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.
CENTRAL RUPIC: RHODOPE: Velingrad: transitional (Graševo / Sveta Petka)
The name Velingrad, used here to refer to the three villages of Sǔrnica, Graševo and Sveta Petka, is not intended as a specific dialect group name. It is rather the name of the relevant administrative region, and is chosen here as a cover term for a number of reasons. The established term “Čepino dialects” refers to the general region, but none of the three villages on this site are among the seven named as part of Čepino in the classic source discussing this dialect (Miletič 1912: 8). When used as a geographical term, “Čepino” includes those original seven cited by Miletič plus two more, one of which is Sveta Petka (Čankov 1958: 499).
Linguistically, each of the three villages on the site is both close to the Čepino dialect, and distinct from it in particular ways. Although Graševo and Sveta Petka are geographically closer to the Čepino group, their dialects are less similar to it and in fact have a number of features connecting them with the Razlog-Babjak dialect group. By contrast, Sǔrnica is geographically further from the Čepino group, but has more dialectal features in common with it. The solution taken here, therefore, is to group all three under the administrative term Velingrad, but to describe Sǔrnica separately from Graševo and Sveta Petka.
The list below summarizes the salient features of the dialects of Graševo and Sveta Petka. It is based on the speech of those villages as represented by texts on the site, with examples taken from those texts.
Abbreviations: the capital letter refers to the village, the letter represents the village (e.g. G = Graševo) the following number identifies the text from that village (e.g. SP1 = Sveta Petka 1), and the number after the colon identifies the line within the text where the cited form occurs.
• The historical Slavic vowel “jat’” appears in stressed syllables as /ɛ/ in Sveta Petka, whereas in Graševo it appears as /e/, except after /c/ where it is /a/.
Examples: golɛ̀mi (SP1: 151), bɛ̀lo (SP1: 39), sɛ̀kakvu (SP1: 94) // nèkuj (G: 67), vidèl (G: 84), tèh (G: 106) // càl’ (G: 121)
• The results of the historical sequences “ja” and “post-alveolar + a” are either /a/ or /ɛ/.
Examples: š’arkite (SP1: 75), udž’ɛ̀k (SP2: 13)
• The historical Slavic vowel “back jer” appears as /a/ in the root, but as /o/ in affixes and in the masculine singular definite article.
Examples: isàhne (G: 93), snài (G: 131) // kakòf (SP3: 132), veterò (SP3: 99)
• The historical Slavic vowel “ back nasal” appears as /a/.
Examples: kàštə (SP3: 13), pàt (SP3: 84)
• Early South Slavic syllabic /r/ appears as /rɤ/.
Examples: vrɤvɛ̀a (SP1: 29), drɤ̀vo (SP1: 121)
• The early South Slavic sequence “čr + front jer” appears as /č’ɤr/.
Example: č’ɤrno (SP1: 39)
• The initial sequence /mn/ is dissimilated to /fn/.
Example: fnògu (SP1: 49)
• The sequence /vn/ is assimilated to /mn/.
Example: plɛ̀mn’a (SP3: 29)
• The sequence /sr/ occasionally appears as /str/.
Examples: stredàta (SP1: 109), but also sredàta (SP3: 66)
• Soft /t’/ is occasionally replaced by soft /k’/.
Example: pràpak’ (SP: 67)
• Soft consonants may appear word-finally.
Examples: rudàn’ (G: 94), pràpak’ (SP2: 67)
• There is a schwa-like release of final consonants as marker of unfinished phrase.
Examples: imòtə (G: 65), pàzərdžikə (SP1: 43)
• There are frequent occurrences of double accent.
Examples: àlištètə (G: 114), mumìčetàtə (G: 59), càrevɛ̀no (SP3: 9), nabɤ̀rdilàta (SP1: 124)
• The accent is retracted to the initial syllable in imperative forms.
Examples: nàtč’i (SP1: 161), kàži (SP2: 85)
• The accent advances to the theme vowel in aorist forms and participles.
Examples: izgubì (SP1: 150), minà (SP3: 17), imàlu (SP1: 160), učìli (G: 38), udìli (G: 69)
• The plural of polysyllabic masculine nouns is /-e/.
Examples: màjsture (SP3: 33), dèvolèto (SP3: 17)
• The definite article for singular masculine nouns is /-o/ after hard consonants and /-e/ after soft consonants.
Examples: jakɤ̀lo (SP1: 96), dəràku (SP1: 8) // razbòje (SP1: 30), ugèn’e (SP2: 4)
• The definite article for plural masculine nouns is /-to/.
Examples: aivàneto (SP3: 29), mɤž’ètu (SP1: 139)
• There is occasional loss of the final /-t/ in 3rd person plural present tense forms.
Examples: vìde (SP2: 99), vɤrtè (SP3: 79)
Miletič, Ljubomir. 1912. Die Rhodopenmundarten der bulgarischen Sprache. Schriften der Balkankomission der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Vienna.
Čankov, Žečo. 1958: Geografski rečnik na Bŭlgarija. Sofia, “Nauka i izkustvo”.