The Marcho-Magdeburgian dialect,[1] Old March and Magdeburg dialect[2] is an extinct Slavic Lechitic dialect spoken by Slavic tribes living in the Old March and around Magdeburg.[2] Linguistically, the dialect was particularly related to the Drevani language used until the 18th century in Wendland and belonged to the West Lechitic dialects.[1]


Development of vowels and sonants

Proto-Slavic nasal vowels were preserved - gave ą̊, e.g. Bombeck, Dambeke < PS *Bǫbъkъ, *Dǫbъkъ, and *ę gave narrow ę̇, e.g. Prinzlowe, Wenzlow < PS *Prędislavъ, *Vęťeslavъ.[3] There are also traces of Lechitic apophony nasals: Randowe < PS *Rędovo.[4]

Proto-Slavic also yielded to Lechitic apophony – it gave a before the hard dental consonants, e.g. Gnadau, Latzke < PS *Gnědovo, *Lěsъko, and in other positions it gave e, e.g. Belin, Pechowe < PS *Bělinъ, *Pěxovo.[5]

Proto-Slavic *e essentially gave e, although before the originally palatal consonants there was a tendency to narrow the pronunciation to ė, e.g. Britzin, Popeliz < PS *Berzinъ, *Popelicě.[6]

The Proto-Slavic *i essentially gives i, e.g. Klinkov, Sydowe < PS *Klinъkovъ, *Židovo, but in the position before l it is reduced to e, e.g. Melcowe < PS *Milъkovo.[7] Proto-Slavic *y is presented in a similar way, e.g. Dipkowe, Synowe < PS *Dypъkovo, *Synovo, and the yl group, like il, is rendered by el, e.g. Kubelke, Motelicze < PS *Kobylъky, *Motylicě.[7]

The Proto-Slavic *a gave a, e.g. Cracowe, Gaddow < PS *Krakovo, *Gadovo, however, since the 10th century, a (including that formed from other Proto-Slavic sounds) has been labialized to o, e.g. Boben, Dontze, Sodin < PS *Babinъ, *Donicě, *Sadinъ.[8] It developed differently only in the *ja- group, which gave je-, e.g. jeggowe < PS *Jajьkovo.[9]

The Proto-Slavic *o has narrowed to ȯ, as evidenced by the frequent spelling with ⟨u⟩, e.g. Drozdowe or Drusdowe < PS *Drozdovo.[10] However, the bifurcation of *o into ö/ü, characteristic of the Drevani area, is missing.[10] The anlaut *o- has been provided with a prosthetic v-, e.g. Wustrewe, Wutzow < PS *Ostrovъ, *Osovъ, while in front of palatal consonants this group passed into vi-, as in Polabian, e.g. Wilnitz, Wiebelitz < PS *Voľьnica, *Oblica.[11]

The Proto-Slavic *u most likely did not change its pronunciation and is continued by u, e.g. Bukowe, Lubicz < PS *Bukovo, *Ľubičь.[12]

Yers in weak position disappeared,[13] while in the strong position gave e, e.g. Zwinez < PS *Svinьcь, and *ъ gave o, e.g. Zerkow < PS *Cŕ̥kъvь.[13] The separate development of the two yers is a feature that coincides with the Drevani and Rani areas, and definitely distinguishes the Old March and Magdeburg dialects from the Polish and Pomeranian areas, where both yers produce a vowel of the same color.

Spellings such as Bukowe, Drozdowe attest to the reduction of the final vowel – similar processes also occurred in the Drevani and Rani areas.[14]

The Proto-Slavic *r̥ (*ъr) regularly gave ar, and *ŕ̥ (*ьr) develops similarly before hard dental consonants, e.g. Parchowe, Tarnewitz < PS *Pr̥xovo, *Tŕ̥novica, with the a becoming labialized over time, so that the group was thus or, e.g. Morditz, Storkow < PS *Mr̥dicě, *Str̥kovъ.[15]

The Proto-Slavic * and *ĺ̥ (*ъl and *ьl) similarly to the other West Lechitic dialects became mixed and gave ol, e.g. Dolchow, Kolpin < PS *Dĺ̥govъ, *Kl̥pinъ.[16]

The development of *TorT groups was inconsistent – TarT, e.g. Gardiss, Karwitz < PS *Gordъčь, *Korvicě, and TroT, e.g. Drogawiz, Potgrot < psł. *Dorgovicě, *Podъgordъ, competed with each other.[17] The TarT type became established much later than in the Drevani and Rani dialects.[17]

The *TerT group is almost uniquely given over by TreT or TriT, e.g. Brisen, Stresen < PS *Berzьno, *Strežьno.[18] The only exception seems to be Derwen < PS *Dervьno.[19]

The *TolT group generally yielded to a metathesis to TlåT, as in Drevani dialect, e.g. Clodene, Gladove < PS *Koldьno, *Goldovo,[20] cases of keeping TolT are rare, e.g. Coldiz, Golwicz < PS *Koldicě, *Golvicě.[19] No examples for *TelT group descendants.[21]

Anlaut *orT under circumflex intonation has passed into roT (meanwhile in Drevani it became råT), e.g. Rostocke < PS *Orz-tokъ.[22]

Development of consonants

The spelling does not resolve whether the original palatal consonants were depalatalized before the front vowels, as in the Drevani and Rani dialects.[23]

Written monuments lack the distinction of the series s, c, z from š, č, ž, e.g. Plessow, Petzenow, Stressowe < PS *Plěševъ, *Pečenovъ, *Streševo, which most likely indicates the mazuration of the Marcho-Magdeburgian dialect.[23]


  1. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 120.
  2. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 73.
  3. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 111-113.
  4. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 112-113.
  5. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 113.
  6. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 114.
  7. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 115.
  8. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 115-116.
  9. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 116.
  10. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 117.
  11. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 117-118.
  12. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 118.
  13. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 110.
  14. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 118-119.
  15. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 106-107.
  16. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 109.
  17. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 103.
  18. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 103-104.
  19. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 104.
  20. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 104-105.
  21. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 105.
  22. ^ Papierkowski 1930, p. 105-106.
  23. ^ a b Papierkowski 1930, p. 119.