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Would you like to hear a sample of someone speaking it? Click on the play button to get an initial impression of how this language sounds. This audio sample comes from the travel journal “Heavenly Heights” (Висините) written by the Bulgarian novelist and poet Ivan Minchov Vazov (1850-1921). An enthusiastic traveler, Vazov explored far and wide, reaching even the most remote regions of Bulgaria.
This travel journal, which was written in the 1880s, describes the Vitosha mountains on the outskirts of Sofia. Vazov is often referred to in Bulgaria as “the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature”. His works include a large body of prose, poetry, novels, plays, and travel writing.
Did you know that Bulgarian has borrowed numerous words from English? Examples include words from the realm of sport such as football (футбол) and match (мач) as well as English tourism and hotel management terms such as reception desk (рецепция) and parking (паркинг).
Bulgarian is spoken by around 10 million people, eight million of whom live in Bulgaria itself. Bulgarian speakers can be found in a number of southern European countries as well as the Ukraine, Belarus and Turkey. Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the South Slavic branch of the Slavic language family. The Bulgarian alphabet uses a variant of the Cyrillic script and contains 30 letters. There are various hypotheses concerning the origins of the Cyrillic script in Bulgaria, but the general assumption is that it stems from the court of the Bulgarian tsars in the mid-10th century.
The language has a multitude of ways of dealing with time and features nine different tenses. In addition to the present tense, Bulgarian also has two future tense forms, four past tense forms and two hybrid forms which combine both past and future.
The most important reference guide for Bulgarian grammar and spelling is the regularly updated dictionary published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.