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Borders in Bulgaria in the Light of Areal Ethnolinguistics

  • Irina Sedakova

Abstract

The Moscow ethnolinguistic academic school,1 initiated and founded by Nikita Il’ich Tolstoĭ (1923–1996) in the 1970s in the USSR, focuses its research on areal studies and the juxtaposition of linguistic and folk cultural borders and dialects. Moscow ethnolinguistics can be defined as an inter-disciplinary school that orients the researcher towards the complex relationship between language and archaic folk spiritual2 culture, with the former seen as a system of various signs, including verbal, visual, acoustic, etc. Scholars of this academic field emphasize the ethno- component, paying close attention to the Slavic3 ethnic, regional, and dialectal forms of the folk culture(s) and its language(s), including their territorial areas and borders. The school was started by scholars pursuing linguistic dialectological (lexicological, phonetic, and morphological) research and was based on the experience of fieldwork conducted in various Slavic regions (Polessie,4 northern Russia, Bulgarian Thracia, and Rhodopes). N. Tolstoĭ was influenced by the ideas and ethnographic investigations in Slavic countries by Bogatyrev (1928–1929), Vakarelski (1931, 1934), Moszyński (1934–1936), and others. Seeing the vast cultural context behind each language, N. Tolstoĭ believed in the necessity and importance of studying the Slavic ethnocultural dialectology alongside the linguistic one, and introduced the concept of a ‘cultural dialect’ or a ‘(folk) cultural dialect’. Tolstoĭ argued that ‘A dialect (a macro- and a micro-dialect as well) is not just a linguistic territorial unit, but an ethnographic and cultural one […] too’ (Tolstoĭ 1995: 21) and made clear the importance of complex areal studies of archaic Slavic folk traditions.

Keywords

Folk Tradition Areal Study Linguistic Study Funeral Rite Folk Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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