Administrative Region: 
Date Visited: 
September 1993
Dialect Group:
Description of the dialect group: 


            The large northeastern region comprises two large dialect groupings, Moesian and Balkan, which share a number of features, yet they are distinct enough to be considered separately, with each divided into clear sub-groups. Within the Balkan group, the Sub-Balkan variety is represented on the website by two villages from the region of Čirpan: Kolju Marinovo (KM) and Markovo (M). The Sub-Balkan dialect group is defined by a complex of features, some of which are shared with Rupic dialects and some of which are specific to the sub-Balkan group. The features illustrated below are characteristic of the Čirpan dialect, though one of the most salient Sub-Balkan features (the stressed ending /-a/ in 1st singular present tense forms) is not found in the two villages represented here.

            The list below summarizes the salient features of the sub-Balkan dialect. It is based on the speech of these two villages as represented by texts on the site, with examples taken from those texts.

            Abbreviations: the capital letter refers to the village, as noted above; the letter represents the village (e.g. M = Markovo) and the following number identifies the text from that village (e.g. KM1 = Kolju Marinovo 1), and the number after the colon identifies the line within the text where the cited form occurs.



• The results for the historical sequences “ja” and “post-alveolar + a” are the same everywhere as those for “jat”, namely /a/ in position before hard syllables and /e/ in position before soft syllables.

            Examples: čàkəj (KM4: 66), čàsə (KM5: 30) // jègne (KM5: 2)

• There is full vowel reduction: all unstressed non-high vowels are replaced by the corresponding high vowels. Thus, unstressed /e/, /o/, and /a/ are replaced by /i/, /u/, and /ə/, respectively.

            Examples: vr’èmi (M: 5), pičèm (KM1: 15), pribìrəmi (KM1: 8) // d’àdu (M: 7), vulòvi (KM1: 73) // kvəsnìk (KM1: 17)

• Unstressed /e/ and /i/ are replaced by /u/ after post-alveolar consonants.

            Examples: čušmɤ̀ (KM5: 40), žulezà (KM4: 6), žuv’èjət (M: 145)

• Unstressed vowels are frequently lost.

            Examples: bəkɤ̀rti (KM6: 43), fcèti (M: 40), grədìntə (M: 27), jergènti (M: 89)

• The consonant /j/ is inserted before initial /e/.

            Examples: jèsenno (KM6: 3), jergènti (M: 89)

• The consonant /x/ behaves differently depending on its place in the word. In initial position or between vowels, it is lost altogether; before a consonant it is replaced by /j/. In final position it is either preserved or replaced by /h/.

            Examples: òdili (KM3: 35), dokàrvəə (KM3: 70) // isɤ̀jnaa (KM5: 11), ìməjmi (KM5: 42) // zər’àzəx (KM5: 11), nəpràvih (M: 39), t’ah (M: 174)

• The consonants /l/ and /n/ are softened before soft and post-alveolar consonants.

            Examples: gədùl’ki (KM6: 28), mənìn’ki (KM6: 57), mɤl’čɤ̀t (M: 192)

• The sequences /dn/ and /bn/ are assimilated to /nn/ and /mn/, respectively.

            plànne (KM5: 44), pannà (M:37); srɤ̀mnəl (M: 130)

• Fricative consonants are replaced by affricates after /r/.

            Examples: vɤ̀rdzənə (KM6: 8), dərdžàə (M:50), dərdžàl (KM5: 30)



• There is occasional occurrence of double accent.

            Examples: šìlencàtə (KM3: 1), zɤ̀pčetàtə (KM4: 77)

• The accent is retracted in the plural of feminine nouns, and sometimes also in the singular.

            Examples: dɤ̀ski (KM3: 64), sèstri (M: 72) // rɤ̀kə (KM6: 31) // dəskɤ̀tə (KM3: 71)

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

            Examples: stanà (KM5: 9), pannà (M: 37), ustanà (M: 129), kəzàl (M: 17), ustanàli (M: 13) // užèni (M: 24), ùčihmi (M: 63)



• The plural ending for polysyllabic masculine nouns is /-e/, though /i/ appears as well.

            Examples: kəràre (KM3: 25), ərmàne (KM2: 70); čekɤ̀mi (KM2: 61), krèmeni (KM3: 57)

• The ending of feminine nouns when stressed is the same as the result of the historical Slavic “back nasal”, namely /ɤ/.

            Examples: rikɤ̀tə (KM5: 63), vujnɤ̀tɤ̥ (M: 13)

    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 – which ended in the historical Slavic vowel “back nasal”, and was used for all other meanings. It was this casus generalis that was adopted as the single form of feminine nouns.

• There are different forms of the personal pronouns, including differences between the two villages.. Examples:

            3rd singular accusative feminine short form: in Markovo (M: 4) // in Koljo Marinovo (KM5: 14)

               Examples: žə jə nəmùšiš (KM2: 16), nìj gə pràimi (M: 4)

            3rd plural nominative: tìj (KM4: 8, M: 10), tìjə (KM3: 43)

• The aorist theme vowel /o/ is replaced by /a/ (pronounced /ə/ when unstressed).

            Examples: dàdəh (M: 36), prudàdəjmi (M: 40)

• The future particle is že.

            Examples: že izl’èzim (M: 89), že tùriš (KM2: 9)

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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