Animal Names in Bulgarian: Balkan versus Slavonic in the Nineteenth Century

Article excerpt

Thomas Henninger. Animal Names in Bulgarian: Balkan versus Slavonic in the Nineteenth Century. Slavisticke monografie. Radalingvisticka sv. 1. Praha: Euroslavica, 1995. 147 pp. DM 36.00, paper.

This monograph is a lexicological investigation into sixty animal names in nineteenth-century Bulgarian. As the Preface to the present study indicates, Henninger seeks to show the fate of these words of Turkish, Greek and Romanian origin (Balkanisms) against domestic Bulgarian terms, and Russian Church Slavonic and modern Russian influences. Although the items included are not big in number, they are representative of the limited range of Balkan animal names used in literature of the Bulgarian Revival.

Beginning with a short summary of the Turkish, Greek and Romanian lexical infiltrations in Bulgarian, the first sixteen pages of the introduction provide the reader with a well-shaped overview of the foreign lexical influences to which the Bulgarian language was strongly exposed for about five centuries after Bulgaria lost her national independence in 1393 to become a part of the Ottoman empire. Each Balkan influence and subsequent lexical infiltrations are defined with respect to their chronology, levels of transmission, spheres of use, stylistic function and general attitudes. These influences largely ended during the nineteenth-century Bulgarian National Revival when Russian and West European cultural influences and lexical infiltrations took precedence. Henninger emphasizes the treatment of the lexical Balkanisms relevant to their fate in modern Bulgarian; most of the Balkan loanwords were recognized to be of foreign origin and were gradually replaced by Slavonic words from Bulgarian vernaculars, coinages, compound words and direct borrowings mainly from Russian (Church Slavonic in older periods) and less from West European languages. Within this historical background Henninger places the Balkan animal names he analyses in his monograph, whose fate is to a certain extent representative of the general fate of the Balkan elements in nineteen- and twenty- century Bulgarian. …