Judeo-Spanish in Bulgaria: a contact language between archaism and innovation (Institutionalisiertes Forschungsprojekt)

Allgemeine Angaben

Freitag, 01. April 2022
Montag, 31. März 2025
Weiterführender Link
Thematik nach Sprachen
Syntax, Judenspanisch, Bulgarisch, Phonologie

Aktiv beteiligte Person(en)

(z.B. Kooperation, Mitarbeiter, Fellows)

Bistra AndreevaTania AvgustinovaSusann FischerChristoph Gabriel

Passiv beteiligte Person(en)

(z.B. Betreuer, Berater)

Dora Măncheva (data collection in Sofia and Plovdiv)


This project has an empirical, corpus-linguistic and a theoretical goal. On the basis of newly collected data, the Judeo-Spanish spoken in Sofia (western Bulgaria) and Plovdiv (eastern Bulgaria) as well as the respective Bulgarian contact varieties will be contrastively analyzed. By contrasting selected phonological and morphosyntactic features (e.g. vocalism, intonation, pronouns, word order) of the two Judeo-Spanish varieties with modern Iberian Spanish, the corresponding urban varieties of Bulgarian and with Old Spanish, we aim to gain a better understanding of the status quo of the Judeo-Spanish spoken in Bulgaria. Furthermore, our aim is to contribute to the current research questions in language contact research addressing which linguistic areas are vulnerable to contact-induced change. Contrary to general assumptions, we do not assume that all grammatical areas of Judeo-Spanish are influenced to the same extent by the contact varieties. Instead we will argue that narrow syntax is relatively invulnerable to contact-induced change; the attested changes in this domain are subject to natural processes of language change, like for example grammaticalization. The contact language Bulgarian is especially important for phenomena which apply at the so-called external interfaces, for instance with regard to information structure. Contrary to the current interface hypothesis, however, we argue that at these interfaces equivalence relations between the two languages in contact are important. Whether a structure is borrowed into a language or not, or whether something is retained or not, depends not only on whether it is located at the interface to information structure but also on whether there is an equivalence relation between the languages in contact. Concerning the Judeo-Spanish spoken in Bulgaria, we suggest that innovative phenomena, like for example clitic doubling with accusatives, vowel reduction in unstressed syllables, as well as stress patterns and pitch accents that deviate from Iberian Spanish, can be explained by parallel patterns in Bulgarian. At the same time, archaic patterns, like for instance stylistic fronting, possessives, and sibilants which are attested in Old Spanish and that are not available in Modern Spanish varieties, are maintained due to the presence of similar structures in the Bulgarian contact varieties. Phenomena of narrow syntax, like for example the attested change concerning clitic placement, are subject to natural grammaticalization processes which can also be observed in monolingual regions of the Spanish-speaking countries.


DFG Research Grant

Ersteller des Eintrags
Christoph Gabriel
Mittwoch, 18. Mai 2022, 09:32 Uhr
Letzte Änderung
Montag, 23. Mai 2022, 00:01 Uhr