Macro-divisions of the Bulgarian language

Western and Eastern Bulgarian Dialects

The study of phenomena pertaining to different language levels on Bulgarian linguistic territory has demonstrated that there are several types of dialect macro-divisions. Стойков, С. 1993: 83–87 The east-west division was the first to be recognized: having been noticed by the mid-nineteenth century, it is now universally acknowledged. It was initially believed that the contrasting continuants of ѣ (jat’) were the only distinguishing marker between the eastern and the western part of the Bulgarian territory but research done by Стойков, С. 1963/Стойков, С. 2008: 170–184; Младенов, М. С. 1973/Младенов, М. С. 2008: 104–123 Stojkov and Mladenov showed that there is an entire bundle of isoglosses, of which the jat’ isogloss is just one, that divides the eastern from the western Bulgarian dialects. Among them there are various linguistic phenomena Генчев, С. 1968; Németh, J. 1956: 11 and some ethnographic boundaries. The major east-west isogloss of Balkan Turkish also runs in parallel with this bundle of isoglosses.

W бѐл // E б’а̀л ‘white’
W о̀н // E то̀й ‘he’
W жѐжък // E горѐшт ‘hot’
W бразда̀ // E бразна̀ ‘furrow’
W йа̀зовец // E бурсу̀к ‘badger’
W закопа̀йа // E заро̀в’а pf. ‘I bury’
W жѝр // E жѐлъд ‘acorn’

Map No. 2. The east-west division of Bulgarian linguistic territory (After Младенов, М. С. 1973 / Младенов, М. С. 2008)

Different opinions have been expressed regarding the chronology of the east-west division: that it is Младенов, М. С. 1973/Младенов, М. С. 2008: 120archaic, that it goes back to Цыхун, Г. 1999: 26genetic distinctions between the dialects of Slavic settlers in the Balkans, or that it is, on the contrary, Стойков, С. 2008: 220; Младенова, Д. 2001 more recent than the division northeast vs. west & south or Младенова, Д. 2001 the division north vs. south .

The source of the above text is Mladenova, D. 2010: 182; which also details other macro-divisions of the Bulgarian language. For a survey of the western and the eastern Bulgarian dialects see Стойков, С. 1993: 144–145, 96–100.

The Bulgarian macro-division relevant for the Transdanubian Corpus is the east-west division. Four western and three eastern Bulgarian dialects are represented in the Corpus. The abbreviations W for west, western and E for east, eastern are used whenever west Bulgarian phenomena are presented in opposition to their east Bulgarian correlates.

WesternEastern
Vidin-Lom dialectNikopol dialect
Cibrica-Ogosta dialectMoesian dialect
Bjala-Slatina dialectPavlikjani dialect
Iskŭr-Vit dialect

Vidin-Lom dialect

Vidin-Lom / Cibrica-Ogosta dialect

Cibrica-Ogosta dialect

Cibrica-Ogosta / Bjala-Slatina dialect

Bjala-Slatina dialect

Iskŭr-Vit dialect

Nikopol dialect

Moesian dialect

Pavlikjani dialect

Map No. 3. Types of Transdanubian dialects and their correlation with dialects on Bulgarian territory

For an overview of the Bulgarian Transdanubian dialects see Vrabie, E. 1963; Стойков, С. 1993: 197–198; Младенов, М. С. 1993; Балкански, Т. 2010 – a review of the latter in Алексова, В. 2012. Their importance for Slavic dialectology and Bulgarian historical linguistic geography is discussed in Врабие, Э. 1963; Младенова, Д. 2001.

Vidin-Lom dialect

Cibrica-Ogosta dialect

Bjala-Slatina dialect

Iskŭr-Vit dialect

Nikopol dialect

Moesian dialect

Pavlikjani dialect


Bulgarian localities and regions with Transdanubian connections: Index

Author of the text: Olga Mladenova.
Author of the maps: Darina Mladenova.
If a portion of the text is underlined with dots, click on it to see additional information, such as bibliographic references cited in the text, comments etc.

© Olga Mladenova & Darina Mladenova 2001-2018

Dialect classification of the Bulgarian language. Homeland and transplanted dialects. Vidin-Lom dialect. Cibrica-Ogosta dialect. Bjala Slatina dialect. Iskur-Vit dialect. Nikopol dialect. Moesian dialect. Pavlikjani dialect. Dialectology.

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