Nayden Gerov

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Nayden Gerov (Bulgarian: Найден Геров), born Nayden Gerov Hadzhidobrevich (Bulgarian: Найден Геров Хаджидобревич) February 23, 1823, Koprivshtitsa–October 9, 1900, Plovdiv) was a Bulgarian linguist, folklorist, writer and public figure during the Bulgarian National Revival.

Gerov was the son of Gero Dobrevich, a teacher. He studied at his father's school, then at a Greek school in Plovdiv from 1834 to 1836, again in his hometown until 1839, and finally in Odessa, in the Russian Empire, where he graduated from the Richelieu Lyceum in 1845. Gerov became a Russian subject and came back to Koprivshtitsa, where he established his own school, named after Saints Cyril and Methodius. He became famous for his erudition and was invited to open a gymnasium in Plovdiv as well, an invitation which he accepted. As a publicist, he fought the "Graecisation" (assimilation to Greek culture) among the Bulgarians of the time, especially in Plovidiv. At the same time, he managed to compete successfully with the Greek gymnasium in Plovdiv. During the Crimean War (1854–56), he was forced to temporarily leave the country as a Russian subject. In 1857, Gerov became "First Vice-Consul" of Russia in Plovdiv. As such, he strove to further the Bulgarian national cause, help young Bulgarians to receive scholarships abroad, etc.. He also tried to further the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire, but he relied on help from Russia and was opposed to the more radical revolutionary emigres who wanted an independent uprising, such as Lyuben Karavelov, Vasil Levski, and Hristo Botev. During the April uprising (1875), he was suspected for having been one of the organizers and was forced to go into hiding and sought refuge in the Russian legation in Constantinople. After the liberation, he held some administrative offices for a short time, but soon devoted all of his time to philology.

Gerov's principal work was his unique Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language (Речникъ на блъгарскый языкъ). For about fifty years, he collected, from ordinary people, a great number of words, expressions, proverbs, folk songs, and proper nouns. The first three letters were already published in 1855–1856 in Russia, but the dictionary as a whole was published in five volumes, from 1895 to 1904, with an appendix added in 1908 by Gerov's collaborator T.Panchev. The dictionary contains about 100 000 entries (if the appendix is included). It is considered an extremely valuable source for the study of the Bulgarian language of the 19th century.

Gerov was also an advocate of an orthography for the Bulgarian literary language based on the etymological principle. His orthography was, however, eventually rejected in favour of the one proposed by Marin Drinov.

Gerov Pass in Tangra Mountains on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Nayden Gerov.

References[edit]

  • Куманов, Михаил и Колинка Исова. 2006. Историческа енциклопедия България
  • A biography of Nayden Gerov by Georgi Konstantinov Online (Bulgarian)