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Užice speech
ужички говор
Uzice-by-pedja-supurovic-02

the mediæval fortress of Užice
region south-western Serbia (Stari Vlah, around the city of Užice)
sociolinguistic name(s) Serbian, Bosnian
rendering of yat Neo-Shtokavian Ijekavian
classification Shtokavian
  Eastern Herzegovinian
    Užice speech
writers Miladin Radović (19th century)
folk literature anecdotes, epic poems


The Užice speech is a dialect in the Central South Slavonic dialect continuum, classified amongst Eastern Herzegovinian speeches of the Štokavian super-dialect.[1] It is traditionally spoken by c. 500,000 people in the Zlatibor and Moravica Districts in the Užice region in the south-western part of Serbia.[2][3][4]

Names Edit

One of the earliest mentions of the local dialect of the Užice region is found in Ottoman geographer Evliya Çelebi’s record on his visit to the Užice nahiya in 1664.[5] The language of the people of Užice was then recognized by him as the Bosnian language.[6]

Today Užičans of Christian faith usually name their language Serbian, while those of the Sunni Muslim faith (who primarily dwell in the municipalities of Nova Varoš, Priboj, Prijepolje, and Sjenica in the Zlatibor District) name their language Bosnian. The name Serbo-Croatian was also used during the Yugoslav era.[7]

Classification Edit

The Užice speech is a Neo-Štokavian dialect of the Ijekavian rendering of the old Slavonic vowel yat. It is characterized by an Eastern Herzegovinian accenting system consisting of four melodic accents with long vowels following accented syllables, and a case system using full declension.[8] Today many modern Užičans, especially in urban areas, use the Ekavian rendering of yat (which is official in Serbia) in speech and writing, instead of the traditional Užican Ijekavian rendering.[9] Nevertheless, the original Ijekavian forms of local toponyms such as Bioska, Đetinja, Prijepolje, Bjeluša, Kosjerić, Drijetanj etc., are usually preserved, as these are the names used in official documents and other publications.[10] However, there is also a number of toponyms which were Ekavized in the written language, although their original Ijekavian forms often survived in the spoken language. These include Bela Reka, Kriva Reka, Seništa and others, which can often be heard as Bijela Rijeka, Kriva Rijeka, Sjeništa etc. in conversation among the locals.[11]

In the Central South Slavonic dialect continuum, the Užice speech forms a transition between the neighbouring dialects of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the dialects of Serbia. Some of its characteristics are shared with either dialects, but many of them are common with the Bosnian rather than Serbian dialects, including the originally Ijekavian rendering, the reduction of short unaccented vowels in speech, and other characteristics of local phonetics, phonology, and the lexis, the latter manifested primarily in many loanwords from the Turkish, Persian, and Arabic languages, which are, however, suppressed and less used in the modern language.[12] The Užice speech can thus be considered the easternmost of the Bosnian dialects, even though it is spoken on the territory of Western Serbia and not Bosnia and Herzegovina itself – the connections between the Užice region and Bosnia were even stronger in the past, as parts of this region once belonged to the mediaeval Bosnian state, and the mediaeval local population were followers of the Church of Bosnia.[13] Furthermore, the local dialect was undoubtedly called Bosnian in Evliya Çelebi’s travelogue.[5]

History Edit

The local population descends from the Slavs who have mixed with Illyrian and Celtic tribes in the early Middle Ages[14], and therefore the dialect in its earliest mediaeval form has been rather influenced by the Celtic and Illyrian languages, the remaining of which are some local toponyms of Illyrian or Romanized Celtic etymology, such as Tara Mountain, Negbina, Murtenica, Čigota etc.[15], or the mediaeval local personal name Brajan (cognate of Brian) of Celtic origin.[16]

Mediaeval records of local toponyms show Ikavian characteristics of the local Slavonic vernacular, similarly to the mediaeval Bosnian language. These toponyms include Bika Rika, Siča Rika, Biluša, and others, which are today known as Bela Reka or Bijela Rijeka, Seča Reka or Seča Rijeka, and Bjeluša (either Ijekavian or Ekavized during the 19th and 20th centuries).[16]

The dialect’s vocabulary was later influenced by the Ottoman Turkish language.[17] A mention of the respectable Turkish influence on the language and mentality of Užičans is also found in the novel Došljaci by a notable writer from Užice Milutin Uskoković:

The Turkish influence still remained in speech and mentality. The language […] is full with Turkish words. Older Užičans are at home still very much like the Turks…

Milutin Uskoković, Došljaci (1919)

During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, the Užice region was mostly populated by the migrants from Herzegovina, Montenegro, and other Dinaric regions. Most of the present-day Užičans descend from these settlers.[18] The local dialect was then influenced by the Younger Ijekavian speeches of Herzegovina and Montenegro, and thus became one of the Eastern Herzegovinian speeches.[19]

Literature Edit

The significant portion of the vernacular literature of Užice is comprised of local anecdotes and proverbs, and epic and lyric poems, both of which are usually sung according to a common metric system consisting of ten units (ten syllables in a verse) and often performed with the traditional instrument called gusle.[20] The hero of all Užican anecdotes is called Ero (another name for an Užičan, also spelled Era), who is portrayed as a most clever, witty, and hospitable person, although he is just a simple peasant. In these short anecdotes, he always succeeds to trick the others at the end, even though they hold a higher position in the society or are often considered smarter than him (priests, Ottoman and Serbian nobility, the police, etc.).[21] Characters similar to smart and clever Ero are found in anecdotes across the Balkans: in the stories about Nasredin Hodža, of oriental origin, or Karagiozis in the Greek and Turkish literatures.[22]

The written literature, on the other hand, usually stuck to the standard language; that is Old Church Slavonic and Church Slavonic in the Middle Ages, and later the standard Serb(o-Croat)ian language. The first printed book from Užice, Rujansko četvorojevanđelje (the Gospels of Rujno), was printed in Church Slavonic in 1537.[23] Other Church Slavonic books printed in the Užice region include Psalter printed in the Mileševa monastery in 1544, and Evangelion and Pentecostarion printed in the Mrkša’s Church near Kosjerić in 1562 and 1566, respectively.[24] After the printing centres in Užican monasteries were demolished by the Ottoman Turks, a manuscript culture called the Rača School arose in the Rača monastery near Bajina Bašta. The manuscripts produced in Rača were written in Church Slavonic, but they contained many elements of the spoken vernacular.[25] The first works compiled in the local dialect by literate Užičans appeared in the 19th century. They include Miladin Radović’s chronicle Samouki rukopis, and the Prophecy of Kremna.

Examples Edit

Сишао Ера са Златибора и свратио у чувену Ђерову механу, и рече газди: „Газда, оћеш ли ми дати сатлук ракије и ручак?“ Газда му донесе и Ера поједе, па опет упита: „Оћеш ли ми дати још један сатлук ракије?“ Пошто се Ера накреса, газда му приђе с рачуном, а овај рече: „Мој лијепи газда, ја немам пара да ти платим трошак, а ја сам те и питао оћеш ли ми дати, а ти си као добар човјек доносио и давао једном сиромашном Ери и без пара.“ Газда га салети да плати, а Ера ни да чује, па се погоде да Ера пева све док се газда не насмеје. Ера певао, а газда никако да се насмеје. Најзад Ера запева колико га грло носи: „Ој, Еро, један будаласти, што пјеваш кад платити мораш?!“ Газда се насмеја и рече: „Тако је.“ Ера преста са песмом, узе капу у руке и рече: „Сад сам ти одужио и вала ти!“ То рече и изађе на улицу.

—Zlatiborian vernacular anecdote, published by Ljubiša R. Đenić[26]

Точак је једна дрвена направа на форму дрљаче. На раскршћу побије се један дирек од 2 до 3 хвата висине. На њега се дигне та дрљача, ту доведу кривца и убију га па га дигну на ону дрљачу нако са аљинама. Лице и трбу окрену доље, кроз дрљачу-точак провуку ноге и руке и ту га оставе да га тице једу и оставе га за углед свијету… Тада су се тим Цигани користили. Они ноћу одсеку руке ономе на точку па иг осуше. [Циганин потом] своју руку завуче у рукав од гуња, а ону суву држи у руци па је помоли на рукав и тако моли за милостињу, јер кука како су му руке пропале и осушиле се… Била су око Ужица махом турска имања. Све њиве по Крушчици и лединама биле су њине. Турци изађу петком уз Крушчицу па ударају у шаркије и тамбуре и пјевају оне њине пјесме на српскоме језику јер они нису знали турски ни бекнути… Сви су дућани били од дасака и шашоваца, а куће од чатме, покривене даскама и сламом… Ватра се појавила ниже садашње Житне пијаце и брзо се раширила и обукватила целу доњу страну вароши… Гледо сам онаи пламен из Татинца. Слушо сам онаи прасак и падање кућа. Ватра је била, чини ми се, у небо ударила. Наимању иглу могло се наћи у свои околини Ужица. Кад се запали дућан где има барута, а било иг је млого, просто је страшно било слушати ону праску. Само се ломи, само пуца. Горело је до Слануше и Кадинца.

—Miladin Radović, Samouki rukopis (19th century)[27]

Чујеш ли ти бабо! Немој ме молити да се женим. Ја се женити нећу! Кад будем имао четрдесет и пет година, ондакар ћеш ме укопати, а женити ме никад нећеш! […] Ја се, Босо, женити нећу а ти ћеш се удати… И удаћеш се добро. Добићеш и ђеце, али ће ти све најмилије помријети у цвету младости! Тада ће доћи вријеме, када ћеш се покајати и мене сетити, па ћеш рећи: „Е, јадна Босо! Камо лијепе среће да се нијесам ни удавала!“ […] Оће, оће, куме и то скоро! Чућеш! Баш зато сам те и звао, да ти јопет кажем и потврдим да ће се све то ускоро догодити. Скоро ћеш чути, ђе ће у двору погинути и краљ и краљица. Они ће за једну ноћ нестати, као да их је гром побио.

The Prophecy of Kremna, 19th century[28]

References Edit

  1. cf. the maps of the Serbo-Croatian dialects by Pavle Ivić, Dalibor Brozović et al.
  2. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор“, Титово Ужице 1970, p. 74
  3. “The Užice region consists of Mount Zlatibor, Užička Crna gora, Stari Vlah, Soko, Požega Valley, Moravica, Polimlje, and Podblaće, which comprise a region with some specific geographic, and somewhat also ethnographic characteristics within Serbia” – Р. Познановић, „Традиционално усмено народно стваралаштво Ужичког краја“, Посебна издања Етнографског института САНУ 30/1, Београд 1988, p. 24 – 25
  4. According to 2002 population census in Serbia, there were 313,396 people living in the Zlatibor District (the capital of which is Užice) and 224,772 people settled in the Moravica District (the capital of which is Čačak).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Evlija Čelebi, „Putopis“, Sarajevo 1973.
  6. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 39 and 43
  7. cf. the population censa in Serbia and former Yugoslavia
  8. Живојин Станојчић, Љубомир Поповић, „Граматика српскога језика“, Београд 2004, p. 10
  9. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 274
  10. as recognized by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
  11. cf. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор“; Љубиша Р. Ђенић, „Златиборски летопис“; Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“ and other works that nonetheless mention them in their original Ijekavian forms.
  12. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 141
  13. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор у прошлости“, Титово Ужице 1983, p. 11
  14. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор“, Титово Ужице 1970, p. 73
  15. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор у прошлости“, Титово Ужице 1983, p. 6; also according to Konstantin Josef Jireček
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ахмед С. Аличић, „Турски катастарски пописи неких подручја западне Србије – XV и XVI век“, Чачак 1984
  17. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 140
  18. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор у прошлости“, Титово Ужице 1983, p. 50
  19. Similarly to other Serbo-Croatian dialects that were influenced by the settlers from Herzegovina, and today are classified under Eastern Herzegovinian speeches. The Dubrovnik dialect was originally Ikavian and possibly Čakavian but today is Herzegovinian Ijekavian, and the dialects of Lika were originally Ikavian but today are mostly Eastern Herzegovinian Ijekavian. Both Dubrovnik and Lika, like Užice, were settled by migrants from Herzegovina during the Ottoman rule over the Balkans.
  20. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор“, Титово Ужице 1970, p. 74
  21. Bulletin of the Ethnographical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, vol XLVI, Belgrade 1997: Десанка Николић, „Анегдота – израз ерског менталитета“
  22. Р. Ангелова, „Любими геори на хумористичните приказки и анегдотите у някои славянски и неславянски народи“, Език и литература XXVIII/3, София 1973, p. 16 – 17
  23. Милисав Р. Ђенић, „Златибор у прошлости“, Титово Ужице 1983, p. 10
  24. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 44 – 47
  25. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002, p. 53 – 57
  26. Љубиша Р. Ђенић, „Ерске мудролије“, Ужичке вести no. 860, 1964
  27. Љубомир Симовић, „Ужице са вранама“, Београд 2002
  28. Драган М. Пјевић, „Креманско пророчанство – извор нових инспирација“, Кремна 2005

See also Edit

Template:Shtokavian dialects

External links Edit