Pomak language (Greek: πομακική γλώσσα, pomakiki glosa or πομακικά, pomakika; Bulgarian: помашки език, pomaški ezik; Turkish: Pomakça) is a term used in Greece[1] and Turkey[2] to refer to some of the Rup dialects of the Bulgarian language spoken by the Pomaks of Western Thrace in Greece and Eastern Thrace in Turkey. These dialects are native also in Bulgaria, and are classified as part of the Smolyan subdialect.[3] Not all Pomaks speak this dialect as their mother language.[4]


Some grammatical forms of the Rup dialects, published by the Danish linguist Holger Pedersen in 1907, have a striking resemblance to the grammatical forms of the Armenian language.[5][6] As well, the Rup dialects have slightly different forms of demonstrative suffixes (exercising also functions of the possessive pronouns) from the Bulgarian Tran dialect and the modern standard Macedonian language.[7] There are publications concerning the vocabulary of the Rup dialects[8][9] and anthroponyms of Armenian origin which overlap areas, populated by Paulicians from the 15th to 18th centuries.[10]

According to the 1935 census in Turkey, 3881 people in Eastern Thrace identified their mother tongue as Bulgarian and 18,382 as Pomak.[11] The overall statistic from 1935 shows that 41,041 people spoke Pomak as their mother tongue or as a secondary dialect.[12]


Some phrases and words[citation needed]
English Rhodope Pomak Dialect (Xanthi, Komotini, Alexandroupoli)
Hello Dobar den (Formal), Zdravej (Informal)
I am Pomak/Bulgarian/Bulgarian Muslim (man) Ja sam Pomak/Balgarin/Balgarski Mohamedanin
I speak bulgarian Ja lafim balgarcko
How are you? Kak si?
Thank you Blagodarja
Good day Dobar den
Children Detine
This chair Aisos skemle
That auntie Ainos lelka
Ibrahim is my uncle Ibrahim e moj amiđa
Hatiđa is my sister Hatiđa e moja sestra
My father Mojet bubajko
What are you doing? Kina rabutaš?
I knew Ja znajeh
Do you know? Znaješ li ti?
He was a good man Toj beše dobar čilak
I am from Xanthi Ja sam ot Skeča
One woman from the new village Enna žena ot novoto selo
One day and one night Edin den i enna nošt
Last year Lani
I love you Milovam te

Some words and phrases in the Pomak language are borrowed from Turkish, Greek, and other languages.


Spatio-pragmatic and temporal-modal uses of nominals and noun modifiers

Three deictics (-s-, -t- and -n-) are used for spatio-pragmatic and temporal-modal reference in nominals. These deictics are used among others in noun modifiers such as definite articles and demonstratives:[13]

The cat (close to the speaker, here and now) Koteso
The cat (close to the addressee or realis past) Koteto
The cat (distal, realis future, irrealis or habitual) Koteno
This is grand-father's snake Aisos e dedvasa zmie
That is grand-father's chair Ainos e dedvasa skemle


  1. ^ Pilbrow, Tim (1997). "The Nation and its Margins: Negotiating a National Identity in Post-1989 Bulgaria". Anthropology of East Europe Review. Field and International Study Program, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University [and] Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University. 15 (2): 68. OCLC 475414332. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  2. ^ Turan, Ömer (2007). "Pomaks, Their Past and Present". Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. Routledge. 19 (1): 69. doi:10.1080/13602009908716425.
  3. ^ Bulgarian dialectology; Stoyan Stoykov; 4th edition, 2002; pp.128-143
  4. ^ Иванов, Й. Българска диалектология. Пловдивско Университетско Издателство “П. Хилендарски”. Пловдив, 1994 г., с. 80 (Ivanov, J. Bulgarian Dialectology. Plovdiv University Press “P. Hilendarski”. Plovdiv, 1994, p. 80)
  5. ^ Պեդերսեն, Հ. Հին հայերէնի ցուցական դերանուները, Վիեննա, 1907, էջ 7 (in Armenian). (Pedersen, H. The Demonstrative Pronouns of the Old Armenian Language. Vienna, 1907, p. 7).
  6. ^ Tumanian, E. G. (in Russian) Drevnearmianskiĭ iazyk (Classical Armenian). Moskva, "Nauka", 1971, 448 p. (p. 274).
  7. ^ Iaroslav Iashchuk. On Possible Origin of the Postpositive Definite Article in Balkan Languages and Contribution of Armenian to Balkan Sprachbund Formation. In: Academia.edu [1]
  8. ^ "Речник на родопските думи".
  9. ^ Селян, Е. (in Bulgarian) Коренът "джур" в българска езикова среда. Сп. "Филология", Изд.: СУ "Св. Кл. Охридски", София, 1983, бр. 12 - 13, с. 137 – 139. (Selian, E. The Root "Jur" in the Bulgarian Language Environment. Magazine "Philology". Publisher: Sofia University "St. Kl. Ohridski", Sofia, 1983, issue 12-13, p. 137-139).
  10. ^ Голийски, П. (in Bulgarian) Ономастични и лексикални аспекти на арменското етническо присъствие в българските земи през средновековието. Автореферат на докторска дисертация. СУ "Св. Климент Охридски", ФКНФ, ЦИЕК, катедра "Класически Изток", секция "Арменска филология". София, 2005 г., 241 с. (Goliyski, P. Onomastic and lexical aspects of Armenian ethnic presence in the Bulgarian lands during the Middle Ages. Abstract of doctoral dissertation. Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", FKNF, CELC, Department "Classic East," section "Armenian Studies." Sofia, 2005, p. 241).
  11. ^ Сребранов, Румен (2007). Чечкият говор (in Bulgarian). София: Академично издателство „Проф. Марин Дринов". p. 24. ISBN 978-954-322-230-8.
  12. ^ Ülker, Erol (2007). "Assimilation of the Muslim communities in the first decade of the Turkish Republic (1923-1934)". European Journal of Turkish Studies. Revues.org: 18. OCLC 179911432. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  13. ^ Adamou, E. 2011, Temporal uses of Definite Articles and Demonstratives in Pomak (Slavic, Greece), Lingua 121(5) : 871-889.

Further reading