A Beginner’s Guide to Bulgarian


When studying Bulgarian, you’ll likely encounter three distinct types of moods: indicative, subjunctive, and perfect. Each mood is characterized by a grammatical position in time. Bulgarian has only four moods, but some literature discusses the possibility of more. For example, the Bulgarian word for yes is ala, while the word for no is da. This arrangement gives rise to the phrase “yes but no.”

The Ottomans used several Cyrillic alphabets, ranging from 28 to 44 letters. The 32-letter Cyrillic alphabet proposed by Marin Drinov gained prominence in the 1870s and was used until the country underwent orthographic reform in 1945. In that year, the country standardized its alphabet, removing the letters yat and yus. In the 1950s, an alphabet with thirty letters was adopted.

Traditionally, Bulgarians welcomed strangers with a welcome of bread and salt. Despite the pagan influences, the Bulgarian national holiday has kept some of its traditions alive. Although most Bulgarians celebrate 1 March as Baba Marta, this holiday is closely related to Romania’s Martisor. In addition to celebrating this holiday, Bulgarians also perform a kukeri ritual in which costumed men perform a ritual aimed at scaring away evil spirits.

Bulgarian has five distinct moods. Generally, Bulgarian verbs are inflected for number and gender. Bulgarian adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in number and gender. Some adjectives are of Turkish origin. Unlike English, Bulgarian word order is relatively flexible. Verbs generally come before the noun; the word order follows the noun-verb-noun pattern. Bulgarian also uses definite articles to indicate the number and case of the object.

Romani is the second minority language in Bulgaria. They were the descendants of Romani nomadic immigrants who migrated to Bulgaria during the 13th century. They continued to migrate throughout the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. They speak Bulgarian, as do the people of the Slavic countries. This language is also used in the Balkans, Israel, Canada, Moldova, and Serbia. It has a total of eight to nine million native speakers.

After Bulgarian independence, many intellectuals from the French-speaking world imported English-derived vocabulary. Usually, these words are science-related or technical terms. These words have acquired their own peculiarities in the process of introduction to the native speakers. Most loanwords, however, are identical to their source words. These influences also resulted in Bulgarian borrowing from other languages. However, this did not mean that Bulgarian was completely exterminated.