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Meshterski (Bulgarian: ) or Meshtrenski () was a cant, or secret sociolect, of the south Bulgarian builders, bricklayers and masons.[1] The name comes from the word meshtra, "master", from Latin magister. Meshterski served a linguistically isolating purpose, enabling the builders to communicate in secrecy, and a socially isolating purpose, emphasizing the builders' perceived supremacy over their contractors.[2]

Distribution and vocabulary

The sociolect emerged among the Bulgarian masons in southwestern Macedonia, adjacent to the Albanian lands. As a result, it includes a large number of Albanian loanwords, e.g. ? buka, "bread", from buk?; gyahta, "cheese", from djathë; meram, "to take", from marr. There are much fewer loans from Greek (e.g. lashma, "mud", from laspi; ? karekla, "chair", from ? karékla) and Turkish (e.g. pirinch, "rice", from pirinç; sakal, "beard", from sakal).[3] Later, the language spread through migration to northeastern Macedonia (the region of Gotse Delchev), the Rhodope Mountains around Smolyan, and the areas of Asenovgrad, Kazanlak and the sub-Balkan valleys.[2]

Although loanwords often remained semantically unchanged, the Bulgarian vocabulary in the sociolect was substituted with native metaphors, metonyms and words from different roots, so as to conceal the true meaning to outsiders, e.g. mokra ("wet", fem.) for ? voda, "water"; gledach ("looker") for oko, "eye", ? oblo ("round", neut.) for ? yaytse, "egg".[3] The lexis of Meshterski included not only professional terms and basic vocabulary, but also other words, including religious terms, such as ? Svetliv, "Luminous", referring to God or a saint.[4]

Meshterski also spread to other social areas: it was borrowed by tinsmiths in at least one village in the Rhodopes, although with a much reduced vocabulary and renamed to Ganamarski.[5] Albanian words mediated through Meshterski have also entered informal Bulgarian; these included kekav, "weak, sickly" (from keq); kinti, "money, dough" (from qind, "hundred"), skivam, "to see, to take a look" (from shqyrtoj), kelesh, "squirt, mangy fellow" (from qelesh).[6]


Cyrillic Latin
Meshterski Bulgarian Meshterski Bulgarian English
, , ![2] , , ! Vetay, raycho, vetay! Varvi, slantse, varvi! Go, Sun, go!
?, ? ![2] , ! Shule, dovetay balta! Momche, donesi kal! Boy, bring [some] mud!

See also


  1. ^ "? ?" (in Bulgarian). ? ? . 2006-2008. Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d ?, " I".
  3. ^ a b ?, " II".
  4. ^ , ?; ? . "? ? ? ? " (in Bulgarian). , ? ? ,,". Retrieved .
  5. ^ ?, " III".
  6. ^ , ?; ? (1998). " ? " (in Bulgarian). Retrieved .


  • ?, (1979). "? () ? ? ? ?" (in Bulgarian). " ? ?", . ?, ? , ? " ". Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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