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CODE 72868
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The course (6 CFU - 36 hours) offers a basic introduction to (some aspects of) Slavic Studies, from the historical and linguistic point of view.

This unit is also a borrowing course for 72627 Slavic Philology LM of the Master's Degree Program in Modern Languages and Literatures for Cultural Services (LM-37, LM-38). However, the information in this page applies as the exam syllabus for 72627 Slavic Philology LM only for those who have not earned at least 6 CFU in Slavic Philology (or equivalent teaching) during their undergraduate studies . Those who already have 6 CFUs in Slavic FIlology/equivalent teaching from their bachelor's degree program will agree with the lecturer on a customized exam program. Please check  72627 Slavic Philology LM for more details.



The goal of the discipline is providing the students the tools for tackling the texts of the Old Church Slavonic Corpus (and eventually those in Old Russian, etc.) and for approaching in a structured way the study of Slavic languages, both at synchronic and diachronic levels.


The course is aimed at providing basic knowledge about the linguistic and cultural development of the Slavic peoples, from Proto-Slavic to contemporary Slavic languages and cultures. In view of this, the course offers an introduction to Old Church Slavonic, as well as an overview of the culture(s) of the Slavs in the early stages of their spread across Eastern and Central Europe.

At the end of the course the student will be able to:

  • define the main lines of historical and linguistic development of the Slavic world;
  • make a morphological analysis of short excerpts of Old Slavonic texts (using dictionaries and grammars), correctly identify parts of speech and morphological features, highlight phonetic changes in single words;
  • relate the structure and the lexicon of the Slavic language s/he studies to Old Slavonic, providing diachrony-based explanations for facts about the structure of the language and for specific phenomena.


Knowledge of a Slavic language at least at the level required for passing the first-year exam.


The course content will be delivered via classroom lectures (36 hours) with the support of Aulaweb.

The last part of the course will be devoted to the analysis and linguistic comment of Old Church Slavonic texts, which will be held in the form of classroom exercises.


  1. The ethnogenesis of the Slavs: from the Indo-European unity to Early Slavic; the homeland of the Slavs and their expansion; migrations and subsequent ethnical and linguistic split.
  2. Old Church Slavonic: phonology and basic grammar (in comparison with modern Slavic languages).
  3. Cyril and Methodius and their mission, the Christianization of the Slavs, the alphabets.

The program for both attending and non-attending students is the same.


Introduction to Old Church Slavonic. The Indo-European>Proto-Slavic diachrony. Modern Slavic languages.

Any handbook on Old Church Slavonic among Bartula (2003), Ivanova (1977), Krivčik & Možejko (1985), Lunt (1955), Marcialis (2005), Moszyński (2006), Skomorochova Venturini (2000). Anyway, classroom lessons will be based mainly on Skomorochova Venturini (2000). For the Indo-European>Proto-Slavic diachrony, see Andersen (1997).

  • Andersen, Henning. 1997. Le lingue slave. In Anna Giacalone Ramat & Paolo Ramat (eds.), Le lingue indoeuropee, 441–479. Nuova ed. (Strumenti Linguistica e critica letteraria). Bologna: Il Mulino. [English version available in Giacalone Ramat, Anna & Paolo Ramat. 1998. The Indo-European Languages, 415–453. London–New York: Routledge.]
  • Bartula,Czesław. 2003. Podstawowe wiadomości z gramatyki staro-cerkiewno-słowiańskiej na tle porónawczym. 6, dodruk ed. Warszawa: Wydawn. Naukowe PWN.
  • Ivanova, Tatʹjana Apollonovna. 1977. Staroslavjanskij jazyk. Moskva: Vysšaja škola.
  • Krivčik, Varvara Fedorovna & Nadežda Semenovna Možejko. 1985. Staroslavjanskij jazyk : učebnoe posobie dlja filologičeskich fakul’tetov vysšych učebnych zavedenij. Minsk: Vyšejšaja škola. [Available at].
  • Lunt, Horace Gray. 1955. Old church Slavonic grammar. (Slavistische Drukken En Herdrukken 3). The Hague: Mouton. [Digital lending available at OpenLibrary:].
  • Marcialis, Nicoletta. 2005. Introduzione alla lingua paleoslava. (Biblioteca di Studi slavistici / Associazione italiana degli slavisti). Firenze : Firenze University Press. [Digital lending available for UniGe users on MLOL at]
  • Moszyński, Leszek. 2006. Wstęp do filologii słowiańskiej. 2. Wydanie zmienione. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.
  • Skomorochova Venturini, Lilia. 2000. Corso di lingua paleoslava: grammatica. Pisa: ETS.
The formation of the Slavic culture and the christianization. Cyril and Methodius, Slavic peoples in the early centuries.

Toscano (2014) serves as a general introduction to the topics dealt with in this part of the course. Some chapters from Garzaniti et al. (2013) and/or Conte (2006) will be assigned as supplementary readings. Saronne & Alberti (2002) is recommended, too, as an overview of all the questions related to this part of the program.

  • Conte, Francis. 2006. Gli slavi : le civiltà dell’Europa centrale e orientale. Torino: Einaudi. [Original 1986 edition in French: Les Slaves: aux origines des civilisations d’Europe centrale et orientale (Vle-Xllle siècles). Paris: A. Michel. English edition (1995): The Slavs. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.]
  • Garzaniti, Marcello, Alberto Alberti & Francesca Romoli. 2013. Gli Slavi : storia, culture e lingue dalle origini ai nostri giorni. Roma: Carocci.
  • Saronne, Edgardo Tito & Alberto Alberti. 2002. Chi sono gli slavi? (Heuresis 26). Bologna: CLUEB.
  • Toscano, Silvia. 2014. Introduzione alla Filologia Slava. Roma: Università La Sapienza. [An updated edition, courtesy of prof. Toscano, will be made available on the Aulaweb course page]


Exam Board




2nd semester, february 2025. 

Class schedule




The exam is oral. In the first part of the exam the student will be required an analysis of a short excerpt from a text in Old Church Slavonic. a time slot of about 20 minutes will be provided for completing the analysis before presenting it to the instructor. During this part of the exam, the handbook, as well as the dictionary, can be used to prepare the required analysis. An example of the analysis required at the exam (morphological analysis of the text word by word and comment on the phenomena of phonetic change, e.g. palatalizations, reflexes of apophonic alternations in flexion , etc.)  will be provided in the final classes of the course. In the second part of the exam the student will be presented with a bilet containing 5 random questions to answer; a few minutes to prepare the answers will be allowed; no texbook or othe materials can be used during this part of the exam. A list of the random questions that will be contained in the bilety will be available beforehand.

The exam may be taken in Italian, Russian, Polish or English.


The teacher will require the student to assess the morpho-syntactic and phonetic phenomena in the analyzed text and to suggest possible links with other parts of the syllabus. Expository skills and clarity, as well as the ability to find appropriate information in the available materials will be evaluated. The student should be able to relate what s/he learned in the classes to her/his learning language (Russian or Polish). See also "exam description".


Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Prof. Sara Dickinson (, the Department’s disability liaison.