Bulgarian phrasebook

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Bulgarian (български) 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 has 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'" ("tchee") 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 omitted due to context. Many times the 'л' will sound like a 'w' sound.

Pronunciation guide




Phrase list

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