Meaning of the term “Transdanubian”

On the history of Bulgarians' relocation to the south of Romania see Романски, С. 1930; Velichi, C. N. 1958; Velichi, C. N. 1963; Velichi, C. N. 1965; Косев, Д., В. Дикулеску, В. Паскалева 1965; Kosev, D., V. Paskaleva, Vl. Diculescu 1971; Велики, К. Н. 1976; Велики, К. Н., В. Трайков 1980; Duminica, I. 2011. Regarding the situation in northern Bulgaria see Mutafcieva, V. P., Al. Vianu 1971. The eighteenth and the nineteenth as well as previous centuries bear witness to a constant emigration from the Bulgarian lands across the Danube River to the Romanian Plain. Hoping for a better life and prosperity in their new homes, larger groups and individual families moved to the southern parts of present-day Romania. The migration flow across the Danube would slow to a trickle in quieter periods and intensify in times of social and political unrest, economic crisis or war, particularly during the various Russian-Turkish wars. Here we will use the term “Transdanubian” to denote the versions of the northern Bulgarian dialects that are represented in southern Romania in all their diversity as well as the localities of residence of compact groups of Bulgarian settlers and their descendants. Romania has seen other groups of Bulgarian settlers that have been partially preserved up to the present day. These are the Banat and the Transylvanian Bulgarians, who live, as their designations indicate, not in Wallachia or, to a lesser extent, in Moldova but in Banat and Transylvania, respectively. The term “Transdanubian” does not refer to these groups nor their dialects. For a long time, the Transdanubian dialects have evolved in contact with the Romanian language and in relative isolation from their homeland counterparts and Standard Bulgarian. This lengthy independent development makes them a precious well of information on issues of interest to Bulgarian historical grammar and dialectology.

Regarding Transdanubian Bulgarians

Transdanubian Bulgarians are first mentioned in 1859 in the scholarly literature (see Палаузов, С. Н. 1859: 19–20 and also Младенов, М., Б. Нягулов, Н. Жечев 1994: 78). General sources on the Transdanubian Bulgarians are Младенов, М. С. 1993; Младенов, М., Б. Нягулов, Н. Жечев 1994, as well as the brief overviews Нягулов, Б. 1995; Nyagulov, B. 2005; Zăbavă, C. 2008. Information about specific groups of the population in southern Romania can be found in Romanian historical and geographic publications such as, for example, Lahovari, G. I., C. I. Bratianu, G. Tocilescu 1898-1902; Velichi, C. N. 1965; Roman, L. 1984; Grasu, S. 2000; Tufeanu, M. 2006; see Нягулов, Б. 2007, a review on the last two. Various documents and other materials on the history of the Bulgarian Transdanubian population and its relocation are collected in Младенов, М., Б. Нягулов, Н. Жечев 1994. The fate of the attempts of Bulgarian author Jordan Jovkov to organize support for Transdanubian Bulgarians is presented in Hristo Kapitanov's memoirs (Младенов, М., Б. Нягулов, Н. Жечев 1994: 378–382). Aspects of their contemporary public life are discussed in Нягулов, Б. 1994, Нягулов, Б. 1997, Şerban, S. 2007, Любенова, М. 2008, Нягулов, Б. 2009.

The attention that Stojan Romanski (1882–1959) Романски, С. 1914; Романски, С. 1918; Романски, С. 1930; Романски, С. 1935 and Weigand, G. 1900; Weigand, G. 1909 Gustav Weigand (1860–1930) paid at the onset of the twentieth century to the Bulgarian settlers in southern Romania and their language was followed by a lull caused by the political situation in Europe and the considerable social changes in the wake of the Second World War. The scholarly interest in these issues was revived for a short period of time in the 1960s and 1970s and then again in the post-communist era.

Provenance of the texts included in the Transdanubian Corpus

This Corpus contains texts tape-recorded in Transdanubian localities between 1962 and 1975. Among the informants whose names are known (a total of 147 persons) there are 71 women and 76 men. Those of known age were born between 1882 and 1961.

Distribution by decade of birth. The total number of informants is 117 of whom 54 are women and 63 men.

The tape-recordings were part of two projects with different goals and of different scope. The Slavic Division of the Current name: Institutul de lingvistică “Iorgu Iordan - Al. Rosetti” Institute of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy started a Arhiva fonogramică a graiurilor slave de pe teritoriul României la Institutul de lingvistică din Bucureşti. See about it Rudeanu, V. 1963. O. Guţu's and Gh. Bolocan's studies of the Transdanubian Bulgarian dialects were based on these recordings. Ucrainian materials from it were published in Павлюк, М., I. Робчук 2003. collection of dialect speech recordings illustrating the Slavic dialects, spoken on Romanian territory. Around the same time Stojko Stojkov initiated an agreement between the Bulgarian and the Romanian Academies of Sciences aiming at the exhaustive study of the Transdanubian Bulgarian dialects. Although the planned collective monograph never materialized, the signed collaborative agreement enabled Bulgarian scholars to carry out fieldwork in Transdanubian localities and gave them access to the tape-recordings made at the Institute of Linguistics in Bucharest. The most active participants in this initiative were Maxim Mladenov on behalf of Bulgaria and Gheorghe Bolocan on behalf of Romania. Stojko Stojkov took part in the first fieldwork sessions. Olimpia Guţu, Kiril Dimčev, Virgil Nestorescu, Mile Tomici, Ion Robciuc, Dumitru Zavera, Zlatca Iuffu, Emil Vrabie, Corneliu Reguş, Cristian Ionescu and Ion Ciocea also participated in the fieldwork at different times. These recordings served as Maxim Mladenov’s data base for study of the Transdanubian Bulgarian dialects (Младенов, М. С. 1993).

The idea to disseminate these recordings in some form so that the wealth of materials contained in them would be available to linguists originates with Maxim Mladenov, who in the 1980s was considering the Младенов, М. С. 1993: 5-6 publication of the approximately one thousand pages of texts transcribed by him. The first steps towards the realization of such an edition – as an electronic corpus – were made only in 2001, after Mladenov’s death. Regarding the initial stages of the work on the Transdanubian Electronic Corpus see Младенова, О. 2006; Младенова, О. 2012.

Author of the text: Olga Mladenova
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© Olga Mladenova & Darina Mladenova 2001-2013

Population displacement in the 18th and 19th centuries. Bulgarian minority population in Romania. Fieldwork in the 1960s and 1970s. Archival audio recordings. Dialectology.

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