George Andreas Budur

COMMUNITY CONSULTANT - BANAT BULGARIAN

I hold a Bachelor's degree in applied linguistics from the "St. Cyril and St. Methodius" University of Veliko Tarnovo. I am passionate about linguistics and am particularly interested in cultural research and lexicography.

I was born and raised in a Bulgarian family in the city of Timișoara, Western Romania. I am a native speaker of Paulician, also known as Banat Bulgarian/Palćensći, which is a variety of Bulgarian. I am a native of Romania and also speak Romanian. After graduating high school in my hometown and led by the desire to connect with my roots, I moved to Bulgaria, to Veliko Tarnovo, where I spent three years and acquired a Bachelor's degree in applied linguistics, while also studying English and Chinese. I spent my third undergraduate year at the China University of Geosciences, in the city of Wuhan, where I had the opportunity to learn to speak Chinese fluently. During my stay in China I became aware of the vast cultural barriers between different peoples, which sparked my interest in cultural research.

In the fall of 2019 I started working with the VLACH team on the transcription and translation of recordings of Paulician, and during the summer of 2020 I started (interviewing and) recording members of the Banat Bulgarian community myself.

The work of the VLACH team makes me hopeful about the future of our Banat Bulgarian community. I am confident that by recording the Paulician speech and making said recordings available to academics as well as to the wider public, we can make a substantial contribution to the preservation of Paulician.


Petru Ciocani

COMMUNITY CONSULTANT - BANAT BULGARIAN

I am a Field Archaeologist working in Baden-Württemberg and I hold a PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology from the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. Besides my enthusiasm in studying the distant past, I also have linguistic and ethnographic interests.

Born into a Bulgarian family in Dudeștii Vechi (Banat Bulg. Stár Bišnov), a village with a predominantly Bulgarian speaking population in the Romanian Banat Region, like most of the village’s inhabitants I grew up bilingual. I spoke a Bulgarian variety (known as Palćensći) with my parents, relatives and friends, whilst I used Romanian at kindergarten and school. Even at a young age I was fascinated by foreign languages and different cultures, which was largely due to Banat’s multi-ethnic society, and because of the location of my hometown close to the borders with Hungary and Serbia.

As a teenager, I also began to pay attention to the Banat Bulgarian dialect. My interest was growing during repeated visits to Breștea (Brišća), another village inhabited by Banat Bulgarians, where I enjoyed speaking with people in my mother tongue and was fascinated by the slight linguistic differences that I heard.

My curiosity about the origins of the Banat Bulgarians was the main reason I decided to continue my studies in Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria) after high school. There, during the bachelor’s and master’s programme in Archaeology, I also had the opportunity to improve my knowledge of standard Bulgarian and to study Old Bulgarian (including epigraphy). In recent years spent in Germany, I had the chance to improve my German, allowing me to easily identify German lexical borrowings in the Banat Bulgarian dialect. I have found that these are relatively numerous, since by the time the Bulgarians settled in the Banat Region it belonged to the Habsburg Empire.

Returning to my hometown for archaeological research, in 2014, I collaborated with Andreea Pascaru and Thede Kahl in interviewing local people, and since then I have been actively involved in transcribing, translating and editing Banat Bulgarian interviews. The published interviews will hopefully contribute to the preservation of this endangered Bulgarian variety.