread around already quiet early.

It depends how you define "language". Of course there will be different dialects, but if there's a common empire controlling the area or a religious/cultural identity, they might consider those to be different dialects of the same language. That can happen even centuries after those dialects diverge, like in the 19th century.
 
That's pretty much a matter of semantics, though. Moroccan dialect is as different from Iraqi is as different from Egyptian as Russian is from Czech or Serbo-Croatian.
As far as I understand, East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic are each dialect continua that even at their furthest are largely mutually intelligible. While it might be hard for Russians to understand Poles and so on, it's not radically different.

So if for some reason all Slavic people taught Church Slavonic in school and insisted what they spoke was just the local dialect of Slavonic, you'd meet the requirement. If the West Slavs were Orthodox for some reason, it would be possible. Outliers like the Bosniaks would be considered Actually Turks.

Disclaimer: I know Arabic, if not fluently, and am somewhat familiar with a few of its dialects. I don't speak any Slavic languages but I have heard Russian and Ukrainian speakers talk back and forth in their respective languages without missing a beat, which I can guarantee you North Africans and Iraqis could not do without knowing fusha or standard Arabic.
AFAIK North Slavic(West+East) and South Slavic form each a dialect continuum.
 
If we look to what is defined as Chinese language we're a cantonese speaker and a mandarin or min speaker cannot understand one another we see that if a common written form is defined as the standard the different verbal forms can coexist in a centralized state.
I know that written chinese doesn't use words like slavic languages but it's possible that the written form evolves into a abugida like the Phags-pa script.
 
That's what I was intending, of course Polish/Russian/Bulgarian all remain like the Arabic dialects, but in the government buildings and academies from Warsaw to Belgrade to Moscow they all speak one language.
What BKW is getting at is that there is already, OTL, greater mutual intelligibility between Slavic "languages" than there is between the most disparate Arabic "dialects".

Even the East-West dichotomy is more based on geography and orthography than a real split.

And the south Slavic "branch" is really only a geographical concept, with Bulgarian being closer to Ukrainian than it is to Slovene, which is closer to Slovak than it is to Bulgarian.

edit: this is an interesting read, although lightly sourced so take it with a grain of salt. Apparently based on levels of mutual intelligibility, Bulgarian is an "east" slavic language, and there are 6 Croatian Languages...


(the article/review takes umbrage with the mutual intelligibility of the Slavic languages, but also blows up the misconceptions of there being 3 neat branches)
 
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AFAIK North Slavic(West+East) and South Slavic form each a dialect continuum.

That somewhat rings a bell, but I'm also recalling that there are blurry lines on the edges of the South Slavic continuum too, and it's just the fact that Hungarian and Romanian-speaking areas separate the South Slavic languages from East and West that makes them particularly distinct
 
That somewhat rings a bell, but I'm also recalling that there are blurry lines on the edges of the South Slavic continuum too, and it's just the fact that Hungarian and Romanian-speaking areas separate the South Slavic languages from East and West that makes them particularly distinct
The south Slavic languages, as defined, aren't particularly distinct. Bulgarian has more mutual intelligibility with Russian than Polish does, for example. Although this is helped by orthography.

"Serbo-Croatian" has almost zero mutual intelligibility with Russian, but then again northwest Serbo-Croatian has almost zero mutual intelligibility with southeast Serbo-Croatian.

@Ierk

The OP's best bet is what's happening right now:


Online Slavic-language speakers are developing a common Slavic language (a Slavic esperanto), with both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets, to create universal intelligibility.

It is telling that the "neutral" Slavic language being developed can be seen as somewhere between Slovak and Slovene (a "west" Slavic language and "south" Slavic language), although it is also quite close to Pannonian Rusyn (a nice euphemism for "Hungarian Ukrainian" which is, in theory, an "east" Slavic language - albeit one spoken in the South Slavic language zone amongst people who are culturally part of a west Slavic ethnicity in Vojvodina...)

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There's also the possibility of Army Slavic developing over time into an effective interslavic with a surviving Austria-Hungary.
 
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A big element in achieving OP goal would be the retention of Slavic dominance in the Carpathian basin to ensure there is no separation between the branches as was seen in otl.
 
How can one Slavic language, with distinctions such as “Polish” “Russian” “Bulgarian” being seen as mere vulgar dialects, be formed, and further what would be the implications of it? Please don’t do some lame cheating like having the dispersion of Slavic peoples be smaller, I’m aiming at having it be around OTL size. Further, what OTL language will this pan Slavic language be the most similar to?

I think the way to go is Byzantine Empire falling in 626, Avars taking Constantinople, solidifying their dominance in region and eventually, slavicizing. You have large Slavic state, spanning at least from Carpathians (they likely had significant influence north of them also) to Aegean Sea, who could dominate also the rest of Slavic lands with further expansion. The official language of that state would IMHO resemble Old Church Slavonic.
 
That's pretty much a matter of semantics, though. Moroccan dialect is as different from Iraqi is as different from Egyptian as Russian is from Czech or Serbo-Croatian.
As far as I understand, East Slavic, West Slavic, and South Slavic are each dialect continua that even at their furthest are largely mutually intelligible. While it might be hard for Russians to understand Poles and so on, it's not radically different.

So if for some reason all Slavic people taught Church Slavonic in school and insisted what they spoke was just the local dialect of Slavonic, you'd meet the requirement. If the West Slavs were Orthodox for some reason, it would be possible. Outliers like the Bosniaks would be considered Actually Turks.

Disclaimer: I know Arabic, if not fluently, and am somewhat familiar with a few of its dialects. I don't speak any Slavic languages but I have heard Russian and Ukrainian speakers talk back and forth in their respective languages without missing a beat, which I can guarantee you North Africans and Iraqis could not do without knowing fusha or standard Arabic.

Same is true for English, which also is umbrella term for several closely related languages, often not mutually inteligible in spoken form.
 
If the Arabs could do it...
They couldn't (BKW already explained it above, but I was going to post roughly the same thing - TLDR Arabic "dialects" differ EXTREMELY and honestly as a linguist I don't understand why they're called "dialects" and not separate languages, people from different countries can't communicate without falling back to fus7a i.e. extremely formal classical Arabic used in the Quran and schooling)

And as someone upthread said, your best bet is doing what the Arabs did, using a classical variant of the language for all schooling and religion. This way you could have a dialect continuum that's more intelligible than Arabic, considering what BKW said about intelligibility - as a Polish person I can confirm Czech is pretty intelligible, Belarusian and Ukrainian are both more intelligible than Russian, and I have no clue about Slovak or the Balkans and as a language nerd I've looked at Mezdusloviansky aka Interslavic and it's pretty intelligible too
 
linguist I don't understand why they're called "dialects" and not separate languages,

AFAICT, as somebody else who is competent in Arabic, it is mainly political and nationalistic reasons and besides, the dialects aren’t as developed as fus7a is.
 
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