This glossary includes dialect (and otherwise obscure) words as reflected in traditional Bulgarian songs. Initially it was a personal resource, compiled by Martha Forsyth in 1988 from the glossaries in the 17 significant Bulgarian song collections listed below.). There are, of course, a great many more worthy books whose entries should be added—like any reference on language, this is a work-in-progress to which you are welcome to contribute. (See Editing help for guidelines.)

In its present state, entries are defined in Bulgarian, making the Glossary useful only to Bulgarian-speakers. English translations are being added; here, too, your help is invited.

Sources[edit | edit source]

Material for this glossary was drawn from the works listed below.

When the bulk of this information was gathered, very little attempt was made to indicate the exact source for each entry.  That could be corrected now, but would be painstaking.  For new entries, starting around 2010, we are trying to include this information - process is ongoing.

Ангеловъ, Божанъ & Вакарелски, Христо (1936), Сѣнки изъ невиделица: книга на българската народна балада, София: Държавна печатница 

Арнаудов, Михаил (no date), Български народни песни, т. 2: Епос, София: Хемус 

Българска народна поезия и проза в 7 тома (БНПиП):

т. 1: Юнашки песни (Л. Богданова), София: Български писател, 1981 
т. 2: Обредни песни (Р. Иванова и Т. Ив. Живков), София: Български писател, 1981 
т. 3: Хайдушки и исторически песни (Ст. Стойкова), София: Български писател, 1981 
т. 4: Народни балади (С. Бояджиева), София: Български писател, 1982 
т. 5: Любовни песни (М. Беновска-Събкова и П. Караангов), София: Български писател, 1982 

Българско народно творчество в 12 [13] тома (БНТ):

т. 2: Хайдушки песни (Д. Осинин), София: Български писател, 1961 
т. 13: Народни песни с мелодии (Р. Кацарови, Ел. Стоин, Н. Кауфман, Т. Бояджиев, Д. Осинин), София: Наука и изкуство, 1965 

Германов, Андрей (1982), Крали Марко. Български юнашки епос в тридесет и три песни, София: Народна младеж 

Кауфман, Николай & Тодоров, Тодор (1970), Народни песни от Родопския край, София: БАН: ИМ 

Кауфман, Николай & Тодоров, Тодор (1967), Народни песни от югозападна България: Пирински край, т. 1, София: БАН 

Маджаров, Панайот (1983), Странджански народни песни из репертоара на Кера Панайотова Маджарова, София: Музика 

Романска, Цветана (1969), Българско народно поетично творчество—христоматия (Трето преработено ed.), София: Наука и Изкуство 


кн. LIII: Български юнашки епос (Цветана Романска), София: БАН: ЕИМ, 1971 

Стоин, Васил (1975), Стоин, Е., ed., Народни песни от Самоков и Самоковско, София: БАН: ИМ 

[Стоин, Васил & Стефанов, Павел] (1973), Качулев, Иван, ed., Народни песни от северо-източна България, т. 2, София: БАН: ИМ 

РЕЧНИК НА ДИАЛЕКТНИТЕ ДУМИ В БИСТРИЦА (ДДБистр)   This is a small and probably growing list of dialect words from the village of Bistritsa, Sofijsko. [1]

Sources NOT yet included[edit | edit source]

There are many fine sources for additional material, including (but not limited to):

Калоянов, Анчо, Добър юнак с добра кон 
Кауфман, Николай & Тодоров, Тодор, Народни песни от югозападна България: Пирински край, т. 2, София: БАН 
Райчев, А. (1973), Народни песни от средните Родопи, София: БАН 
кн. LVII: Странджански фолклор (Горо Горов), София: БАН: ЕИМ, 1983 

[edit | edit source]

The hundreds of Bulgarian village women who have kindly sung or dictated songs and explained their meanings; plus a myriad of Bulgarians knowledgeable about dialect matters and obscure words. Some are named here; others still living are not named.

  • АА: Асен Александров, с. Бистрица, Софийско
  • АФ: Анка Филипова, с. Маджаре, Самоковско
  • ЛГГ: Линка Гекова Гергова, с. Бистрица, Софийско
  • ЛД: Латина Дормишева, с. Говедарци, Самоковско

Conventions[edit | edit source]

  • The stressed syllable is underlined: абер
  • Predictable phonetic changes. This list, while not endless, is difficult to define completely; the only solution is to try all possible variants of a word. When adding a word, one must decide where to put it (if the situation seems to warrant, list under both spellings); when looking up a word, try all possible variants. Here is a start:
initial "й" and "х" ('абер/хабер'; 'овчрар/йовчар'; etc.) is often either omitted, or added as a phonetic variant;
phonetic replacements: "о/у"; "а/ъ/о"; "е/и" (and vice versa);
initial "д" before "з/ж" comes and goes (try both)
  • Explanations given by the singer are in "quotes".
  • When the same word appears in various sources, do not add a new entry (or sub-entry) unless there is substantial different information. (Try to avoid redundancy…but if necessary, err by including redundant definitions rather than taking the chance of missing a subtlety by omitting a definition.
  • In contrast to practice in most of the source Glossaries (where words are listed in exactly the form in which they appear in the song in question), follow "Dictionary" practice whenever possible. List nouns in the singular (without the definite article), verbs in the first person singular, etc.
  • If the origin of the word is known, this is indicated. Key:
(араб.) = Arabic
(гр.) = Greek
(ит.) = Italian
(нем.) = German
(перс.) = Persian
(рм.) = Romanian
(ром.) = Romany
(рус.) = Russian
(срб.) = Serbian
(т.) = Turkish
(Add others as necessary.)
  • If a word is known to be specific to one particular region or even one village, this is indicated. The presence of a word in a collection of material from a specific region, however, is not sufficient to identify the word positively as specific to that region.


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