Or learn it along with him at his blog:

My name is Justin Zamora, and I am learning Church Slavonic, the liturgical language of the Russian Orthodox Church. I created this site in order to learn more about the language. Since my knowledge of Russian is limited and there are few English-language resources for learning Church Slavonic, I decided that having a web site where I could put my notes and ask questions was the most practical way to increase my knowledge of Church Slavonic.

He’s got very useful tables and explanations, and he lets you know where he doesn’t have the info; in the Diacritics section, for instance, he says of the kavyka “This mark is quite rare. It comes in pairs and appears to act as some kind of a delimiter. I have no idea what it means.” (If you do, let him know.) He has a section of Grammatical Analyses of texts and one of Quizzes and Tools. Lots of fun. (Via PF.)


  1. If you already know Church Slavonic, you can answer his questions.

  2. Yeah, sure, I know the anwers to most of his questions… Would take a small course to explain to him face to face, esp. questions pertaining to historical phonology and MS transmission. Many of the answers would include the fall of the jers discussion, or the evolution of the paradigms, or other huge questions… answering them all by mail, my, my….
    Also, I noticed that he last updated in 2001. Is he still learning OCS?

  3. Heh – I didn’t notice that – he’s probably forgotten everything he ever knew by now!

  4. Hey, you folks, give him a chance! You know how life is, with its ups and downs. No doubt Justin’s life was interrupted by the standard turmoil we all go through, and that’s why there is no updated information. I will say this, as a person who is presently learning four languages: it’s really tough to retain one’s knowledge. If you think it’s hard to remember one language, try ten! Try retaining the vocabulary and grammar of French, Italian, Irish Gaelic, Cherokee, German, and Spanish, while simultaneously learning Greek, Serbian, Russian, Turkish,AND Church Slavonic. I’ve found that bilingual language journals help a lot here. I’m taking notes on Greek in French, on Serbian in Italian, etc.
    So maybe Justin has forgotten his Church Slavonic, but if you answered his questions anyway, it would be a gesture of charity and Orthodox community. Of course, I understand that you may not have time to do that. Time is such an issue these days, which is awfully funny, considering that it doesn’t really exist.
    Anyway, if you can answer his questions, then do so. With me, he’s out of luck, because I’m just beginning Church Slavonic. If he’s interested in French, however. . .
    Bon soir (French). Oiche mhaith (Irish). Dobr noch (Montenegrin). Buona notte (Italian).
    Good night!

  5. According to the Wiktionary entry on кавыка (Romanized to get through the spam filter):

    v tserkovnoslavyanskoy i starorusskoy pis’mennosti i tipografike: U-obraznyy nadstrochnyy znak tipa kratki, ispol’zuyemyy dlya snosok (kak pravilo, otmechayet nachalo i konets poyasnyayemogo ili ispravlyayemogo teksta, a ravno i obramlyayet samu snosku v drugom meste)

    My attempt to understand the entry: “In Church Slavonic and Old Russian writing and typography: a small U-shaped superscript mark used for footnotes (generally, it marks the beginning and end of an explanation or correction of a text, or encloses a footnote located elsewhere)”. So it’s a kind of square bracket?

  6. Thanks for reviving this; I’ve replaced all the dead links with archived ones. And thanks for the кавыка info!

Speak Your Mind