Shopi: Wikis


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"Self-conscious, but happy. A newly engaged (Shop) couple, Bulgaria", National Geographic, 1915
Map of Shopluk / Šopluk region in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia (according to Jovan Cvijić)

For the French supermarket chain see Carrefour.

Shopi (Bulgarian: шопи, scientific transliteration shopi; singular шоп, shop) is a regional term referring to the dialect group of Bulgarians and Serbs inhabiting the Shopluk (Шоплук, Shopluk), a region located in whole Western Bulgaria and parts of Serbia, Macedonia, and little parts of Kosovo, Albania and Romania. People from Eastern Bulgaria also call the people who live in Sofia - Shoppes, but as a result of the migration of whole Bulgaria, the dialect is not majority in the city of Sofia anymore, but big of it is still speake in Sofia most of them speak transitional between the western Bulgarian dialect and literary Bulgarian language, the western Bulgarian dialect is still majority in the Sofia's villages, whole western Bulgaria, for example the big towns and cities of: (Sofia and Pleven- transitional speech]], Pernik, Kyustendil, Vratsa, Vidin, Montana, Dupnitsa, Samokov, Lom, Botevgrad, (towns of minorities in Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo: Nish, Leskovec, Kumanovo, Vranje, Pirot, Dragash). The Western Bulgarian Dialects or Shopian dialect made about 2,000,000 people, which are 30% of Bulgaria's population, with the miorities of Shoppes in Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania the total number of Shoppes is about 3,000,000[citation needed], with the group of the people who speak transitional speech between the western Bulgarian dialect and literary Bulgarian language, and other transitional speech between Slavic languages in the other respective Slavic countrties where the Shopi live- Serbian and Macedonian, together they made about number of 4,000,000.[citation needed]



Shoppes speak a group of related dialects that belong to the "et" (western) group of Bulgarian dialects. The adjoining dialects situated in Northern Macedonia and Southern Serbia are called Torlakian. The dialects spoken by the Shopi are sometimes collectively referred to as Shopski (Шопски), although this is not the accepted term in Bulgarian dialectology. [1] The groups that tend to be most closely associated with that term and to match the stereotypical idea of "Shopski" speech are the South-Western dialects and in particular, naturally, the dialects of Sofia and Elin Pelin, as these are closest to the capital. They differ from standard Bulgarian through a number of characteristic features, some of which are shared with standard Serbian.

The exposition below is based on Stoyko Stoykov's Bulgarian dialectology (2002, first ed. 1962) [1], although other examples are used. The Standard Bulgarian words and sentences are given in romanization, with no attempt at scientific transcription apart from stress marking.


Features of Shopski shared by all or most western Bulgarian dialects


  • The variable known as /ja/ (променливо я), which corresponds to the Old Bulgarian yat vowel and is realised, in the standard language, as /ja/ or /'a/ (/a/ with palatalisation of the preceding consonant) in some positions and /e/ in others, is always pronounced /e/ in Shopski. Example: fresh milk in Shopski - presno mleko (пресно млеко) compared with standard Bulgarian - prjasno mljako (прясно мляко).
  • The verbal endings for first person singular and third person plural have no palatalisation. Example: to sit in Shopski - seda, sedǎ (седа/седъ) but in standard Bulgarian, sedjǎ (седя)
  • There is little or no reduction of unstressed vowels.
  • The personal pronoun for the first person singular is ja (я) instead of az (аз).
  • The personal pronouns for the third person are masc. on (он), fem. ona (она); neut. ono (оно), pl. oni (они).
  • Palatalized /k/ occurs in some cases where it is absent in the standard language. Examples: mother in Shopski is majkja (майкя) and in standard Bulgarian, majka (майка); Bankja (Банкя), the name of a town near Sofia, derived from Ban'-ka (Бань-ка), with a transfer of the palatal sound from /N/ to /K/.


  • The preposition (and prefix) "у" ("u") is used instead of "в" ("v"). Example: Shopski у градо (u grado) vs standard Bulgarian в града (v grada) (in town)
  • Lack of past imperfect active participle, used to form the renarrative mood. In other words in these dialects there are forms like дал (dal), писал (pisal), мислил (mislil), пил (pil) (past aorist active participles), but no дадял (dadyal), пишел (pishel), мислел (mislel), пиел (piel).

Features characteristic the South-West Bulgarian dialect group


  • In most (though not all) forms of Shopski, the stressed "ъ" (/ɤ/) sound of standard Bulgarian (which corresponds to Old Bulgarian big yus) or yer) is substituted with /a/ or /o/. Example: Shopski моя/мойо маж ме лаже (moja/mojo maž me laže), че одим навонка (če odim navonka) vs standard Bulgarian моят мъж ме лъже, ще ходя навън/ка) (mojǎt mǎz me lǎže, šte hodja navǎn/ka), (my husband is lying to me, I'll be going out)


  • Most often the definite article for masculine nouns is -о (-o) or -от (-ot) instead of -а (-a) or -ът (-ǎt). Example: Shopski отивам у градо (otivam u grado) vs standard Bulgarian отивам в града (otivam v grada) (I am going in town)
  • The -ен, -йен/-en, -jen past passive participle ending is used much more extensively in the Shop dialect than in the standard language, which often has -т/-t instead. Example: Shopski умийен ( umijen, "washed"), убийен (ubijen, "killed"), открийен (otkrijen, "opened" or "discovered"), vs standard Bulgarian умит (umit), убит (ubit), открит (otkrit)
  • In the past tenses (aorist and imperfect) and in the past participle the stress falls always on the ending and not on the stem. Example: Shopski гле'дах (gle'dah), гле'дал (gle'dal) vs standard Bulgarian 'гледах ('gledah), 'гледал ('gledal) ([I] was watching; [he, she, it] watched)

Features characteristic of the Sofia and Elin Pelin dialects


  • In the present tense for the first and second conjugation, the ending for the first person singular is often -м (-m) and for the plural is -ме (-me) instead of -а/я (-a/ja) and -м (-m), respectively, as in standard Bulgarian. Example: Shopski я седим, ние седиме (ja sedim, nie sedime) vs standard Bulgarian аз седя, ние седим (az sedja, nie sedim) (I am sitting, we are sitting)
  • Most often the particle for the forming of the future tense is "че" (če) (Sofia dialect), ке (k'e) or "ше" (še) (Elin Pelin), instead of standard "ще" (šte). The form "še" is used in the more urbanized areas and is rather common in the colloquial speech of Sofia in general. Example: Shopski че одим/че (ше) ода (če odim/če (še) oda) vs standard Bulgarian ще ходя (šte hodja) (I will be going)

Other features

The /x/-sound is often omitted. Despite being particularly associated with Shopski, this is actually characteristic of most rural Bulgarian dialects. Example: Shopski леб (leb), одиа (odia) vs standard Bulgarian хляб (hljab), ходиха (hodiha) (bread, they went)


There are plenty of typical words for the Shop dialect in particular, as well as for other western dialects in general. Some examples are:

Shop dialect standard Bulgarian standard Serbian standard Macedonian English translation
сакам, oчy, очем (sakam, oču, оčем) искам (iskam) хоћу, оћу (hoću, oču) сакам (sakam) (I) want
чиним, правим, работим (činim, pravim, rabotim) правя, работя (pravja, rabotja) радим, чиним (radim, činim) - to do, правим (pravim) - to make работам (rabotam) - to do, чинaм (činam) - to do, правам (pravam) - to make (I) do/make
прашам, питуем (prašam, pitujem) питам (pitam) питам, питуjем (pitam, pitujem) прашувам (prašuvam) (I) ask
чувам, пазим (čuvam, pazim) пазя (pazja) чувам, пазим (čuvam, pazim) чувам (čuvam) (I) keep, bring up, raise (a child)
спи(й)ем, спим (spijem, spim) спя (spja) спавам, спим (spavam, spim) спиjaм (spijam) (I) sleep
тражим, дирим (tražim, dirim) търся, диря (tǎrsja, dirja) тражим (tražim) барам (baram) (I) search
оти?, за какво?, за кво?, що? (oti?, za kakvo?, za kvo?, što?) защо?, за какво? (zašto?, za kakvo?) зашто?, што? (zašto?, što?,) зошто? (zošto?), оти? (oti?) why?
окам, викам (okam, vikam) викам (vikam) вичем (vičem) викам (vikam) (I) shout
кошуля (košulja), rare — риза (riza) риза (riza), кошуља (košulja) кошула (košula) shirt
рипам (ripam) скачам, рипам (skačam, ripam) скачем, скoчим (skačеm, skočim) скокам (skokam), рипам (ripam) (I) jump
зборуем (zboruem), зборувам (zboruvam), приказвам (prikazvam), оратим (oratim), говора (govora), вревим (vrevim), думам (dumam) говоря (govorja), приказвам (prikazvam), думам (dumam) говорим (govorim), причам (pričam) зборувам (zboruvam), говорам (govoram) (I) speak
мачка (mačka) котка (kotka) мачка (mačka) мачка (mačka) cat
пце (pсe) куче, пес (kuče, pes) куче, пас (kuče, pas) куче (kuče) dog


A shop horo (round dance)

The Shopi have a very original and characteristic folklore. The traditional male costume of the Shopi is white, while the female costumes are diverse. White male costumes are spread at the western Shopluk. The hats they wear are also white and tall (called gugla) . Traditionally Shopi costume from the Kiustendil region are in black and they are called Chernodreshkovci — Blackcoats. That hat is low and black too. Embroidery is well developed as an art and is very conservative. Agriculture is the traditional main occupation, with cattle breeding coming second.

In terms of music, the Shopi have a complex folklore with the heroic epic playing an important part. The Shopi are also known for playing particularly fast and intense versions of Bulgarian dances. The rebec, kaval and bagpipe are popular instruments and two-part singing is common. Minor second intervals are common in Shop music and are not considered dissonant.

The traditional Shop house that has a fireplace in the centre has only survived in some more remote villages, being displaced by the Middle Bulgarian type. The villages in the plains are larger, while those in the higher areas are somewhat straggling and have traditionally been inhabited by single families (zadruga). The unusually large share of placenames ending on -ovci, -enci and -jane evidence for the preservation of the zadruga until even after the 19th century.

Two very popular and well-known fоlklore groups are Poduenski Babi and Bistrishki Babi — the Grandmothers of Poduene and Bistritsa villages.

A famous dish in Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia is Shopska salad, named after this ethnographic group.

The Shopi in literature and anecdotes

The Shopi — especially those from near Sofia — have the widespread (and arguably unjustified) reputation of stubborn and selfish people[citation needed]. There are lots of proverbs and anecdotes about them, more than about all other regional groups in Bulgaria.

A distinguished writer from the region is Elin Pelin who actually wrote some comic short stories and poems in the dialect, and also portrayed life in the Shopluk in much of his literary work.

Anecdotes and proverbs

  • От Искаро по-длибоко нема, от Витоша по-високо нема!. (Ot Iskaro po dliboko nema, ot Vitoša po-visoko nema.) (There is nothing deeper than the Iskar River, and nothing higher than the Vitosha Mountain.)
This saying is meant to show that the Shopi refuse to acknowledge other countries' virtues.
  • Once a Shop went to the zoo and saw the giraffe. He watched it in amazement and finally said: Е, те такова животно нема! (E, te takova životno nema!) (There is no such animal!)
So even seeing the truth with his own eyes, he or she refuses to acknowledge it.
  • Once a Shop went to the city, saw aromatic soaps on a stand and, thinking that they were something to eat, bought a piece. He began to eat it but soon his mouth was filled with foam. He said: Пеняви се, не пеняви, пари съм давал, че го ядем. (Penjavi se, ne se penjavi, pari sǎm daval, če go jadem) (Foam or not, it cost money, I shall eat it.)
When money is spent, even unpleasant things should be endured.
  • How was the gorge of the Iskǎr River formed? As the story goes, in ancient times the Sofia Valley was a lake, surrounded with mountains. The ancient Shopi were fishermen. One day, while fishing with his boat one of them bent over in order to take his net out of the water. But the boat was floating towards the nearby rocks on the slope of the Balkan Mountains. Consequently the Shop hit his head on the rocks and the entire mountain split into two. The lake flew out and the gorge was formed.
  • There is a saying throughout Bulgaria that the Shopi's heads are wooden (дървена шопска глава, dǎrvena šopska glava), meaning they are too stubborn. Interestingly, in Romania there is such saying about Bulgarians in general.
View of a cloud-covered Sofia Valley from Vitosha
  • Once upon a time three Shopi climbed on top of the Vitosha Mountain. There was a thick fog in the valley so they thought it was cotton. They jumped down and perished.
This is to show three points: the Shopi are not very smart after all; Vitosha is very high; and, as a serious point, it is common to see Vitosha standing over low clouds shrouding the high plains and valleys of Western Bulgaria; this is a temperature inversion.
  • Another example of the Shopi's stubbornness: Once, in the middle of summer, a Shop wore a very thick coat. When asked if it wasn't too hot, he answered: It's not because of the coat but because of the weather.
  • The Shopi had a reputation of being good soldiers nevertheless there was a proverb: "A Shop will only fight if he can see the roof of his house from the battlefield", meaning he will only fight if he can see his personal interests in the fight. A proverb that wants to demonstrate the Shopi's selfishness.
  • In other parts of Bulgaria all locals from Sofia are called, somewhat scornfully, "Shopi", although the majority of the city's population are not descendants of the real vernacular minority but of migrants from other regions.
  • In addition, in other parts of Bulgaria there exists the use of the derisive form "Shopar" for Shop and "Shoparism" for untidy, outdated or primitive circumstances (which show some similarity to the employ of the term "Hillbilly" in the USA)


Shopski Cove in Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the Shop region of Western Bulgaria.


  1. ^ a b Стойков, С. (2002) Българска диалектология, 4-то издание. стр. 143, 186. Also available online

See also

External links


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