The D.Sg. -ovi/-evi desinence in the Old Russian o-declension type

2015. № 1 (29), 171-190

Anna A. Pichkhadze, Vinogradov Institute of Russian Language, RAS


The article investigates the spread of the Old Russian Dsg desinence -ovi/-evi, borrowed from the ŭ-declension, into the o-declension. It is shown that expansion of the desinence -ovi/-evi in appellatives was much more intensive in the soft inflexion pattern than in the hard one. In Old Church Slavonic in the hard inflexion pattern use of the ending -ovi was restricted formally (to monosyllable stems) and semantically (to words with meanings pertaining to religious sphere), whereas in the soft inflexion pattern neither formal nor semantic restrictions obtained. In texts less influenced by Church Slavonic norms formal constraints only (the word should have a monosyllable stem) but not semantic ones were operative; therefore in chronicles, formal documents and private letters the predominance of the desinence in question in the soft inflexion pattern is not so salient, and may be absent altogether.