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Trubachev2On October 25, 2015  the draft of the Russian-Sanskrit Dictionary of Common and Cognate Words was for the first time presented to the public at the Commemorative meeting dedicated to the 85th anniversary of Academician O. N. Trubačёv organized by the Public International Fund of Slavonic Literature and Culture and Institute of Russian Language by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In a 20 minute report  I briefly told about the background of creation of the dictionary and the principal technical aspects of the project.

First lists of similar in sound and meaning Sanskrit and Russian words appeared soon after the discovery of Sanskrit by European philologists but it so happened that the main focus of research in Russia was directed towards comparative analysis within Slavonic languages. This may explain the lack of works directly comparing Slavonic languages ​​with Sanskrit.

Of course, this does not mean that Sanskrit evidence has not been engaged at all in Russian etymological studies. All major Russian etymological dictionaries do contain links to Sanskrit, but often they are more a by-product of the Western Indo-European linguistics than  the result of a purposeful and large-scale comparison of Indo-Aryan and Slavic lexicons.


In my speech  I particularly stressed that the current situation in which the only comparative Sanskrit-Russian dictionary was published not in Russia but in India, and the most comprehensive, albeit having numerous inaccuracies and errors list of Sanskrit-Russian correspondence was made not by a linguist but by a historian and ethnographer Natalia Guseva, could not be considered as normal.

Although the first draft contains  about  500 entries and the total number of  collected matches is about 1800, at this stage, the main achievement of the project  is not the number of matches but the creation of a user-friendly working tool. The dictionary, initially started as a single Excel sheet, has been transferred into a specially designed  electronic database with an interface for entering various data.  Importantly, the database is able to compile a LaTeX  code for  producing a ready-to-print high resolution PDF version of the dictionary.

In the final part of the report a special attention was drawn to the importance of this work in addressing some issues relating to the ethnogenesis of the Slavs raised by O. N. Trubačёv: the time and place of formation of Proto-Slavonic dialects, relations between the Slavonic and Baltic languages, the problem of Iranian influence and the possibility of Slavonic-Indo-Aryan contacts.

The full video of the presentation can be accessed here.

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