The purpose of this article is to study the linguistic evidence of Slavic-Albanian language contact in the kinship terminology of the Mrkovići, a Muslim Slavic-speaking group in southern Montenegro, and to demonstrate how it refers to the social context and the kind of contact situation. The material for this study was collected during fieldwork conducted from 2012 to 2015 in the villages of the Mrkovići area. Kinship terminology of the Mrkovići dialect is compared with that of bcms, Albanian, and the other Balkan languages and dialects. Particular attention is given to the items borrowed from Albanian and Ottoman Turkish, and to the structural borrowing from Albanian. Information presented in the article will be of interest to linguists and anthropologists who investigate kinship terminologies in the world’s languages or do their research in the field of Balkan studies with particular attention to Slavic-Albanian contact and bilingualism.
Interaction between Slavs and Albanians in the Balkans has resulted in numerous linguistic changes, particularly for those dialects that were in immediate contact with one another. The change is especially apparent when it comes to lexicons and lexical borrowings from Slavic to Albanian and from Albanian to Slavic. One semantic field of particular interest is kinship terminology, which has long been one of the most popular subjects for linguists and anthropologists, with its focus on how different peoples classify relatives and how these classifications relate to actual social structure.
This article will examine the kinship terminology and kinship concepts of the Mrkovići, a Muslim Slavic group in southern Montenegro. Before entering in medias res, we give an overview of the historical and social setting of Slavic-Albanian contact in southern Montenegro, provide brief background information about the Mrkovići and their dialect, as well as some general remarks about lexical borrowing from Albanian into Slavic, and describe the data, sources and methodology applied in this study. The central aspect of the article is an analysis of the consanguineal and affinal kinship terminology in the Mrkovići variety of bcms, with special attention given to items borrowed from Albanian and the cultural information transmitted along with these borrowings. In the concluding remarks, we provide an analysis of the sociolinguistic setting and the type of contact situation, in which borrowings pertaining to the field of kinship terminology were transferred into the Mrkovići variety. The Appendix to the article gives comparative data about consanguineal and affinal kinship terminologies employed in the modern bcms (Hammel, 1957; Bjeletić, 1994), Albanian (Žugra, 1998; Thomai et al., 2002), and Turkish (Spencer, 1960).
1.1 Historical and Political Setting of Albanian-Slavic Contact in Southern Montenegro
The Albanians and Slavs of southern Montenegro have a rich history of relationships. Slavs first appeared in the western Balkans after their large-scale invasion from across the Danube at the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh century, and came into contact with the local pre-Slavic population. In particular, the peoples called Serbs and Croats who presumably gave these names to the larger number of Slavs came to the Balkans in the second quarter of the seventh century and were mentioned as such in Constantine Porphyrogenitus’s De Administrando Imperio created in the late 940s or early 950s. During the Early Middle Ages, they converted to Christianity (Byzantine Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism) and established their first states along the Adriatic coast and in its hinterland. An early medieval state of Serbs that emerged in the area roughly corresponding to modern southeastern Montenegro was known as Duklja.1 The name Duklja was derived from Dioclea, the name of the capital city of the Illyrian tribe of Diocleatae that lived in what is now Montenegro. Through the eleventh century, Duklja was the leading Serbian state with its capital at Scodra (modern bcms Skadar / Alb Shkodër in the Republic of Albania). Later the whole region was referred to as the principality of Zeta, named after one of the Dukljan districts (bcms 2 župa) located near the Zeta river. At the turn of the twelfth century, the Byzantine campaign against Zeta and the civil war weakened the principality and forced its rulers to recognize the overlordship of Byzantium (Fine, 2008: 34–38, 203–247).
In the 1180s, Stefan Nemanja (1168–1196), the founder of the Serbian dynasty of Nemanjići, annexed Zeta and integrated it into his state. After the death of the most powerful king from Nemanjići, Stefan Dušan the Mighty (1308–1355), in 1356, Zeta was incorporated into the state of Balšići and remained part of it until 1421. During the extensive Ottoman raids that overran parts of Zeta in 1386, George ii Balšić accepted Ottoman suzerainty. By the end of the fifteenth century, during the rule of the Crnojevići noble family, the Ottomans took possession of almost all of Zeta, or Montenegro, as it was more commonly known at the time. In 1571, they conquered the ports of Bar and Ulcinj, which had belonged to the Venetian Republic, and exercised control over southern Montenegro for more than three centuries (Fine, 2009: 49–53, 389–392, 414–421, 595–603). Throughout this period, a part of the Slavic and Albanian population in the area retained their allegiance to Orthodoxy (Montenegrins) and Catholicism (Albanians), while the other part gradually converted to Islam.
In 1878, Montenegrins seized Bar and incorporated it into their independent state. The town of Ulcinj and its surroundings became part of an independent Montenegro in 1880. After the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, the border between Albania and Montenegro was established on the river Bojana / Bunë, encompassing the territory to the west of the river, which was populated mostly by Albanians and Muslim Slavs, into Montenegro. During World War ii, border areas in southern Montenegro, together with the other regions of Yugoslavia inhabited by Albanians, were placed under the authority of Albania.
After the war, the Albanian borders were returned to their 1913 positions and remain as such until today. The Socialist Republic of Montenegro became one of the six constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1992–2003, it was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and later of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006, Montenegro became an independent state (see Fig. 1). The overwhelming majority of the population of the Republic of Montenegro identify themselves as Montenegrins (44.98%) and Serbs (28.73%). Albanians constitute 4.91% of the population and live mainly in its southeastern part, in the municipalities of Ulcinj, Bar, Plav, Podgorica, and Rožaje (Monstat, 2011). The 2007 Constitution declared Montenegrin to be the official language of the state, and proclaimed that Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Albanian shall also be in official use.
1.2 Socio-Cultural Background: Population Shifts and Albanian-Slavic Kinship Ties in Southern Montenegro
Serbian and Croatian historians and anthropologists argue that the pre-Slavic peoples of the western Balkans (e.g. the Illyrians) and the Early Medieval Slavs were organized in tribal formations that were shattered with the arrival of Romans or dissolved through the influence of Byzantium and the South Slavic medieval states (Cvijić, 1987: 84–88; Erdeljanović, 1978 : 575). In the Late Middle Ages, the crisis of the Slavic states and the Ottoman conquest led to the reawakening of old customs and the revival of traditional lineage-based, as well as village-community based forms of social organization in the western Balkans (Erdeljanović, 1978 : 470; Banović, 2015: 41–43). We hereinafter use the bcms term pleme to refer to the Montenegrin patrilineages and the Albanian term fis for similar decent groups in northern Albania.
The medieval Montenegrin pleme, as well as the Albanian fis, was a large clan that occupied a certain area and claimed to be descending from one common male ancestor. In the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries in Montenegro and in the neighbouring regions of northern Albania and eastern Hercegovina, Albanian, Slavic and Vlach (Romance-speaking) shepherds’ mountain villages, which were primarily kinship organizations, consolidated into closely bounded groups that were further referred to as fis and pleme (Đurđev, 1963: 143–170; Cvijić, 1987: 85; Banović, 2015: 42). The Ottoman invasion and the revival of institutions such as common law and blood vengeance brought about significant population shifts in this part of the Balkans. Albanian and Slavic-speaking people fled to more remote and mountainous areas, where the Ottoman administration and the enemies had very little access, in order to escape blood feuds, islamization, or conflicts with the Ottoman beys in their native provinces (Rovinsky, 1897: 135; Boehm, 1986: 43–44). The newcomers mixed with the native population and adopted their ethnic identity. The best-known example in Montenegro is the case of Kuči, which had been an Orthodox Serbian pleme until the fifteenth century. From the beginning of the fifteenth to the end of the seventeenth century several Albanian (Catholic) and Serbian (Orthodox and Catholic) groups from other regions settled in the territory occupied by Kuči and joined to the pleme. The population in the area had been a long time (partially) bilingual in Albanian and bcms, but after the gradual slavicization of Albanians, most part of the pleme Kuči became bcms-speaking; the only exception is the small area of Koći / Kojë, which is inhabited by Albanians and albanized local Serbs (Erdeljanović, 1981 : 117, 158–172).
Close relations of medieval Albanians and Slavs in what is now southern Montenegro and northern Albania have been attested in folk tales and legends. Oral tradition says that a Montenegrin pleme and an Albanian fis could be common in ancestry. For example, legends say that the Montenegrin pleme Piperi, together with Ozrinići and Vasojevići, and the Albanian fises Krasniqe and Hoti descend from five brothers (Šufflay, 1925: 60).
Non-related Albanian and Slavic families often established lasting bonds through marriage. Strict marriage exogamy was a long time effective in several areas of southern Montenegro, obliging members of a Montenegrin pleme to take wives from the other pleme or from an Albanian fis. For example, Vasojevići and Kuči were exogamous at least until the end of the nineteenth century, and Kuči had matrimonial relations not only with the neighbouring Slavic groups, but also with Albanians (Rovinsky, 1897: 239). Similar patterns of marriage relations existed among the fises of the Northern Albania. Two non-related fises from different areas exchanged wives or, alternatively, a fis from one area took wives from another and sent marriageable girls to the third fis, which never served as a source of young brides for the first one (Ivanova, 1988: 184). Among the majority of South Slavs in Montenegro, Serbia and Hercegovina, marriages also could be contracted between descent groups, even if they belonged to a single pleme and lived in one village. As Stoianovich (1994: 162) supposes, such inbreeding during Ottoman rule tended to inspire a sense of solidarity among the members of a pleme against its perceived intruders. In Bulgaria, this kind of matrimonial “endogamy” was still practised as late as the 1920s (Todorova, 2006: 51).
Bonds established through women (relation through marriage) were considered weaker and more fragile than the agnatic ones. In this connection, Albanians and Slavs traditionally created various kinds of fictive, or symbolic kinship ties, which were viewed as relations equal to true kinship. In the range of such kinship practices, godparenthood, initially adopted in the Balkans as a Christian ritual (godparenthood at baptism and at marriage, bcms kršteno kumstvo and venčano kumstvo), was of the greatest significance. The so-called “haircut godparenthood” (bcms šišano kumstvo) was widespread among the Balkan Muslims, but also practiced by the Christian population (Kaser, 2008: 51–52). For example, in Otok (Croatia, Roman Catholics) the designated friend of the family undertook the first haircut (bcms šišanje) of the newborn and thus became his godfather, while in Zavala (Montenegro, Orthodox pleme Piperi) the first haircut was done by the person who baptized the child (Sobolev, 2005: 232–233). Also “kinship by milk”, a kind of relationship initiated by the (ritual) breast-feeding of a baby by a wet nurse, was practiced throughout the Balkans, especially in regions with dense Muslim population (Kaser, 2008: 52). The woman who suckled the child was considered his/her second mother, her children became brothers and sisters of the newborn, and they were therefore not allowed to intermarry. Finally, brothership in blood was an important strategy of fostering symbolic kinship, e.g. for Catholic Albanians and Orthodox Serbs in the northern Albania and southern Montenegro, but cases of establishment of such kind of relationship are also known among Muslims. Towards the end of the twentieth century the ceremony of drinking a drop of one another’s blood to become brothers still existed in the northeastern Albanian region of Golo Brdo inhabited by Slavic and Albanian-speaking Muslim population (Morozova, 2013: 93).
In religiously and ethnically diverse regions such as southern Montenegro, the connections of Muslims through spiritual kinship often involved Christians. According to our fieldwork data, several families of the Muslim Mrkovići pleme in the south of Montenegro still maintain bonds established through spiritual kinship with those Orthodox families whose members gave the first haircut to their male children. In accordance with the tradition, a person remains a godfather (bcms kum, Alb kumbar and Reg Gheg kumar) for a Mrkovići family until his death (after which his duties are then passed down to his son) and is an honoured guest at family ceremonies, such as circumcisions or weddings of his godchildren. Brothership in blood also remained one of the strategies for establishment of spiritual ties between the local Muslim Slavs, Orthodox Montenegrins and Catholic Albanians up to the twentieth century. The ancestors of some of our respondents in the Mrkovići pleme had Catholic Albanians as brothers in blood (in the local varieties of bcms and Albanian brother in blood is called pobratim, cf. Standard bcms pobratim and Alb vëllam, probatin), while their children do not maintain the tradition nowadays. As for “kinship by milk”, the people from the Mrkovići area cannot remember any cases, and it is likely that this practice was never performed in the area.
1.3 The Mrkovići Pleme in Southern Montenegro
The bcms-speaking pleme Mrkovići / Mrkojevići, also known as Mërkot (in Albanian), inhabits the highlands in the south of Montenegro, between the towns of Bar and Ulcinj (see Fig. 2). The majority of the Mrkovići converted to Islam while under Ottoman rule in Montengro, and now only a few Orthodox families remain in the village of Dobra Voda.
Bar and Ulcinj are the main urban centers of this region with ethnically and religiously diverse population. The rural area near Bar is inhabited by Slavic-speaking Muslims (Tuđemili, Poda), while the other areas to the west of the town are populated mainly by Orthodox Montenegrins. In the Ulcinj municipality, the Albanian-speaking population dominates the areas of Kraja and Shestani in the north, Ana e Malit in the east, and the Ulcinj area in the southeast. Albanians of Kraja and Ana e Malit are Muslim, while in Shestani they are mostly Catholic. The villages of the Ulcinj area are either Muslim or Catholic, with several exceptions like Klezna / Këlleznë in Ana e Malit inhabited by both Muslim and Catholic Albanians. Some villages, such as Kruče / Krute, have a mixed Albanian Catholic and Slavic Muslim population.
Most Mrkovići villages are situated in the northwest of their area, close to the Rumija and Lisinj mountains and include: Dobra Voda, Pečurice, Grdovići, Velje Selo (together with the hamlet Lunje), Dabezići (with the hamlet Dapčevići), Ljeskovac, and currently abandoned Međureč, Mali and Velji Mikulići. The inhabitants of this area refer to themselves as pravi Mrkovići ‘true Mrkovići’.
The settlements in the southeastern part – Kunje, Gorana (including Mala Gorana and Velja Gorana), Vukići, and Pelinkovići – are located near the Možura mountain range. The inhabitants of Gorana insist that they belong to the Mrkovići community. On the other hand, in Velja Gorana the people often use the name Mrkovići, when they need to refer to the “true Mrkovići” villages only, for example: žena mu je bila iz Mrkojevića ‘his wife was from Mrkojevići’ (about a man from Velja Gorana whose wife comes from the “true Mrkovići” village of Velje Selo).
1.3.2 Origin and Marriage Patterns
The Mrkovići pleme comprises a number of descent groups (bcms bratstvo, Gheg Alb vllazni) of different origin, listed with a striking thoroughness in the description of Crnogorsko Primorje and Krajina by Andrija Jovićević (1922). Several modern Mrkovići families originate from the old Orthodox bcms-speaking population of the area, which converted to Islam during the last two centuries of Ottoman rule in the town of Bar.
The 1485 Ottoman census mentions the village “Mrkojeviqi” in “Nahija Mërkodlar” (Nahija of the Mrkovići)3 and lists the heads of households, whose names are predominantly of (South) Slavic origin: Milosh, Ivza, Ivan, Gjuro, Andrija, Damjan, Dabzhiv / Dabo / Dabza, Nikëza etc. (cf. Dabezići, the name of one of the “true Mrkovići” villages, and the modern surnames Nikezić and Andrić in Mala Gorana). On the other hand, the census shows that some people from the Mrkovići had Albanian Catholic names, such as Lekëza and Kolza, or could be of Albanian origin, for example Radiç Kolzini, where Kolzini is an Albanian surname, and Nuliçi, i biri i Bukmirit ‘Nulič, son of Bukmir’ (Pulaha, 1974: 141–143). Thus, an Albanian element existed in the Mrkovići area in historic times, but after a few centuries these Albanians assimilated and intermingled with the local Slavic-speaking population. Names clearly evidence that in the end of the fifteenth century the population of the Mrkovići area had not yet converted to Islam. The only person with an Islamic, though a non-Quranic, name that can be found in the list is Shaini, i biri i Branurës ‘Shahin, son of Branura’ (Tr Şahin, a name of Iranian origin that means ‘falcon’).
The other Mrkovići kins descend from non-related persons and families who came from various areas of Montenegro and settled in the Mrkovići area in the nineteenth century, when the local population to the most part converted to Islam. For example, Mujići, Maručići and Morstanovići in Mali Mikulići came from Shestani. The ancestors of Ivanovići and Lakovići in Dobra Voda were related to the Kuči pleme. Dapčevići arrived to Dabezići from Cetinje, Dibre in Dobra Voda migrated from the Macedonian Dibra in approx. 1840, and Rackovići derived from Lješanska Nahija after 1878, when the Montenegrins took control of Bar and its surroundings (Jovićević, 1922: 77–85).
The newcomers were eventually engaged in the existing social networks and marriage relations. From the point of view of marriage patterns, the Mrkovići pleme, being an ideological and territorial rather than a kin-defined entity, has been mostly endogamous. Affine kinship relations exist between the Dapčevići (from Dabezići) and the Lunići (from Velje Selo), the Metanovići (Mala Gorana) and the Kovačevići (Velja Gorana), the Kovačevići and the Vučići (Velja Gorana), and other descent groups. This pattern survived the increasing waves of rural-urban internal migration and the external migration from Montenegro to Western Europe, the usa and Canada. Young men from migrant families often come to their villages from abroad in order to take a wife from their neighbourhood and bring her to their new place of residence.
On the other hand, historically, men from the Mrkovići tended to bring wives from the other regions of Montenegro, while marriageable girls often get married outside the pleme. Highland villages in the northwestern part of the Mrkovići area, such as Dobra Voda and Pečurice, have strong ties through marriage with the neighbouring Slavic-speaking Muslim regions of Tuđemili and Poda. A part of the Mrkovići, much like the Kuči, has had matrimonial relations with Albanians (Morozova and Rusakov, 2018). According to Jovićević (1922: 113), men from the villages of Pelinkovići, Vukići, Klezna (now completely Albanian), and partially of Gorana used to marry girls from the neighbouring Ana e Malit. Over time, exogamous ties with Albanians became more geographically diverse, with preference given to Muslim Albanian communities. Nowadays one can meet Albanian women from Shestani, Kraja and Ulcinj, as well as from northwestern Albania, in the Mrkovići villages. While explaining their “ethnic” and “linguistic” exogamy, most respondents from the Mrkovići say that having the same religion is more important in making a marriage work than ethnic or linguistic conformity.
1.3.3 Linguistic Features of the Area
In Serbian and Croatian dialectology (see Fig. 3), the variety of the Mrkovići is classified as a local variety of the Old Shtokavian (bcms štokavski ‘Shtokavian’ is the bcms dialect spoken in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, most part of Croatia and in the Austria’s Burgenland; the Old Shtokavian subdialects preserve the older accent system of bcms) Zeta-Sjenica, or Zeta-Lovćen subdialect spoken in southeastern Montenegro and southwestern Serbia (Ivić, 1994: 191; Sobolev, 2014). According to Vujović, who conducted the dialectological fieldwork in the Mrkovići area in 1930–1940s, this variety survived the dialect mixing that was characteristic of the rest of Old Montenegro territory, and preserved specific features in phonology, morphology and syntax, with minor effects from the influence of neighbouring dialects (Vujović 2012 : 16). One of the major features of the Mrkovići variety is the Ekavian development of the long jat /ĕ/, which is closer to Serbian rather than to the general Montenegrin: dete / dei̯te ‘child’ (cf. Serbian Ekavian dete, where /ĕ/ > e, and general Montenegrin Ijekavian dijete, where /ĕ/ > ije). Main phonological innovations include the reflex of the Proto-Slavic semivowel *ь > e a (*dьnь > de a n ‘day’, bcms dan), the loss of t and d in consonant clusters (sesra ‘sister’, selo ‘saddle’, cf. bcms sestra, sedlo), and others (Vujović, 2012 : 26, 82–84).
Contact with non-Slavic languages played an important role in the development of the Mrkovići variety. As Vujović (2012 : 16, 60–64) argues, a few lexical borrowings of Romance origin and probably the labialized pronunciation of the long a (zla o to ‘gold’, bcms zlato) may pertain to the period of Venetian rule in the town of Bar (1402–1412, 1422–1429, 1443–1571). During the Ottoman rule in the region of Bar (1571–1878), the variety of the Mrkovići adopted a considerable number of Turkish loanwords related to different semantic groups: household, food, dishes and utensils, clothes, kinship, religion, etc. Some phonological and structural changes in the Mrkovići variety, such as the innovative distribution of the bcms lateral approximants l and lj, and the emergence of the construction with the preposition ge that takes nominative case (ge kuća ‘at home’, cf. Alb te shtëpia), result from the influence of Northwestern Gheg Albanian, which is spoken in the south of Montenegro and the northwest of Albania. The innovations may have appeared due to the presence of an Albanian element in some of the Mrkovići villages and the (partial) bilingualism of the people in the Mrkovići area, who shepherded livestock in the same areas as Albanians, went to the markets of Bar and Shkodra, and established kinship ties with their Albanian-speaking neighbours.
Nowadays, specific features of the Mrkovići variety occur mainly in the speech of the middle-aged and older generations. The linguistic choice of the younger generation is affected by public institutions, such as education and media, and by communication with non-Mrkovići speakers outside their native villages. Consequently, they tend to speak crnogorsko ‘Montenegrin’, the Eastern Hercegovinian variety of Ijekavian Neo-Štokavian spoken across most of Montenegro and used as the basis for the standardized Montenegrin language.
bcms-Albanian bilingualism is characteristic of the Mrkovići villages located next to the Albanian area of Ana e Malit. For example, most of the population in Velja Gorana is bilingual in bcms and Albanian, and almost all male and female children learn Albanian from their mothers and grandmothers who originate from Ana e Malit, Ulcinj, and from other nearby parts of Albania (Morozova, 2017: 67). Similar observations were made by Serbian scholars of the last century in Pelinkovići, Međureč, Ljeskovac, Vukići, and “the lower part of Gorana” (Jovićević, 1922: 113; Vujović, 2012 : 20), and we may conclude that in the bordering part of the Mrkovići area this situation is constantly reproduced within generations (Sobolev, 2015: 545). In the rest of the Mrkovići settlements, only women from Albanian and mixed villages of the area are bilingual in Albanian and bcms. They are expected to use the local variety of bcms and not to speak Albanian to their children, members of their household or neighbours.
1.4 Lexical Borrowings from Albanian to Slavic: General Remarks and the Case of the Mrkovići
Since philologists such as Franz Miklosich and Gustav Meyer first drew attention to Slavic loanwords in Albanian in the nineteenth century, contacts of Albanians and South Slavs and the mutual influence of their languages have received a wide range of interpretations by scholars both from the Balkans and from outside the region. An exhaustive reference to earlier developments in this field is given, for example, in the recent works of Curtis (2012a), Omari (2012), and Sobolev (2013). Slavic vocabulary in Albanian has been the topic of considerable research, including classical investigations into language and cultural contact (Seliščev, 1931), recent works on geographic distribution of Slavic loanwords (Ylli, 1997), and dictionaries and etymological studies (for more information, see bibliography in Sobolev, 2012). Conversely, scholarship on Albanian influence in the South Slavic languages is less comprehensive, although still valuable. Most recently, this topic has been dealt with in monographs by Murati (1990), Stanišić (1995), Hoxha (2001), Blaku (2010), and Omari (2012). Table 1, below, shows some examples of Albanian borrowings in Macedonian dialects and in the bcms dialects of Kosovo, Montenegro and Southern Serbia.4
It has been systematically shown that Albanian influence in the South Slavic lexis is most visible in the semantic fields associated with crop farming and cattle breeding, animal names, vegetation, and the landscape (Çabej, 1970: 11). Albanian borrowings have also added terms to semantic areas related to ethical qualities of people, for example, besa ‘oath, word of honour’ and tremnija ‘bravery’. A number of loanwords have been incorporated into the semantic fields consisting of universal concepts that are typically expressed by indigenous words in practically every language, and thus are typologically least amenable to borrowing, such as kinship, body parts, and sense perception (Tadmor, 2009: 64–65).Transfer of new lexemes along with new concepts (the so-called cultural borrowing) is said to be one of the most important reasons for borrowing (Haspelmath, 2008: 50). However, many of loanwords proper from Albanian in the South Slavic languages do not stand for objects or concepts new to the Slavic cultures (see the examples like kodra ‘hill’ and kećav ‘bad’ in Table 1) and cannot be treated as cultural borrowings, in contradistinction to the numerous attested words from Ottoman Turkish or Greek in different South Slavic languages and dialects. Rather, they add alternative lexical items for the denomination of concepts already familiar to Slavic speakers. This is salient also for borrowings from South Slavic into Albanian, which are much larger in number (Curtis, 2012b: 11), and for similar contact situations within bilingual communities of the Balkans, where the Albanian language is involved. For example, the Greek dialect of Palasa, a village in the southern Albanian Himara district, shows a moderate but substantial number of core borrowings from Albanian, i.e. words for body parts: supi ‘shoulder’ from Alb sup, Def. supi; with skep ‘shoulder’ in the local Albanian and Standard Greek ώμος ‘shoulder’ (Sobolev, 2017).
Bilingualism of the local rural communities was the main prerequisite for structural borrowing from Albanian into the dialects of the South Slavic language spoken in the Western Balkans. Idiomatic phrases calqued from Albanian are found in the dialects of Macedonian and in the varieties of bcms spoken in Kosovo and particularly in Montenegro. Cf. ne je mi oko, a calque from Alb s’ma ha syri ‘I do not think I can do it’ (lit. ‘my eye does not eat it’), and konjski kamen ‘blue vitriol’ (lit. ‘horse’s stone’) from Alb gurkali where the second part kal ‘blue’ was interpreted as bcms konj ‘horse’ because of its similarity with Alb kalë ‘horse’, and others (Omari, 2012: 389). As Curtis (2012a: 74) suggests, the very fact that, unlike the lexical borrowings, Albanian gave about an equal number of idiomatic phrases to Slavic as it took, may be explained “by the different linguistic processes involved in phrasal semantics and in borrowing and the different sociolingustic settings that encourage the incorporation of structural material.”
Table 2, below, takes a closer look at the vocabulary of the variety of the Mrkovići in southern Montenegro. Most examples are extracted from the first description of the dialect (Vujović, 2012 ), where over 100 borrowings of Romance, Ottoman Turkish and Albanian origin are listed. As Vujović (2012 : 291) argues, borrowings often coexist with the native words of similar meaning, and this is shown in the table. Examples of loanwords related to the semantic fields “costume” and “body parts” come from the most recent contributions to the study of the Mrkovići lexicon (Sobolev, 2015; Novik and Sobolev, 2016).
Borrowed items fall into different semantic fields and sometimes more than two lexemes of different origin and similar meaning coexist in the dialect. Indirect borrowing is a possible scenario for some of the words, such as domatija ‘tomato’, which was possibly borrowed in the Mrkovići variety through Alb domate, Def. domatja (as it is seen from the Table 1, feminine Albanian nouns are regularly borrowed into Slavic in their definite form in -a and become identified with the Slavic feminine nouns in -a). Turkic kinship terms like dajo ‘maternal uncle’ and words like zagar ‘hunting dog’ and damar ‘vein’ may have either Ottoman Turkish or Albanian as an immediate source for the variety of the Mrkovići, cf. Alb dajë, zagar, damar. Oriental loanwords for clothes listed in the Table 2 refer to the Muslim female costume, which was adopted by the Mrkovići after their convertion to Islam and had celebratory functions in this community (Novik and Sobolev, 2016: 22); thus they can be probably treated as cultural borrowings. On the opposite, the words borrowed from Albanian contribute to the lexical variety of the dialect, rather than introduce a new way of life. Some of them are better known in the bilingual than the monolingual “true Mrkovići” villages, cf. damar ‘vein’ registered in Velja Gorana and the corresponding native word ve a na in Lunje (Sobolev, 2015: 556), Albanian borrowing kaprcol ‘steps’ used mostly in Mala and Velja Gorana, and mulatarti ‘tomato’ found only in Vukići (Vujović 2012 : 291–292).
The cited works provide almost no evidence for calquing in lexicon and phraseology of the Mrkovići variety. Vujović (2012 : 293) and Sobolev (2015: 544) give a rare, but valuable example of the names of the autumn months prvi jeseni ‘September’, drugi jeseni ‘October’, and treći jeseni ‘November’ (lit. ‘first / second / third of autumn’), which are obviously calques from Albanian vjeshtë e parë, vjeshtë e dytë, and vjeshtë e tretë. Our field observations in the bilingual village of Velja Gorana indicate that loan translations, or calques often emerge (maybe spontaneously) in the speech of its natives and the Albanian women. Cf. truškaju se babi, a calque from Albanian shkunden plakat ‘snow falls heavily (about the weather deterioration in the end of March)’ (lit. ‘old women are shaking’), cited also in (Sobolev, 2015: 545), and ne cepam glavu from Albanian nuk çaj kokën ‘I don’t care’ (lit. ‘I do not split my head’).
2 Data, Sources and Methodology of the Study
The main data for this study were collected during fieldwork in the area of the Mrkovići located in the municipality of Bar in southern Montenegro. From 2012 to 2016 several field trips to this area were conducted by Andrej Sobolev (Institute for Linguistic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ils ras) and SPbSU), Aleksandr Novik (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography “Kunstkamera” (mae ras) and SPbSU), myself, Maria Morozova (ils ras and SPbSU), Denis Ermolin (mae ras), Aleksandra Dugušina (mae ras), and Anastasia Makarova (ils ras). The research team focused on the linguistic and cultural study of the local community and its relationship with the neighbouring communities; for more information about the project, see (Sobolev, 2015; Novik and Sobolev, 2016; Morozova, 2017).
The material on kinship terms was gathered using the questionnaire of The small dialect atlas of the Balkan languages (kbsa / MДAБЯ), which consists of 2,050 vocabulary items divided into 12 semantic fields (Domosileckaja and Žugra, 1997). The field Family and family etiquette contains 180 items, including consanguineal, affinal and ritual kinship terminology, terms associated with family structure, and forms of address to family members. The author interviewed four female and three male speakers, aged 65 to 80, in Lunje, Dabezići, Dobra Voda, and Velja Gorana. Most of them were born in these villages, except for two female speakers who came to the Mrkovići area through marriage and have been living about 50 years in the community. The information about the use of kinship terms in everyday communication was obtained mainly through participant observation.
The comparative data for analysis of lexical borrowings is based on the dictionaries of Albanian (Çabej, 1976–2014; Orel, 1998; Thomai et al., 2002; Dizdari, 2005), bcms (Tolstoj, 1957; Škaljić, 1966; Skok, 1971–1973; Stevanović et al., 1990 [1967–1976]; Loma, 1998–2008) and other languages (Scurtu, 1966; Georgiev et al., 1971–2010; Holiolčev et al., 2012), The small dialect atlas of the Balkan languages (Sobolev, 2005; 2006), The dialectological atlas of the Albanian language (Gjinari et al., 2008), and the related literature (Hammel, 1957; Trubačev, 1959; Bjeletić, 1994; 1995; Žugra, 1998).
Although the previously collected lexical data from the area of the Mrkovići include mainly loanwords proper of different origin, it is likely that the sociolingustic and historical setting in this area encouraged different types of transfer phenomena. In most studies on language contact, such phenomena are classified into those due to borrowing, or transfer of lexical material, and those due to imposition of linguistic structures, as in (van Coetsem, 1988; Winford, 2005), or divided from the point of view of the other classical dichotomy borrowing vs. interference through shift by (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988), with the emphasis on the socio-historical aspect of contact. Obviously, these theoretical types hardly exist in pure form in the bilingual societies of the world. In the regions where the populations intermingle through mixed marriages and have other close social relations since historic times, linguistic results of contact situations may “come about either through borrowing or through shift, or (perhaps most likely) through a combination of the two processes” (Thomason and Kaufman, 1988: 68).
This article attempts to trace different linguistic results of bcms-Albanian contact, related to either material or structural borrowing, in the semantic field of kinship terms of the Mrkovići variety. In accordance with Martin Haspelmath’s definition, “[m]aterial borrowing refers to borrowing of soundmeaning pairs (generally lexemes, or more precisely lexeme stems, but sometimes just affixes, and occasionally perhaps entire phrases), while structural borrowing refers to the copying of syntactic, morphological and semantic patterns (e.g. word order patterns, case-marking patterns, semantic patterns such as kinship term systems)” (Haspelmath, 2009: 38–39). We assume that a number of loanwords that can be referred to as material borrowing, calques (or loan translations) that are an important type of structural borrowing, as well as transfer of semantic patterns can be expected in the kinship terminologies of this area, with the constant presence of some Albanian speakers shifting to bcms. We assume that some of the changes in the kinship terminology of the Mrkovići are due to imposition from Albanian, which is spoken mainly by women and transferred to their bilingual children. Given the fact that the proportion of borrowings from Albanian and their usage is subject to variation within the Mrkovići variety, we attempt to show how it relates to the situation in the currently monolingual and bilingual villages of the Mrkovići area. In addition, we discuss the role of the Ottoman Turkish in the way of life and languages of the Muslim communities in southern Montenegro, because Turkic borrowings appear to be typical for the system of kinship terms we analyse here.
3 Kinship Terminology of the Mrkovići: Borrowing versus Imposition
The kinship terminology of the Mrkovići variety is generally comparable with that of the bcms, which is structured differently from those of Albanian and Turkish (see Appendix). The kinship terminlology of bcms represents an example of a highly diverse Slavonic system, which distinguishes generation levels and makes further distinctions within these levels on the basis of criteria such as lineality and collaterality, sex of the relative, sex of the linking relative, and sometimes sex of the speaker (Hammel, 1957; Bjeletić, 1994; Sobolev, 2006). The bcms terminology is a variant of the Sudanese, or descriptive system, one of the six major kinship systems identitfied in Lewis H. Morgan’s anthropological work on systems of consanguinity and affinity (Morgan 1871). Several groupings of relatives in bcms are inconsistent with the Sudanese type. For example, bcms distinguishes patrilineal and matrilineal uncles but merges mother’s sister and father’s sister in one term, while in Sudanese all kins have separate designations.
Contact influence from other languages and cultures, particularly Albanian and Turkish, is mostly responsible for the specific features in the kinship terminology of the Mrkovići. Turkish and Albanian systems (see Appendix) distinguish patrilineal and matrilineal uncles and aunts, and merge brother and sister’s children into one term.
3.1 Consanguineal Kinship and Terminology
Most of the words specific for the Mrkovići variety in our sample relate to the terminology used for referring to and addressing the elder blood relatives. Elderly speakers claim that these terms, which are not typical for the neighbouring bcms dialects, were used within the Mrkovići community during their childhood in the first half of the twentieth century, and evaluate them as “old”, “correct and pertaining to our language”: pravo mrkovsko ‘true Mrkovići [word]’, pravo goransko ‘true Gorana [word]’, star izrek ‘old expression’.
In most cases, the “true Mrkovići” lexemes do not completely substitute the general bcms terms, and the two words designate one and the same kin (see Tables 3 and 6). However, the members of such pairs often follow the typologically common pattern that is “for one member to be more frequent in vocative and egocentric uses” (Dahl and Koptjevskaja-Tamm, 2001: 217). Speakers prefer the “true Mrkovići” words when addressing their relatives, while the bcms native lexemes are used predominantly for reference. Parents, their siblings and grandparents are normally addressed with kinship terms, while younger generations are usually addressed with personal names. Like in Albanian and bcms, the Mrkovići kinship terms for the closest relatives can be used for addressing the affinal relatives and non-relatives. For example, women in the Mrkovići use the terms for mother and father in talking to their in-laws.
The comparative data in the Table 3 shows that most of the terminology for the closest relatives in the direct line is not subject to the contact. Instead, the variety of the Mrkovići preserves archaic forms (kćer ‘daughter’) and typical bcms address models (Voc. sine is used by elder people as a form of address to a grandson or granddaughter, and to a young male or female person). Although the elaborate kinship system of bcms includes specific terminology for the fifth and further ascending and descending generations, these terms are not found in the dialect (cf. the use of šukunded ‘great-great-grandfather’ to refer to the more remote ancestors). Evidence from other areas also shows that most bcms speakers do seldom use or forget them completely: people do not keep thorough genealogies, and the corresponding words become obsolete (Bjeletić, 1994: 200).
Bilingual natives of Velja Gorana, where the bcms-Albanian contact is ongoing, regularly used the word đetprađet, a calque from Albanian gjyshstërgjysh ‘ancestor’ (gjysh ‘grandfather’ + stërgjysh ‘great-grandfather’), when talking about remote ancestors. An Albanian borrowing đišo (Alb gjysh ‘grandfather’) in the Slavic form of Vocative, according to our observations, appears as a form of address to the grandfather only in the speech of children in Velja Gorana.
The terms baba and ne a na are treated as “true Mrkovići” words for father and mother, and frequently appear in vocative uses. As it is well known from the literature, such kinship terms may converge even throughout historically unrelated languages, as different languages tend to develop them on the basis of nursery forms (Murdock, 1959; Trubačev, 1959). To that extent, it is not clear if the term ne a na / nana ‘mother’ is a native or borrowed item in the variety of the Mrkovići. Words with the same root and similar meaning can be found in Albanian, bcms and the other Slavic languages, as well as in Turkish. Cf. Tr nine ‘mother; grandmother’; Alb nënë, Def. nëna (Gheg nãn, Def. nãna) ‘mother; grandmother; old woman’ (Gjinari et al. 2008: 220–221); bcms nana, nena ‘idem’, Ukr nenja ‘mother’, Reg Bg nane, Reg Pl nana ‘mother’, and others (Trubačev, 1959: 30).
As for baba ‘father’, etymologists consider it to be a Balkan Turcism, from the Turkish nursery form baba ‘father; old man; grandfather’ (Skok, 1971: 83; Çabej, 1976: 119–120; Bjeletić, 1995: 206). Cf. bcms
baba; Alb baba, Def. babai (Gheg bab, Def. baba); Bg and Mk baba; Gk μπαμπάς; Rom babac(ă), babaie. Since bcms has native Slavic babblewords tata ‘father’ and baba ‘grandmother’, borrowing of baba ‘father’ from Turkish, directly or indirectly through Albanian, seems to be a plausible explanation for the emergence of this word in it, as well as in the Mrkovići variety.
A phenomenon that attracts attention in the Mrkovići variety is the innovative distinction between terms for older relatives on the father’s and mother’s sides. The terms used for the distinction are either native or borrowed compounds composed of a noun and an adjective. Terms for paternal grandparents, babostari and nanastara, show the Balkan Slavic semantic pattern ‘old + mother / father’, originally standing for grandparents in general in Bulgarian and bcms, but a non-Slavic structure. The adjective follows the noun, which is a typical word order for noun phrases and the related compounds in Albanian: babamadh ‘paternal grandfather’, nanamadhe ‘maternal grandmother’ (Gjinari et al., 2008: 234-237).
The alternative term for paternal grandfather, babovejlji, follows the semantic pattern ‘big + father / mother’, which is widespread in the non-Slavic languages of the Balkans and beyond. One may suppose that either Turkish or Albanian could have an effect on the variety of the Mrkovići. Given the lack of semantically and structurally similar words in the dialects of the other bcms-speaking Muslims (in Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Kosovo, etc.) and the order of elements in the Mrkovići compound with the adjective following the noun, Albanian influence is the more plausible explanation. The term nanababa ‘paternal grandmother’ seems to be motivated by Albanian nanbabe ‘idem’, which is specific for the town of Shkodra and the area to the north of it (Gjinari et al., 2008: 234–235).
The nomination for maternal grandfather, babodajn, where babo is ‘father’ and daj(i)n is a possessive adjective from daja ‘uncle on the mother’s side’, seems to be borrowed from or motivated by Albanian babdaja ‘maternal grandfather’. This term occurs in the Northwestern Gheg dialect of Albanian to the south of Shkodra, while in the other northern Gheg dialects this relative can be referred to just as daja (Gjinari et al., 2008: 240-241). The Mrkovići term for maternal grandmother, dajna, is probably derived from the corresponding term for her husband by means of an andronymic affix -na, much like the South Slavic stric ‘paternal uncle’ – strina ‘wife of the paternal uncle’.
A similar contact-induced lexical enrichment in the field of kinship terminology is observed in some other varieties of bcms, Bulgarian and Macedonian spoken in bilingual communities. For example, the variety of Macedonian spoken in Golo Brdo in the northeast of Albania makes use of various terms for grandparents: dedo / babo star / babođiš ‘grandfather’, baba / staramajka / nəna stara / nənađiša ‘grandmother’ (Morozova, 2013: 99-103). The words babođiš and nənađiša originate from the local Albanian variety, where they stand only for paternal grandparents (Sobolev, 2006: 96–97; Gjinari et al., 2008: 236–237). The native term staramajka ‘grandmother’ is used along with babo star ‘grandfather’ and nəna stara ‘grandmother’, both following the Albanian structural pattern with the adjective following the noun. None of these terms expresses the distinction between paternal and maternal side. By contrast, in the Mrkovići variety, the borrowing of lexical material occurred together with the imposition of the associated structural and semantic patterns, and resulted in changes within the system of kinship terms.
The terms for siblings (brothers and sisters) and their children (nieces and nephews) are only native in the variety of the Mrkovići. However, the native terms bratanić ‘brother’s son’ and sesrić ‘sister’s son’, with the suffix -ić indicating the descent, occur in this meaning rarely and only in the speech of the non-native inhabitants of the Mrkovići area. In referring to the brother’s and sister’s children, the native Mrkovići most frequently use constructions with possessive adjectives derived from the corresponding terms for siblings, such as bratov sin ‘brother’s son’.
In the Mrkovići variety, grandchildren and nephews often merge into one term, which is not characteristic of the Slavic languages. Similar structural change is attested only in those Slavic-speaking areas where contact with non-Slavic languages was or is in place. Some evidence from the bcms dialects spoken in the areas of Slavic and Romance convergence is provided in (Bjeletić, 1994: 200). In the variety of Klokotić / Clocotici (Romania), the Romanian semantic pattern was copied: unuk means both ‘grandson’ and ‘nephew’, cf. Rom nepot ‘grandson; nephew’. The variety of Split in Croatia demonstrates both material and pattern borrowing under the Romance (Dalmatian?) influence: neput ‘grandson; nephew’. Also in some Macedonian and Bulgarian dialects the native terms mnuk ‘grandson’ and mnuka ‘granddaughter’ have developed additional meanings of ‘niece’ and ‘nephew’, according to (Sobolev, 2006: 104–105, 136–145).
In the case of the Mrkovići variety, on the one hand, one may also assume that the use of one and the same term for grandchildren and nephews is due to the Romance influence that took place during the Venetian rule in Montenegro, at least among the old-time population. On the other hand, this semantic pattern could be copied into the Mrkovići variety from Albanian, where grandchildren and siblings’ children are also merged into one term: Alb nip ‘grandson; nephew’, mbesë ‘granddaughter; niece’. The historical prevalence of mixed marriages with Albanians in a part of the area, which resulted in the presence of Albanian women in many Mrkovići families, points at a higher possibility of the latter hypothesis.
The variety of the Mrkovići uses pairs of native bcms and borrowed terms in referring to and addressing the mother’s and father’s siblings, with borrowings occurring more frequently in vocative use. The borrowed terms adža ‘paternal uncle’, daja ‘maternal uncle’, ala ‘paternal aunt’, and teza ‘maternal aunt’ in the Table 6 derive from Turkish amca, dayɩ, hala and teyze ‘idem’. Loanwords of this kind are found elsewhere in the Balkan Slavic and in non-Slavic languages, as the comparative data in the Table 6 shows. The widespread emergence of borrowings from the politically dominant Turkish language could be influenced by the factors outlined in Friedman (2005: 28): “while Turkish functioned as a marker of urban identity in the [Ottoman] Empire, in rural areas it also functioned as a marker of Muslim identity among groups who adopted Islam without a language shift. This is especially salient in the case of Slavic-speaking Muslims (Pomaks and Torbeš) as well as Albanian-speaking Muslims.” This is true also for the Mrkovići who converted to Islam in the eighteenth century (Vujović, 2012 : 16).
As demonstrated in Table 6, in addition to the native bcms distinction of paternal and maternal uncles, the variety of the Mrkovići has developed a distinction between paternal and maternal aunts, which is expressed only by means of the Turkish borrowings ala and teza. Bjeletić (1995: 208–209) notes that both ala and teza mean simply ‘aunt’ in most bcms dialects where they occur, and it is only the varieties of the Mrkovići and of the village Janjevo in Kosovo that distinguish between the father’s and mother’s side. It is noteworthy that both dialects exist in close contact with Albanian, which has adopted the original Turkish distinction of paternal and maternal aunts.
The variety of the Mrkovići generally preserves the bcms terminological pattern, where siblings are distinguished from cousins, and different terms are used for cousins depending on their sex and on the linking relative. The elder informants born in the different villages of the Mrkovići area also report the use of bratić and bratanić for denomination of cousins, while the younger informants and people who do not originate from the Mrkovići use these terms to denote nephews, as in general bcms (cf. Table 5 with comments). A similar merger happens in Croatian, according to (Hammel, 1957: 48). In most other bcms varieties, these terms refer to a person who descends from the speaker’s brother, with the descent marked by the suffix -ić (Skok, 1971: 200). In the case of the variety of the Mrkovići, the suffix, probably, loses its original meaning and only indicates the idea that a person called bratić or bratanić is different from brat, i.e. he is not full brother.6 The same can be said about sesrica ‘female cousin’, where -ic loses its meaning as a diminutive suffix.
Many native bcms terms of common Slavic origin like stričević ‘son of paternal uncle’ and stričev(ić)ka ‘daughter of paternal uncle’, ujaković / ujčević ‘son of maternal uncle’ and ujčev(ić)ka ‘daughter of maternal uncle’, tetić / tetković ‘aunt’s son’ and tetićna ‘aunt’s daughter’ are not used by the Mrkovići variety speakers. Our interviews showed that most of the speakers know these terms only passively. Some of them occur only in plural, such as ujaci ‘cousins, one of which is the son or daughter of the other’s maternal uncle’ and tetkinčići ‘cousins, one of which is the son or daughter of the other’s aunt’. The native derivation pattern is also used with non-native terms, which are fully integrated into the Mrkovići lexicon, for example, adžovci from adža ‘paternal uncle’.
On the other hand, the variety of the Mrkovići makes extensive use of analytical constructions for denomination of cousins, which follow two different semantic patterns. The first pattern, ‘brother / sister from uncle’s / aunt’s side’ is characteristic of the native bcms expressions structured as genitival phrases with the preposition od ‘from’: brat od ujaka ‘brother from the maternal uncle’s side’. The second construction is of the kind ‘uncle’s / aunt’s son / daughter’ and includes possessive adjectives derived from terms for aunts and uncles by means of the suffixes -ov and -in: dajin sin ‘maternal uncle’s son’. The latter semantic pattern compares with that of Albanian, where the terminology for cousins includes only general terms kushëri ‘male cousin’ and kushërirë ‘female cousin’, while further distinction is drawn by means of genitival phrases of the kind ‘son / daughter of uncle / of aunt’: djali dajs ‘son of maternal uncle’ in the local variety of Gheg Albanian.
3.2 Affine Kinship and Terminology
The affine kinship nomenclature of the Mrkovići variety contains the entire set of common Slavic terms for in-laws, with internal differentiation depending on whether the link is through a husband or a wife. Borrowings from Turkish are few, while material and structural borrowings from Albanian, with its less diverse affine terminology (see Appendix), do not occur in the Mrkovići variety.
The term badžanak in the Mrkovići variety derives from Turkish bacanak ‘wife’s sister’s husband’ and is widely borrowed throughout the Balkans, as shown in Table 8. It retains its original meaning of in all recipient languages, including bcms and its varieties (Sobolev, 2006: 182–183). The word be a ldeza, from Turkish baldız ‘sister-in-law’, is borrowed mainly in the Balkan Slavic languages, such as Bulgarian, Macedonian, and bcms. In bcms balgaza, balduza has acquired an additional meaning of ‘daughter-in-law’ (Bjeletić, 1995: 206) and stands for two types of in-laws, replicating the semantic pattern for the corresponding native terms nevesta and snaha ‘daughter-in-law; sister-in-law’.
The last Turkish word in the sample, đeljina from Tr gelin ‘bride; daughter-in-law’, is not widespread in the Balkan languages (cf. only Bg gelina in the dialect of Pomaks, the Rhodope area) and does not occur in bcms. In the Mrkovići area, it was used in the old times to address the young daughter-in-law, together with the native terms ne a vesta / nevesta and snaha. A similar term gjelinë ‘bride; newly-wed woman’ is found in the neighbouring Albanian varieties of Montenegro and in the variety of Shkodra in Albania (Dizdari, 2005: 302). Whereas the origin of this borrowing in the Mrkovići variety is undoubtedly Turkish, the immediate source may be either Turkish, or Albanian. The word belongs to the common lexical stock of the Mrkovići variety and the neighbouring Albanian dialects. Together with the other Ottoman Turkisms listed above, it makes part of the linguistic evidence for the common cultural and historical development of the Islamic population in the southern Montenegro and northwestern Albania during Ottoman times.
A brief overview of historical, ethnographic and sociolinguistic evidence of Slavic-Albanian contact in the area of the Mrkovići pleme in southern Montenegro shows that the social context in which linguistic convergence took place was favourable both for borrowing and imposition processes in the varieties in contact. The intensity and character of social interaction between the local ethnic groups, on one hand, and between the “old-timers” and “newcomers” who settled in the area due to the population shifts of the Ottoman period, on the other, varied over space and time. One of the general patterns (rather idealized than existing) included a more or less equal relationship between the two groups, the Mrkovići and Albanians, and a degree of mutual bilingualism, which was confined to the individual speakers with full competence in both languages. On the other hand, the processes of language shifts were possible at small group (e.g. family) level as well as at individual level.
The analysis of Mrkovići kinship terminology presented in the article allows us to observe how the two main mechanisms of contact-induced language change developed in this part of lexicon, which involves high-frequency words tightly connected to the conversational interactions of bilingual speakers in everyday communication.
Borrowing, or adoption of lexemes from Ottoman Turkish in the Mrkovići variety is moderate and restricted to the words for parents’ siblings and some affine kinship terms, which are found in almost all Balkan languages, with a particular inclination to the speech of bcms-speaking and Macedonian-speaking Muslims. Considering the past social and political situation in the south of Montenegro, we may assume that these items should have entered the lexis of the Mrkovići variety and of the local Albanian variety mainly during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, when the population of the area was in the process of converting to Islam. Interestingly, along with the all-Balkan traces of the Ottoman heritage in the variety of the Mrkovići we found some specific borrowings (đelina / gjelinë) shared only by the Mrkovići and the Albanian community of southern Montenegro and northwestern Albania. This fact points at close relations of the two ethnic groups within what a topographically and politically single community, at least until the beginning of the twentieth century and the establishment of the modern political borders.
Albanian influence in the kinship terminology of the Mrkovići variety mainly consists in loan translations, or calques, and copying of semantic patterns. Among the semantic patterns of the Albanian kinship system adopted by the Mrkovići, it is worth mentioning here the innovative distinction of grandparents from the father’s and mother’s sides, non-differentiation of grandchildren and siblings’ children, and the denomination of cousins as ‘uncle’s / aunt’s sons / daughters’. The inverse word order in the constructions for describing paternal and maternal grandfathers is an example of calquing. Structural innovations are deeply rooted in the Mrkovići variety, as they were reported both in monolingual and bilingual villages. We may assume that the emergence of such innovations in the kinship terminology of Mrkovići is due to the influence of Albanian speakers (women married in the Mrkovići villages or other Albanian-speaking people in the Mrkovići area) who acquired the Mrkovići variety as second language. These speakers imposed properties from their dominant (first, or native) language onto the language in which they were less proficient. The local bilingual speakers who extensively used Albanian since their childhood then adopted the new terms and semantic patterns. Endogamous ties and everyday communication between the families of the Mrkovići pleme played a role in further distribution of the newly adopted structures within the dialect.
Albanian borrowings, or loanwords proper, within the semantic group of kinship terms are not substantial in number. The same is true for the complete lexical stock of the Mrkovići variety and this complies with the situation in the other Slavic varieties developing in contact with Albanian. According to the observations made by different researchers in the area of the Mrkovići (Vujović, 2012 ; Sobolev, 2015; Novik and Sobolev, 2016), such borrowings do not stand for new concepts, and only coexist with native words. They emerge in the speech of bilinguals due to the sustained bilingualism and usage of both languages in everyday communication. Consequently, their proportion is higher in Velja Gorana and the other bilingual villages on the “border” with Albanians than in the monolingual villages of the Mrkovići area.
Certainly, the analysis of a single semantic field, no matter how thorough, will be insufficient to reconstruct the whole picture of linguistic interaction in the area. Hence, further research should focus on a comprehensive investigation of lexicon, phonetics and phonology, and syntax of the Mrkovići variety and the neighbouring Albanian dialects. The results will contribute to the understanding the history and sociolinguistic setting of Slavic-Albanian contact in the territory of Montenegro and in the Balkans as a whole.
I wish to express my thanks to prof. Aleksandr Rusakov (ils ras, SPbSU), prof. Andrej Sobolev (ils ras, SPbSU), the anonymous reviewers, and to the editor-in-chief of the journal Henning Schreiber for their insightful comments on an earlier draft of this article. This research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Grant No. 14-18-01405).
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The following abbreviations are used for convenience: F – father, M – mother, B – brother, Ss – sister, S – son, D – daughter, H – husband, W – wife. Combinations of abbreviations mean: MM – mother’s mother, HSs – husband’s sister, fbw – father’s brother’s wife, etc. For collaterals, an additional abbreviation (Masc.) is applied to show that the speaker who forms the central reference point is male, while (Fem.) implies a female speaker. The tables do not entirely show the dialectal diversity of the bcms and Albanian kinship terminologies, e.g. the Turkish borrowings found in the bmcs dialects are not included.