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Original scientific paper

Language use in the cyrillic Dubrovnik Dominican Lectionary

Amir Kapetanović orcid id ; Institut za hrvatski jezik i jezikoslovlje

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page 61-68

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This article discusses the Dubrovnik Dominican Lectionary (DDL), a Štokavian descendent of Bernardin’s Lectionary (1495), which has attracted the least academic attention of all Croatian lectionaries to date, having last been the subject of research in Rešetar’s 1933 study of transcriptions of Bernardin’s lectionary made in Dubrovnik. The text has not been published, and the manuscript is held in the library of the Dominican monastery in Dubrovnik (no. 39). Its characteristics make the DDL an excellent subject for research on interdialectal differences once present in literary texts, as well as on linguistic variability within a single (Štokavian) textual adaptation and stylization, from the perspectives of both historical dialectology and historical sociolinguistics and stylistics. The paper is not focused on listing all of the lectionary’s graphic and linguistic idiosyncracies, but rather on providing a basic description of the manuscript and its text, as well as a discussion on its stepwise linguistic adoption and adaptation (on three levels). The analysis shows layered language usage in which linguistic characteristics do not share the same value or status. The linguistic diversity of the text cannot simply be reduced to the relationship between two dialects (Čakavian and Štokavian), especially pointed out in cases such as its use of the root (nominative) morpheme in genitive plural declination, even in places where no Čakavian source exists. A comparison and analysis of readings repeated in the DDL show that the transcriber chose words unique to his own native linguistic environment, while using (and adapting) words or constructions foreign to it along with them, showing the tolerance of Štokavian transcribers to words and expressions that would likely not have been their first choice.


Dubrovnik Dominican Lectionary, Bernardin’s Lectionary, Cyrillics, Štokavian, 16th century, linguistic variance, historical sociolinguistics, stylistics

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