Language and Ethno-Cultural Identity of the Bulgarian Turks, Resettled in the Republic of Turkey Cover Image

Език и етнокултурна идентичност на българските турци преселници в Република Турция
Language and Ethno-Cultural Identity of the Bulgarian Turks, Resettled in the Republic of Turkey

Author(s): Mila Maeva
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The article discusses the role of the language in building the ethno-cultural identity of the Bulgarian Turks resettled in the Republic of Turkey. All the languages and dialects used by them are considered with great detail: the old Turkish dialect brought from Bulgaria, its running counter to the official Turkish language, the use of Ottoman Turkish, Arabic and Bulgarian, after settlement in the new country. The mastering of literary Turkish is judged to be a way of successful adaptation and joining the Turkish nation. The Turkish dialect, brought from Bulgaria, is only used in the resettlement community and is perceived to be a means of preserving the cultural specificity of the local group of “Bulgarian” Turks. The Ottoman language enables the migrants to read historical sources or literary works by outstanding Ottoman authors. In these narratives they look for evidence of their relationship with the other Turks and a confirmation of their Turkish ethnic and cultural belonging. The Arabic is the language of Islam, and through its use they are accepted in the Muslim community. The resettlers use the Bulgarian language on returning to Bulgaria and in contacts with the Bulgarian state institutions. Its usage is not just a necessity but also a reflection of the preserved connection with Bulgaria, of their local identity, as well as of their sense of belonging to the Bulgarian nation. In the the migrants’ use of the different languages there can be no question of their hierarchical arrangement. The use of one or another language is strictly situational and often depends on the age, gender and educational characteristics of the resettlers. What influences this is the degree of their adaptation in Bulgaria and in Turkey as well as the economic, political and cultural development of the two countries.

  • Issue Year: 2004
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 59-74
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Bulgarian