|Shopps are Bulgarians who come from the areas around Sofia and Dupnitza|
Are Shopps sensitive? The answer to this question is known to the Shopp alone, but he would hardly agree to shed at least some light on it. In the mean time, scholars who have been trying to raise the curtain, have often been tempted to look for some foreign element in his ethnic roots. In fact, this is quite natural: if there are no pure races even in Scandinavia, what is to be expected to have happened in an ever boiling pot like the Balkans? Mosko Moskov, a linguist, thinks that Shopps are descendants of a Pecheneg tribe (a nomadic people of the Turk group living north of the Danube and the Black Sea), who settled in Bulgaria during the 11th-12th centuries and later were entirely Slavicized. Sure enough, in the region between Sofia and Dupnitza one can see blond hair or wider cheek-bones and rosy cheeks more often than anywhere else in this country; and it is presumed that these features were characteristic of the Pechenegs.
The problem with such hypotheses lies not in their impossibility, but in their unprovability. This is due, firstly, to the scanty historical sources, and, secondly, to the fact that the language, as well as the folklore and the customs of the Shopps are, undoubtedly, Slavic-Bulgarian, and they have gradually and naturally merged into the language, folklore and customs of their neighbours in all directions. What is more, in the Shopp dialect there is a smaller number of borrowings from their neighbours’ languages than in the other Bulgarian dialects. As far as the present-day Shopp is concerned, he reckons himself to be a 24-carat Bulgarian. “His” is the capital, “his” is power.
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