Key points about the Bulgarian language

Bulgarian – a South Slavic language

Bulgarian language

Bulgarian is classified as belonging to the Slavic family of languages.
Inside this family of languages Bulgarian is classified as a South Slavic language.
Other South Slavic languages include Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian and Slovenian.
Bulgarian is closely related to Macedonian, indeed some Linguists consider Macedonian to be a dialect of Bulgarian, rather than a language of its own.

Slavic languages are a subgroup of the Indo-European family of languages.
Did you know that Indo-European languages are spoken as a first language by about 3 billion people around the world?

How many people speak Bulgarian?

Bulgarian is spoken by about 10 million people around the world.
The majority of these (7 million) live in the Republic of Bulgaria.
Bulgarian speaking communities are found in many South and Eastern European Countries such as Greece, Serbia, Moldavia, Rumania, Turkey and the Ukraine.
In North America and Western Europe you will often encounter Bulgarian speakers who have moved to other countries to find work, to study or simply for a new life.

A brief history of the Bulgarian language

The first written documents in the Bulgarian language date to the 9th Century AD, which proves that Bulgarian developed as its own language early on.
By far the largest part of Bulgarian vocabulary is derived from Slavic roots, however there are also words borrowed from Greek and Turkish.
In more Modern times many English words in the fields of Technology, Sport, Fashion, Art, Music and Pop culture have entered the Bulgarian language.

About Bulgarian grammar

In contrast to other Slavic languages, Bulgarian makes little use of the case system, which of course makes learning the language easier.
Accusative, Nominative and Dative cases are, with a few exceptions, used only with Personal pronouns.
In Bulgarian the Genitive case has no inflective form, and instead is expressed using Prepositions.
In the case of addressing of someone, the so called Vocative case, is normally used today only in informal, private circumstances.

Another notable characteristic of the Bulgarian language, is that in contrast to other Slavic languages, it uses the Definite article.

Bulgarian is written in the Cyrillic script

The Bulgarian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet and not the Roman alphabet.
It is therefore necessary when learning this language to learn to read and write this script.
In the Bulgarian language course from 17 Minute Languages all Bulgarian texts are written in Cyrillic.
In addition you will find in many parts of the course a transcription into the Roman alphabet.
This will help by learning the Cyrillic alphabet.
Now let us learn our first letters of the Cyrillic alphabet:

Cyrillic Letter
(Capital letter / small letter)
Roman letter Pronunciation
Б / б B / b [b]
Д / д D / d [d]
Е / е E / e [ε]
Н / нN / n[n]
О / оO / o[o]
Р / рR / r[r]
Ъ / ъA / a[ɐ]

And now you can read this word.

hear Bulgarian hello Добър ден! Good day! / Hello!
If you press the play button, you can hear the pronunciation in Bulgarian.

The Bulgarian Alphabet

Perhaps you would like to learn the Bulgarian alphabet?

pronunciation Bulgarian abc

We have recorded a Bulgarian native speaking pronouncing the Bulgarian alphabet.
(Simply click on the Play button)
А б в г д е ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ь Ь ю я

Would you like to know more about Bulgaria and the Bulgarian language?