Expressive Particles in Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek and Kurdish
Abstract: A common feature in the Balkan Sprachbund is the use of expressive particles, such as bre, be, vre, re, more, mori and ma in colloquial speech. In some sources the origin of the particles has been claimed to be the Greek moros, 'moron'. The aims of this study were (a) to map and investigate the use of the particles in Serbian, Bulgarian, Greek and (b) to make a grammatical and semantic comparison with the word bre/bra, ‘brother’, in Kurdish, which has an almost identical phonetic appearance as one of the particles on Balkans. Qualitative methods of elicitation were applied. The results indicated signs of semantic bleaching and obtaining characteristics of a particle in the use of the Kurdish word and gave justification for a future research regarding the etymology of the particles on Balkans. The sociolinguistic use of the two most common particles in Serbian and Bulgarian was investigated as well. Quantitative methods in the form of a questionnaire were utilized. The predictions concerning the sociolinguistic aspects were confirmed, and the expressive particles were found to be indicators of power and solidarity in social relations. Differences in attitudes towards bre in Serbian and be in Bulgarian were discovered, which could possibly be due to the greater degree of semantic bleaching of Bulgarian be.
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