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.
The dialect of Trŭn is represented on the website by one village, Nasalevci. It is part, together with the Belogradčik dialects, of the larger group which has been called “transitional dialects”, also known as “border dialects”, “u-dialects” or “ č-dž dialects”. The first two names derive from the fact that all these dialects are located close to the border with Serbia, and share many traits with the neighboring far eastern Serbian dialects, while the second two names refer to major dialectal traits shared with these neighboring Serbian dialects.
Whichever name is used for this larger dialect group, it is striking that there is so little internal variation, especially given the fact that speakers in the northern portion of the area (the Belogradčik dialect group, represented on this site by Repljana, Stakevci and Vŭrbovo) and the speakers in the southern portion (represented here by the Trŭn dialect group and the village of Nasalevci) are rarely in contact with one another due to both to considerable physical distance and the fact of a mountain range separating them. Because the differences that do exist are noteworthy, the two groups are here described separately.
The list below summarizes the salient features of the Trŭn dialect group. It is based on the speech of the Nasalevci dialect, 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. N1 = Nasalevci 1), 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: vrèla (N1: 87), lèp (N1: 11)
• The historical sequence “ja” (including the sequence “post-alveolar + a”) is preserved with very few exceptions.
Examples: čàšku (N1: 38), jàgništa (N2: 117) // čèkam (N1: 71), edù (N1: 46)
• The historical Slavic “back nasal” always appears as /u/.
Examples: sùbotu (N1: 6), nàruku (N1: 204)
• The historical Slavic “front jer” appears as /ɤ/.
Example: kvasɤ̀c (N2: 76)
• The early South Slavic syllabic liquids remain unchanged, except that syllabic /ḷ/ is replaced by /u/ after bilabial consonants.
Examples: cṛ̀kvu (N1: 7), gṛbìnu (N1: 45), vḷ̀na (N1: 199) // pùno (N2: 71), muzè (N2: 119)
• The Proto-Slavic sequences /*tj/ and /*dj/ appear as /č/ and /dž/, respectively.
Examples: nòčem (N1: 85), ridžà (N2: 25)
• The early South Slavic sequence “/čr/ + front jer” appears as /cṛ/.
Example: cṛnà (N2: 21)
• Early South Slavic “epenthetic /l/” is not lost, as it is in most other Bulgarian dialects.
Examples: zeml’àno (N2: 141), spràvl’aju (N1: 12)
• The consonant /x/ is lost in most positions.
Examples: òro (N1: 49), ràni (N1: 103)
• Before a vowel, the sequence /jk/ is replaced by /k’/.
Examples: màk’a (N1: 102), devòk’a (N1: 109)
• The consonant /f/ is replaced by /v/.
Examples: vamìlijata (N1: 29), kṛ̀v (N1: 168)
It does not appear even as an voiceless allophone of /v/.
Example: òvce (N1: 11)
• Voiced obstruents may appear word-finally.
Example: dɤ̀lɤg (N1: 216)
• Soft consonants occur rarely, and never in masculine definite forms or in verbal endings (contrary to most other Bulgarian dialects).
Examples: prijàtelɤ (N1: 90), kànu (N2: 71)
In fact, only /k/, /g/, /l/, and /n/ have soft correlates at all.
• The sequence /mn/ is dissimilated to /ml/ in word-initial position, and to /vn/ in other positions
Examples: mlògo (N2: 56) // stòvni (N1: 58)
• The accent frequently occurs on the ending in some polysyllabic masculine nouns.
Examples: koledarì (N2: 72), rɤkavè (N1: 224)
• In some adjectives the stress is on the ending.
Examples: golò (N1: 175), debelò (N2: 65)
• The accent advances to the theme vowel in L-participles, regardless of whether there is a syllabic prefix or not.
Examples: oratìla (N2: 16), oženìl (N1:82)
The same advancement occurs in aorist forms, except that the accent is retracted to the initial syllable (or a verbal prefix) in 2nd and 3rd singular forms. Examples:
1st singular aorist kazà (N1: 54)
3rd singular aorist iznàpisa (N2: 10)
• The accent is retracted from the theme vowel in the present of many 2nd conjugation verbs.
Examples: dàri (N1: 45), obikòli (N2: 168)
• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in the imperative forms.
Examples: pòpari (N1: 93), ìdi (N1: 180)
• One of the most interesting traits of the Trŭn dialect is the existence of a tripartite definite article, with different forms indicating whether the speaker focuses on proximity, distance, or chooses not to emphasize either of these options. Such a distinction is found in the Rhodope dialects as well, where it encompasses a much larger area. There is a formal difference between the two regions, in that the “proximal” form is marked in Trǔn dialects by the formant /-v-/, whereas it is marked by the formant /-s-/ in Rhodope dialects. (In both regions the “medial” [= neutral] form is marked by /-t-/ and the “distal” form by /-n-/.)
Published sources on the Trŭn dialect assert that both proximal and distal articles occur regularly. Our impression is that they occur much less frequently in Trŭn than in the Rhodopes: in roughly three hours of recording from Nasalevci, only two proximal forms were heard, and no distal forms. Although strictly speaking there is no reason to assert that the existence of proximal articles in a dialect also implies existence of the distal ones, it is generally assumed that this is the case.
Examples: momèvo (N2: 10), malòvo (N1: 213)
• Although there are no examples of such three-way deixis in demonstrative pronouns (in which speakers use forms with /-ov-/ to mark the idea of proximity, in addition to the expected “neutral” and “distal” forms, marked with /-t-/ and /-on-/, respectively), it may be assumed that they exist, given the evidence of adverbial forms with the marker /-ov-/.
Examples: ovakà (N1: 46), ve (N1: 151)
• The forms of personal pronouns are different. Examples:
1st singular nominative jà (N1: 59)
3rd singular nominative òn (N1: 41), onà (N2: 21), onò (N1: 124)
3rd singular dative feminine nèvu (N1: 58)
3rd singular dative feminine short form vi (N1: 58);
3rd plural nominative onì [form not attested in these texts]
• The plural ending of masculine nouns is either /-e/ or /-i/. This is not surprising, since the Bulgarian Dialect Atlas positions Nasalevci right on the isogloss dividing these two traits.
Examples: koledarì (N2: 72), rɤkavè (N1: 224)
• The plural ending of all feminine nouns is /-e/.
Examples: svìrke (N1: 48), tantèle (N1: 224), dùme (N2, 24)
• Non-nominative forms of feminine nouns, feminine singular adjectives, and masculine nouns signifying animate beings, are in regular use.
Examples: svàdbu (1: 42), bànicu (1: 43), (masculine animate nouns not represented in these texts)
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, such 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 (“animate accusative” in the instance of the masculine nouns) and was used for all other meanings
• A particularly interesting corollary of the above is the fact that the definite article attached to these forms also shows inherited cases endings (/-tu/ for feminine and /-toga/ for animate masculine).
Example: baštùtu (N1: 124), drugòtoga (1: 39)
• Plural forms of adjectives and demonstratives distinguish all three genders, with masculine marked by /-i/, feminine by /-e/ and neuter by /-a/.
Examples: rìdži mustàci (N2: 40); tèje dùme (N2: 14); dṛvà dɤ̀lga (N2: 58)
• The ending in all 1st person singular present tense forms is /-m/, except in the modal verb ‘can’, which has the ending /-u/.
Examples: kazùjem (N1, 69), kàžem (N1: 224) // mògu (N1: 69)
• The ending in all 1st person plural present tense forms is /-mo/.
Examples: pràimo (N2: 52), tràžimo (N2: 179)
• The ending in all 3rd person plural present tense is /-u/.
Examples: otìdu (N1: 38), kànu (N1: 39), zbìraju (N1: 9)
• The ending for 2nd person plural aorist tense is /-ste/.
Example: obṛkàste (N2: 83)
• There are two different future particles: ču for 1st person singular and če for all other persons.
Examples: jà ču ga nòčem popàrim (N1: 85); če dòjdemo (N1: 42)
• Verbal nouns end in /-n’e/.
Example: jèden’e (N1: 12)
Gospodinkin, Dimitŭr. 1921. Trŭnčanite i trŭnskijat govor. Izvestija na Seminara po slavjanska filologija 4: 148-211.
Petričev, Dimitŭr. 1931. Prinos kŭm izučavane na trŭnskija govor. Izvestija na Seminara po slavjanska filologija 7: 35-75.