Bilingualism

Impact of Bulgarian-Romanian Bilingualism on the Transdanubian Dialects

As a rule, Bulgarian settlers made a living in agriculture and Младенов, М. С. 1993: 366, 367 specifically in gardening. After their relocation across the Danube River at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, they came into contact with speakers of Romanian. The number of Bulgarian settlers in southern Romania was quite significant. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 364-365According to data from the 1830s it ranged from 4 to 14 per cent of the overall population in different Romanian counties. Bulgarians however did not form a compact group. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 430-431Residents of different villages, even close by, rarely interacted and often did not know in which of the neighbouring villages lived other Bulgarians. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 367-368 About one third of all Bulgarian immigrants settled in Romanian cities where conditions were particularly conducive to speedy assimilation. In the twentieth century the pace of assimilation became more rapid assisted by the common religious affiliation of Romanians and Bulgarians, by their similar way of life and traditional culture, as well as by the fact that since Bulgarians had no minority status, Bulgarian was not taught in schools and it was not possible to use it as a means of communication outside the narrow circle of family and friends. Men learned Romanian earlier and better than women because of the compulsory military draft and their more active role in the political and economic life of the country. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 366 Intermarriages, which at the beginning of the twentieth century were still rare, became increasingly common. Thus Bulgarian started losing its dominant position in the household as well, even though some Romanian spouses learned Bulgarian. During the post-war communist period, the establishment of collective farms, the ensuing migration trends and urbanization affected the entire population of Romania. These processes led to its cultural and linguistic uniformization and had as one of its corollaries the expedited assimilation of Bulgarians. For further information on folk songs see Юфу, З. 1991; Юфу, З. 1994. Bulgarian folklore, which used to be one of the most striking features distinguishing Bulgarians from their Romanian neighbours, has not been preserved in most localities. The ancient Regarding this see Юфу, З. 1974; Младенов, М. 1994; Васева, В. 1995; Васева, В. 2001; Грънчарова, Е. 2008; Грънчарова, Е. 2008ceremonial lore pertaining to the calendar and the life cycles is also only partiallyknown. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 370-371 The older generation is clearly more proficient in Bulgarian than the younger, as shown by recordings featuring conversations with people of different ages.

Младенов, М. С. 1993: 368-369 There were no longer monolingual Bulgarians in Romania by the second half of the twentieth century; they were all bilingual. The choice of language depends on the communicative situation and on the interlocutor. Romanian as the official language is in a position of prestige. Sometimes however speakers may switch from Bulgarian to Romanian even in the middle of a sentence if they have difficulty expressing their thoughts in Bulgarian. How frequently speakers switch from one language to the other depends on the topic of conversation: fewer Romanian words and expressions are inserted in conversations on everyday topics than in Младенов, М. С. 1993: 387 conversations about areas known to Transdanubian Bulgarians only in their Romanian linguistic guise, such as military service, education and public life. Such switches are customary in communication among Transdanubian Bulgarians and are not noticed by interlocutors. It is characteristic of their speech to use a Romanian word and its Bulgarian counterpart side-by-side, showing that for speakers these are competing expressions of the same content. See an utterance recorded in Licuriciu: Па ту̀раше кукул’а̀шки на ва̀трата, на о̀гън’ъ, та̀м ѐ, навъ̀нци ‘[She] would then put [dry] corncobs in the fire, in the fire, over there, outside’, cf. Bulgarian огън ‘fire’ and Romanian vatră ‘fire; fireplace’.

Both languages in contact experience interference in the speech of the bilinguals who use them. Nevertheless, our survey discusses only the changes in the Bulgarian Transdanubian dialects induced by contact with Romanian.

One of the important characteristics of the Bulgarian Transdanubian dialects are the Младенов, М. С. 1993: 386-413 abundant Romanian lexical loans, usually adapted to the morphological systems of Transdanubian dialects. Of special interest are Младенов, М. С. 1993: 372-373 the morphological adaptation of terms for male persons, the redoubling of Младенов, М. С. 1993: 373-374 articles and Младенов, М. С. 1993: 380 markers of the plural Младенов, М. С. 1993: 404 and the formation of prefixed forms from borrowed verbs. There are also instances of deviation from the morphological patterns of the dialects. Thus, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 373-374 some borrowed nouns preserve the gender of the source Romanian noun although their endings suggest affiliation with a different gender, cf. in the dialect of Măgurele both инъ̀ греута̀те feminine and едно̀ греута̀те neuter with the meaning ‘one weight’; the feminine form copies the gender of Romanian greutate whereas the neuter aligns the borrowed word with Bulgarian neuters ending in . Младенов, М. С. 1993: 387-390 Numerous Romanian expressions, many of them with pragmatic functions, are embedded in speech without any adaptation, for instance бинеънцелѐс ‘of course’ ˂ Romanian bineînţeles, ла фѐл ‘as well’ ˂ Romanian la fel, ма̀й алѐс ‘especially’ ˂ Romanian mai ales, До͡а̀мне ферѐште ‘God forbid’ ˂ Romanian Doamne fereşte. Such expressions are like extraneous accretions that remain unintegrated into the Bulgarian linguistic system.

Младенов, М. С. 1993: 395-403 Nouns form the largest group of loan words, followed by Младенов, М. С. 1993: 404-408 verbs. There are fewer borrowed Младенов, М. С. 1993: 403-404 adjectives. Lexical items with a specific meaning predominate: geographic terminology, terms for persons, parts of the body, rites, plants, animals, foods, tools, household items, qualities, actions etc. but there also are some abstract words; for instance,куръцѐне, куръцѐние ‘cleanness; cleaning’ ˂ Romanian curăţenie, лумѝнъ ‘light’ ˂ Romanian lumină, нево̀е ‘need’ ˂ Romanian nevoie, путѐре ‘power, possibility’ ˂ Romanian putere, тѝмп ‘time’ ˂ Romanian timp, модерниза̀т ‘contemporary, newer, modern’ ˂ Romanian modernizat, диспу̀тът ‘(they) talk, (they) discuss’ ˂ Romanian a disputa, егзѝсташе ‘(it) existed’ ˂ Romanian a exista, съ компу̀не ‘(it) is comprised (of)’ ˂ Romanian a se compune, претѝндам ‘(I) claim’ ˂ Romanian a pretinde. There is also a significant number of borrowed Младенов, М. С. 1993: 408-411 adverbs and particles, usually with an abstract meaning, as well as some Младенов, М. С. 1993: 411-412 conjunctions such as саў ‘or’ ˂ Romanian sau, фѝнка, фѝнкъ ‘since, because’ ˂ Romanian fiindcă. Младенов, М. С. 1993: 413 Among prepositions borrowing is rare; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 423-425 calques are predominant.

Младенов, М. С. 1993: 413-427 Calquing is characteristic of all parts of speech and of collocations, for instance, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 375 о̀ра ‘people’ after numerals ‘persons’ after the model of Romanian oameni ‘people; persons’, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 414 къ̀штъ ‘house; till, cash-box’ after Romanian casă ‘house; cash-box’, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 376 ръстъ̀ intransitive and transitive ‘to grow’ after Romanian a creşte with the same intransitive and transitive use, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 417 съ мо̀кри ‘(it) is drenched; (it) is watered’ after Romanian a uda ‘to drench; to water’, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 380 the existential meaning of the auxiliary verb бѐше ‘was; there was’, било̀ ‘used to be; there used to be’ after Romanian era ‘was; there was’, a fost ‘has been; there has been’, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 420 дебѐл ‘fat (of a person); fat, greasy’ after Romanian gras with the same meanings, Младенов, М. С. 1993:422 от мло̀гу ‘long time ago’, lit. ‘from much’ after Romanian de mult, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 416 зна̀ат кнѝгъ ‘they are educated’, lit. ‘they know book’ after Romanian ştiu carte, Младенов, М. С. 1993: 418 да̀въм до̀лу ‘(I) take down’, lit. ‘(I) give down’ after Romanian dau jos and many others.

Change to the Transdanubian Bulgarian dialects has been induced on all language levels but Младенов, М. С. 1993: 427-430 least of all in the areas of phonetics and stress. Here we can note Младенов, М. С. 1993: 428-429 the expanded distribution of voiced consonants and Младенов, М. С. 1993: 429 the stress on the negative particle, usually unstressed. Interesting morphologic changes are the following: Младенов, М. С. 1993: 374 the neuters joining the categories of feminine or masculine nouns; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 376-377 the expanding number of reflexive verbs; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 378 the passive participles formed from intransitive verbs; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 379 the Romanian morphological markers of the plural, occasionally preserved; the new Младенов, М. С. 1993: 386 indefinite pronoun formed with the particle ор- as in о̀рко̀й ‘whoever’, о̀рко̀лко ‘no matter how much’, cf. Romanian oricine, oricât. New syntactic constructions have appeared: Младенов, М. С. 1993: 376 dates and years referred to as in Romanian; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 376 the changed argument structure of certain verbs; new Младенов, М. С. 1993: 377 impersonal sentences with experiencers in the dative; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 378 a future tense with има ‘has’; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 381-382 the marking with пъ, па (˂ Romanian pe ‘on’) and нъ ‘on’ on the direct object of pronouns, nouns denoting persons, personal names and, rarely, personified animal designations; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 382 interrogative sentences without an interrogative particle; Младенов, М. С. 1993: 382-383 the modified word order of clitics; new types of nominals consisting of Младенов, М. С. 1993: 383-384 definite nouns and demonstratives in postposition or Младенов, М. С. 1993: 385-386 heads followed by modifiers.

For more details and copious illustrations of the changes in the Transdanubian Bulgarian dialects prompted by contact with Romanian see Младенов, М. С. 1993: 364-434. Various aspects of Bulgarian-Romanian bilingualism in the Transdanubian context are also discussed in Болокан, Г. 1968, Guţu, O. 1971, Димчев, К. 1974, Алексова, В. 1995.

Author of the text: Olga Mladenova.
Valuable critical comments on an early version of the text were offered by Petya Assenova, Vasilka Aleksova and Darina Mladenova.
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© Olga Mladenova & Darina Mladenova 2001-2018

Bulgarian-Romanian bilingualism. Code-switching. Language change. Language loss. Dialectology.

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