The language of the copy of “The Slavo-Bulgarian History” by N. Gerov

Abstract: 

The nineteenth century occupies a special place in the history of Bulgarian-Russian relations. The rapprochement of the two Slavic peoples was promoted by the liberation of Bulgaria from the five-century Ottoman Yoke with the help of Bulgarian rebels and Russian soldiers, who won the victory in the fierce Russo-Turkish Wars. They created favorable circumstances for the national revival of Bulgarians, which happened with the active Russian support. Confessional, literary, and educational contacts, interrupted in the middle of the 15th century after the Turkish capture of Byzantium and Bulgarian lands, grew more active in the 19th century when Bulgarian culture experienced the strongest influence of Russian culture. The process was brightly reflected in the Bulgarian literary language. The article focuses on the language of the copy of “The Slavo-Bulgarian History”, written by one of the outstanding representatives of the Bulgarian Renaissance, the participant of the rebel movement, Nayden Gerov, a teacher, poet, lexicographer, state and diplomatic figure. Bulgarian researchers have determined the time when the copy of the text was created, they have restored N. Gerov's biography, and identified the features, characterizing his manner of writing. They have also defined the copy source, however, the language of Gerov`s copy actually remained unstudied. As a rule, linguists consider that Gerov's copy is written in the modern Bulgarian literary language. The article explores the following problem: The language status of the copy of “The Slavo-Bulgarian History”, which is differently qualified by modern researchers. Therefore, the following goals were set: 1) to study the main lexicological and phraseological fund of the work in the context of its origin; 2) to analyze the phonetic features of its text; 3) to estimate the grammatical system of the text in terms of historical and linguistic positions. To achieve these goals, we implemented the synchronous-system approach with a comprehensive use of descriptive, comparative-historical and comparative methods, used in combination with the methods of linguocultural, component and contextual analyses. The language analysis of the text revealed that 1) the lexicological and phraseological structure of the text of the copy is generally mutual for the Russian and Bulgarian languages of the 19th century; 2) in case the choice is possible, Gerov consistently chooses the South Slavic phonetic variant; 3) in most cases the grammatical system of the manuscript is based on the standards of the Old Church Slavonic language of the Russian version; 4) the language of the copy of “The Slavo-Bulgarian History”, written by Gerov, contains the features of the 19th century live Bulgarian language.

Key words: 

Bulgarian literary language, “The Slavo-Bulgarian History”, Renaissance culture, Nayden Gerov, education, Russian language, Old Church Slavonic Language.

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