Administrative Region: 
Date Visited: 
September 1993

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 Kjustendil dialect is represented on the website by two villages, Dolno Ujno (DU) and Eremija (E). They are clearly part of the same overall dialect group, yet they differ from each other in certain specific ways. This accords with the statements made in the major published source about the Kjustendil dialect group (Umlenski 1965), which distinguishes the dialect of Kjustendil proper from three other transitional dialects that are spoken in the general region: the Pijanec dialect to the south, the Kamenica dialect to the west, and the Kraište dialect to the north, and which places the village of Dolno Unjo within the northern, Kraište sub-dialect and Eremija within the southern, Pijanec sub-dialect (Umlenski 1965: 7). Accordingly, the two villages are described here together as part of the single larger Kjustendil dialect, with attention to the few traits distinguishing them from one another.

            The list below summarizes the salient features of the Kjustendil  dialect group. It is based on the speech of the two villages represented on the site, 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, if there is more than one (e.g. E1 = Eremija 1) or simply the village (DU = Dolno Ujno), and the number after the colon identifies the line within the text where the cited form occurs.



• The historical Slavic vowel “jat” always appears as /e/.

            Examples: nèkade (E1: 97), lèto (E1: 108), zavalè (E1: 126), dèdo (DU: 20)

• The result of the historical Slavic vowel “back nasal” is one of the traits differentiating the two sub-dialects: it appears in root syllables as /a/ in Eremija and /ɤ/ in Dolno Ujno; in verbal endings it is /a/ in both villages.

            Examples: (root) màtna (E1: 123), stàpiš (E3: 19); (ending) donesàt (E1:114) // (root) pɤ̀t (DU: 27), kɤ̀šta (DU: 164); (ending) sedàt (DU: 206)

• The historical Slavic vowel “back jer” always appears as /o/.

            Examples: dòždo (E1: 126), dànoci (E1: 55), nèkakof (E2: 16)

• The early South Slavic syllabic /r/ usually remains unchanged in both dialects, though it sometimes occurs as /ɤr/ or /ər/.

            Examples: četvṛ̀to (E1: 4), vṛštàn’e (E1: 95); vṛ̀že (DU: 62) // dərvò (E6: 19), bɤ̀rdo (DU: 119)

• Early South Slavic syllabic /l/ appears as /ɤl/ or /ḷ/ in Dolno Ujno and as /u/ in Eremija.

            Examples: pɤ̀lni (DU: 72), vḷ̀nata (DU: 62) // vùcite (E5: 105), muzàli (E5: 116)

    It must be noted, however, that in all examples the sequence is preceded by a labial consonant.

• The early South Slavic sequence “/čr/ + front jer” appears as /cṛ/ or /cɤr/.
            Examples: cɤrvèna (E1: 12), cṛnìcata (E4: 50)

• Except in past tense verbal endings, the consonant /x/ is either lost, or replaced by /j/ after the vowel /e/.

            Examples: òro (DU: 237), lèbec (E3: 36), sùa (E2: 29) // lejà (E1: 132).

• The behavior of /x/ in past tense verbal endings is more complex. In position before a consonant it can either be preserved, replaced by /j/ or lost. Intervocalically it is always lost.

            Examples: ostarèxme (E1: 21), posadìjme (E1: 126), izvadìme (E2: 37) // zapišàa (E1: 68)

• Early South Slavic “epenthetic /l/” is preserved.

            Example: opràvl’at (DU: 307)

• Soft consonants occur rarely, and never in masculine definite forms or in verbal endings (contrary to most other Bulgarian dialects).

            Example: nablàžnat (DU: 12)

     In fact, only /k/, /g/, /l/, and /n/ have soft correlates at all.

• The sequence /mn/ is replaced by /ml/ or /n/ word-initially or by /vn/ in other positions.

            Examples: mlògo (E3: 4), nògu (E4: 25), gùvna (E6: 16)

• Soft /k’/ is ocasionally replaced by /č/.

            Examples: čeremìdite (E4: 46), dičèla (E5: 38)

• The sequence /sr/ is sporadically replaced by /str/.

            Example: stredàta (E6: 45).



• The accent is retracted in many disyllabic feminine and neuter nouns.

            Examples: vòda (E1: 55), rèka (E6: 91), kòzi (E1: 88), òfci (E1: 88), bràšno (E3: 62), òro (DU: 237)

• The accent is shifted to the ending of some polysyllabic masculine nouns.

            Examples: bunarjè (E1: 119), soborjè (DU: 215)

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

            Examples: jàviš (E1: 12), kòrat (E5: 15)

• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in first singular forms of the present tense, but only in Eremija.

            Examples: dònesa (E1: 22), pòdmesa (E3: 61) // napràim (DU: 47)

• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in the imperative forms.

            Examples: zàpoznaj (E1: 30), òtsej (E3: 62), màni (DU: 25)

• The accent advances to the theme vowel in aorist forms and participles, including those with syllabic prefixes.

            Examples: uplašìx (E1: 51), presənàl (E1: 121)



- The forms of personal pronouns are frequently different. Examples:

            1st singular nominative jà (E1: 64), jàzeka (E5: 34)

            2nd singular nominative tìzeka (E1: 150)

            3rd singular nominative òn (E4: 44), onà (E1: 101), onò (E6: 58)

            3rd plural nominative onì (E4: 7)

            3rd plural accusative nìx (E2: 13)

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

            Examples: snòpje (E6: 4), soborjè (DU: 215)

• The masculine singular definite article in nouns is /-o/ if stressed and /-o/ (or /-u/) if not.

            Examples: kràjo (E1: 58), pòjasu (DU: 54)

• The plural article for masculine (and occasionally feminine) nouns is sometimes  /-to/.

            Examples: volòvetu (E1: 91), rəcètu (E1: 115), svin’èto (E1: 91) // vùcite (E5: 105)

• The ending for 1st person singular present forms is /-a/ in Eremija and /-m/ in Dolno Ujno.

            Examples: ìda (E1: 14), cèpa (E1: 23) // kazùjem (DU: 15), predèm (DU:63)

• The ending in all 1st person plural present tense forms is /-me/.

            Examples: govòrime (E1: 68), odnesème (E1: 101)

• The ending in 3rd person plural present forms is /-at/ in Dolno Ujno, and /-at/, /-a:t/, /-aa/, or /-aja/ in Eremija.

            Examples:  rabòtat (DU: 146), nòsat (DU: 280) // dòjdat (E1: 114), tùra:t (E5: 83), izvìvaa (E5: 23), vìkaja (E4: 57)

• The future particle is če.

            Example: če ti kàžat (E1: 32), če pitaš li (DU: 265)

• The future-in-the-past tense is formed with the future particle and the imperfect form of the verb.

            Example: če a izedèše (E4: 23)

• The plural ending of L-participles is /-i/ in Eremija, and /-e/ or /-i/ in Dolno Ujno.

            Examples: čuvàli (E4: 25) // pèle (DU: 129), səbiràle (DU: 160), pravìli (DU: 19)

• All passive participles are formed with the suffix /-n/.

            Examples: grèjana (E1: 101), navìeno (DU: 118)

• Verbal nouns end in /-n’e/.

            Examples: tkan’è (DU: 115), vṛštàn’e (E1: 95)

• The perfective stem in used in imperfective verbs in some verb classes.

            Examples: zapìšuvat (E1: 67), kažùvam (E3: 36).



     Umlenski, Ivan. 1965. Kjustendilsijat govor. Trudove po bũlgarska dialektologija 1.

     Zahariev, Iordan. 1918. Kjustendilsko kraište. Sbornik za narodni umotvorenija i narodopis 32: 176-205.

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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)

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