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.
WESTERN RUPIC: Čeč (Godeševo, Kruševo, Oreše)
The larger Rupic dialect group covers most of the south of Bulgaria, and the westernmost portion of Rupic includes a number of quite distinct dialect groups, among which is the “Čeč dialect”. This dialect is represented on this site by three villages, Kruševo, Oreše, and Godeševo. According to the dialect map created at the Institute for Bulgarian Language (http://ibl.bas.bg//bulgarian_dialects/), all three are constituent members of this group. All three belong to the administrative region of Goce Delčev and all three are located relatively close to the town of Goce Delčev. Linguistically, however, they are quite distinct from the dialect of Goce Delčev, both as described in the classical work of Kiril Mirčev (Mirčev 1936) and as exemplified by the village Kovačevo on this website. It is therefore correct to place them in the Čeč dialect group rather than the Goce Delčev one.
There are also significant differences within the Čeč group between the dialect of Godeševo on the one hand and that of Kruševo and Oreše on the other: the former shares a number of traits with Rhodope dialects whereas the latter are transitional between the Čeč and Goce Delčev dialect groups. Nevertheless, because features common to the two groups significantly outnumber the differences, the two groups are described here together. Specific notice is made of the differences.
The list below summarizes the salient features of the dialect of Godeševo, Kruševo and Oreše. It is based on the speech of these three village as represented by texts on the site, with examples taken from those texts.
Abbreviations: the capital letter refers to the village, as noted above (O = Oreše); the following number identifies the text from that village (e.g. K1 = Kruševo 1, G2 = Godeševo 2), and the number after the colon identifies the line within the text where the cited form occurs.
• The historical Slavic vowels “back jer” and “back nasal” appear in stressed syllables as /o/.
Example of “back jer”: čəsò (G1: 9), dòš’ (K1: 2), zəsòhnələ (K1: 73), kəkòf (K3: 86)
Examples of “back nasal”: ukòpiš (G2: 2), ležòd (G1: 8) kòštə (K1: 100), ispredòt (K1: 111)
This is one of the major differentiating traits between the Čeč dialect, and that of Goce Delčev (where it appears as /ɤ/).
Note: Most of the differences between the two groups concern the historical Slavic vowels “jat”, front nasal and front jer. These are outlined at the end of the description.
• The early South Slavic sequence “/čr/ + front jer” appears as /cɤr/.
Examples: cɤ̀rnətə (K3: 164), pucɤrven’èe (K4: 52) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The vowel /o/ is pronounced as /wo/ in stressed syllables.
Examples: rəbwòtime (G1: 6), pwòčvəme (G1: 7), wòt (K1: 39), wòsem (O: 20), wògən (O: 50)
• The consonant /j/ is inserted before initial /a/.
Examples: jàz (K1: 98), jàgn’e (K4: 68), jà (G4: 18)
• There is frequent loss of unstressed vowels.
Examples: guv’òttə (G1: 19), tvà (G1: 20), dùm (K1: 55), dvàdəj (K1: 60), kul’èntu (K3: 50)
• The consonant /x/ is lost in most positions.
Examples: òrətə (K1: 29), snaìte (K1: 60), òrei (K3: 81), òdime (G3: 10), ərmàn (G3: 10), t’à (G3: 3),
• In verbal endings for past tenses, /x/ is lost intervocalically, replaced by /f/ word-finally, and lost or replaced by /f/ (and rarely by /v/) before another consonant.
Examples of intervocalic /x/: utkàrəà jə (K1: 28)
Examples of word-final /x/: l’ekuvəf (2: 43), iskàrəf (K1: 6)
Examples of /x/ before consonant: utìdəme (K1: 6), pràfme (K3: 42), bèvme (O: 34), kə̀wpifmè (G3: 17)
• There is anticipation of softness.
Example: vèjke (K4: 11) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• Soft consonants may appear word-finally.
Examples: fəsùl’ (G1: 7), càl’ (G2: 4), živòt’ (O:8), gòsput’ (O: 55), berekèt’ (K4: 118), kumpìr’ (K4: 83)
• The sequence /dn/ is assimilated to /nn/.
Example: s’ènnə (K3: 175), [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The sequence /mn/ is dissimilated to /ml/ word-initially and to /vn/ elsewhere.
Examples: mlògu (K1: 43), pòvni (K1: 85), t’èvnu (K4: 13), zəpòvnili (G3: 4)
• There is frequent occurrence of double accent.
Examples: zəmòrknuvà li (G1: 16), dubìtəkà gu (G4: 16), pudgòt’uvàme (K1: 7), ìskaràm (K1: 9), iskàzuvàn’etu̥ (O: 60)
• The accent is frequently retracted in many disyllabic feminine and neuter nouns.
Example: Examples: vòdə (K3: 155), r’èkətə (K4: 109), žèni (K1: 62) // m’èsu (K4: 28), d’ètetu (K2: 12), d’àtetu (G2: 2)
• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in 1st person singular present tense forms.
Examples: pòkəžə (K3: 21), òdnesàm (K21: 59) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in the imperative.
Examples: dònesi (K1: 16), kùtni (K3: 131) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The plural ending for the feminine nouns rɤka ‘arm’ and noga ‘leg’ is /-i/, rather than the ending /-e/ (a continuation of the old dual ending, found in the standard language and many dialects).
Examples: rəkə̀jte (G3: 11), nugìte (G1: 9), nògi (K3: 133)
• The plural of masculine nouns is /-e/.
Examples: ərgàte (K4: 59), burkàne (K4: 114), pərcàl’e (G2: 4)
• The definite article for masculine nouns is /-o/ if stressed and /-ə/ if unstressed.
Examples: stanò (K3: 18), čəsò (K4: 18, G1: 9) // kəzàn’ə (K3: 158)
• The ending of feminine nouns, when stressed, is /-o/, which is the result of the the historical Slavic “back nasal”.
Example: zem’òtə (O: 41) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
Such 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 dialects, as in most eastern dialects, 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).
• The forms of personal pronouns are frequently different. Examples:
1st singular nominative jà (K1: 9), jàz (K1: 98), jà (G4: 18)
1st plural nominative n’è (O: 43)
3rd plural dative short form mi (K1: 44)
• The demonstrative pronouns distinguish a third degree of deixis, marking the idea “near” with the formant /-s-/, in addition to the expected “neutral” and “distant”, marked with the formants /-t-/ and /-n-/, respectively.
Examples: sàa pròl’et (K3: 158), sàə (G3: 20) // tvà (G1: 10)
• The ending of 1st person plural present tense forms for prefixed verbs of all conjugations is either /-m/ or /-a/ (unstressed /-ə/); for unprefixed verbs it is always /-a/ if stressed and /-ə/ if unstressed.
Examples: ìskaràm (K1: 9), òdnesàm (K1: 59) // òdnesə (K1: 56), ìzberə (K1: 55) // pràv’ə (K1: 61), žìv’ə (K1: 102), stòpl’ə (K2: 29) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The aorist theme vowel /o/ is replaced by /a/ (pronounced /ə/ when unstressed).
Example: dòjdəhme (K3: 163) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• Intransitive verbs can be used transitively.
Example: še gi nəl’àgəme (G1: 8) [no examples in Kruševo or Oreše texts]
• Only the pronoun kakɤv and its derivatives are used with adjectival function, and never the pronoun koj.
Example: nèkvi žèni (K12: 62) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
• The dialectal form “vrit” in the meaning ‘all’ is frequently found.
Example: frèt (K4: 79) [no examples in Godeševo texts]
The historical Slavic vowels “jat”, front nasal, and front “jer”, and the sequences “ja” and “post-alveolar + a” behave differently in the two subgroups.
• Historical Slavic “jat”. It appears in stressed syllables as /e/ in Kruševo and Oreše, but as /’a/ in Godeševo. In both regions it appears as /a/ after the consonant /c/.
Examples: m’èsec (K2: 10), izl’èlu (K1: 97), uts’èkəde (K1: 43) // s’ànkətə (G1: 15), d’àtetu (G2: 2), gul’àmi (G2: 8) // càl’ (K2: 10)
This is one of the traits differentiating Čec from the dialect of Goce Delčev, where it appears as in the standard language.
• Historical Slavic front nasal and front “jer”. In Kruševo and Oreše these appear in stressed syllables as /e/ (with the front jer sometimes as /ɤ/), while in Godeševo they appear as /’o/ (i.e. /o/ with softening of the preceding consonant), though with certain exceptions.
Example of “front jer”: tèničku (K1: 42), t’èvnu (K4: 13) / ž’ɤ̀neme (K4: 13) // ž’òneš (G1: 14) / dèn (G2: 4)
Examples of “front nasal”: izgl’èdələ (K1: 27), m’èsu (K4: 28), odm’èkne (K4: 47) // guv’òttə (G1: 19), izgl’òdəli (G2: 7)
The merger of these four classic historical Slavic vowels (both jers and both nasals) – with the proviso that consonant softening distinguishes the two “front” vowels from the two “back” ones – is a basic Rhodope feature, and one of the primary features differentiating the dialect of Godeševo from that of Kruševo and Oreše.
• The historical sequences “ja” and “post-alveolar + a”. In Kruševo and Oreše they appear as /a/ after /j/, and as /ɛ/ after post-alveolar consonants, whereas in Godeševo they always appear as /a/.
Examples: bəjàčkə (K1: 43), jàdene (K1: 58), bìblijàtə (O: 60) // struš’ɛ̀vəše (K4: 62), publəž’ɛ̀və (K1: 44) // ja (G4: 18)
• Early South Slavic syllabic /ṛ/. It appears as /ɤr/ in Kruševo but as /or/ in Godeševo.
Examples: mɤ̀rdə (K3: 148), zəmɤ̀rzne (K1: 4) // zəmòrknuvà (G1: 16)
• Only in Kruševo, the sequence /str/ is simplified to /sr/.
Example: srìži (K3: 122)
• Only in Godeševo, the vowel /e/ is raised in stressed syllables.
Examples: izmet’è̝ (G1: 4), jədè̝m (G1: 8)
• Only in Godeševo, the high vowels /i/ and /u/ are replaced in stressed syllables by /əj/ and /əw/, respectively.
Examples of /i/: svərə̀j (G1: 4), nə̀jvətə (G1: 6)
Examples of /u/: kə̀wp (G3: 11), kə̀wpifmè (G3: 17)
• The definite article for masculine plural nouns, and feminine plural nouns ending in /-e/, is /-to/ in Kruševo but /-te/ in Godeševo.
Examples: kumpìretu (K1: 9), sìnuvètu (K1: 110) // ufcètu (K3: 110) // snòpete (G4: 3)
• Only in Kruševo, early Slavic “inserted jer” is retained in the inflected form of L-participles.
Example: vl’ezəli (K1: 50).
• Only in Kruševo, the complementizer da is frequently dropped in the negative future and future-in-the-past tenses.
Examples: štèše fl’èzə (K3: 19), n’èmə mòž’em (K3: 108)
Mirčev, Kiril. 1936. Nevrokopskijat govor. Godišnik na Sofijskija universitet, istoriko-filologičeski fakultet 32.