Carpathian language

From Linguifex
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Carpathian language.jpg
Created by
Native toSlovakia, Ukraine, Poland
Native speakers800.000 (2018–2001)
  • Carpathian
Early forms
  • Proto-Carpathian
Standard forms
Eastern Carpathian
Western Carpathian
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Carpathian, (Western: Karpātiška tāris [kar.ˈpāː.tiʂ.ka. ˈtāː.ris]; Eastern: Karpātiska tāris [kɑr.ˈpɑ̄ː.tis.kɑ. ˈtɑ̄ː.ris]) forms an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, closely related to Balto-Slavic languages. It is spoken in the Carpathian region of Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Carpathian is written in the Latin alphabet, although Cyrillic had also been used during the Soviet period. The total number of Carpathian speakers worldwide is estimated between 760 and 840 thousand, including the Carpathian-speaking diaspora.


See also: Carpathian historical development

Wiltā Laziniskā’s “Eastern Carpathian Primer” published in Eastern Carpathian in 1924. Prior to that, the Western variety was the only written standard for the Carpathian language.

Classification and origins

Map of Carpathian dialect groups:
  Western Carpathian
  Eastern Carpathian

Carpathian is classified as an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, although it shares many common features with the Balto-Slavic languages. Some linguists tentatively conclude that Carpathian was dialectally close to that subbranch and connect it to the extinct languages of the Balkans, Dacian in particular. It is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological conservatism among modern Indo-European languages. Just as the Balto-Slavic languages, Carpathian exhibits satemization (śum̃ta “hundred” from Proto-Indo-European *ḱm̥tóm), although some words developed as in the centum languages, such as gansìs “goose” from *ǵʰh₂éns (same as Slavic *gǫ̑sь).

The Carpathian region was a multilingual through its history, Carpathian vocabulary has historically been influenced by Paleo-Balkan, Slavic, Pannonian Avar and Hungarian, the latter two affected the language to a lesser extent. Contact with German during the Austro-Hungarian period also resulted in a number of loanwords, particularly vocabulary related to trade and industry. There are two standardised modern literary forms, Eastern Carpathian in Ukraine and Poland and Western Carpathian in Slovakia, with which most contemporary dialects are mutually intelligible. Although Carpathians were known to history much earlier, both forms were codified in the 19th century.

Early contacts

Several linguists throughout the late 20th century noted the presence of so called "Carpathian substratum" – an unidentified, likely non-Indo-European language formerly spoken in the Carpathians. Because there are irregularities in Carpathian substrate words, they might have been borrowed from distinct, but closely related languages. In the west, the substrate languages probably had an š-type sibilant which corresponds to an s-type sibilant in the east. The speakers of the Proto-Carpathian language arrived in the region around 2500 BCE and fully assimilated the local Paleo-European population by the middle of 1st millennium BCE. The detailed reconstruction of this language (or languages) is impossible. Some of the borrowed words have cognates in all dialects of Carpathian, and semantically the substrate consists primarily of basic geographic and botanical terminology as well as toponymy, they are better preserved in dialectal vocabulary of the Carpathian Highlands. Some aspects of the Carpathian phonology, such as pleophony and consonant gemination, and grammar (absence of the passive voice, polypersonal agreement of verbs) are associated with the substrate.

The hypothesis that Carpathian is the closest living relative to the Paleo-Balkan languages originated in 1944, based on the number of proposed lexical cognates being greater than that of between Dacian and any other Indo-European subfamily. The other more recent proposal is Carpathian being a divergent Baltic language, it found the most support in Lithuania; the proposal also includes the Paleo-Balkan languages as a closely related subbranch. Noting that Dacian-speaking peoples inhabited the Carpathian region till the fifth century CE, providing a substratum of abstract, geographical and biological terms such as ramùs “peaceful” ( ← Dac. *ramus), kòpa/kàpa “mountain slope” ( ← Dac. *kapas), kérbā “swamp” ( ← Dac. *kerba), burùkalā “cranberry” ( ← Dac. *brukla) or tī́ras “blank, desolate” ( ← Dac. *tiras). Other linguists have rejected the Dacian origins for many of these words and instead suggest native Carpathian etymologies, however some words, such as dìtas “bright” cannot be explained otherwise – PIE *dih₂tís “brightness” would have resulted in **dī́tas.

Shared features with Balto-Slavic

The evidence points out to a long-term proximity between Carpathian and Balto-Slavic, and the two branches share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which suggests a common ancestor. Carpathian and Balto-Slavic share many close phonological, lexical, morphosyntactic and accentological similarities, and some scholars accept the division into three branches — Carpathic, Baltic and Slavic — as the default assumption, even though such a division faces many issues.

Common sound changes include Winter's law, Hirt's law (often levelled by analogical restoration), Ruki law, merging of PIE short *o and *a into *a (which in the Western dialects later gained a labialised allophone *å, resulting in new o-phoneme), development of syllabic sonorants into diphthongoids with the initial element being a high vowel (either *i or *u).

Common grammatical feautures are the usage of the genitive case for the direct object of a negative verb, instead of the accusative case (may be a common substratum influence), the use of the ending *-mīs in the instrumental plural instead of -bhis, *-ān of the instrumental singular in ā-stem nouns, the intrumental case for the predicate of the existential copula.

Some examples of words shared between Carpathian and Balto-Slavic languages: “linden” — Carpathian léipā, Lithuanian líepa, Old Prussian līpa, Common Slavic *lìpa; “hand” — Carpathian rañkā, Lithuanian rankà, Old Prussian ranka, Common Slavic *rǭkà; “head” — Carpathian galwā́, Lithuanian galvà, Old Prussian galwa, Common Slavic *golvà.

Many scholars instead prefer a dialect continuum model where the late PIE northeastern dialects developed into Balto-Slavic (or even separate Baltic and Slavic), while the southwestern dialect that had migrated into the mountains developed into Carpathian. This may explain many differences between the two branches, particularly in their corresponding verbal morphology and lexicon, as well as certain archaic Carpathian features, not found in Balto-Slavic, such as consonantal reflexes of Proto-Indo-European laryngeals *h₂ and *h₃, found only in the Anatolian languages and Armenian (irregularly): Carpathian harèlisW/harìlisE “eagle” (from PIE *h₃érō), with some words having doublets in dialects hwḗjas/wḗjas “air” (PIE*h₂weh₁- “to blow”), meibáheta “is telling me it” (*bʰéh₂ti “to speak”).


The sound system of Carpathian resembles the neighbouring Slavic languages: Ukrainian and Slovak. Some considerable variation exists among the Western and Eastern varieties.


Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p b t d (t͡ʂ) (d͡ʐ) c ɟ k g
Fricative (f) s z ʂ ʐ ɕ ʑ h ~ ɦ
Approximant ʋ ~ w l ʎ j
Trill r rʲ*

Phonetic details:

  • Western Carpathian [ʂ] and [ʐ], written "š" and "ž", correspond to Eastern Carpathian [s] and [z]. The Eastern variety still has these sounds in words written with "š" and "ž", while occasionally denoting the former with "ś" and "ź", used in both Western and Eastern varieties historically. Instead of retroflex, they may have a postalveolar articulation [ʃ] and [ʒ]. In many Eastern dialects these sounds merge with [ɕ] and [ʑ], neutralising as postalveolar fricatives.
  • There is no complete agreement about the phonetic nature of /ɦ/. According to some linguists, it can be voiceless [h] at least word-initially, while according to others, it is always voiced [ɦ]. In dialects it may disappear completely, which is common before /w/, after /r/ or between vowels. It disappeared after /l/ even in the standard — gèlhandis → Western gelandis “acorn” (the former spelling is allowed in the Eastern variety). In some dialects combinations "hw", "rh" and "lh" may be pronounced as [ʍ], [r̥] and [l̥], for example [wɛ̀.l̥is] welhis “ghost”.
  • /w/ is most commonly bilabial [β̞] in the Eastern Carpathian and labiodental [ʋ] in Western Carpathian (although bilabial or labiovelar pronunciation is possible in both varieties). If /w/ occurs after /h/, the voiceless articulation [ʍ] is also possible in some varieties.
  • /r/ is sometimes realized as a single tap [ɾ], particularly in fast speech. Its palatalised counterpart [rʲ] is obsolete in most dialects, where it either became [r] or broke into [rj], the former being a more common outcome. [rʲ] is still preserved in some remote Eastern dialects and is still the recommended pronunciation — giriā [gi.ˈrʲɑ̂ː], usually pronounced [gi.ˈrɑ̂ː] instead.
  • The consonants [t͡ʂ], [d͡ʐ] and [f], written "č" "dž" and "f" respectively, are not native to Carpathian and only appear in borrowings – čarka [t͡ʂɑr̀.kɑ] “dessert cup”, čekolada [t͡ʂɛ.ko.lɑ̀.dɑ] “chocolate”, džungliā [d͡ʐùŋg.ʎɑː] “jungle” (often pronounced [d͡ʐùn.gɑ.ʎɑː] because of the difficult consonant cluster), faika [fɑɪ̀.kɑ] “smoking pipe, cigarette” (often pronounced [ʍɑɪ̀.kɑ]). Some Western dialects, mostly those spoken in Poland and Eastern Slovakia have [t͡s] and [d͡z], in other dialects they are marginal phonemes: cerkwa [ˈt͡sɛr̀.kwɑ] “Orthodox church” (usually pronounced [sɛr̀.kwɑ]).
  • The velar fricative /x/ may be present in dialects, but not in the standard. It is not a native Carpathian phoneme and is usually replaced in writing (and pronunciation) by either "h" (humelias “hop” from Slavic *xъmelь.) or "k" (kristijanas “Christian”).
  • The phoneme /n/ has an allophone [ŋ] before velar consonants. The allophone is not indicated in writing.


Standard Western Carpathian has five short and five long monophthongs. Eastern Carpathian has four short monophthongs, lacking [o], and five long monophthongs. Carpathian dialects have [y] and [e] as separate phonemes, sometimes both long and short, but they are not a part of the standard language, for example: Eastern sǖtùs [ˈsyː.tʊ̀s] “loyal” (the standard spelling would be śiltus from PIE *ḱl̥tós, but the word is not used in the standard language).

Front Back
short long short long
Close i u
Mid ɛ ɛː o
Open ɑ ɑː
Diphthongs eɪ, ɑɪ, ɑʊ

The standard language has three diphthongs, both short and long, depending on the pitch accent. Short diphthongs are falling, long diphthongs are rising. The fourth diphthong [uɪ] is common in dialects, but is not found in the standard. The diphthong "ai" is typically fronted to [aɪ], while "au" rounded to [ɒʊ], especially if the syllable receives rising pitch.

The short high vowels are typically slightly more centralised, than their long counterparts, in some dialects all the way to [ɪ] and [ʊ]. Both short and long /ɛ/ are open-mid, not true mid, often coming closer to near-open [æ], especially if long and with rising intonation. The vowel [oː] is typically true mid, while its short counterpart in Western Carpathian can be either true mid [o] or open-mid [ɔ]. The vowel "a" is back /ɑ/, often slightly rounded in lowland dialects, south to the main Carpathian mountain range.

Pitch accent

Standard Carpathian and most of the Carpathian dialects, have mobile pitch accent. There are three types of tones:

  • Rising, acute or tone-1 — rising tone if followed by another syllable, or a brief rise followed by a long fall, if followed by a pause: dílgas [ˈdíl.gɑ̄s] “long (masculine)” if followed by another word, or [ˈdíl.gɑ̀s] if followed by a pause; rankā́ [ˈrɑ̂ŋ.kɑ̀ː] “hand” if followed by a pause; The syllable preceding stressed syllable receives an upstep , when the stressed syllable is followed by pause.
  • Level, circumflex or tone-2 — mid tone, steady throughout the syllable: tāris [ˈtɑ̄ː.rīs] “language” if followed by another word, or [ˈtɑ̄ː.rìs] if followed by a pause. The stressed syllable receives a downstep, if the preceeding word has rising pitch.
  • Falling or tone-3 – short falling or low tone: ràgas [ˈrɑ̀.gɑ̄s] (Western rògas [ˈrò.gɑ̄s]) “horn”. The stressed syllable receives a downstep if the preceeding word has either tone-1 or tone-2.

Tones 1 and 2 are only possible for long syllables – those containing either a long monophthong, a diphthong, or a short vowel followed by a sonorant in a closed syllable. Short stressed syllables receive tone-3 by default, historically the distinction in pitch neutralised in short syllables to a low tone. Unstressed syllables (both short and long) harmonise with the stressed syllable, they do not receive a distinct tone on their own, but keep the pitch height of the stressed syllable. Historically some unstressed long syllables could receive rising pitch (tone-1), which used to be independent from the stress position, while all other long syllables received tone-2. However, the pitch distinction was later lost on all unaccented syllables, turning into the intonation distinction that spreads through the whole accented word.


Jānas Paišutis’ Karpātiškās Gramatika (“Carpathian Grammar”) written in Western Carpathian in 1901

The first prescriptive printed grammar of the Carpathian language – Grammatica Carpathica was published in 1771 in Vienna, written in Latin.

The first comprehensive dictionary and grammar of the Carpathian language was published in German in 1867 at Charles University in Prague. It later became the foundation of modern standard Carpathian. In 1876, a standardised orthography was proposed, which remains practically unchanged to the modern day. In 1949 a standardised orthography, based on the Cyrillic alphabet, was proposed, but gained no support among the Carpathians themselves. Nevertheless, it remained in use, and in 1961 a Carpathian grammar book and a primer, based on the Eastern dialects, were published in Cyrillic.

Carpathian is a highly inflected language. There are four grammatical genders for nouns, adjectives, pronouns, some participles and the numeral one: masculine feminine, common and neuter. Every attribute must agree with the gender and number of the noun. There are three numbers: singular, dual and plural.

The nouns are grouped into seven declensions and three accentual paradigms, adjectives are grouped into two declensions, according to their stress pattern, and participles have one declension (four, if each gender forms a separate declension).

All parts of nominal morphology, except pronouns, are declined in seven cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative, and vocative (pronouns lack the vocative case).

Carpathian verbal morphology shows a number of innovations, when compared to other Indo-European languages, such as Balto-Slavic or Germanic; namely, the loss of passive, reduplication in perfect and aorist and the augment; having only relics of the imperative mood instead relying on optative in most dialects; polypersonal agreement of transitive verbs (both monotransitive and ditransitive), the existence of inactive verbs as a separate class. The synthetic form of the future (or rather desiderative) tense and the aorist with the -s- suffix (which later merged with preterit) and four principal verbal forms with the present tense stem employing the -n- infix are features, inherited from Proto-Indo-European.

There are two types of verbal conjugation: athematic and thematic, though the latter is much more common, than the former, and is the only productive type. Every verb is conjugated for person (person and number of its subject and objects if the latter is present) and tense (or rather tense, aspect and mood or the TAM). There are five tenses in the indicative mood: present, aorist, imperfect, perfect and future. The optative mood has no tenses and the subjunctive is compound, formed by a non-finite verb form and the auxiliary verb.


Carpathian retained many of the grammatical features present in Proto-Indo-European. Its nominal morphology makes use of seven cases:

Carpathian nouns have three numbers: singular (for one item), dual (for two items) and plural (for three or more items). The dual number generally has a more limited use, than the other two, but it remains productive in the standard language.

Carpathian is unique among its neighbouring languages, in the way it distinguishes four genders: masculine, feminine, common and neuter. Many originally masculine nouns in PIE had become common in modern Carpathian. The neuter gender is mostly associated with inanimate or diminutive nouns, while the common gender refers to abstract nouns and animate nouns with no clear gender distinction. The gender of a noun is clear from its nominative case ending: -as, -us and (rarely) for masculine, , and for feminine, -is for common and -a, -i and -ēn for neuter. The "ū"-stem can be either masculine (consonant "n"-declension) or feminine (true "ū"-declension), the distinction is visible in the oblique cases.


Main article: Carpathian ablaut

Carpathian has both qualitative and quantitative ablaut, inherited from Proto-Indo-European, but later extended to form new alternations. In most morphemes only two grades were represented, but some could have as many as five. Most of the reasons for the rise of vowel alternations were phonetic, connected to the prosody. On the other hand, the tendency to level out irregular or excess phonetic alternations resulted in simplifying the paradigms and eliminating the previous vowel alternations. In word derivation a certain percentage of words became obsolescent, fossilising some forms and making them obscure for ablaut. Numerous remnants of such former patterns exist in the language, for example: skalàndas “rod” – skōlangā “fence” – skèliaugas “osier” one may establish a pattern "a-ō-e", but there are no ē- or zero-forms, which either never existed or didn't survive. Such disconnected patterns exist solely as independent words, no new forms arise from that pattern. Different dialects may preserve different "parts" of the pattern: kalaušītei and kilūšītei “to listen”; bèberas and bàbaras “beaver”, iskùs and aiskùs “bright”.


Main article: Carpathian nouns

Most of the Proto-Indo-European declensional classes were retained in Carpathian with only the consonant-stem nouns being altered and reduced in number, since they no longer form a productive class. All nouns belong to one of the three accentuation classes, called acute-static (AS) with a fixed acute accent on the first syllable, circumflex-static (CS) with a fixed circumflex accent on the first or second syllable, and mobile (M) with the accent shifting between initial and final syllables. Similar accent types exist for verbs.


Main article: Carpathian adjectives

In Carpathian, adjectives have two declensions determined by the singular and plural nominative case inflections. Adjectives agree with nouns in number, gender, and case, but adjectives lack vocative and use their nominative forms in those cases.

A Carpathian innovation to the inflection of adjectives was the creation of a pronominal inflection by affixing forms of the object pronominal clitics to existing adjective forms. The inflection had a function resembling predication or definiteness: nawas “new” — nawasis “the new one”, “nawasmi” “I am new”. When declining for case, only the adjective changes: nawaimi “for me being new”. Pronominal forms often indicate something unique, and they are usually used with proper names: Kiršanajis mari “the Black Sea”, Nawājis Zelandijā “New Zealand”; as well as in scientific terminology: diskas tvirtasis “hard disk”, ellis abitisisW/allis aukarisisE “common spruce”.


Carpathian pronouns has a distinct grammatical category of animacy: Kan waistai “Whom have you seen?” (animate), but ki waistai “What have you seen?” (inanimate). inakan aidaini “I have seen something” inaki waidaita “I have seen something”.

There are five personal pronouns: ēžuW/āsE “I”, “you”, jis “he, she”, ji “it” and sēn “self”. There is no gender distinction in personal pronouns, only the third person pronoun has the animacy distinction. They are declined as follows (Western and Eastern Carpathian forms are represented side by side):

Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative Instrumental Locative
Singular 1st person ēžù/ā̃s mène/màne meĩ mḗn/mā́n mùnajūn munái
2nd person tū́ tèwe/tàwe teĩ tḗn/tā́n twàjūn twái
3rd person Animate jìs jī̃ jái jiñ jamái
Inaninate jī̃ jeĩ jiñ jamái
Reflexive pronoun séwe sebái sḗn sàbūn sabái
Dual 1st person wā́ nṓjau nṓmā nū́ nṓmā nṓjau
2nd person wū́ wṓjau wṓmā wū́ wṓmā wṓjau
3rd person jī́ ejáu eimā̃ jī́ eimā̃ ejáu
Plural 1st person mū́s nṓsun nṓmas nṓnas nṓmīs nṓsu
2nd person jū́s wṓsun wṓmas wṓnas wṓmīs wṓsu
3rd person Animate jī́s jū̃n eĩmas jiñs eĩmīs eĩšu
Inanimate jī́ jū̃n eĩmas jī́ eĩmīs eĩšu

The personal pronouns are usually used only for emphasis, since the information about the person is already indicated on a verb. The reflexive pronoun sēn can be used with any person for both reflexive and intensive meaning, although the latter is uncommon and is considered to be Slavic influence, as it is more common to use the third person pronoun instead. Here are the example of reflexive and intensive usage: Janas sebai kunīgān kaupījesa “John bought himself a book” (reflexive); Janas jis kunīgān kaupījesa “John himself bought a book” (intensive).


Main article: Carpathian verbs

Carpathian verbs are traditionally divided into three classes: transitive verbs, intransitive verbs and inactive verbs. The same verbal root can be conjugated as any of the classes, although not every root manifests as all possible verbs and verb forms. There are several irregular verbs, the conjugation of which does not align with any of the three classes.

The Carpathian language preserves the archaic Proto-Indo-European distinction between athematic and thematic, but athematic verbs were gradually reduced in number. The primary first-person singular endings, athematic *-mi and thematic *-oh₂, were kept distinct, giving Carpathian subject conjugation -mi and  respectively. The Proto-Carpathian second-person thematic ending *-ēi was altered by its athematic counterpart, becoming -sei in some Eastern dialects of Carpathian, but remaining -ei in the two standards.

In terms of grammatical tense, it is more accurate to speak of an aspectual distinction in Carpathian, although its aspects overlap with a more common use of tense in other European languages. The Carpathian aspectual system includes present or imperfective, aorist, imperfect, perfect and future. Although still present, the stative is no longer a separate productive category, becoming instead a subclass of inactive verbs. There are three moods: indicative, optative and subjunctive with optative often replacing the old imperative in the standard as well as in most dialects.

Unlike many European languages, Carpathian lacks passive voice in finite verbs, but it preserves passive participles, reanalysed as inactive or stative. Passive constructions are usually expressed by inactive verbs: kartamun teikirtājata “I have written a letter to you” (active); kartamas teikirtājasasin “the letter has been written to you” (inactive); kartamas kirtājatas “the letter, which has been written” (passive, non-finite).

The infinitive is formed by the addition of the suffix -tei, which likely arose as a participle in the dative case. The supine is formed by the addition of the suffix -tun, which might have the same origin, as the infinitive, but as the accusative case instead. Both forms are unconjugated and usually used with finite verbs to indicate a specific occasion, goal or purpose, which is also true for participles. They can also be used independently as a main element of a subordinate clause.

Finite transitive verbs take more than one personal suffix to mark both the subject and the direct object of a clause. Some verbs additionally take the indirect object prefix (also called the recipient). This is called polypersonal agreement, and it is rare among the Indo-European languages.


Carpathian has an SVO (subject–verb–object) or SOV (subject–object-verb) as the most neutral word orders: Adjunct (temporal, locative, causal) + Subject + Object(s) + Verb + Infinitive + other parts. At the same time Carpathian as a highly inflected language is considered to have the free word order. The topic is usually placed first in the sentence, with everything else following it with the comment being the final part. Depending on its relevancy, the adjunct may be either initial or final in a sentence. The verb usually follows the subject, but the reverse order is common as well, especially in questions or quotes. Adjectives typically follow the noun, if they have a pronominal clitic, but otherwise their placement in the sentence is relatively free, as they may even be disconnected from the noun they modify: zelhanis nōtirpunsa ābalun “I found a green apple” (literally: “green I found apple”).

Prepositions is the only part of speech that tends to precede the noun they modify. Prepositions provide additional information about the position of an object or the direction it is moving. Certain prepositions are used with certain cases, some prepositions may be used with more than one case. The list of Carpathian prepositions:

With genitive case:

  • is – out of
  • han – on
  • da – till
  • at – away, from
  • pa – after, past
  • pire – near, at
  • – for the sake of
  • habi – around
  • be – without

With instrumental case:

  • – under
  • sun – with
  • ker – through, over, via
  • – behind

With dative case:

  • pas – on the surface

With accusative case:

  • in – in
  • pas – to, at
  • per – across, by, during
  • par – through, because of
  • api – about

In some cases, prepositions can be used after the noun they modify, in which case they become postpositions: Esti penkīs penkiū pas “It’s five past five”. In case, when a verb of motion is used with a prefix, the preposition is usually dropped, but not in cases, when the preposition is different from the verb prefix: jeimi in damanmi “I walk into my house from behind”, but Ineimi midamun “I enter my house”. Stranding can seldom occur in dialects, but it is not allowed in the standard language.

Conjunctions are used to link together clauses in a sentence. Some common Carpathian conjunctions are:

  • ō/ei – and
  • be/nu – but
  • har – or, question starter
  • jilei/lei – if
  • kai – that
  • dakai – until
  • ali – or/but
  • ba – because
  • parta – however

Some conjunctions can follow the clause they modify: weidēsa be ne weidēsa lei, ne zinōhūWhether he saw it or not, I don’t know”.


Main article: Carpathian vocabulary

Although the Carpathian language is Indo-European, one can identify many words that do not have cognates within the Indo-European language family. Carpathian has borrowed a large portion of its vocabulary from the Balto-Slavic languages, mainly from Slovak, Polish, Ukrainian, as well as some words from Hungarian, a Uralic language, and an extinct Oghuric language, called Avar, that used to be spoken south of the Carpathian Mountains. The percentage of Paleo-Balkan loanwords can be estimated at approximately 5%, which is comparable to Romanian and Hungarian loanwords in Southern Lowlands dialects of Carpathian, but they constitute a specific portion of vocabulary, such as topographical features and plants. The Pre-Indo-European substrate is more well-preserved in Eastern Carpathian, particularly in the Highland dialects. In these borrowings, the voiced plosives are unstable or non-existent, which may indicate that the original languages lacked voicing distinction. The initial "s" before another consonant (often called the s-mobile) is often dropped before a plosive, with some exceptions, such as stogasW/stagasE “stack” from PIE *stógos (which is also an example, where Winter's law failed to apply, suggesting that the word may be a loanword).