Contribution of Miklošič to the formation of literary Slovenian

  • Martina Orožen
Keywords: Contribution of Miklošič to the formation of literary Slovenian


Not enough light has yet been shed on Miklošič's contribution to the formation of the Slovene literary language, nor has his achievement been sufficiently evaluated. His influence on the theoretical basis of the literary norm and on the actual formation of the modern literary language lasted at least half a century (from 1849 to 1916). Miklošič's personality as well as his work ope.ned three important lines of research for Slovene linguistics and for the cultivation of the Slovene language. 1. In his practical work as translator and editor (Obće dedavljanski zakonik; Slovensko berilo) Miklosic introduced, in the early fifties, "new forms" into the literary language, and won for them the young generation of students, who established them in journalism and belles lettres. Thereby, the fundamental step, based on synchronic considerations, was taken towards a more uniform grammatical structure of the literary language. (The "new forms" were used in some botder regions within the Slovene speaking area.) 2. Miklošič 's scientific research method opened up new research fields not only for Slavic, but also for Slovene studies. Under Miklošič's guidance his students were encouraged to study language history (the Pannonian theory) and dialectology, and to describe morphological and syntactic categories of the modern literary language. 3. The application of Miklošič 's historico-comparative linguistic method to the normative description of the modern language (J anežič's grammar of 1863) resulted in an "ideal" etymological/historical orthography for the literary language and contributed to the lasting stability of its morphological system. In some respects this led to considerable recession into the dead past of the language (appeal to Old Church Slavonic and 16th century Slovene). The incorporation into Slovene of Croatian Kajkavian linguistic characteristics as well as the availability of the language features of East Slovenia (Prekmurje, Prlekija) provided a wide choice of morphological and syntactic alternatives less known or even unknown in the central speech area; some of them partly established themselves in 19th century texts. But these were extremes, and as such rejected by Miklosic as early as the fifties. In his practical and theoretical work he made it perfectly clear that it is imperative to observe the distinction between "old" and "new" Slovene, and that no mixing of diachronic and synchronic language phenomena can be tolerated. More explicit views on questions concerning the literary language and its history were advanced by Miklošič's students (Škrabec, Oblak, Breznik) only after his death (1891) at the end of the 19th century.



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How to Cite
OroženM. (1972). Contribution of Miklošič to the formation of literary Slovenian. Linguistica, 12(1), 157-171.