Enclinomena in the Barsov Chronograph

2021. № 1 (41), 283-311

Anastasia K. Polivanova
Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
(Moscow, Russia)


The article studies accentuation in a late 16th century manuscript, the Barsov Chronograph
(State Historical Museum, Bars., № 1695). The author focuses on nominal and verbal word
forms that can be traced back to early Old Russian unaccented word forms known as enclinomena.
Other word forms with enclinomenal accentuation are also included in the study.
In the introduction, the author gives a general description of the manuscript and introduces
the relevant terms, giving special attention to the concept of etymological enclinomena.
The introduction is followed by a series of case studies of verbal and nominal enclinomena
from the Barsov Chronograph. Each case study compares the way a word form was accented
according to the early Old Russian accentuation system to its accentuation in the studied
manuscript. Special attention is given to the accentuation of verbs in the aorist and the conclusions
that can be drawn from retention or loss of enclinomenal accent. Concurrently, the author
registers dialectal variants found in the manuscript which are relevant to its geographical
One of the main findings is that accentuation in the Barsov Chronograph conforms to
other 16th century manuscripts, demonstrating high frequency of nominal enclinomena and
low frequency of verbal ones. In declension, old enclinominal accents are almost universally
retained. In conjugation, where accent has undergone levelling within subparadigms, the old
enclinomenal accent is retained in no more than 20% of the verbal etymological enclinomena.
However, in spite of the low count and relative rarity of such enclinomena in the Barsov
Chronograph, they do not fully conform to the usual list of verbal enclinomena found in other
16th century manuscripts, and invite further study. For example, the fact that verbs in the Barsov
Chronograph demonstrate traces of enclinomenal accentuation in the aorist is a highly
unusual archaic feature, rarely seen even in much earlier manuscripts.
Lastly, the study of enclinomena has helped to define the geographic origins of the manuscript.
The scribe of the Barsov Chronograph probably was a native of the near North-West,
possibly Novgorod or its vicinity. It is to be noted that unlike other, more general dialectal
features, the status of etymological enclinomena points to a more precise geographical area.