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    Excuse my ignorance on this topic, and I really just want to learn some views on this topic, but why was the Eastern Dialect largely utilised as the standard for Bulgarian education and centre of learning, when Sofia, its capital is based in the West, and probably had native Western Dialect speakers originally?  

    With Bulgaria’s interests in the R.Macedonia in the past to unite the region as a single country, wouldn’t it have made sense to utilise the Western Dialect as the standard for literature and learning?  Just a thought.

    Very curious for views on this topic.



    Sofia was not a significant town back then. It was mostly an Ottoman administrative center. Trnovo on the other hand was the old capital and several significant cultural figures like Slaveikov hailed from there (even though his family had moved there from Macedonia.



    As aaaaa said, Eastern Bulgaria was more active in the late stages of the National Revival (although the Revival itself began in the Western lands, Macedonia in particular) and was considered somewhat more “elite”. The Western dialects were also considered linguistically somewhat impure, due to the stronger Serbian influence on them. Also, most of the great Bulgarian authors from the 19th century had been Eastern speakers – Vazov, Botev, Slaveykov, Beron etc. Thus, it’s not surprising that there were four main language “schools”, all based on the Eastern dialects, of which the Tarnovo school eventually became the most dominant. Still, this was a very big question for our intellectuals from both ends of Bulgaria, both before and after the Liberation. And there were indeed Western Bulgarian writers (mostly from Macedonia, which still carried some weight as a cultural centre) who warned that the mono-dialectic basis for the literary language proposed by the Bulgarsko Knizhovno Druzhestvo (Bulgarian Literary Society, predecessor in Ottoman times of what would later become the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) would eventually lead to the estrangement of the Western Bulgarians and that, thus, both the Eastern and the Western dialects should be represented equally. Unfortunately, the Easterners were more arrogant and succeeded in establishing a literary norm based solely on the Eastern dialects, even though (ironically) the capital of the newly liberated country was then placed in the Western lands, where it was supposed to act as the centre and unifier of the Bulgarian lands (Macedonia was expected to eventually be joined soon enough, and Sofia’s old name was Sredets anyway). This has led to an interesting mix, IMO, with the official literary language, based on the soft Eastern dialects, getting a bit roughed up by the capital area’s hard Western (Shoppish) dialect, to the point that now it’s us laughing at those soft-speakers in the East (well, they laugh at us as well, but that’s because we’re just so cool and they’re envious 😉 ).

    Edit: If you can read Bulgarian, the first part here is rather spot on, as well as this one.



    @NikeBG @aaaaa  Interesting points you both raise.  Can’t read cyrllic, never went to a slavic school, only taught the dialect speech by grandparents and relatives.  Is the Western dialect still actively used (and does the younger generation use it or is it just the elderly)?



    Urbanization after 1945 has all but destroyed authentic dialects and folklore.



    I met a Bulgarian once in my travels in MKD, and he came from Varna.  He could understand me pretty well, but I found it a bit difficult to understand him, although, now that I’ve been listening to Bulgarian music lately and I have picked up a few of the lexical differences, then I’d probably understand him better now if I had the conversation again.  It would be interesting to see if I could hold an intelligent conversation with my dialect if I ever traveled in Bulgaria.  



    Dialects are still mostly spoken in the countryside villages. Sofia is a special case nowadays, since it’s full of peasants from all over the country. Still, the Western dialects still exist, one of them has even been promoted to the status of “language” ( 😉 ), though the main ones inside the country today are the various forms of Shoppish (including the special case of the NorthWesterners, who swear like typical Serbs).



    Its interesting you raise this.  My father traveled on a cruise along the Danube, and they stopped at Belogradchik.  It was the only place they stopped in Bulgaria.  He was talking to the local there, and my father was using slavophone greek/slavic macedonian, and they held a pretty intelligent conversation, it must have been in western dialect.



    Serbs swear like Croats though. Mater is definitely catholic influence.



    Yeah, I won’t say when Mater comes into swearing here… Lol.



    “Mater” is not catholic influence. It is the accusative case form of “mati” – Common Slavic word for mother. (“majka” is a diminutive form of it).



    Nah. Definitely catholic influence.



    Indeed, “mati” is the Old Bulgarian word for “mother” as well. There was also some relation to oldness, I think, since the medieval name of the Balkan Mountains was Matorie Gori (which means the same as the modern name of the mountain – Stara Planina, i.e. Old Mountain(s)).



    @aaaaa  I’m not sure are you trolling or not, but “mater” is not catholic influence.

    As I said, it’s just the accusative form of the word “mati”. Which conjugation goes like this:
    Nominative: mati
    Genitive: matere
    Dative: materi
    Accusative: mater
    Vocative: mati
    Instrumental: materom
    Locative: materi


    South Slavic
    Serbo-Croatian: mati
    Old Bulgarian (as @NikeBG said): mati (“majka” in Modern Bulgarian)
    Slovene: mati

    East Slavic
    Russian: мати (archaic), мать (modern)
    Ukrainian: мати
    Belorussian: мац

    West Slavic
    Czech: mati (archaic), matka (modern)
    Slovak: mati (archaic), mať (modern)
    Polish: mati (Old Polish), mać (Middle Polish), matka (Modern Polish)



    Tsk, tsk, tsk. How can so many people be so wrong. Boggles the mind.

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