Bulgarian Vocabulary and the Question of the Linguistic and

Irina A. SEDAKOVA (Institute for Slavic Studies, Moscow)
Bulgarian Vocabulary and the Question of the Linguistic and Ideological Unions
In my presentation I will schematically outline a problem, which I will call
‘Bulgarian Vocabulary and the Unions’. Bulgarian language has been and remains an
enigma, extremely interesting for lexicological studies, partly because of its historical
affiliation to various unions. Membership in linguistic, ideological, political,
geographical and economic associations has shaped a specific dynamic vocabulary,
which follows the development of the system of values in the society and defines
orientation in terms of “its own” / “another’s”.
Linguistically Bulgarian language belongs simultaneously to Slavic and
Balkan systems. Moreover, for almost 40 years Bulgaria was a member of the vast
ideological union under Russian (Soviet) hegemony and has accepted the very
language (in its broad sense) and the ‘new speak’ of the governing ideology. In this
way all spheres of life – social, cultural, religious, etc. – and correspondingly the
lexical devices were influenced. After the downfall of socialism, Bulgaria was almost
the first country to exit the ideological union and to break off all ties with the Soviet
(Russian) language. The sociocultural and linguistic orientation has changed
drastically which gave way to borrowing many new words and meanwhile to
rehabilitating of ‘old’ typically Balkan glosses.
After the break-up of the ideological union, all former members displayed the
universal features of a struggle for independence: above all by expressing a national
and self-identity in place of the former socialist brotherhood and creating an
appropriate vocabulary. What role will the ‘classical’ dictionaries (Bulgarian-Russian
Dictionary by S. Bernstein, Concise Academic Dictionary of Bulgarian Language)
play nowadays? What is the status of these dictionaries? To what extent should they
be edited as regards their glossaries? Analysis of Bulgarian genetically various words
through their presentation in the dictionaries will allow me to give answers to these