Compiled by Ali
Eminov, Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska 68787 USA
Send comments, suggestions, additions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes on Transliteration and Pronunciation
Most Bulgarian letters are pronounced as in English except for the following: Ж, ж (, ) pronounced as s in treasure; Й, й (Y, y) pronounced as y in yes; С, с (S, s) pronounced as s in soon; У, у (U, u) pronounced as oo in broom; X, x (Kh, kh) pronounced as ch in Bach; Ц, ц (C, c) pronounced as tz in quartz; Ч, ч (Č, č) pronounced as ch in church; Ш, ш (, ) pronounced as sh in should; Щ, щ (t, t) pronounced as shed n washed; Ъ, ъ (Ǔ, ǔ) pronounced as u in urgent; Ю, ю (Yu, yu) pronounced as you in youth (but shorter); Я, я (Ya, ya) pronounced as ya in yard (but shorter).
Most Turkish letters are pronounced as in English except for the following: C, c pronounced as j in jam; ğ (soft g) is not pronounced; serves to lengthen slightly the preceding vowel; I, ı pronounced as u in urgent; İ, i pronounced as i in bit; J, j pronounced as g in montage; Ş, ş pronounced as sh in ship. Ő, ő pronounced eu as in peu; Ű, ű pronounced ew as in few and Ç, ç pronounced ch as in chat).
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1. Lilyana Borislava, "Most Kőyűnde Tűrk Konuşması"
2. Hılmiye Faikova, "Kumaniga Ağzı"
3. Isa Cebeci, "Grandnitsa Ağzı"
4. Lűtfi Cinaliyev, "Kuzeydoğu Bulgaristanın Hlebarevo Kőyűnde Konuşulan Tűrk Ağzı"
5. Mustafa Mustanov, "Braniçevo Ağzı"
6. Hűseyin Rűstemov, "Milino Ağzı"
7. Ahmet Saliyev, "Duran Kőyű Tűrk Ağzı"
8. Recep Şabanov, "Mıdrevo Ağzı"
9. Fehim Şakirov, "Nova Mahala Ağzı"
10. Gűlbiye Zekeriyeva, "Gorsko Slivovoda Konuşulan Tűrk Ağzı"
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Bulgarian Turkish: Linguistic Effects of Bulgarian Nationality Policy Ali Eminov and Catherine Rudin
Changing policies toward ethnic minorities in Bulgaria from the 1960s through the 1980s led to dramatic changes in the sociolinguistic status of Turkish and Bulgarian in ethnically Turkish areas of the country. The major trends over the second half of the twentieth century have been a shift toward more frequent and fluent use of Bulgarian by more members of the community and the emergence of significant lexical and grammatical interference from Bulgarian in the native Turkish dialect. However the more recent policy shifts have led to a resurgence of literacy in Turkish. The aim of this contribution is to describe the sociolinguistic status of the Turkish community in Bulgaria, concentrating on one particular village but with some more general remarks and a brief look at how the situation has changed and is changing.
Most of the Turks living in Bulgaria are descendants of colonists who were settled there during the Ottoman period. In spite of the centuries separating them from their Anatolian and Asia Minor origins, these Turks have not become assimilated into the surrounding Bulgarian culture but have preserved their own language and culture slightly different from that of modern Turkey but nonetheless distinctly Turkish. Until recently this cultural separateness was encouraged by the fact that many Turks had very little contact with Bulgarians: they tended to be concentrated in certain parts of the country, for instance in the eastern Rhodopes of southeastern Bulgaria and the Dobrudzha region of northeastern Bulgaria. Turks living in remote mountain villages of the Rhodopes had very little contact with Bulgarians. Men, who traveled to the city for trade or other purposes, often learned some Bulgarian, but women and children had no use for any language other than Turkish, and were in general totally monolingual.
Long established patterns of education also encouraged community isolation. During the Ottoman period the organization and management of educational and other cultural institutions was left up to each ethno-religious group to handle as it saw fit. Turkish villages and Turkish neighborhoods in towns and cities had Turkish schools, so even those members of the community who had some schooling did not necessarily know Bulgarian. As Grannes (1989) notes, prior to Bulgarian independence from Ottoman rule in 1878, Turkish was the high status language in the country. Consequently, the influence of Turkish on Bulgarian was considerable. Bulgarians living in or near Turkish communities learned Turkish while the Turks remained largely monolingual. Prominent Bulgarian writers used many Turkish words, both literary and colloquial in their writings.
The extent of bilingualism among Bulgarians during the Ottoman period varied considerably depending on residence, gender, occupation and other factors. According to Todorova (1992:20-25), the majority of Bulgarians had some knowledge of Turkish and used many turkicisms in their speech (subordinate bilinguals). A significant portion of Bulgarians, mainly merchants and artisans, had to acquire some fluency in Greek and/or Turkish, for professional reasons (incipient bilinguals), while a minority of Bulgarians were fluent speakers of Turkish. This category, apart from cases like intermarriage or mixed ethnic cohabitation, would include mostly the educated class (co-ordinate bilinguals) (Todorova 1992:24-25). Turkish was used extensively in certain domains. As Todorova (1992:23) notes,
The terminology, covering administrative and commercial life in urban centers, was entirely Turkish (in fact, mostly Arabic and Persian loanwords, entering with Ottoman Turkish). So was the artisan terminology. Turkisms were extremely widespread in the denomination of the flora and fauna, clothing, food etc.
Many Bulgarian merchants, artisans, and craftsmen took their family names from their occupations. Many of these Turkish-derived family names continue to be used today (See Eren 1986).
After Bulgarian independence, the direction of interference was reversed. Bulgarian became the high status language and Bulgarians no longer had a strong incentive to learn Turkish. Moreover, a movement was launched to purify the Bulgarian literary language, as well as the vernacular and dialects of turkisms and to replace them with Bulgarian and/or Russian equivalents (See Moskov 1985). This movement was relatively successful concerning the literary language but less so in the vernacular and dialects. On the other hand, Turkish speakers felt a need to learn Bulgarian and Bulgarian words slowly started to enter Turkish literary and colloquial language.
The patterns of education established in Bulgaria during the Ottoman period persisted until after World War II. All this changed dramatically after World War II, as a result of the implementation and enforcement of the educational policies of the new communist government. All Muslim religious schools were closed. Turkish schools which had been private and community run for hundreds of years were nationalized. During the 1950′s and increasingly thereafter, the policy of compulsory education for all children, including Bulgarian language as required subject, began to be strictly enforced. This meant that all young people even girls had at least some acquaintance with Bulgarian. Educational policy in Bulgaria with regard to Turks has gone through a series of twists and turns, sometimes even encouraging literacy in Turkish as well as Bulgarian, but the general trend has been greater and greater emphasis on Bulgarian as the language of the schools.
Between 1959 and 1970 all Turkish-language schools were merged with Bulgarian schools. By early 1970s Turkish language instruction in Bulgarian schools was effectively eliminated. Consequently those Turkish speakers, who began their educational careers in the early 1970′s or later did not know how to read and write in their language. By January 1985 the entire question of Turkish language instruction became moot since the Bulgarian government officially declared that there were no longer any Turks in Bulgaria. Between the end of 1984 and November 1989 the government took additional steps against the use of Turkish language. Orders were issued to responsible authorities to implement and enforce decrees against the speaking of Turkish in public places and against the use of Turkish names in places of work.
Changes in the governments language and educational policies since World War II have had a significant impact on the language of the Turkish minority. The institution and implementation of compulsory education after World War II and the compulsory study of Bulgarian in Turkish schools during the 1950s raised the previously very low rate of literacy and bilingualism among the Turkish speaking population. Another major change for most Turks was the degree of contact with Bulgarians and Bulgarian language in everyday life. During the period of collectivization in the Rhodope region in the early 1960′s many Turks left their homes in the mountains for an easier life in the already established collective farms in the fertile plains; whole villages sometimes moved en masse to new locations where a trip to the nearest fair-sized town meant a few minutes train or bus ride, rather than a long days hike. Others left for cities in search of factory jobs. Even for those who stayed behind, radio, television, and improved transportation and communication networks increased contacts with Bulgarians to some extent. All of these changes led toward increased use of Bulgarian language by Turkish speakers. On the other hand, the forced assimilation campaign between 1984 and 1989 increased the social isolation between Turks and Bulgarians, partially reversing the trend of recent decades.
The village with which we (Eminov and Rudin) are most familiar is Polyanovo, near the city of Ajtos, in the Burgas region of east-central Bulgaria. During the early 1980s, the village was inhabited almost entirely by Turks the majority of whom had migrated there from the village of Avramovo in the eastern Rhodopes during the 1960s, at the time of collectivization. Out of approximately 90 households in the village, all but 10 were Turkish. The only Bulgarians in the village were older couples, widows and widowers and one middle-aged couple; there were no Bulgarian children or young people. Two Gypsy families lived just outside the village, and played a marginal role in village life. The local collective was worked and administered entirely by Turks, with the exception of one Bulgarian woman who sold bread and weighed the harvested crops.
Polyanovo was thus an overwhelmingly Turkish environment, and Turkish was by far the majority language. Nevertheless, Bulgarian influence was present in the village. Beside the few Bulgarians who actually lived in the village, there were native Bulgarian kindergarten teachers who came in daily to supervise the young children, and during the summer young people from the nearby Pioneer work camp came in to drink and hang around the village bar and general store in the evenings. In addition, many adult male residents of the village had jobs outside, which brought them into daily contact with Bulgarians, and almost everyone went to the nearby towns and cities at least once in a while. The cities of Karnobat, Aitos, and Burgas were easily reached by train, bus or personal car from the village; easily enough to make going to the city for an afternoon of shopping or a movie perfectly reasonable. Besides, a number of villagers had relatives living in Ajtos who visited them quite frequently. Every household had a television set and young people and children spent many hours watching television. Most significantly, all school age children attended schools where instruction was entirely in Bulgarian and Turkish students were required to speak with one another in Bulgarian while at school.
As a result, nearly all the residents of Polyanovo were bilingual to some degree. We define a bilingual as a person who is able to produce grammatical sentences in more than one language (Lehiste 1988:1). This definition is broad enough to include a range from persons who are effectively monolingual but can produce a limited number of grammatical sentences in a second language to those who show equal facility in more than one language and who can switch with ease between languages. It is also understood that not all bilinguals produce equally grammatical sentences. Most bilinguals frequently deviate from the norms of either language, that is, either language may interfere with the production of grammatical sentences in the other at a number of levels phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and lexis. Moreover, bilinguals differ in the degree of interference at a given level.
Our data indicate that the changes in educational policy and amount of contact with Bulgarian over the previous half-century had resulted in quite different linguistic repertoires for Turks of different ages and genders by the early 1980s. Older women were effectively monolingual, although even they exhibited some lexical influence from Bulgarian in their Turkish, as we shall see. Most men born before about 1935, who had completed their education before Bulgarian language study became compulsory in the 1950s, spoke Bulgarian very badly. Middle-aged people those born between approximately 1935 and the late 1940s were usually quite fluent in Bulgarian, but at a clearly non-native level, and made many grammatical errors. This was the group that had Bulgarian as a required subject in school, but did not learn it as young children. Women of this middle-aged group were generally somewhat less fluent than their male contemporaries, partly because very few girls went beyond primary school in the past, and partly because most women worked on collective farms near the village and had less contact with Bulgarians than the men did.
The younger generation those born after about 1950 were for the most part fully fluent in Bulgarian; many spoke it essentially natively and some were actually more comfortable in Bulgarian than Turkish. In this age group the sex difference evident in older and middle aged speakers disappeared; even though girls still tended to leave school early, this group had learned the language at a young age and had continuous opportunity to use it, unlike the preceding generation. The youngest children did not know Bulgarian, but as soon as they entered kindergarten they quickly acquired it. Even in heavily Turkish settings like Polyanovo the kindergarten teachers were Bulgarians, and they required the children to speak Bulgarian even among themselves.
In addition to differences in which languages were used, the residents of Polyanovo differed in the extent and type of influence of the two languages on each other. We turn now to some specific linguistic examples. All examples were taken from informal conversations and letters: they were spontaneously produced and typical of normal speech within the ethnic Turkish community.
Sentence 1, with its apparently random gender marking, was written by a man born in 1944; a representative of the middle-aged, fluent-but-not-native-like group of Bulgarian speakers
(1) Minalato lyato i tozi lyato rabotim krastavici.
last(f)-the(n) summer(n) and this(m) summer(n) we-work cucumbers.
Last summer and this summer we work (growing) cucumbers.
In this sentence the neuter noun ljato summer is modified by one feminine and one masculine adjective and a neuter article. The stereotypical view of Turkish speech among Bulgarians is that they can never get their gender agreement right, and in fact this type of error was frequent among older and middle-aged speakers, probably reflecting the lack of grammatical gender in Turkish. Such errors were, however, not found in the speech of younger Turks.
Sentences 2 and 3 are two more examples of grammatical errors in the Bulgarian of middle-aged speakers. In 2 an impersonal construction is mistakenly treated as personal: the correct construction would be mene me nyamae v kǔti, literally me there wasnt at home. Sentence 3 shows incorrect use of a definite article with another determiner.
(2) Az pǔk nyamah v kǔti.
I though I-wasnt at home
But I wasnt at home.
(3) I tie kratkite redove te pia ot Aytos.
and hese short-the lines you I-write from Ajtos
I write these short lines to you from Ajtos.
Such examples could be multiplied ad infinitum, but the point should be clear: middle-aged Turks made typical second-language-learner errors. Younger Turks in general did not make such errors.
One example of Turkish influence that affected even young speakers was reduplication with m to mean and stuff in both Turkish and Bulgarian. Several examples are given below: 4a is entirely Turkish, 4b entirely Bulgarian and 4c contains reduplication of a Bulgarian word, svetno, in an otherwise Turkish sentence. This type of reduplication is also used by some Bulgarians, but is considered a turkicism (Grannes (1978)).
(4a) Korekoma gittim pantul mantul aldım.
Corecom-to I-went pants I-got pants and stuff.
I went to Corecom (and) got some pants and stuff.
(4b) Yufka mufka vari nay-napred v tendereto
noodle and stuff you-boil first in pot-the
First you boil the noodles and stuff in the pot
(4c) Svetno msvetno hepsi oluyor.
colored and stuff all it-does
Colored and everything, it makes all kinds (of pictures).
It is not surprising, certainly, that the native Turkish of these speakers influenced their non-native Bulgarian. More interesting was the degree to which Bulgarian influence was evident in the Turkish, not only of younger, bilingual speakers, but to a certain extent also of older people and even monolinguals. All of the Polyanovo Turks used Bulgarian loan words frequently. Many of these were lexical borrowings of the most expected sort, that is, words for culture-linked items or concepts which have been taken over from the surrounding Bulgarian society: government bureaucracy with its alphabet soup, education, jobs, and technology acquired in post-Ottoman times, like cars and refrigerators. These were words which even monolingual speakers used; they had fully entered the everyday vocabulary of the Turkish community and were used just like ordinary Turkish words, with appropriate grammatical endings and normal Turkish syntax. Some examples in context are given in 5; a few more words of this type are shown in 6. (Bulgarian lexical items are italicized in these and subsequent examples)
(5a) Ispitlerimi başarıyle kazanmamı dilediler.
exams-my-ACC success-with passing-my-ACC they-wished
They wished me success in passing my exams.
(5b) O TKZC de glaven agronom oldu.
he collective farm-in head agronomist became
He became a chief agronomist in the collective farm.
(5c) Bu butilkayı al hladilnike koy.
this bottle-ACC take refrigerator-in put
Take this bottle (and) put it in the refrigerator.
(5d) Benim rǔčna spiračka hiç tutmyor.
my hand brake not-at-all holds-NEG
My hand brake doesnt hold at all.
(6) magaziner(ka) storekeeper(f)
radiostanciya radio station
deveti septemvri Sept. 9′
pǔrvi mai May 1′
dyado mraz Santa Clause
detska gradina kindergarten
himikalka pen (ballpoint
lenta tape, lane
častno privately owned
Somewhat less expectedly many Bulgarian words were used for which a perfectly good Turkish equivalent existed, and which had nothing to do with modern technology or Bulgarian society. These included common nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, as shown in 7:
(7a) Babamın bratovčedinin güveysi.
father-my-POSS cousin-his-POSS son-in-law-his
He is my fathers cousins son-in-law.
(7b) Brat daha burda ya.
brother still here-at emphatic
(Your) brother is still here.
(7c) Babam bir diva patka vurmuş.
father-my a wild duck killed
My father has killed a wild duck.
(7d) Baya moderno bir şey o.
quite modern a thing it
Its quite a modern thing.
(7e) Arabada bir um çıktı.
car-in a noise arose
A noise started up in the car.
(7f) Vinagi aşağlıyor zapadı.
always he-puts-down west-the
Hes always putting down the west.
Interestingly, borrowings also included conjunctions and other minor categories. In fact, one of the most frequent Bulgarian words in our Turkish data is obaçce however.
(8a) Resim var pak sesi yok.
picture there-is but voice-its there-isnt
Theres a picture, but there isnt any sound.
(8b) Recep obače beygirleri hiç düşünmemiş.
Recep however horses-ACC at-all he-thought
Recep however didnt think about the horses at all.
(8c) Bana bakma če evde yok.
me look-NEG because house-in he-isnt
Dont look at me because hes not at home.
(8d) Benim mastikayı dae oturmuşsun içmeye.
my mastika-ACC even you-sat to-drink
Youve even sat down to drink my mastika.
(8e) U adamı aramaya gelmiş.
as-if man-ACC to-seek she-came
It seems she came to look for the man.
There were even a few candidates for possible transference of bound grammatical morphemes from Bulgarian into Turkish. The Bulgarian -ço diminutive suffix had become quite common along-side the native Turkish diminutive -çik/-cik, and some young people seemed to use the feminine -ka suffix fairly productively in Turkish too.
(9a) Ademčo nasıldır?
How is little Adem?
(9b) Sarkıyı söyleyen Apti ağabeyin baldızkası.
song-ACC singing Apti older-brother-POSS sister-in-law-his
The one singing the song is your brother Aptis sister-in-law.
One particularly interesting pattern of Bulgarian loan word usage was the construction exemplified in 10. Here a Bulgarian verb, nearly always a third person singular present tense form (indicated with 3s in the examples below) was combined with a form of the Turkish yapmak to do with appropriate person/number/tense features. Verbs, unlike nouns and other parts of speech, were not assimilated directly into the Turkish morphological system. Rather, a semantically empty Turkish verb root was employed as a carrier for the obligatory grammatical suffixes.
(10a) Ben öyle obetava yaptım.
I thus promise-3s I-did
I promised (to do) that.
(10b) Akşam sabah pǔtuva yapacak.
evening morning travel-3s she-will-do
She will travel evening and morning.
(10c) Ben izpolzva yapıyorum.
I use-3s I-am-doing
I am using (it).
(10d) Nerede otklonyava yaptık?
where turn-off-3s we-did
Where did we turn off?
(10e) Onu prehvǔrlya yapcaz, onun yerine seni alcaz.
him transfer-1s we-will-do his place-in you we-will-take
We will transfer him, well take you in his place.
(10f) Ama osvobodava yapmıyorlar daha.
but liberate-3s they-dont do anymore
But they arent releasing (workers) yet.
All of the above patterns of fitting a Bulgarian lexical item into a basically Turkish sentence contrasted with intra-sentential code switching changing the apparent matrix language in the middle of a sentence which was comparatively rare in our data. One example is shown in 11.
(11) Sende voenna knika varmı ima pravo za upravlenie na kola.
you-at military booklet is-if you-have right to driving of car
If you have a military i.d., you are allowed to drive a car.
Code switching in the larger sense of choosing the language of each conversation to fit the situation of participants obviously was common; we do not attempt to provide examples of it here. Such situation-based code-switching may have contributed to the actual loss of some Turkish vocabulary and its replacement with Bulgarian words, particularly among the very young, in semantic spheres that would tend to be associated with school or work.
Our fifteen-year-old nephew did not know the Turkish names for the months and the days of the week, for instance. His thirty -five-year-old parents normally used the Bulgarian forms, but if asked they could sometimes (not always) come up with the Turkish word as well (eylül for septemvri September; perşembe for četvǔrtǔk Thursday). Both teenagers and middle-aged people consistently used the Bulgarian names for most countries, continents, and other geographical features: Ungariya rather than Macaristan Hungary. to give just one example. Combined with the overwhelming use of Bulgarian rather than Turkish technological and social terminology of the sort discussed in 5 and 6, this lack of knowledge of Turkish vocabulary could lead to significant difficulty in communicating with Turks from Turkey especially since young people were sometimes unaware of which words are Turkish and which are not.
For the most part, speakers were aware of the differences between the two languages, however; in fact, code switching was sometimes used for rhetorical effect. This was particularly prevalent in songs, as in the two examples in 12. The first example shows two lines differing in a single word; the second is a popular song about the army, whose chorus consists of one line in Turkish and a nearly identical one in Bulgarian.
(12a) Geldi zor zaman. Doyde zor zaman
Hard times have come, hard times have come.
(12b) Yaktı bütün gençleri. Izyade vsičkite mladei.
it-burned all youth it-ate all youth
It burned up all the youth. It ate up all the youth.
Even in everyday speech language switching was sometimes used consciously for comic effect. My sister Durdugül said 13 to her husband, who had just finished helping her chop cabbage for dinner, and both laughed at the unexpected predicate.
(13) Senin Şimdi başka işin nyama.
your now other work there-isnt
Now there isnt any more work for you.
We turn now to a brief discussion of written language. Although fluency in spoken Turkish was essentially universal in Polyanovo and among Turks of Bulgaria in general, literacy in Turkish was far from universal. As we have already mentioned, Turkish language instruction in the schools was eliminated by 1970, so those who began school after 1970 were taught to read and write only in Bulgarian. Turkish language publications became unavailable at the same time. Many Turks who were over twenty-five could write in both Bulgarian and Turkish, although those between twenty-five and thirty years old, who had begun their schooling during the years when Turkish instruction was being phased out (1960s), had minimal reading and writing skills in Turkish. For most of those under twenty five, literacy was exclusively in Bulgarian. Thus my twenty-yea-old nephew, who had recently immigrated to the United States, wrote to and received letters from his friends back in Polyanovo in Bulgarian, although they would normally speak to each other in Turkish. This was true in spite of the fact that they do know the Roman alphabet (having studied French in school, and now English) and in spite of their anti-Bulgarian feelings resulting from the recent wave of official repression of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria.
A few of the Polyanovo children learned to write Turkish during the 1980s, probably as a direct result of the anti-Turkish policies. When Turkish language became an overt political issue, some parents were motivated to teach their children to read and write at home. My niece Sevinç, who was about eleven at the time, wrote the message in 14 in a 1986 postcard; the few errors are not surprising considering that she was just learning to write Turkish at the time.
(14) Yaz mevsiminda bir hatra.
summer season-at a souvenir
A souvenir of the summer.
(correct: Yaz mevsiminden bir hatıra)
A different approach to Turkish literacy is exemplified in 15, the text of a card written to us in 1987 by my then nine-year-old niece Selime. With the exception of the first line, which is a formulaic greeting in Bulgarian, the entire note is in Turkish, but is written in the Cyrillic Bulgarian alphabet (Turkish is normally written in Roman letters). The transcription is phonemically correct except forq instead of the more accurate dj [çj] in yengeqim (yengecim my auntie).
(15) 1987 godina da vi čestita.
Selyam Sizlere. Yeni yılınız kutlu olsun abeyim ve yengeciğim. Gönderen Selime. Hoşçakalın.
1987 godina da vi čestita. Selâm Sizlere. Yeni yılınız kutlu olsun abeyim ve yengecim. gjonderen Selime. Hoşçakalın.
Happy New Year 1987. Greetings to you. May your new year
be happy uncle and auntie. sent by Selime. Goodbye.
*If you do not have access to Cyrillic fonts, then, the above should appear as follows: (Cyrillic is preferable!) except for çc instead of the more accurate dçz (j) in jengecim (yengecim my auntie).
(15) (Turkish) transliteration: 1987 godina da vi čestita. Selam Sizlere. Yeni yılınız kutlu olsun abeyim ve yengecim. Gönderen Selime. Hoşçakalın.
translation: Happy New Year 1987. Greetings to you. May your new year be happy uncle and auntie. Sent by Selime. Goodbye.
Since children knew both spoken Turkish and the Cyrillic alphabet, such phonetic spelling was probably felt to be relatively easy to learn. The efforts at teaching the children to write Turkish by either method may have been short-lived, though; these same nieces later reverted to writing to us in Bulgarian.
The difference in orthography is a frequent source of errors in written Turkish, even for adults who write both languages. We often noticed spelling errors clearly resulting from Cyrillic interference. A few representative examples from letters written by people between twenty and forty are shown in 16. Especially typical is the spelling dc instead of c for /dz/, presumably as a calque on Cyrillic dz. Confusion of Cyrillic g /d/ and Roman d, c /s/ and s, p /r/ and r, y /u/ and u and so on is also common, for similar reasons.
(16) Güldcan (for Gülcan (a girls name))
deredceyle (for dereceyle by degrees)
gerhal (for derhal immediately)
gakika (for dakika minute)
bykagarla (for bukadarla with this much)
ceviyorum (for seviyorum I love)
After 1989, the restrictions on religious, educational, and personal rights of minorities imposed by the communist regime were lifted. The issues which had been taboo for decades, such as free choice of names, classes in minority languages in state schools, freedom of worship and so no could be discussed freely. The reintroduction of Turkish language classes in state schools was high on the MRF agenda. Between June 1990 and the end of 1991 when the government was dragging its feet on the issue of Turkish language instruction, finally prohibiting it altogether on October 1, 1991, the MRF established a special corner in its newspaper Hak ve Özgürlük devoted to practical lessons on Turkish. The topics of the corner alternated weekly between Muharrem Tahsins Çağdaş Türkçemiz (Our Contemporary Turkish), and Kazim Memişs Evinizde Dil Dersleri (Language Lessons in Your Home). Under Çağdaş Türkçemiz, the author alerted its readers to the many Bulgarian words in common use in spoken and written Turkish, suggested proper Turkish words to replace these, and illustrated the use of the Turkish words in one or more sample sentences. Under the byline, Evinizde Dil Dersleri, the author presented practical lessons in Turkish syntax and morphology. The second part of the byline gave examples illustrating some of the typical mistakes made in spoken and written Turkish due to interference from Bulgarian, explained the specific reasons for these mistakes, and gave examples showing how these could be corrected.
Before discussing the examples below, it is necessary to enter an important caveat here. It is true that many of the mistakes illustrated by the following examples are due to interference from Bulgarian. It is also true that these constructions have become part of Turkish colloquial usage and to Turkish speakers in Bulgaria the meaning of these words or constructions is clear. They are mistakes only within the context of the syntax and morphology of standard literary Turkish. The editors address the question of what kind of Turkish the children should be taught in public schools. To the editors of Hak ve Özgürlük, the only correct Turkish is standard literary Turkish and it is this Turkish that should be used in everyday speech, in writing, and in schools. In discussing the examples that follow this caveat should be kept in mind.
Sentences under 17a illustrate a typical nonstandard usage due to the literal translation of the Bulgarian phrase ot imeto na into Turkish. In Bulgarian ot imeto na means in the name of. When the phrase is translated into Turkish literally, it means from the name of. The sentences under 17b illustrate correct usage.
17a. -Siz kimin adından konuşuyorsunuz? (From whose name are you talking?)
-Biz bütün seçmenlerin adından konuşuyoruz. (We are talking from the name of all voters.)
17b. -Siz kimin adına konuşuyorsunuz? (In whose name are you talking?)
-Ben bütün seçmenlerin adına konuşuyorum. (I am talking in the name of all voters.)
The mistake in sentences under 18a is due to translating Bulgarian s into Turkish ile. The sentences under 18b illustrates standard usage.
18a. -Yavu, ne oluyor sizinle? (Hey, whats happening with you?)
-Bizimle ne olacak şimdi? (Now what is going to happen with us?)
18b. -Yavu, ne oluyor size? (Hey, what is happening to you?)
-Bizim halimiz ne olacak şimdi? (Now, what is going to happen to us?)
The sentences under 19a illustrate a different type of confusion with with. The correct usage is shown under 19b.
19a. Kitapları kimden yolladınız? (From whom did you send the books?)
- Kitapları da, defterleri de Yusuftan yolladık. (We sent both the books and the notebooks from Yusuf.)
19b. Kitapları kiminle yolladınız? (With whom did you send the books?)
- Kitapları da, defterleri de Yusufla yolladık. (We sent both the books and the notebooks with Yusuf.)
The example under 20a again illustrates typical mistakes in spoken and written Turkish due to literal translation of Bulgarian words into Turkish. Here the Bulgarian pribra se went/came home, came back, returned is translated as toplandı. The verb toplanmak is often used in a nonstandard way by Turkish speakers as result of interference from Bulgarian. In Turkish, the verb toplanmak means to be gathered, or to be collected. The use of toplandı in 20a is wrong. The correct word should be geldi (came) or döndü (returned) as in 20b.
20a. -Arkadaşım dün çok geç toplandı. (Yesterday my friend gathered home very late.)
20b. -Arkadaşım dün eve çok geç döndü/geldi. (Yesterday my friend returned/came home very late.)
In sentences under 21a the words kaldırdılar and kaldırılan are nonstandard. The writer expresses the opposite of what she wants to say. The mistake is due to Bulgarian interference in Turkish. It is a literal translation of izdigam to build, to erect. In Turkish, kaldırmak means to lift up, to do away with. The writer should have said to erect (dikmek) or to build (inşa etmek) as illustrated under 21b
21a. Meydanlığa büyük bir ant kaldırdılar. (They raised a big monument in the public square.)
- Kaldırılan binalar hep sekiz katlı. (The buildings that were raised are all eight floors.)
21b. Meydanlıkta büyük bir anıt diktiler. (They erected a big monument in the public square.)
- Inşa edilen binalar hep sekiz katlı. (All the buildings that were built have eight floors.)
In sentences under 22a the word hesabına is a literal translation of Bulgarian za smetka na to the detriment of something or someone. However, in standard Turkish the word hesabına means to the benefit of something or someone. The examples under 6a express the opposite of what the writer wants to say. The writer should have used the word zarar/zararına instead of hesabına as illustrated under 22b.
22a. Hızlı çalışmak kalitenin hesabına oluyor. (Speedy work improves quality.)
- Bulgaristan ile Yunanistan arasında varılan anlaşma öteki komşuların hesabına değil. (The agreement reached between Bulgaria and Greece is not going to benefit their neighbors.)
22b. Hızlı çalışmak kalitenin zararına oluyor/kaliteye zarar getiriyor. Speedy work harms quality/brings harm to quality.)
- Bulgaristan ile Yunanistan arasında varılan anlaşma, öteki komşuların zararına değil (The agreement reached between Bulgaria and Greece is not going to harm their neighbors.)
The example in 23a is taken from a conversation about a soccer game between ğavdar and Dunav teams. A Turk who doesnt know Bulgarian would find it impossible to figure out from 6a that the game ended in favor of Dunav. Examples under 23b clarify the meaning:
23a. Maç nasıl bitti? (How did the game end?)
- Üç bir Dunav için . . . (Three one for Dunav . . . )
23b. 3-1 Dunav yendi. (Dunav won 3-1.)
- Čavdar, Dunava 1-3 yenildi. (Čavdar lost to Dunav 1-3.)
-Dunav: 3, Čavdar: 1. (Dunav 3, Čavdar 1.)
The sentence under 24a is grammatical but the suffix cı, -ci is not standard Turkish. The proper suffix here is -lı, -li as illustrated under 24b.
24a. -Ben Dunavcıyım, eşim Spartakcı, oğlum da Levskici . . . (Im Dunavist, my wife is Spartakist, my son is Levskiist . . . )
24b. -Ben Dunavıyım, eşim Spartaklı, oğlum da Levskili . . . (Im a Dunav fan, my wife is a Spartak fan, my son is a Levski fan . . . )
In example 25a the word paylaştı is considered inappropriate and unnecessary because in standard Turkish the word paylaşmak refers to something which is shared among two or more people. Here we see the interference of the Bulgarian word spodelyam share, partake of, participate in, which always requires a complement. Instead of paylaştı, the appropriate word is söyledi or dedi as in example 25b. Examples under 25c illustrate the correct usage of the word paylaşmak.
25a. Genç öğretmen:
- Köyde bunlar görülmüyor ki, diye paylaştı. (The young teacher: Shared, saying, in the village these things cannot be seen.)
25b. Genç öğretmen:
- Köyde bunlar görülmüyor ki diye söyledi/dedi. (The young teacher: Said, these things cannot be seen in the village.)
25c. -Topladığımız cevizleri akşamsı arkadaşlarla paylaştık. (In the evening we distributed the walnuts that we had collected among friends.)
-Kendisiyle sevinç ve kederimi paylaşabileceğim yakın bir dosta ihtiyacım var. (I need a close friend with whom I can share my joys and sorrows.)
- Sen bu kadınla kaderini paylaşmaya hazırmısın? (Are you ready to share your destiny with this woman?)
- Ayni otelin ayni yatağını bir bayanla paylaştı. (He shared the same bed in the same hotel with a woman.)
Sentence 26a is constructed according to Bulgarian grammatical rules. Its a literal translation of Az ne sǔm sǔglasen s vas. The Bulgarian word sǔglasen in agreement with, is translated as razı. Instead of saying I disagree with you, the writer is saying Im not satisfied with you. In Turkish to agree or not to agree with someone is phrased differently than in Bulgarian. Examples under 26b better express what the writer is trying to say. Of course its is possible to form different sentences using the words razı willing, ready, and rıza consent, assent, approval in the form of rızasını almak to get (someones) consent; razı etmek to get someone to agree to something, do something, razı olmak (gelmek) to agree to, consent to, as illustrated under 26c.
26a. -Ben sizinle razı değilim! (Im not willing/ready with you.)
26b. Ben bu görüşte değilim. (I do not agree with your point of view.)
- Ben sizinle hemfikir değilim. (I am not of the same opinion as you.)
- Ben bu düşüncenizi desteklemiyorum. (I do not support your idea/opinion.)
26c. -Benim rızamı almadan bu işi yapamazsın. (You cannot do this work without my consent/agreement.)
- Ben buna rıza gösteremem. (I cannot consent/agree to this.)
- Kim razı oldu, kim razı geldi? (Who agreed to this, who consented to this/)
- Kadın geri dönmeye razı olmuyor. (The woman does not agree to return.)
The mistake in sentences under 27a is not due to interference from Bulgarian. It is the result of perpetuating incorrect usage in colloquial speech most likely due to ignorance of proper grammatical rules. Examples under 27b illustrate standard usage. The same rules apply when using buluşmak, görüşmek, karşılaşmak, rastlaşmak, and so on.
27a. -Bu akşam nereye toplanacağız? (To where will we meet tonight?)
-E, gene bize toplanalım. (Lets meet to our place again.)
-Mektep önüne toplansak olmazmı?) (Could we meet to the front of the school?)
27b. -Bu akşam nerde toplanacağız? (Where will we meet tonight?)
-E, gene bizde toplanalım. (Lets meet at our place again.)
-Mektep önünde toplansak olmazmı? (Could we meet in front of the school?)
The author notes that many mistakes in spoken and written Turkish are the result of thinking in Bulgarian, then trying to express the thought in Turkish. The author advises his readers that the Turkish version doesnt have to be word for word translation from Bulgarian. It can take different forms as long as the thought is expressed clearly. These lessons continued until the end of 1991 when the government finally announced plans to reintroduce Turkish language instruction in public schools acceptable to the Turkish community.
Over the past half century, the general trend was toward greater facility in Bulgarian by an ever greater proportion of the ethnic Turkish population. Nonetheless, even though most Turks in Bulgaria spoke Bulgarian quite comfortably, Turkish remained the primary language and is used almost exclusively at home. Many Turks especially young ones, switched between the two languages many times a day, speaking Bulgarian in many public situations and even sometimes in private among themselves. In addition, as we have seen, Bulgarian loan words pervaded the spoken language, particularly of the young, and some minor grammatical effects of bilingualism were evident in spoken Turkish. Some more isolated Turkish communities had less Bulgarian influence, while Turks in larger cities had more. But to the best of our knowledge all Turkish communities in Bulgaria showed similar linguistic effects, differing only in degree.
As little as six or seven years ago it looked as though the increasing use of Bulgarian, erosion of Turkish vocabulary, loss of Turkish literacy, and social advantages of speaking the majority language and being able to pass as Bulgarian would lead inexorably to accelerated changes in the Turkish spoken in Bulgaria, and perhaps even to significant numbers of Turks abandoning their ancestral language altogether within the next generation or two. The recent nationality policy zigzags have made this less likely.
The extreme anti-Turkish policies of 1984-1990 had the unintended effect of strengthening Turkish ethnic identity. Speaking and writing Turkish became a political act of defiance. When speaking Turkish in public became an offense punishable by fines or imprisonment, parents were motivated to make the effort to teach their children to read and write the language, and children themselves became conscious of its importance to their cultural identity. Many Turks became more militantly Turkish than they had been previously. The liberalizing trend since the ouster of ivkov has lead to a revival of native-language instruction, access to Turkish periodicals, books, and radio and television broadcasts, and opportunities for travel to visit relatives in Turkey. The extent of influence off all of this on everyday speech is difficult to measure at this time. Our most recent observations suggest that Bulgarian influence on Turkish lexicon continues. However, Turkish speakers are more conscious of Bulgarianisms in their speech than in the recent past. The trend toward using only Bulgarian as a written language is being reversed. The influence of Bulgarian on Turkish lexicon will continue. However, increased exposure to standard Turkish will allow Turkish to resist massive influence as in the past.
Nationalism and language and cultural policies designed to create a nation state with a single language and a homogeneous culture in Bulgaria failed. Attempts at forced assimilation of the Turkish minority into mainstream Bulgarian culture, instead of dissolving linguistic, ethnic and religious bonds, strengthened them. The opening up of the political process to many competing interest groups, including Turks, since 1989 and the general commitment of most political leaders to democracy and civic freedoms, should make a return to the authoritarian policies of the past difficult if not impossible.
Unfortunately, authoritarian tendencies in Bulgarian political life remain. After the BSP victory in the 1994 elections, several draft laws were introduced in parliament, the primary aim of which is to restrict the rights of minorities in Bulgaria. What the communists failed to do through arbitrary police coercion, their successors are trying to do through legislative coercion. For example, a draft law on national radio and television would mandate broadcasting in Bulgarian only and would prohibit broadcasts in Turkish and other minority languages (Tatarlı 1995:5). A more insidious draft law has the innocuous title, On the Use and Protection of Bulgarian language. This law would not only make Bulgarian the official language in all spheres of life except the home, but would impose exorbitant extra-judicial fines on violators. According to the preliminary version of the draft law, all contracts, whether between businesses or individuals, must be in Bulgarian; only Bulgarian must be spoken in government offices, courts, hospitals, schools, stores and restaurants, buses and trains, theaters and movie houses, on the streets, radio and television, and in political campaigns. The law would also prohibit the use of Turkish words or phrases in the print and broadcast media (Cavuş 1996:1-2; Tatarlı 1996a:5, 1996b:3). A watered-down version of this draft law is likely to be approved by parliament. Bulgarian language does not need protection, nor are there disagreements among the citizens over the status of Bulgarian as the official language of the country. Such laws serves no other purpose beside fanning ethnic tensions unnecessarily. Policies designed to make Bulgarian the sole language of communication among Turks failed in the past. Such efforts will fail again and for the same reasons.
Several characteristics of the Turkish community in Bulgaria favor retention of the native language. First, the size of the ethnic Turkish community in the country is one such factor. The Turks make up close to ten percent of the Bulgarian population. Linguists have noted that [t]he larger the community of speakers of a given [minority] language, the longer the language is likely to be retained (Chaika 1989:312). Second, most Turks in Bulgaria live in ethnically homogeneous communities and neighborhoods. In such environments their most intensive contacts are with other Turks. Turkish is used as the primary medium of communication and major social activities are carried out in that language. Chaika (1989:312) points out that a minority language is most likely to survive where people are somewhat isolated physically or psychologically from the mainstream. In addition to the physical separation noted above, the trauma of the recent forced assimilation campaign has increased the psychological distance between Turks and Bulgarians. To a greater degree than in the past, Turks try to restrict their contacts with Bulgarians to official encounters and the workplace.
Attempts to restrict the use of Turkish would compound the psychological trauma of recent assimilation campaigns, increase ethnic tensions in the country, set back the integration of citizens of Turkish origin into Bulgarian society, and diminish the prospects of Bulgaria to take her rightful place within the community of European nations. That indeed would be a tragedy.
Largely based on an article written jointly with Catherine Rudin, which appeared in Anthropological Linguistics (Vol. 32, Nos. 1-2, 1990:148-162).
The linguistic data for this section of the chapter derive from observations in the village of Polyanovo and Aitos during several visits in late 1970s and early 1980s and from letters written by Turkish speaking relatives to the author. The sociolinguistic situation described here refers mostly to that period. Additional data were collected in 1990. The linguistic data for the second half of this chapter is from Tahsin (1991).
Some 70 households emigrated to Turkey during the general exodus between June and August, 1989. All but three households returned to the village after 1989.
While there are a number of studies on the influence of Turkish on Bulgarian, as far as we are aware, little or nothing has been done on the influence of Bulgarian on Turkish. For a good summary of the influence of Turkish on Bulgarian see Grannes (1989).
This is a traditionally popular device in Bulgarian folk songs as well, where phrases like ovçarçe mlado çobançe shepherd, young shepherd are not uncommon; ovçarçe is Bulgarian, and çobançe Turkish for shepherd.
Chaika, Elaine (1989). Language: The Social Mirror. New York: Newbury House.
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__________ (1978). Le redoublement Turk a m-initial en Bulgare, Linguistique Balkanique, 21 (2): 37-50.
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Tahsin, Muharrem (1991). Çağdaş Türkçemiz, Hak ve Özgürlük, nos. 7 & 9, p. 9; nos. 20, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, and 40, p. 5.
Tatarlı, İbrahim (1995). Herkesin mensubiyetine uygun olarak kendi kültürünü geliştirmeye hakkı vardır, Hak ve Özgürlük, 44: 5.
__________ (1996a). Avrupaya girmek için Avrupaya benzemek gerek, Hak ve Özgürlük, 1: 5.
__________ (1996b). İkinci bulgarlaştırma süreci geliyor, Hak ve Özgürlük, 3: 3.
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