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Bulgarian: A language with
an EU alphabet

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10 facts about the Bulgarian language


Bulgarian is the official language of the Republic of Bulgaria and is spoken by 10 million people globally.


The Bulgarian language has a 30-letter alphabet system with 24 consonants and 6 vowel letters.


The Bulgarian language is also spoken in Moldova, Ukraine, Northern Macedonia, and Serbia.


Like Russian, Bulgarian is one of many Slavic languages belonging to the Indo-European language family.


Bulgarian is a part of the Sprachbund, or linguistic area, of languages which includes Macedonian, Greek, and Albanian.


The Cyrillic script used by Slavic languages was developed by Methodius and Cyril, two Bulgarian brothers who were theologians and missionaries, in the 9th century.


The Bulgarian language has unique words that refer to concepts and types of lifestyles which cannot be translated.


The Bulgarian language has a complex system of 9 tenses, including a future preliminary tense.


Bulgarian is formed from a combination of an ancient language and Slavic languages; it has 200,000 words.


Every year on May 24, native speakers of Bulgarian celebrate the Bulgarian language.


Origin of the language

Bulgarian originated in the Province of Thessalonica (present-day Greece).


History of the language

The Bulgarian language is believed to have originated during the 9th century.


Learning the language

An English speaker should expect to need 1100 hours to learn Bulgarian.

Bulgarian language for beginners

Ten basic words to start learning in Bulgarian:
Happy: shtastliv
Hello: Zdraveĭte
Thanks: blagodarya
Family: semeĭstvo
Sister: sestra
Brother: brat
Home: U doma
Love: lyubov
Friend: priyatelyu
Beautiful: krasiv


In whatever glory a man lives, the mark of his life will be a stone.

Yordan Radichkov

Writer and Playwright

Love is the time and space where I give myself the right to be extraordinary.

Julia Kristeva

Philosopher, Writer, Semiotician, and Novelist

The insignificant and the small - that's where life is hidden, that's where it nests.

Georgi Gospodinov

Author and Poet

Fun facts about the Bulgarian language

Foreign influence

A lot of foreign languages have influenced the Bulgarian vocabulary, including Greek, Latin and Turkish.

Plural words

Bulgarian has unique pluralization in that words are made plural often by adding “i” at the end of the word.

Longest word

The longest word in the Bulgarian language has 39 letters; it is neprotivokonstitutsionstvuvatelstvuvaĭte.

Macedonian sister language

Bulgarian and Macedonian are extremely similar to each other and are essentially dialects of each other’s languages.

European Union Official Language

Since Bulgaria is a part of the European Union, Bulgarian was made an official language for the Union.

Widespread language

Bulgarian is a minority language in Romania, Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic.

EU alphabets

Since it was given official status in the EU, its alphabet, which is the Cyrillic script, is one of two official non-Latin EU alphabets.

The letter ь

The Bulgarian alphabet ь requires an “o” attached to pronounce it; it is then pronounced as “jo”.

Unique words

Bulgarian features exclusive words which differ from those of other Slavic languages. For example, “I” is az in Bulgarian while it is ya in other Slavic languages.

First written Slavic language

The Bulgarian language was the first written language among the Slavic languages, dating back to the 10th century.

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