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Are Slavs a Language or a Genetic Group?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to Russia, Ukraine, or the former Soviet Republics.

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Are Slavs a Language or a Genetic Group?

Post by ladislav »

There are two schools of thought on that:

Some people say it is a language family. Said by non Slavs mainly.

Other people say it’s a race+ culture fused into one. Meaning they can spot if a person is Slavic or not by looking at their face and reading their name.

The same controversy exists about the term “Arab”.

Some people say that any Arabic speaker is an Arab

Other people say it’s a race and they can look at a person and see if he is an Arab or not.

In my opinion, it’s a fusion of the two. To be Slavic, you need to speak a Slavic language, true, but you also need to have a Slavic name/surname and most importantly a Slavic face, skin and hair texture.

You may say that there is no one type Slavic face and that they vary. But, they vary within a certain range. Some blonds, some brunettes, some readheads. But none of them look like Arabs or as Black Africans or have tight curly hair or really thick black hair of the Japanese. Or really pitch-dark black hair. Very dark brown is as far as they go. Same about eye color, shape of nose, etc. There is a range. And Slavs can generally spot deviations that go beyond this range. There is a certain nose shape range and if one has Semitic blood as with the Jews, the Slavs can spot it.

So, say a Vietnamese person is born and raised in Poland and speaks a Slavic language with no accent. Will he be Slavic? Maybe to you, he will be. But to the Slavs, he won’t. Why? Because he doesn’t look it.

Same goes for a person who is say of Sorb descent: these are in parts of Germany and they are of Slavic DNA and face. If their names are Greta and Hans, and their last names is Schmidt, then they will have hard time convincing Slavs that they are Slavic. Even more so if they don’t speak the language or speak it with an accent.

So, to be Slavic you need to:

Be a Slavic speaker.
Have a Slavic first and last name
Have Slavic physical appearance. As what Slavs consider as Slavic.

If those three are not present, you are just not Slavic.

Is it written in the law somewhere? No. But it’s a social rule that is very strong.
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Re: Are Slavs a Language or a Genetic Group?

Post by mattyman »

The slavic group is a sub-group of the Indo-European language family.

A key grammatical feature of all slavic languages is that verbs are of an imperfective (habitual and continuous' used to, and was -ing) and perfective version (completed actions; have don, did). I will illustrate with Russian.

читать (to read (habitually)/to be reading)
прочитать (to read (past and future simple)/ to have read)

There's two basic types of verb pairs; prefixed, and non-prefixed. Here's some prefixed examples

читать/прочитать to read
писать написать (пиш-) to write
ехать/поехать (ед-)

Not a non-prefixed example

говорить/сказать to speak/to say

I notate vocabulary like this for verbs that make the perfective form with a prefix;
(на)писать (пиш-)
(по)ехать (ед-)

I notate vocabulary for non-prefixed verbs like this;

говорить (to speak, to be speaking)
сказать (to say, to have said)

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