Banat Bulgarian (Banat Bulgarian: Palćena balgarsćija jázić or Banátsća balgarsćija jázić; Bulgarian: банатски български език, Banatski balgarski ezik; German: Banater Bulgarische Sprache; Hungarian: Bánsági bolgár nyelv; Romanian: Limba bulgarilor bănăţeni; Serbian: Банатски бугарски језик, Banatski bugarski jezik) is the outermost dialect of the Bulgarian language with standardized writing and an old literary tradition. It is spoken by the Banat Bulgarians in the Banat region, in Romania and Serbia. Officially, it is spoken by 8,000 people (1,658 in Serbia, and 6,500 in Romania), though other estimates give numbers up to 15,000.
The Banat Bulgarians are predominantly Roman Catholic people. Their ancestors arrived in the region centuries ago from Northern Bulgaria. They settled in Oltenia under the Wallachian prince, then when Oltenia fell to the Ottomans, they fled to Hungary. The ancestor of the Banat Bulgarian language is the Paulician dialect, member of the Rup dialect group.
In the 1740s, Blasius Hristofor instituted the first school in Dudeştii Vechi in which Banat Bulgarian was taught using the Latin script. Some Bulgarian priests of the time already used the Latin alphabet, banned by the bishops. In the 19th century, the group's national consciousness strengthened and more Banat books were written.
The Hungarian Imre Berecz and the Croatian András Klobucsár wrote a few books in their mother tongue. Berecz wrote a catechism in Banat Bulgarian (1851). Klobucsár designed a prayer- and hymn-book. One of the teachers, János Uzun, also wrote secular verses. In 1866, József Rill standardised the Banat Bulgarian language and published Balgarsku právupisanj (Bulgarian Orthography).
The Balgarsku právupisanj was used to design coursebooks in Banat Bulgarian, including an ABC book and reader, together with Biblijata and Gulemija Kátaæizmus. Teacher Leopold Koszilkov was also translating Gospels. Fránc Glász and the German Ludovik Fischer wrote a prayer-book. This were notable works notables in Banat Bulgarian literature, as were very popular. The prayerbooks contain prayers, hymns and the biographies of saints. Koszilkov published calendars.
The vernacular of the Bulgarians of Banat can be classified as a Paulician dialect of the Eastern Bulgarian group. A typical feature is the "ы" (*y) vowel, which can either take an etymological place or replace "i". Other characteristic phonological features are the "ê" (wide "e") reflex of the Old Church Slavonic yat and the reduction of "o" into "u" and sometimes "e" into "i": puljé instead of pole ("field"), sélu instead of selo ("village"), ugništi instead of ognište ("fireplace"). Another feature is the palatalization of final consonants, which is typical for other Slavic languages but found only in some nonstandard dialects in Bulgarian (in such dialects the word den ("day") sounds like denj) and not in standard Bulgarian.
Lexically, the language has borrowed many words from languages such as German (drot from Draht, "wire"; gáng from Gang, "anteroom, corridor"), Hungarian (vilánj from villany, "electricity"; mozi, "cinema"), Serbian (stvár from stvar, "item, matter"; ráčun from račun, "account"), and Romanian (šedinca from şedinţă, "conference") due to the close contacts with the other peoples of the multiethnic Banat and the religious ties with other Roman Catholic peoples. Banat Bulgarian also has some older loanwords from Ottoman Turkish and Greek, which it shares with other Bulgarian dialects (e.g. hirgjén from Turkish ergen, "unmarried man, bachelor"; trandáfer from Greek τριαντάφυλλο triantafyllo, "rose"). Loanwords constitute around 20% of the Banat Bulgarian vocabulary. The names of some Banat Bulgarians are also influenced by Hungarian names, as the Hungarian (eastern) name order is sometimes used (family name followed by given name) and the female ending "-a" is often dropped from family names. Thus, Marija Velčova would become Velčov Marija.
In addition to loanwords, the lexicon of Banat Bulgarian has also acquired calques and neologisms, such as svetica ("icon", formerly used ikona and influenced by German Heiligenbild), zarno ("bullet", from the word meaning "grain"), oganbalváč ("volcano", literally "fire belcher"), and predhurta ("foreword").
The Banat Bulgarian language has its own alphabet largely based on the Croatian alphabet (Gaj's Latin Alphabet) and preserves many features that are archaic in the language spoken in Bulgaria. Banat Bulgarian was codified as early as 1866 and is used in literature and the media, which distinguishes it from other Bulgarian dialects.
The following is the Banat Bulgarian Latin alphabet:
|Banat Bulgarian Latin|
Й , Ь
|The Lord's Prayer in Banat Bulgarian:|
|Baštá náš, kojtu si na nebeto: Imetu ti da se pusveti.||Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.|
|Kraljéstvotu ti da dodi. Olete ti da badi,||Thy kingdom, come thy will be done,|
|kaćétu na nebeto taj i na zemete.||as in heaven so on earth.|
|Kátadenjšnija leb náš, dáj mu nám dnés.||Give us this day our daily bread.|
|I uprusti mu nám náša dalgj,||And forgive us guilty as we are,|
|kaćétu i nija upráštemi na nášte dlažnici.||as we also forgive our debtors.|
|I nide mu uvižde u nápas,||Also do not bring us into temptation,|
|negu mu izbávej ud zlo.||But free us from this evil.|
|Standard Bulgarian transliterated||Standard Bulgarian Cyrillic|
|Otče naš, Ti, kojto si na nebeto, da se sveti imeto Ti,||Отче наш, Ти, който си на небето, да се свети името Ти,|
|da dojde carstvoto Ti, da băde voljata Ti,||да дойде царството Ти, да бъде волята Ти,|
|kakto na nebeto, taka i na zemjata.||както на небето, така и на земята.|
|Nasăštnija ni hljab daj ni dnes||Насъщния ни хляб дай ни днес|
|i prosti nam grehovete ni,||и прости нам греховете ни,|
|tăj kakto i nie proštavame na bližnite si,||тъй както и ние прощаваме на ближните си,|
|i ne ni văveždaj v izkušenie,||и не ни въвеждай в изкушение,|
|ala izbavi ni ot Lukavija.||ала избави ни от Лукавия.|