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Reviewed by:
  • Slavica et Islamica: Ukrainian in Context by Andreii Danylenko
  • Robert Orr
Andreii Danylenko. Slavica et Islamica: Ukrainian in Context. Munich: Verlag Otto Sagner 2006, pp. xviii + 460. [Sagners Slavistische Sammlung, 31).

This work (hereafter, SIUC) is an impressive compilation of articles published by Danylenko over the past several years, covering wide scholarly research, including items of interest for linguists of all areas, e.g., historical linguistics, phonology/morphology, sociolinguistics, translation, the linguistics/evolution interface, etc., as well as for historians.1

On one level, SIUC would be difficult to cover in less than its own book-length review. Aside from masses of comment-worthy items, it offers a wide range of valuable commentary on more general topics. Here, therefore, much of the commentary will inevitably center on selected points (e.g., the discussions of the Arabic/East Slavic linguistic interface, Isačenko’s have-be framework, the Igor Tale), though readers might feel that certain topics deserved more detail in a review, and others less.2

Danylenko begins SIUC with a Preface (v–viii), where he offers brief discussions of the topics included, and the reasons for treating them together. He also takes the opportunity to anticipate criticism of his title, which is perhaps not the best choice for the work as a whole, despite his able special pleading (see also below).

The main body of SIUC is divided into four parts with fairly enigmatic titles, headed by epigraphs designed to capture the spirit of the whole. Each of these parts is subdivided into smaller sections, split in turn into almost bite-size tidbits with very clear titles. The resulting table of contents is itself the length of a good-sized review (ix–xv). Even the list of abbreviations of languages cited, including Gaelic, Hittite, Polabian, Old Ossetian, etc. (xvii–xviii) hints at the range of erudition [End Page 277] that Danylenko brings to bear. The work also contains 90 pages of bibliographical references and 40 pages of indexes. Copious footnotes frequently include discussion of major theoretical issues and valuable historical information, e.g., 75, fn. 11 (commentary on Shevelov’s periodization of Indo-European–Common Slavic–Ukrainian and “pro-to-Ukrainian” features therein); 209, fn. 12 (Zaliznjak on Novgorodian as “potentially a fourth grouping of East Slavic”; see also 343, fn. 3). Different sections of SIUC are cross-referenced, e.g., the further discussion of prostaja mova, the Chancery language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, on p. 238, fn. 20 (III.2), outside the section actually dealing with prostaja mova in detail (II.1 and II.2). This review will give overviews of the four major items and then highlight individual smaller sections of interest.

Geographically, Ukraine is located at the center of the area covered by SIUC, a point made at the start of the Preface. A common thread running through SIUC is an emphasis on Ukraine and Ukrainian data and the reexamination of many issues from that angle. See, for example, the brief bit devoted to Ukrainian in Section II.3 (149–51), the discussion of specific Ukrainian issues in the article on the names of the Dnieper rapids, and the three articles in Part IV on issues specifically involving literary Ukrainian. Furthermore, the author most cited in the index is G. Y. Shevelov, the foremost linguist ever produced by Ukraine (not that Danylenko is in thrall to any sort of political Ukrainocentrism in the work). His approach is professional and dispassionate, displaying a solid grasp of the fluctuating nature of ethnicity and ethnic identity, viewed both externally and internally, as in his discussion of how O. O. Potebnja (1935–91) was viewed in Poland and Germany (336–43).

Part I, “Out of the Woodwork” (3–86) collects four major articles dealing with the earliest recorded proper names in East Slavic and their etymologies, especially ethnonyms and toponyms: “The Name Rus’: In search of a new dimension” (3–30), “Urmane, Varjagi, and other peoples in the Cosmography of the Primary Chronicle” (31–57), “The Germans (Němci) in medieval Arabic records” (58–67), and “The names of the Dnieper rapids in Constantine Porphyrogenitus revisited. An attempt at linguistic attribution” (68–86). All make extensive...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0391
Print ISSN
1068-2090
Pages
pp. 277-291
Launched on MUSE
2014-12-21
Open Access
No
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