Commentary on the Grammar by Alypy (Gamanovich): § 1. The Slavonic Alphabet, § 2. The Use and Pronunciation of the Letters

2022. № 4, 48-62


Ivan S. Dobrovol'skii

Vinogradov Russian Language Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences)

(Russia, Moscow)


Abstract: First published in 1964, Grammar of the Church Slavonic Language by Hieromonk (later Archbishop) Alypy (Gamanovich) is still highly regarded by specialists in Church Slavonic studies. However, not being a documented description of Church Slavonic texts of the early modern period, the Grammar contains many inaccuracies and errors. In the absence of an alternative grammar, it seems appropriate to accompany the classical textbook with a feasible commentary, which would reflect to some degree the actual linguistic analysis of the Church Slavonic texts. This article offers a commentary on § 1–2 of the Grammar, which deals with the graphic-orthographic system. The commentary takes into account material from digitized versions of a number of liturgical books (the Gospel, the Apostle, the Octoechos, etc.), as well as the Bible and the Philokalia. For instance: we find нк, нг, нх instead of the expected гк, гг, гх in borrowings; и before a vowel instead of ї; ѡ in compound words instead of ѻ. In addition, the commentary specifies the inventory of the Church Slavonic graphemes; in particular, it provides a rationale for distinguishing a special grapheme ѷ.

For citation:

For citation:For citation:Dobrovol’skii I. S. Commentary on the “Grammar” by Alypy (Gamanovich): § 1. The Slavonic Alphabet, § 2. The Use and Pronunciation of the Letters. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2022. No. 4. Pp. 48–62.
DOI: 10.31857/S013161170021743-6.


Acknowledgements:I express my gratitude to A. A. Pletneva
and A. N. Khitrov for
their support, help and advice in preparing the article.