As a contribution to the philological analysis of medieval texts, the main goal of this study is to develop a theoretical-methodological model for systematically approaching the reconstruction of meaning by applying cognitive linguistics and construction grammars. As far as we know, there is no Paleo-Slavistic analysis based on construction grammars. Our proposal of such a model aims to change the pessimistic current view of the reach of the older language state’s syntactic-semantic analysis. While such analysis is certainly more limited than that of a modern language, thanks to the precise methods of modern linguistic theory, it is not unfounded or hypothetical. The conceptual domain 'conflict' that we chose as the subject of research only represents one example of diachronic-semantic analysis, and we believe that the same, or somewhat adapted analytical methods could be used to analyze other conceptual domains and types of medieval texts. This model’s main goal is to show the language system’s complex functioning of meaning through combining data, both linguistic (syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic) and encyclopedic, in both micro- and macro-contexts. The research is based on three hypotheses: 1. The existence of certain structural and semantic regularities in the expression of 'conflict'. The analysis of the corpus is expected to establish clear constructions of different levels of complexity, and to observe more typical and marginal examples of constructions related to a certain scene of 'conflict'. 2. The regularity system established at the syntagmatic level in the form of constructions will also be noticeable at the paradigmatic level. The assumption is that the constructions for expressing 'conflict' form a network of culturally and time-specific relationships with a limited set of forms, lexical units and pragmatic functions. We expect to find a common tendency towards a certain way of formation, typical of the Middle Ages legal discourse. 3. The existence of conventional knowledge about administrative style with established vocabulary and constructions for specific legal topics and contexts. Although we know that the concepts of documents were taught in notary schools, this research shows and highlights the extent to which they are structurally and cognitively based, i.e. the extent to which they demonstrate the connection of knowledge of the language and knowledge of the world. Introduction: Corpus, context, and the concept of 'conflict': When it comes to Croatian medieval literature, the most versatile constructions for expressing 'conflict' are expected in text types which express power, rights, and social behavior, i.e. legal documents. We have selected the Cyrillic corpus of Old Štokavian legal texts from the area of Dubrovnik, Bosnia, Raška (medieval Serbia), and Hum, which is somewhat neglected in domestic philology and collected in Stojanović (1929, 1932). The period from the 12th to the 14th century is chosen for multiple reasons: we have no preserved Old Štokavian documents from before the 12th century, that time frame coincides with one period of dialectological development of Old Štokavian (Lisac 1996, 2009, Ivić 1994), and that is the period in which most of the documents (and historically the most important documents) were written (Kuzmić 2009). An important aspect of cognitively based diachronic-semantic analysis is the study of the relationship between society, culture, thought, and language (Geeraerts 1997, Raffaelli 2009). We have dedicated some of the first chapters of the study to those questions. Another subject of the introductory chapters is the analysis of the narrower and broader context, i.e. micro- and macro-context of the constructions (Raffaelli 2009, 2015). We are aware that the meaning and structure of the constructions for expressing 'conflict' are affected by characteristics of the administrative text type, different pragmatic factors (such as the fact that charters are speech acts, Austin 1962), and the syntactic environment (clauses, i.e. propositions) in which constructions are incorporated. Based on the observed similarities of 'conflict' and the theory of force dynimics (Talmy 2000), as a cognitive-semantic model for the description of a relationship between entities with regard to energy, data collected from the corpus and different historical, dictionary, lexicographic, and socio-psychological sources were systematized and we defined a core (schematic) structure of 'conflict'. 'Conflict' is an active and dynamic relationship of opposing forces between two living organisms in a hostile relationship that are connected by a goal (the achievement of the same deficient goal or the achievement of conflicting goals), and according to whom medieval society had negative attitudes (condemned it, punished it, cursed it, etc.). That schematic model indicates that on the language level we can expect verbs as the basic carriers of encyclopedic data on 'conflict' (because 'conflict' is an action) placed in prototypical transitive constructions (Langacker 1991) of the structure [Nom–V–Acc] with two semantic roles that denote typical participants of that direct (hostile) relationship – malefactor and malefactive. However, due to the fact that 'conflict' is a complex phenomenon (culturally, timely, and individually dependent, direct, indirect, covert, open; Galtung 1969, 1996), it can be expressed in very different ways, resulting in a reshaping of the postulated schematic structure in such a way that the two typical roles can be expanded to three, the transitive construction can be transformed into a ditransitive one, roles can be removed, etc. Yet, the schematic definition of 'conflict' serves as a basis for understanding all the variations. Hence, we have determined some expectations not only with regard to the core expressions of 'conflict', but also with regard to marginality and atypicality. Theoretical framework: This study aims to determine the medieval ways of expressing 'conflict' using diachronic semantics and construction grammars. As a part of cognitive semantics, contemporary diachronic semantics is one of the branches of cognitive linguistics which studies the relationship between meaning, experience, and conceptual system in a past language period. To study language from a cognitive-semantic perspective means to try to explain the language system in relation to the conceptual system, which is associated with the embodied mind (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Johnson 1987, Varela, Thompson and Rosch 1991). Cognitive semantics, as well as cognitive linguistics and usage models in general, claim that language units are related to concepts (conceptual domains, Langacker 1987 or scenes, Fillmore 1976, 1977a, 1977b) and they represent access points to a vast storage of encyclopedic knowledge (knowledge of the world). Scenes and frames theory asserts that the meaning of linguistic units cannot be understood independently of the background experience with which it is associated. At the same time, the conventional meaning of language units is constructed by using, i.e. by choosing an appropriate interpretation in relation to the usage context. Taking over the above-mentioned perspective, the reconstruction of meaning in this study is based on the syntactic-semantic description of the constructions expressing 'conflict' used in a concrete micro- and macro-context and on establishing the relationship between them. We combine a so called semasiological approach, which aims to reconstruct the meaning structure of individual lexemes from which the constructions are composed, and the onomasiological approach, which aims to investigate the processes of naming, i.e. expressing a certain concept. So, in contrast to traditional diachronic onomasiology, we analyzed structures more complex than lexemes – constructions. This approach reflects one of the fundamental contributions of this work to diachronic semantics. Construction grammars are the theoretical backbone of the analysis, especially the grammar of A. Goldberg (1995, 2006), which represents a novelty in the analysis of medieval texts in the world and especially in domestic philology. Critically reviewing Goldberg’s definitions, we defined constructions as conventionalized combinations of form and meaning in a certain context. The settings of construction grammar largely grow out of the scenes and frames semantics (Fillmore 1976, 1977a, 1977b) and an experientially based approach to language (Lakoff 1977, 1987). Accordingly, we approached the corpus with regard to specific scenes or domains of 'conflict' that were expressed in it by means of constructions. These scenes are systems of knowledge of the world, and for each of them, we have found some general and some specific types of constructions. Methods and the analysis: As the main carrier of linguistic and encyclopedic data, in cognitive diachronic semantics the context is the key to a correct methodological approach to meaning. The micro- and macrocontext that we reconstruct in the opening chapters of this study together with the constructions that express 'conflict' form a whole and a complete speech act. Observing the micro- and macrocontext as a speech act completes the meaning and determines the structural aspects of the constructions that are an integral part of them. According to that, all the examples of all constructions are given in the form of clauses (actual use of sentences in a certain situation; Langacker 1991, Givón 2001). By introduction of clauses in the analysis, we take into consideration those elements of the context for which before the analysis we were not able to say to what extent they belonged to the profiled, i.e. obligatory construction elements (e.g. adverbs). The analysis of constructions is presented according to the scenes or domains of 'conflict' and within each domain according to the specific syntactic structure. We have determined five domains of 'conflict' based on the profiling of the same or similar encyclopedic (extra-linguistic) data, specific matches at the level of the structure (including similar word formation patterns), and meaning (semantic roles): 'lawlessness', 'violence', 'abduction', 'breach of the charter' and 'transgressions/incursions'. Specific semantic and structural overlaps can be observed amongst the domains because they all express the same background concept. However, there are important structural realizations by which the domains differ. On the next level of analysis, we divide constructions into syntactic components, specifically verb/predicate, complements, and additions, and into semantic components, i.e. into semantic roles. Realizing the problematic nature of dividing roles into participant and argument roles (Goldberg 1995, 2006) connected either to the verb or to the construction, we use the term semantic roles as the central place of the continuum between the participant and argument roles. We consider semantic roles not only a reflection of the semantic connection of verbs and constructions, but above all their compatibility with a wider event model whose concrete scene they express. This means that the roles are conventionalized and conditioned by the nature of 'conflict' as a phenomenon. We have established two prototype roles (malefactor and malefactive) and a few other roles which are shown to be important in scenes of 'conflict' (relationship, sociative, etc). Each semantic role that participates in the expression of some element of 'conflict' was marked as a concrete syntactic complement. Traditional syntactic markings such as subject, object, etc., which are usually used in construction grammars are not taken over, but we rather discuss complements with case markings (Nom, Gen, Acc, etc.) because they are more informative for Old Štokavian. In the analysis we first present the most common and frequent constructions (because frequency indicates entrenchment in the mind and conventionalization in the society) – simple transitive and ditransitive constructions in which the verb expresses the majority of the conceptual meaning of 'conflict', then we represent complex constructions in which the majority of the meaning lies in complex predicate constructions and finally other less regular, schematic and productive, but more idiomatic constructions. Some scenes or their parts are expressed by a specific type of construction, which is especially highlighted. After each chapter, the results are presented statistically in tables. Results: The constructions that express 'conflict' reflect the features of the conceptual meaning of 'conflict' presented in the schematic model, so there are certain common places in different domains ('lawlessness', 'violence', 'abduction', 'breach of the charter' and 'transgressions/incursions'). It is most important to note the dominance of the prototypical transitive construction [Nom–V–Ak], with nominative and accusative complements which express the direct relationship of opposition between the referents expressed by the semantic roles of malefactor and malefactive. In most of these constructions, the full-meaning verb (e.g. vezati ‘to tie up’, ubiti ‘to kill’, sramotiti ‘to embarrass’, etc.) is the basic carrier of extralinguistic information about 'conflict', and in the others it is usually a predicate complement, i.e. complex predicate constructions which are also typical for the administrative style (e.g. učiniti štetu ‘to do damage’, i.e. štetiti ‘to damage’, imati svađu ‘to have a fight’, i.e. svađati se ‘to fight’, etc). An important part of the meaning is carried out by other complements as well (semantic roles, adverbials, etc). Such language realizations are expected systematicity. However, in a non-negligible number of examples, we have observed some specific differences with respect to the context and domain. The typical direct relationship of opposition was coded in various other ways indicating some other elements in the conceptual meaning of 'conflict', for example receiving in a non-prototypical transitive construction [Nom–V–Dat]. The tendency to express malefactives with a dative complement (“dative of misfortune”, Wierzbicka 1988) instead of the expected accusative comes to the fore even more in ditransitive constructions [Nom–V–Ak–Dat] and various atypical transformations. Thus, it was noticed that dative complement, if it carries one of the two key roles of 'conflict', is not ommitable, i.e. it is profiled. Contrary to the theoretical literature, the accusative was an emissive or non-profiled complement because it usually denoted a semantically empty object (“empty/null complement”, Fillmore 1986), e.g. pakostiti nešto nekomu ‘to harm something to someone’. In this way, we saw an important methodological detail: before determining the (un)profiledness of complements and additions, it is necessary to carry out a full semantic analysis and reconstruct which syntactic units have which meanings. They could express the core of some extralinguistic data in a certain context and thus be profiled. This was shown for adverbials po sili, silom, posilijem ‘by forcing’ in the constructions for expressing 'abductions'. Pragmatically very specific bez- and ne-constructions (‘without- and no-constructions’) whose usage has also been shown to be limited to only two domains – 'lawlessness' and 'breach of the charter', indicated caution in removing additions as non-profiled parts of constructions. Both constructions are syntactic additions and semantically completely eliminable, but for pragmatic reasons (emphasis) they appeared regularly and frequently as post-modifications and are a permanent part of the context. In some constructions, the fundamental parameters of 'conflict' can be shaded (Goldberg 1995). This is observed in the construction of society for expressing 'transgressions/incursions' where semantic roles are expressed in a more neutral way (X and Y are fighting, X is fighting with Y). Also, instead of using a typical transitive construction (X attacks Y), the direct relationship between the opponents in fights is mitigated by using the construction of directed movement (X approaches on the top of Y) based on the conceptual metaphor CONTROL IS UP/LOSS OF CONTROL IS DOWN (Lakoff i Johnson 1980). From the above, we can conclude that directness and negativity connected to the roles in war and fights were clearly not a part of the medieval legal-diplomatic convention on the Balkans. In each domain, we also saw some less productive, substantive constructions with idiomatized meaning. They can be both encoding (prići na koga ‘approach upon someone’, i.e. napasti ‘attack’) and decoding (ponesti ponos ‘bring pride’, i.e. osramotiti ‘ashame’) (Fillmore et al. 1988). Furthermore, we noticed that many constructions and domains show structural mixtures (e.g. curses), so we analyzed synonymous strings of lexemes and constructions that indicate those mixtures. Comparable to that, on the level od macro-context, we noted synonymous sequences of performatives that introduce constructions. We concluded that this is obviously a principle that acts on linguistic units at different levels. This conclusion speaks in support of the cognitivist thesis about generalization and the absence of fundamental differences in the functioning of different language levels. Finally, from 544 examples of constructions we were able to abstract the following formal, i.e. schematized constructions for expressing 'conflict': typical transitive [Nom–V–Ak], untypical transitive [Nom–V–Dat], ditransitive [Nom–V–Ak–Dat], constructions with eliminated roles (different structure, e.g. [Vrefl–Ak]), construction of society that is used in the domain of 'transgressions/incursions' [Nom–Vrefl–PrepInst], construction of directed movement that is used to express 'attack' [Nom–V–PrepAk], and complex predicate constructions that can be transitive, ditransitive and elided, for example [Nom–Pred–Dat], učiniti pakost komu ‘to make malice to someone’, i.e. pakostiti ‘harass’. Conclusion: This dissertation has interpreted many aspects of the conceptual meaning of 'conflict' and its general and typical, as well as those more peripheral, or less typical realizations. The analysis of the corpus built on cognitive and constructional theoretical-methodological foundations enabled a wider insight and more convincing possibilities of interpretation of the concept and its expressions. Construction grammars proved to be a very suitable tool for a comprehensive description of complex syntactic-semantic structures due to the fact that linguistic realizations of the concept of 'conflict' are more complex than the lexical level, they are context-dependent, and carry rich encyclopedic data. Therein lies the proof that syntactic-sematic analysis of the older language state can have solid theoretical-methodological foundations. The research results confirmed the three initial hypotheses of this paper. The first and main hypothesis – the existence of structural and semantic regularities in the expression of the term 'conflict', is confirmed by the calculated predominance of those constructions that are predicted by the core (schematic) model. The deviations from that prototype are semantically and pragmatically motivated and are also limited by their number and forms to a certain domain of 'conflict' and a certain context. The second hypothesis – that the system of regularities established at the syntagmatic level in the form of constructions is observable at the paradigmatic level is shown in many examples. First of all, in the tendency to express 'conflict' as a receiving relationship, which is reflected in the expressing of malefactive with a dative complement. This tendency has been observed even in idiomatized, more irregular, and less productive constructions. The second hypothesis is also confirmed by the tendency to express 'conflict' with a complex transitive construction (complex predicate constructions), which sometimes shows the possibility of expanding the meaning (činiti krv ‘make blood’, i.e. ubiti ‘kill’ compared to other non-metaphorical constructions [make X], such as činiti pakost ‘make malice’, i.e. pakostiti ‘spite/harass’). It is precisely the paradigmatic relationship of idiomatized constructions with more regular and expected constructions that makes it possible to understand such structures as well. The principles of elidation and complex predicate constructions encompass different linguistic levels, including performatives, i.e. speech acts themselves. The proof of the third hypothesis – the existence of conventional knowledge about administrative style with common vocabulary and expressions consists in the observed repetition of structural-meaning units, i.e. constructions throughout a period of 300 years in the texts of different authors from different geographical areas. This cannot be explained only by copying or translating from Latin, Greek or Italian. Over the centuries, we can observe variations that indicate certain conventions and this study highlights to what extent these units are structurally and cognitively based, that is, to what extent they form a connected part of the language system. When expressing a concept that is as current and universal as 'conflict', the syntactic and semantic reconstruction of the constructions carried out in this research not only sheds light on the ways of expressing 'conflict' in one linguistic period, but also points to those features that we could find in other periods and cultures, and that is the goal of diachronic semantics. The onomasiological approach and detailed syntactic-semantic analysis of constructions in the micro- and macro-context, as well as bringing the constructions into connection at the paradigmatic level, can serve as a model for the description of other concepts in the Croatian Old Slavonic language.