Maleševo-Pirin dialect

  The Maleševo-Pirin dialect on the map of Macedonian dialects
Audio samples of the Maleševo-Pirin dialect
About the activist Ǵorǵi Pop Stojanov's struggle against the Ottomans
Excerpt from speech by a man from the Maleševo region

Stealing the cursed maize
Excerpt from speech by a man from the city of Berovo

About the wicked Reverend Eftim
Excerpt from speech by a man from Vladimirovo

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The term Maleševo-Pirin dialect (also spelt Maleshevo) is used in South Slavic linguistics to refer to a group of related varieties that are spoken on both sides of the border of Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia. Some linguists treat them as dialects of the Bulgarian language,[1][2][3] while Victor Friedman views them as part of the Macedonian language.[4] According to some authors, they are linguistically transitional between the two national languages, Bulgarian and Macedonian and form part of the larger dialect continuum between them. The dialect group is named after the mountain ranges of Pirin in Bulgaria and Maleševo in Macedonia. When referring specifically to the dialects on the Bulgarian side, the term Petrich-Blagoevgrad dialect, after the two major towns in the area, is also used.[5][6]

Some Macedonian linguists tend to treat the whole group as part of the Macedonian language, classifying it as part of a southeastern group of Macedonian dialects; others, like Krume Kepeski do not classify it as part of Macedonian,[7] whereas from the perspective of Bulgarian linguistics, the varieties in Bulgaria are classified as parts of the eastern subgroup of the southwestern group of Bulgarian.[5] This dialect is spoken in the towns of Delčevo, Pehčevo, Berovo and the surrounding villages in the east of the Republic of Macedonia, and in the regions of Blagoevgrad, Petrich and Sandanski in Bulgaria.[8]

The Blagoevgrad-Petric dialect is also closely related to the neighbouring Kyustendil and Samokov dialects, and especially to the Dupnitsa dialect,[8] whereas the Maleshevo dialect is closely related especially with the Štip-Strumica dialect.[9]

Linguistic properties

The following is a table of distinctive phonological and grammatical features, comparing the values found in the Maleshevo and Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialects with Standard Bulgarian, Standard Macedonian and two neighbouring Western Bulgarian dialect areas.

Comparison of the Maleshevo dialect and the Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialect with Standard Bulgarian and Standard Macedonian
Parameter Maleshevo dialect Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialect Standard Bulgarian (based on Eastern Bulgarian) Standard Macedonian Dupnitsa dialect Samokov dialect English
Proto-Slavic *tʲ/*dʲ – Old Church Slavonic щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) шч/жџ ʃtʃ//dʒ/ (in some areas also щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) and ќ/ѓ (c/ɟ) лешча/межџу (in some areas леща/между or леќа/меѓу) щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) леща/между щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) леща/между ќ/ѓ (c/ɟ) леќа/меѓу щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) леща/между щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) леща/между lentils/between
Proto-Slavic *ɡt/kt – Old Church Slavonic щ (ʃt) ќ (c) (in some areas also щ (ʃt) ноќ (in some areas нощ) щ (ʃt) нощ щ (ʃt) нощ ќ (c) ноќ щ (ʃt) нощ щ (ʃt) нощ night
Old Church Slavonic ѣ (yat) е (ɛ) бел/бели е (ɛ) бел/бели я/е (ʲa/ɛ) бял/бели е (ɛ) бел/бели е (ɛ) бел/бели е (ɛ) бел/бели white
Old Church Slavonic ѫ (yus), approx. ɔ̃ а (a) маж а (a) маж ъ (ə) мъж а (a) маж а (a) маж а (a) маж man
Old Church Slavonic ъ (ə) о (ɔ) сон о (ɔ) сон ъ (ə) сън о (ɔ) сон о (ɔ) сон а (a) сан dream
Old Church Slavonic ръ/рь vocalic r/ро () врох, крф ръ () връх, кръв ръ/ър (/ər) връх, кръв vocalic r врв, крв vocalic r врх, крф vocalic r врх, крф summit, blood
Old Church Slavonic лъ/ль ъ (ə) съза ъ (ə) съза лъ/ъл (/əl) сълза oл (ɔl) солза vocalic l/ъ (ə) слза/съза depending on region у (u) суза tear
Old Church Slavonic x /x/ Mixed бех, убаво Mixed бех, убаво Preserved бях, хубаво Lost or replaced by ф/в (f/v) бев, убаво Mixed бех, убаво Mixed бех, убаво was, nice
Vowel reduction No No Yes No No No
Definite article Single definite article момчето Single definite article момчето Single definite article момчето Triple definite article момчето, момчево, момчено Single definite article момчето Single definite article момчето the boy
Ending of verbs in 1st person sing. present time а – 1st and 2nd conjugation, ам – 3rd чета, пиша а – 1st and 2nd conjugation, ам – 3rd чета, пиша а (я) – 1st and 2nd conjugation, ам (ям) – 3rd чета, пиша only ам читам, пишувам а – 1st and 2nd conjugation, ам – 3rd чета, пиша only (и/е)м четем, пишем (I) read, (I) write
Formation of past perfect tense бeх + past participle бех писал, бех молил бeх + past participle бех писал, бех молил бях + past participle бях писал, бях молил имам + past passive aorist participle имам пишувано, имам молено бeх + past participle бех писал, бех молил бех + past participle бех писал, бeх молил (I) had read, (I) had written
Word stress Dynamic доˈбиток, пеˈре Dynamic доˈбиток, пеˈре Dynamicдоˈбитък, пеˈре Fixed antepenultimateˈдобиток, ˈпере Dynamic доˈбиток, пеˈре Dynamic доˈбиток, пеˈре cattle, (he/she/it) washes

As shown by the table, the Maleshevo and the Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialect show mixed Bulgarian and Macedonian phonological traits and mostly Bulgarian grammatical traits (several instead of one conjugation, single definite article, formation of past perfect tense with бeх, etc.), with the Maleshevo dialect ranging mostly towards Macedonian and the Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialect ranging mostly towards Bulgarian (cf. table). The transitional nature of the dialect is further demonstrated by the reflexes of the Proto-Slavic *tʲ/*dʲ: from the typically Bulgarian щ/жд (ʃt/ʒd) in the Blagoevgrad-Petrich dialect and the far East of the Maleshevo dialect, along the border with Bulgaria, through the transitional шч/жџ (ʃtʃ//dʒ/) in the central parts, and to the typically Macedonian ќ/ѓ (c/ɟ) in the western parts of the Maleshevo dialect[8]

Other phonological characteristics

Morphological characteristics


  1. Стойков, Стойко. Българска диалектология, София 2002, с. 170-186
  2. Селищев, Афанасий. Избранные труды, Москва 1968, с. 580-582
  3. Mladenov, Stefan. Geschichte der bulgarischen Sprache, Berlin-Leipzig, 1929, § 213
  4. V. Friedman, "Macedonian", in: B. Comrie and G. Corbett (eds.), The Slavonic Languages, New York: Routledge
  5. 1 2 Sussex, Roland; Paul Cubberley (2006). The Slavic Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 510. ISBN 0-521-22315-6.
  6. Стойков, Стойко (2006). Българска диалектология. Акад. изд. "Проф. Марин Дринов".
  7. Кепески, Круме – "Македонска граматика", Државно книгоиздателство на Македонија, Скопје, 1946, page 7
  8. 1 2 3 Стойков, Стойко (2006). Българска диалектология. Акад. изд. "Проф. Марин Дринов".
  9. 1 2 3 The sociolinguistics of literary Macedonian, VICTOR A. FRIEDMAN, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LIBRARY
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