MINELRES: Are Bugarians partly Turkish? Is it important?

Galina Schneider minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Mon Nov 4 09:11:08 2002

Dear Victor,

Not only are proto-Bulgarians at least part Turkic, but might be related to Hungarians, who they ruled.  See http://impulzus.sch.bme.hu/info/hunhist.html and http://server3.hypermart.net/alexvolk/nasko/prevod1.html Almost more interesting than your question is the fact that modern day Tartars do not call themselves Tartars, but only call their language Tartar.  Rather, they call themselves Volga Bulgars (an already mixed people by the medieval period), and think of themselves as related to Bulgarians and with Crimean Tartars.  Their language is considered a Turkic language, and some Tartars consider that they have a relation with Chuvash peoples. But a quick read of a Tartar text will not be intelligible to a Bulgarian, in my opinion. To get a concept of an earlier Turkic language still spoken today, see http://www3.aa.tufs.ac.jp/~djn/karaim/kCDlang.htm

I once had a surprising experience when I was assigned a Tartar roommate for a six week stay.  She was, at approximately the same age, the exact copy of a local Bulgarian popadija, i.e. priest's wife, except at least six inches taller. She claimed to have vacationed in Bulgaria and heard Tartar spoken and to have understood Bulgarian immediately. Considering she lives in the CIS and is, like almost all Tartars, fluent in Russian, would she have understood the difference?  As a linguist, certainly she would know the difference but how much would she have differentiated on a short visit from an academic rather than a practical perspective? And, as there are Tartars in Bulgaria, she could very easily have heard Tartar language.  How much study is possible of medieval Tartar language, I don't know. Consider this thread: http://www.ku.edu/~medieval/melcher/19980801.med/msg00248.html  And this page:  http://www.riga.lv/minelres/archive/05311999-19:40:07-26526.html

Don't miss http://members.fortunecity.com/timurberk/kirim/photo/photoarchive.html

Another looksee:  http://www.turkiye.net/sota/homepages.html

Decide for yourself whether monuments of the cities, Bilyar, Bolgar, Bugulma or Buinsk look related to traditional Bulgarian architecture.  

 How much of whatever was proto-Bulgarian language is discernible from the earliest Bulgarian rescension Church Slavonic texts?  Would a study be fruitful?  Who, exactly are the Pomaks and what is/are their ethnicit/y/ies? Your question can only partly be answered.  

I realize none of this answers your question, but may amuse you on your way.  I suggest that you go to a good search engine like www.metacrawler.com or www.google.com and put the words Tartar and Chuvash in them.  You will find some images of these peoples and decide for yourself how close the connections might be in modern times.  It is, after all, modern times that count for ethnicity, no? You might want to take a special look at Chuvash traditional dress.  

Personally I think the fact that whether or not they are Turkic is of no pressing interest to most Bulgarians more interesting to consider than the actual determination of how much Turkic they might be.  Perhaps the decade long orientation toward inclusion in as many euro-atlantic institutions as possible will prove an impetus to ignoring such issues in the race toward becoming homo europeaniensus. And perhaps the same impetus might lead to spending time proving that instead of Turkish Bulgarians being Bulgarian Bulgarians as was promoted in the 1980s,  everyone is Turkic and worthy of protected status as a minority, some place or another.  A similar and related issue interesting to consider is how various heritages are considered officially in Bulgaria over time.  The census of 1992, for example, included differentiated categories for Turk, Gagauz and Tartar and differentiated Karakatchans from Vlachs (as mostly Aroumanians) and Vlachs from Romanians (thankfully). Macedonian was not an approved census category.  After a few lost cases in the European Parliament, notions of "ethnicity", itself as     highly disputed a nomen as determining what is "art", will undoubtedly change to meet whatever is politically correct du jour and supported by both solid scholarship and accepted speculation.

Galina Schneider

For your quest, a good start is http://users.pandora.be/orientaal/turkcestan.html

See the following, some academic, some fun:
















Original sender: Victor Kotseff-Merdjanov <victor.kotseff@gmx.net>

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am a student from Bulgaria and I obtained your e-mail from an internet
(http://www.riga.lv/minelres/archive/04292002-08:02:27-998.html). I
would like to ask you about your opinion concerning the ethnic origin of
the Bulgars (or Proto-Bulgars, the co-founders of Bulgaria). I am more
specifically interested if there is any proof to the hypothesis that
they have a Turkic origin.

Thank you very much in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Victor Kotsev
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