HE WORKS HARD AS A BULGARIAN”. TRACING A PHRASEME IN BOHEMIA (ETHNOGRAPHIC AND LEXICOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE)
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The research on Czech-Bulgarian relations has had a strong tradition in both Czech and Bulgarian cultural environment since early 20th century. Historians and also some ethnographers have studied, above all, the strong Czech migration waves to Bulgaria after 1878. After World War II attention also began to be paid to the Bulgarian communities in Bohemia. The life of the Bulgarian gardeners, coming to what was then Czechoslovakia, as seasonal workers, was a frequent subject of interest of ethnographers in the first as well as the last half of 20th century. The Bulgarian gardener thus became a symbol of diligence, expertise and endurance. And work in the garden was hardly possible without cohesion. This may well be the origin of the saying “He works hard as a Bulgarian”. As the time passed this saying began to be applied to the Bulgarian nation in general and became one of their national characteristics. There is a clear parallel between phrasemes like “He works hard as a Bulgarian”, bearing a certain Bulgarian national characteristics, and “Every Czech is a musician”, mapping and carrying a certain Czech national characteristics. They are a kind of witnesses of times, mirroring periods of thinking, morals, laws and barriers. They still reflect the time of their origin with exactly defined connotations and characteristics, which determine the individual’s belonging defining to a particular nation and his/her position in societyabsolutely, unconditionally, and in a way as an old testament.
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