Arina Ivanickaja


The article presents the first hitherto known written monument of the Kursenieku language from the Curonian Spit. In the XV–XVII c. Curonian descendants moved to the Curonian Spit and the mainland seacoast from Courland and brought their own dialect, which eventually became a separate language of the ethnic minority in Prussia. It was the language of the local fishermen and has never been official or acquire a written form. However, there have been attempts to record it by using scripts of other languages. One of such attempts – in the so-called Pallas dictionary. The dictionary Linguarum totius orbis vocabularia comparative augustissimae cura collecta has been published by the order of Catherine II in the end of the XVIII c. and was first reviewed under the guidance of an academician Peter Simon Pallas. The Kursenieku language was also included among the 200 represented European and Asian languages: there have been 286 Russian words that were translated and transcribed in Cyrillic into the following language. The first edition of the dictionary appeared in two parts in 1787, 1789 and the following is considered to be the date of the first written monument of the Kursenieku language. Nevertheless, there is more value for linguistics in the manuscript with Latin characters, which is stored in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Even though it is already known to scholars from Daina Zemzare and other publications, it has never been published as a source. Here the following source is presented in more details from the perspective of the development of the Kursenieku language itself.

KEY WORDS: Pallas’s dictionary, Kursenieku language, manuscript, first written monument.


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