In Bulgarian, there are three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. The endings of nouns also indicate gender, with nouns ending in consonants typically being masculine and nouns ending in -a/-ia ending in feminine. The case system is retained, however.
While Bulgaria is generally a safe country to visit, there are still some dangers. Some regions of Bulgaria are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes. The northern and central regions are particularly susceptible. The Pirin and Rila regions are also highly sensitive. Between 1900 and 1986, the country was hit by sixteen large earthquakes. Two of these occurred in Strazhitsa, on the Skopje-Razgrad fault line, and damaged over 16,000 buildings.
After World War II, Bulgaria’s death rate declined dramatically, although it then began to rise as the population aged. As a result, by the early 21st century, Bulgaria’s death rate was higher than the world’s average. At the same time, the birth rate was significantly lower than the death rate, and the country’s natural growth rate was negative.
Bulgarian has a highly qualified workforce and a high level of education. The country has also drawn the attention of international companies such as Hewlett-Packard, which opened a global service center in Sofia. Bulgarian-speaking scientists have contributed to the development of computer technology in Europe. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is the leading scientific institution in the country.
Bulgarian phonology is similar to other South Slavic languages, with a variety of palatalization and unpalatalization of consonants. At the same time, the consonants can occur in many different combinations, including some that are less common in English. The table below provides English approximations and a general idea of how Bulgarian consonants are pronounced.
During the early 19th century, several Cyrillic alphabets were used to write Bulgarian. In the 1870s, Marin Drinov proposed a 32-letter Cyrillic alphabet that gained prominence. This alphabet was used until the Orthographic Reform of 1945. The reform included the removal of the yat and yus, and the number of letters was subsequently reduced to thirty.
During World War II, Bulgaria was allied with the Axis Powers and was occupied by Nazi Germany. As a result, the country lost much of the territory it had long wanted. It was a time of upheaval. It also led to a significant amount of economic instability. After the war, the Communist Party resigned. Eventually, the Socialist Party was elected and the country’s first free elections took place in June 1990. In July, a new constitution was adopted, which included an elected prime minister and president.
In Bulgaria, education is highly valued. Children can attend state-run kindergartens up to age three. Unlike in the U.S., however, children are largely expected to stay in school until they reach adulthood. However, low funding has had negative impacts on the education system in Bulgaria. Traditional teaching methods have also stunted the development of some technical fields.