Bulgarian/Macedonian vs. Other Slavic Languages

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by Kartof, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Kartof Senior Member

    Bulgarian & English
    Are Bulgarian and Macedonian fundamentally different than all of the other Slavic languages grammar-wise? I'm familiar with all of the common differences with cases, tenses, verbs of motion, yada yada. However, do these differences give Bulgarian and Macedonian a different core structure than the other Slavic languages? I've tried reading some texts in other Slavic languages such as Russian, Serbian, and Polish and sometimes the language seems completely transparent, at least when the unfamiliar vocabulary is translated. Other times, sentence structure seems to be completely different and the logic behind why it is structured that way is different too. Am I exaggerating these differences? When did Bulgarian and Macedonian first exhibit this split from the other Slavic languages?
  2. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    The change from being synthetic to analytic languages (nominal declension and adjectival comparison) is a big structural change. The loss of the infinitive, participles, the emergence of a postpositive definite article, clitic doubling (especially with Macedonian) and the category of renarrativity are all visible structural changes. In terms of derivation, all Slavic languages are still fairly close; affixes inherited from Proto-Slavic are productive to differing degrees, and those that became unproductive are still present in isolate examples and loanwords.

    Word order is much freer in other Slavic languages, but I don't think there are any major differences in diction between Bulgarian and Macedonian versus other Slavic languages as opposed to Slavic language x versus Slavic language y.

    Analytic nominal constructions appear in manuscripts sporadically from c. 11–12th centuries. The postpositive definite article began to emerge around the same time as well as future-tense constructions with forms of хтѣти (in contrast with быти) as an auxiliary verb. Most of the major structural changes were already well underway and began to be fixed around the 15th century (including constructions with имѣти).
  3. FairOaks Banned


    Erm, I'm not sure I can agree with you.
    · Different Slavic languages have a diffent number of participles. For example, they are fewer in Polish than in Russian (if I'm not mistaken). In addition, neither of those has the past active imperfective participle (ходел instead of ходил), but Macedonian and Bulgarian do. However, that has almost nothing to do with overall structure. Also, consider that participles are not that frequently used in spoken discourse.
    · Comparison of adjectives? What's the structural difference between On je lepši and Той е по-добър? I suppose English is structurally different to itself, since both analytic and synthetic constructions coexist (e.g. more difficult / harder).
    · Clitic doubling? Sure, we do that, but Russians are far more inclined to overtly state the subject, whereas we tend to drop it if there's no logical stress upon it. It's a minor point at best.
    · Nominal declension. По небу летит стая ворон. / По небето лети ято врани. Sure, there's no dative marker or partitive genitive in Bulgarian, as well as no definite article in Russian, but I fail to see the deep structural distinction you're trying to deduce.
    · Maybe the infinitive (or the lack thereof) could be an example of such a MIND-BLOWING divergence, as it is an impersonal verb form and sometimes imposes the use of subordinate clauses. What I mean is this:
    Искам да съм с теб. / Я хочу быть с тобой.
    Искам да си с мен. / Я хочу, чтобы ты была со мной.
    Да се спи до обед, е вредно. / Спать до обеда — вредно.
    I don't know what you mean, to be perfectly honest with you.

    While this may be true for Macedonian, it is certainly not the case for Bulgarian word order, at least in my opinion. Would you care to elaborate on that statement?
    And in case you're feeling up to the challenge, do try and reverse the word order in the following sentence:
    Капитализмът уби комунизма. (=Комунизма го уби капитализмът.) That wicked clitic doubling be damned!
    … Капитализм убил коммунизм. …
    Erm, what's the other one, then? (Use as many adjectives and determiners as you wish, so long as you don't rewrite it in the passive voice or something along those lines.)

    P.S. I do realise that there exist quite a few structural differences; it's just that they are not as big as you make them out to be. Plus, if the structure, morphology, lexicon and all the remaining aspects of two or more given languages were identical, they'd be the same freaking language.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  4. iobyo Senior Member

    Bitola, Macedonia
    Only the verbal adverb survives in Macedonian dialects, and it has even been described as finite. The л-form is a relic and, although it does have non-finite properties in Macedonian, it isn't used attributively.

    The Bulgarian adverbial participle/verbal adverb was introduced by writers from Macedonia, and the past active aorist participle (inflected and used attributively) and the present active participle are borrowed from Russian which makes any comparison inconsequential.

    If we look at them individually, then of course it won't seem as though there are any extensive structural changes; it's the entire sum of changes taken together that matters.

    A better comparison (and better translation) would be on je bolji vs. той е по-добър.

    Equivalency is not the same thing as sameness.

    In diachronic linguistics it isn't; clitic doubling is a salient Balkanism.

    The [near complete] loss of an entire grammatical category is the very definition of 'structural change'.

    Right. Bulgarian has the advantage of the непълен/кратък член. Compare the following; the third example is ambiguous and the last two would usually be understood with the opposite meaning:

    Капитализмот го уби комунизмот;

    Капитализмот комунизмот го уби;
    Го уби капитализмот комунизмот;
    Комунизмот го уби капитализмот;
    Капитализмот комунизмот го уби.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  5. FairOaks Banned


    Apparently, you and I have very different definitions of "structure".
    To me, "structure" would be "things/people/whatever that are organised in a particular way and serve a particular purpose/function". Structure A (a head and two subordinates) always stays the same—even if you replace the leader and his personnel with new people. Structure B (a square on the riverbank defined by its four vertices) also doesn't change, regardless of whether one uses pebblestones, empty beer bottles, battered packets of cigarettes or urine stains. In light of all this, I don't give two hoots about the origin of every single word form. Within my perspective, we might as well have received these participles from an amicable Martian passing by, en route to Venus. The reality is that you could freely use any participle of, say, чета̀ (четя̀щ, чѐл, четя̀л, четѐйки, чѐтен, четѝм), and nobody would bat an eyelid (well, some simpleton might, but that's not really my point). Of course, there are grammarians who keep banging on about how we were given this word and whence that participle originated, and whatnot, but the point is that well-nigh nobody cares.

    The entire sum is that we use participles in a way comparable to other Slavic countries. It is not the same, though. It never is. I bet the Czech use them a bit differently as well.

    Oh, I'm sorry. I guess this makes my whole point invalid. I had better learn some Serbian now. Why don't you focus on pairs such as:
    самый редкий / редчайший
    more difficult / harder
    See? It's an adjective. It's a part of the language. Yet, you can form its comparative and/or superlative degree in more than one way. Well, that's simply unheard of. Language has turned on itself. Structures are collapsing; air—oscillating; participles—ablaze.

    Diachronic linguistics belongs to history.

    Unless the structure actually changes, I can assure you that it damn well is not.

    Wrong. Whether it's short or long is irrelevant. Well, at least it is in the present case. I wrote them like that in order to present you with a sentence that wouldn't be wrong in the eyes of stuffy grammarians as well as people who follow stupid rules in order to seem educated. The nub of the matter is that you can place whichever article anywhere you want:
    Комунизм(-ът/-а/-ат/-о/-от) го уби капитализм(-ът/-а/-ат/-о/-от).
    All mean: capitalism–>eliminate–>communism.
    You can do it with feminine, neuter and plural nouns too:
    Жената кравата я уби.
    Жената я уби кравата.
    Кравата уби жената.
    All mean: cow–>kill–>woman.

    I think the confusion stems from the fact that clitic doubling is mandatory in literary Macedonian.
    In our case, it has resulted from our own stupidity and an absurd century-old jargon thingy which is currently spreading like a plague, namely:
    Аз го направих най-накрая това тъпо ядене.
    So perhaps you're right. Perhaps this feature will be completely lost in the future and people will speak like this:
    Лично аз ще се самоубия сам себе си мен самият аз.
    Иван, той ще я убие жена му си, самата си му собствена.

    Time will tell, as ever.
  6. Kartof Senior Member

    Bulgarian & English
    Buahahahaha, I really didn't expect that. You're right though, sometimes I notice in my own speech that I unnecessarily double (or triple) clitics, especially datives/genitives like си, ми, ни, etc. I really hope that the language doesn't run with this trend to that extreme.
  7. FairOaks Banned

    Радвам се, че с мен е съгласен поне един човек. Имай обаче предвид, че дателните постройки можеш да ги удвояваш колкото си искаш, без да нарушиш смисъла; даже понякога е нелоша хрумка да го правиш съвсем умишлено. Изобщо не умея да давам примери (най-често се оказват потресаващо нелепи), но човек сам може да си подмени така думичките, че да придаде на изречението нужния смисъл. Та ето виж:
    На земята ѝ се пие вода. Тъй сушава е годината, че почвата чак се напуква.
    На Земята се пие вода, на Марс — бълвоч от цветни метали, а на Юпитер — някаква газова смес.
    На земята — еди-що; под земята — друго; във въздуха — трето.
    Да удвоиш този вид местоимения, означава да подчертаеш дателната им същност. В края на краищата «на» + същ. име може да означава много неща.
    Но когато ръсиш насам-натам «Аз го пребих Петър», без да се съобразяваш или дори замисляш, най-вероятният изход е да загубиш усет към езика и повече да не разграничаваш «Иван преби Петър» и «Иван го преби Петър». Каквото го правиш в първо и второ лице, ще го правиш и в трето.
  8. pipi.d.ch New Member

    I am sorry, but to my opinion the one who is wrong is you.
    It is not true that all mean capitalism–>eliminate–>communism.
    It is not irrelevant whether it's short or long.
    Hera are the examples:
    Комунизмa го уби капитализмът.
    Means capitalism–>eliminate–>communism.
    Комунизмът го уби капитализма.
    Means communism->eliminate–>capitalism.
    Certainly this is possible only in Bulgarian and not in Macedonian.
  9. FairOaks Banned

    What absolute twaddle …
    Well, I refuse to be wrong on this one just because your secondary school teacher of Bulgarian and Literature told you the long article points to the subject of a sentence and you made a few exercises, and you felt great about yourself and your unfathomable knowledge of the language.
    I call upon the learners of Bulgarian in this forum to completely ignore the post of this illiterate who registered in order to defend the rights of the poor full/long masculine article.

    Как не те е срам да разпространяваш мракобесие всред съзнанието на учещите се и да всяваш в душите на обикновените българи смут и огорчение! Пълния и краткия член си ги употребявай по правилото, но недей никому твърдя, че внасят в изречението някакъв по-различен смисъл. Ти пък в речта си колко често ползваш въпросното правило, за да укажеш подлог или съставно именно сказуемо? Ползваш, ама ядец. Аман от пишман езиковеди и въобще знаячи.
  10. DarkChild Senior Member

    I just learned a new word - мракобесие. What does it mean exactly?
  11. Kartof Senior Member

    Bulgarian & English
    I don't know, but quite frankly, I'm sorry I ever started this thread. It has devolved into squabbling about issues that don't merit this palpable animosity.
  12. FairOaks Banned

    мракобесие: ср., само ед. Дейност и възгледи срещу просветата.

    And I'm sorry you feel that way, since it's probably my fault, but I do think issues such as word order should be addressed promptly and decisively. Anyway, if you want to learn the basics, please have a look at this:
    It's not really comprehensive or entirely accurate, or anything like that, but it shows pretty well that whenever the object precedes the subject, it might, and indeed many a time should be doubled. Do you see any doubling in the sentences where the subject precedes the object? Does the full article get mentioned? The answer is no; because it's inconsequential. The meaning should be clear with or without it.
    The problem with native speakers is that some of them falsely believe that using both articles (-ът/; -ят/) "correctly" (according to some completely artificial rules which nobody ever follows consistently in their speech) is a sign of literacy, even erudition.
  13. DarkChild Senior Member

    It's a fact that the full/short article rule is an artificial attempt aimed at reconciling Eastern and Western dialects.

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