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The complex dialectal variation of Bulgarian is best described within three major categories; the detailed description below follows this outline.

       The rubric Phonology describes the sound system of a dialect. Because the current forms ("reflexes") of historical Slavic vowels divide the region so systematically, they are used as cover symbols for current lexical distribution of these sounds.
       The rubric Accent notes systematic differences in accent placement from the standard language; these are usually associated with grammatically-defined groups.
       The rubric Morphology describes features of nouns, pronouns and verbs that differ from the standard language in particularly noteworthy ways. 
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Dialect Group:
Description of the dialect group: 


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            The Ihtiman dialect is represented on this website by two villages, Gorno Vŭršilo (GV) and Belica (B), although strictly speaking only the first of these belongs directly to the Ihtiman group. The Belica dialect is considered to be transitional between the Panagjurište dialect and the Ihtiman dialect, with two major features connecting it to the former and only one to the latter (Mladenov 1966: 16). Since this latter feature (the current form of the historical Slavic vowel “jat”) is usually considered to be more important, Belica is here included in the Ihtiman group. In a way, in fact, both dialects are somewhat marginal, since Gorno Vŭršilo is one of only four villages (out of total of 24 belonging to Ihtiman dialect) in which the form of the historical “jat” vowel in stressed syllables is the open front vowel /ɛ/ (as in the villages on this site representing the Bjala Slatina - Pleven group).

            The list below summarizes the salient features of the Ihtiman dialect group. It is based on the speech of the above two villages, with examples taken from the texts presented on this site.

            Abbreviations: the capital letter refers to the village, as noted above; the following number identifies the text from that village (e.g. GV1 = Gorno Vŭršilo 1, B2 = Belica 2), and the number after the colon identifies the line within the text where the cited form occurs.



• The historical Slavic vowel “jat” appears as /ɛ/ in Gorno Vŭršilo and as /e/ in Belica.

            Examples: lɛ̀te (GV1: 13), sɛ̀no (GV1: 2) // bèx (B1: 4), golèma (B1: 16)

     After the consonant /c/, it appears as /a/ in both villages.

            Examples: càla (GV1: 52), precàždaš (B3: 20)

• The historical sequence “ja”  (including the sequence “post-alveolar + a”) is preserved with very few exceptions.

            Examples: vejàčka (GV1: 9), tojàga (B3: 37) // čèkat (B1: 45), edè (B1: 59)

• Both the historical Slavic vowels “back jer” and “back nasal” merge into a single vowel; in many instances the historical Slavic vowel “front jer” joins them. The result of this merger is /a/ in Gorno Vǔršilo and /ɤ/ in Belica.

            Examples of “back jer”: časà (GV2: 5) // dɤ̀ski (B2: 144), vɤ̀nka (B2: 142)

            Examples of “back nasal: pàte (GV2: 3), sedàt (GV1: 17) // kɤ̀šti (B1: 17), mɤ̀š (B1: 32)

            Examples of  “front jer”: žàne:me (GV1: 6) // žɤ̀na (B1: 24);

     This is the major trait connecting Belica with the dialect of Panagjurište (and not Ihtiman).

• The historical Slavic “front nasal” appears as /ɤ/ after post-alveolar consonants, i.e. with the same result as the historical Slavic “back nasal” (this is usually termed “merger of nasals”).

            Examples: [no examples from GV] // žɤ̀tva (B1: 35)

• The early South Slavic syllabic liquids remain unchanged:

            Examples: nafṛ̀l’am (GV1: 26), vṛ̀va (GV1: 27), dṛ̀veni (B1: 52), napḷna (B3: 79), napḷ̀nila (B3: 81)

• The consonant /x/ is preserved word-finally and lost in other positions. When it is lost before consonant, the preceding vowel is lengthened.

            Examples: zaprèx (GV1: 20), bèx (B1: 4), tèx (B1: 128), dokàraa (GV1: 17) // kòpa:me (GV1: 6), potkarvà:me (B1: 102)

• Intervocalic /j/ is lost in Belica but preserved in Gorno Vŭršilo.

            Examples: veàčki (B2: 52), nàsea (B2: 72) // vejàčka (GV1: 9)

• Voicing is retained in the preposition /v/.

            Examples: v ihtimàn (GV2: 22), v armàna (B2: 30)

• There is a schwa-like release of final consonants as a marker of an unfinished phrase.

            Examples: drùkə (B2: 53), ovèsə (B2: 99), smɛ̀xə (GV2: 6), kòpamə (GV2: 8)



• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in 1st person singular present tense forms.

            Examples: vṛ̀va (GV1: 27), zàmesa (GV1: 27), òra (B1: 25), òbṛza (B2: 71)

• The accent is retracted from the theme vowel in the present tense of many 2nd conjugation verbs.

            Examples: sàdim (GV2: 62), ogràdim (B2: 25), ulòvim (B2: 29)

• The accent advances to the theme vowel in aorist forms and L-participles.

            Examples: žɤnà (B1: 55), ranì:me (GV2: 42), vadìla (GV1: 2), gledàla (B1: 22)

     This shift does not occur if the verb form has a syllabic prefix.

            Examples: ožènixme (GV2: 37), presèlia (B1: 5), zarèza:me (B1: 104)



• The plural of masculine nouns is /-e/.

            Examples: kàmene (GV1: 42), tràktore (GV1: 11), čuvàle (B2: 112), samùne (B2: 116)

• The form of the masculine singular definite article in nouns is /-ɤ/ in Belica, and alternates between /-a/ and /-e/ (depending on the nature of the preceding consonant) in Gorno Vŭršilo.

            Examples: studɤ̀ (B2: 87) // lɛ̀ba (GV1: 13), pàte (GV2: 3)  

• The ending of feminine nouns, when stressed, is the same as the result of the historical Slavic “back nasal”. In Belica this is /ɤ/, and in Gorno Vǔršilo it is /a/.

            Examples: branɤ̀ (B2: 82), dɤskɤ̀ (B2: 126) // stranà (GV2: 53)

      These forms represent an interesting result in the history of Bulgarian, which gradually lost all case endings in nouns. At the penultimate stage of this development, feminine nouns had only two case endings (instead of the inherited seven), the nominative case and the so-called casus generalis, which continued the form of the accusative case and was used for all other meanings. In these dialect, it was this casus generalis that was adopted as the single form of feminine nouns (which elsewhere have adopted the old nominative form ending in /-a/ as their single form). Of course, when the result of the historical Slavic “back nasal” is /a/ (as in GV), there is no way to differentiate the two results.

• Verbs of the 2nd conjugation have hard consonants preceding the endings of 1st singular and 3rd plural present tense forms.

            Examples: pèčela (B1: 19), zàmesa (GV1: 26) // rèdat  (B2: 149), napḷ̀nat (GV1: 30)

• The future particle in B is šta for 1st person singular and šte (or še) elswhere; in GV it is consistently še.

            Examples: šta lìsna (B3: 83), šte mi vṛ̀zva (B1: 129), šte go jadè (B2: 58) // še ìde (GV2: 34)

• The plural ending of L-participles is /-e/.

            Examples: gledàle (GV2: 66), otišlè (B1: 89), turìle (B2: 126)



     Mladenov, Maksim. 1966. Ihtimanskijat govor. Trudove po bŭlgarska dialektologija 2.

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Recommended Model for Citations

Bulgarian Dialectology as Living Tradition [2016] (, visited on 1 March 2016)
Babjak 1: 13-15. In: Bulgarian Dialectology as Living Tradition [2016] (, visited on 1 March 2016)

Location | by Dr. Radut