Bulgarian is a South Slavic language, thus closer to Serbo-Croatian and Slovenian than to Russian or Polish but still retaining similarities to all. Native speakers numbering over 9.5 million people, it is the national language of Republic of Bulgaria and spoken by Bulgarian minorities in Yugoslavia and the Western Balkans, and Moldova, and language still in use by many immigrants of Bulgarian origin in Argentina, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Linguists do not agree as to whether Macedonian is a dialect of Bulgarian. Generally Yugoslavs disagree, while Bulgarians say that it is. The spoken languages are mutually intelligible for the most part, but their Cyrillic alphabets have diverged somewhat, with Macedonian's writing system resembling Serbo-Croatian's.
Most Bulgarian verbs carry inflection suffixes while some modal verbs use different words (typical example, the verb "съм" / "to be"). There are fewer verb tenses than in English with present, past, past continuous and future being the most commonly used, but the Slavic imperfective and perfective 'aspects' are present.
Nouns have three genders, and pronouns have genders. Adjectives must agree with the noun they modify and the first adjective takes the definite article if present. Those familiar with other Balto-Slavic languages will be surprised to discover that the noun cases are missing (except for a few vocatives) and replaced by prepositions and definite articles as post-positions like Romanian and Turkish. Unlike other Slavic languages, the infinitive ha fallen out of use (which always ended in -ти). You may say "иcкaм гoвopити" (I want to speak) over "иcкaм дa гoвopя" and be understood, but the locals may think you sound archaic or speak another Slavic language.
There are separate pronouns for "you": singular '"ти'" ("tee") and the plural "'вие'" (vee-eh). The formal 'you' is the plural form with first letter capitalized ("Вие"). Like all other Slavic languages (as well as the Romance ones), the pronoun is usually ommitted due to context. Many times the 'л' will sound like a 'w' sound.
Bulgarian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, and the language is famous for introducing this writing system which Russian, the other East Slavic languages and Serbo-Croatian (and other non-Slavic languages as well) would adopt later, the latter with considerable differences. The language is usually phonetic though there are few sounds denoted by digraphs and few combinations denoted by a single letter.
Stress is generally unpredictable. Fortunately, most Bulgarian dictionaries and language-books put the accent on the stressed syllable.
Bulgarian Grammar is challenging and demanding. Speakers of Russian and other Slavic languages will be able to understand the grammar in no time as Bulgarian grammar is almost similar to Russian grammar. For trivia buffs, 90% of Bulgarian vocabulary is similar to Russian and Ukrainian, giving native speakers of those languages a great advantage into learning Bulgarian or even speaking it.
Bulgarian has three genders: Masculine, Feminine and Neuter. Identifying gender is easier than in Russian or Ukrainian. Masculine nouns end in a consonant, Feminine nouns end in a or я, and neuter nouns end in o or e. There are no soft signs in Bulgarian, so gender is pretty simple, especially when compared to languages like French, German and the like.
Stress in Bulgarian is irregular, just like Russian. The stress can fall anywhere within a word, and all vowels suffer 'vowel reduction'. The best way to learn new words, is to learn them word for word, memorizing the position of the stress. Fortunately, in every dictionary or learning material, the stress is always indicated. Some vowels retain the same sound even when they are unstressed.
In stark contrast to all other Slavic languages, Bulgarian has practically lost the case system, which is arguably the most challenging aspect of the language family. Instead, there are three noun inflections following three forms: Positive, Comparative, and Superlative, each following the four categories: Indefinite, Subject Definite, Object Definite and the Extended (Vocative).
Verbs are the most complicated feature of the language, especially compared to other Slavic languages. They are inflected for person, number and sometimes gender. They also have lexical aspect (perfective and imperfective), voice, nine tenses, three moods, four evidentials and six non-finite verbal forms. As there is no infinitive in the contemporary Bulgarian language the basic form of a verb is its present simple tense first person singular form. What Bulgarian lacks in regards to case makes up for the difficulty with the verbal system.
Unstressed "а" and "ъ", "о" and "у", "е" and "и" tend to be shorter and weaker compared to their stressed counterparts, approaching each other, though without merging completely, presenting a challenge for Bulgarian learners. You shall hear the 'ти' as a 'tchee' sound. Because the 't' becomes palatal and not said behind the teeth like in "ten"
Before a vowel (after another vowel or at the beginning of a word) denotes a diphthong like in "crayon" or "yes". After a vowel at the end of the word similar to English 'y' as in "play" or "fly". Can be used only next to vowels and not before or after a consonant.
Voiced consonants at the end of a word are pronounced as voiceless.
Note that 'ю' and 'я' denote diphthongs [yoo] and [yah] after a vowel and at the beginning of a word, and tend to be pronounced 'ia' or 'io' in the middle or end of the word. The soft sign will not be included here as it is very rarely used since 1945.
There are longer 'formal' versions of the numbers after 10, but they are not normally used in spoken Bulgarian, even on television or by highly educated people such as university professors and literary people. Interestingly, 'thousand' is imported from Greek 'hilyades', not the Slavic 'tisushta' (Russian tysyacha).
The 'people' versions of numbers are used for instance in a restaurant. How many people? Three. Колко души ще бъде? Трима. (KOHL-koh DOO-shee shteh BUH-de? TREE-mah)
Bulgarian uses 'military' time, as is standard in European countries, often with a period instead of colon and with 'ч.' [for 'chahSUH', 'hour'] following (i.e. 1:00 p.m. is 13.00 ч., 9:47 a.m. is 09.47 ч.) In writing or when speaking of official times, such as concerts, plays or transportation, the 24-hour clock is always used, in speech the 12-hour clock is sometimes used when there is little possibility for misunderstanding.
Clock time is a bit beyond the scope of a phrasebook in complexity for most languages, but in Bulgarian, the minutes can be referred to in half-hours or specific minutes. In addition, constructions such as "a quarter to six" are used (literally "6 bez 15").
The 'T' in 'chah-SUHT' (o'clock часът) may only be pronounced if it is the beginning of the sentence, and usually not then unless the speaker is trying to be especially official. The 'V' meaning 'in [time]' or 'at [o'clock]' is usually pronounced 'F' before vowels and if there is difficulty or confusion is pronounced with an extra syllable like 'vuhf' or 'vuv' (depending on the following letter). This is displayed in the examples below.
Dates are spoken using ordinal numbers, i.e. January first, 2008 is literally 'First January, 2008'. The order is European: Day, Month, Year. The month is sometimes expressed in Roman numerals. Names of days and months are not capitalized (unless at the beginning of a sentence).
The colors in Bulgarian come in feminine, masculine and neuter forms.
In Bulgaria, the customer is not always right. At a taxi stand, you must first ask the driver if he/she will take you where you want to go. If the window is closed, open the front passenger door to ask. You also do not need to take the first taxi in the stand. If there is a company you prefer, walk to that taxi or check the prices on the windows. If there is no one in any of the taxis but you see people standing (talking, waiting, smoking) nearby, you can ask them to be taken the same way (second phrase) and one will accept.
Copyright © Ein-Tek UK Solutions : Website customized by Andrew Hartman ( Computer Engineer ) : Website hits .