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The language of the Asparukh and Kuber Bulgars, Vocabulary and grammar

Features of the old Bulgar language, preserved in the modern Bulgarian language

The Bulgar inscriptions discovered in the last decades reveal to us that some of the most characteristic features of the modern Bulgarian have their origin in the old Bulgar language. Two of the most frequent verb forms in modern Bulgarian 'E' ('he/she/it IS') and 'BE' ('he/she/it WAS') coincide with the old Bulgar ones.

Similarly, the post-word definitive articles, which set modern Bulgarian apart from the rest of the Slavic languages, have their analogies in the lands to the east, previously inhabited by Bulgars. The diminutive suffixes -CHO, -CHE, -CA (-CHA), which are today common to the Bulgarian names (Trajcho, Trajche, Vancho, Vanche, Vancha, etc.), are also a Bulgar legacy. All this shows that the old Bulgar played a significant part in the formation of the modern Bulgarian language.

That is why even nowadays there are preserved a number of 'double' expressions, one word of which is Slavic, and the other Bulgar in origin. For example: the expression SURVA, SURVA GODINA! ('Happy new Year!' - at Christmas), in which SURVA comes from the old Bulgar epithet SURV (fair, pure, holy), analogies of which are widely preserved in the East. The two most frequently said words at Easter JAJCA (eggs) and KOZUNACI (Easter cakes), also have two sources Slavic for JAJCA, and Bulgar for KOZUNACI. The most tasty cakes made in the Caucasus, in the land of the former Kubrat Bulgars, are called KOZU and KAZINAKI, and the origin of these words becomes clear when we compare them to the Pamirian languages, in which KOZU (KHOZU) means 'sweet'.

At those times, when many people in Bulgaria spoke both old Bulgar and Slavic, there originated one very interesting tradition to name some things in both languages. The Bulgarian folk songs contain many such 'double' expressions for example, the expressions ZDRAV I CHITAV ('healthy and preserved'), the first word of which is Slavic, and the second - CHITAM is old Bulgar and corresponds to the Caucasian word CHIDAM ('preserved, not hurt'). Or to take the expression STARO-KHARO ('Old-Old'), in which next to the Slavic STARO stands KHARO from KHAR, which in the lands of the former Kubrat Bulgars in the Caucasus even nowadays means 'old, broken down with age man'.

Almost all words designating the more important things in medieval Bulgaria had two variants old Bulgar and Slavic. The inhabited buildings were called KSHTA ('house') and DOM ('house', Slavic). The grand buildings - PALAT ('palace') and DVOREC ('palace', Slavic). The nobles were called BOLJARI and VELMOZHI (Slavic), the clerics - KOLOBRI and ZHRECI (Slavic), the idols KUMIRI and IDOLI, etc.

The Bulgar words were used by the Slavic inhabitants of the same territory, as well, and, naturally, there was created a single language. Saying KRASIV ('beautiful') a Bulgarian would use a Slavic word, but saying KHUBAV ('beautiful'), one would use an old Bulgar word. Similarly, LJUBOV ('a love') is a Slavic word but there was also another Bulgarian word for 'a love' OBICH, from the Caucasians OBJUCH ('a kiss').

Here is a list of some of the most important 'double' Slavo-Bulgar words in modern Bulgarian:
 
A word of Slavic origin in modern Bulgarian A word of Bulgar origin in modern Bulgarian   Cluster_user's ottoman parallels
KHLJAB PITA a bread a loaf   
DOM KSHTA a house  
PES KUCHE a dog  
ZDRAV CHITAV healthy  
STAR KHARAV, DRT old  
DREBEN SITEN small  
KRASIV KHUBAV beautiful  
ZL LOSH evil bad  
SLAB MRSHAV, KHRBAV thin, weak thin (for people)  
PSTR SHAREN motley, variegated  
ZHLT OKHREN yellow ochre  
KRATK KS short short (for objects)  
DLG DRAS (dial.) long  
LENIV MRZELIV lazy  
LJUBOV OBICH a love  
ZLOBA OMRAZA a hatred  
JUNAK LEVENT a hero  
TANC KHORO a dance greek xoro, > turk. hora (xora)
PLOSHTAD MEGDAN a square  
OBLEKLO DREHI clothes  
BOEN DRUGAR KHSH an army comrade  
OTRJAD CHETA a band  
POKRIVKA KRPA a cover, a table-cloth a (piece of) cloth  
PALICA TOJAGA, SOPA, CHOMAGA a stick turk. c,omak 
turk. sopa
DSKA LETVA, SHIPKA (in Dobrudzha) a board, plank a lath  
POKRIV POTON a roof  
KRIVAK GEGA a (shepherd's) crook  
DYB CER an oak  
LISTA SHUMA leaves (dry) leaves  
TREVA BILKA, BILE a grass a herb  
MENTA DZHODZHEN, NANEGRNE a peppermint turk. na^ne < `ar. na`na`
GRNE STOMNA, PAKHAR (liturg.) a (earthen) pot, jar a pitcher, an earthen jug  
MOTIKA CHAPA a hoe, a mattock  
ZAKHLUPCI GAVANKA a wooden bowl  
POJAS KOLAN a belt turk. kolan
OGRLICA GERDAN a necklace turk. gerdanlIk =gerdan + lIk, gerdan (front part of the neck) (ottoman spelling gerda:n) < persian gerden
PROZOREC PENDZHER a window turk. pencere < pers. pencer ("grill")
IMANE STOKA goods (noun)  
OGN VATRA a fire  
BLIZNICA STOMANA a steel  
BRONZ PIRINCH a bronze turk. pirinc, < pers. piring "brass"
UTROBA KOREM a stomach  
DLAN SHEPA a palm (of the hand)  
RKA KUNKA a hand  
NOGA KRAK a foot  
LICE MUCUNA a face  
VTRESHNOSTI CHERVA intestines  
KHOMOT JUGO, IGO yoke  
PRITEZHATEL STOPANIN an owner  
KAMK PLOCHA a stone a (stone) plate  
VRKH CHUKA a peak  
LETJA KHVRCHA to fly  
BJAGAM TICHAM to run  
PISHTJA SVIRJA to shriek to play (music)  
UKHAJA MIRISHA to smell  
BRANJA PAZJA to defend  
GOVORJA KHORATJA to talk  
 
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