Balkan Interference in the Area of Conjunctions in the Peripheral Macedonian Dialects

Dejan Gegovski, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts

The Balkan Peninsula represents a territory of great linguistic diversity in which different languages have always been in contact. The need for mutual understanding of peoples from different linguistic communities led to a massive bilingualism, which is an indispensable condition for the development of a linguistic league. The Balkan Sprachbund is known as a classic example of a community of dialect complexes of different origins that for centuries have had a convergent development and have achieved significant structural parallelism. It is well known that Macedonian dialects are the most Balkan-like, all the relevant processes reach their culmination precisely in the Macedonian dialects. This feature of the Macedonian dialects makes them an attractive subject of analysis of interference between two systems. In other words, Macedonian dialect systems represent an unusually well-equipped laboratory for research on the spontaneous life of language as such.

The object of interest in this paper are sentential compounds whose constitutive members are conjunctions, i.e. sentential compounds where the conjunction is an exponent of the relation holding between the events (situations, states, processes …).

In the peripheral Macedonian dialects the interference in the area of conjunctions is significant. As a result of this, loan-words and calques appear as exponents of the relations between events: oti, ama, ala, ke, zer, dilmi, pred da, bez da, za da, ki da … . The object of interest is how borrowed words and meanings become suitable for use in new functional complexes.

I shall also deal with the dialectal geography of these words and the relative chronology of their appearance in the Macedonian dialects.


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