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Bulgaria — The Largo in Sofia


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Is Bulgarian inflected?‎

Bulgarian has a sharp reduction in noun inflections; most Bulgarian nouns and adjectives are ‎inflected for number and gender, but have lost noun cases.‎

Are there genders in Bulgarian?‎

Bulgarian nouns and adjectives have genders, numbers, a vocative case and definiteness. Nouns belong to one of three grammatical genders (masculine, ‎feminine, neuter) and have singular and plural forms.

Which group of languages does Bulgarian belong to?‎

Modern Bulgarian is a South Slavic language that historically evolved from the Old Bulgarian ‎language—also known as Old Slavonic which was the written norm for the Slavic ‎languages in the Middle ages—and before that from the Proto-Slavic language.‎

How flexible is the word order?‎

Although modern Bulgarian has almost no noun cases, its word order is rather free. It may be even more flexible than the word order of some languages that use cases such as German. To a large extent, this is made possible by the agreement between the subject and the verb of a sentence.‎

Do Bulgarian verbs have moods?‎

Mood in Bulgarian is expressed by using the auxiliary particles ‎че (che) and да (da), which both translate as the conjunction ‘that’. The verb stem and ending remains ‎unchanged.

What are some specifics of Bulgarian Verbs?‎
Verbs are the most complicated part of Bulgarian grammar. They are conjugated for ‎person, number and sometimes gender. They also have a perfective and ‎imperfective lexical aspect, voice, nine tenses, five moods and six non-finite verbal forms. Bulgarian verbs ‎are divided into three conjugations.‎

Bulgarian adjectives
Bulgarian adjective usually precede the nouns they modify and always agree in gender, number and definiteness. The comparative and the superlative forms are ‎formed analytically.

Does Bulgarian use the imperial (inches, gallons, Fahrenheit) or the metric system?‎
Metric system (meters, grams, Celcius degrees, etc.).

How is the definite article used?‎
Bulgarian has a suffixed definite article, while most other Slavic languages have no definite ‎article at all.‎

What script does Bulgarian use?‎
Bulgarian uses the Slavic script or alphabet. In 886 AD, the Bulgarian Empire introduced ‎the Glagolitic alphabet which was devised by the Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 850s. ‎The Glagolitic alphabet was gradually superseded in later centuries by the Cyrillic script, ‎developed around the Preslav Literary School, Bulgaria in the beginning of the 10th ‎century.‎
Several Cyrillic alphabets with 28 to 44 letters were used in the beginning and the middle of ‎the 19th century during the efforts on the codification of Modern Bulgarian until an ‎alphabet with 32 letters

How did the Bulgarian evolve?

The Bulgarian language transitioned from a highly synthetic language (Old Bulgarian) ‎to a typical analytic language (Modern Bulgarian) with Middle Bulgarian as a midpoint in this ‎transition.‎ It is the first “Slavic” language attested in writing. As a Slavic linguistic unity, it is traced into late ‎antiquity, with the oldest manuscripts initially referred to as языкъ словяньскъ, “the ‎Slavic language”.‎

Evolution of the case system
Old Bulgarian had a system of six cases, but only three, the accusative, dative, and nominative, and ‎only in personal and interrogative pronouns, remain in use today. While the modern Bulgarian noun system has ‎lost most of its declensions, many genitive, vocative, and instrumental forms of the old complex case system still survive today. Owing to their ‎rarity, however, these remnants are no longer considered case endings; instead, they are viewed as subcategories of the definite article or the ‎plural.‎

Is Bulgarian spoken faster than English?

On the average, Bulgarians speak faster than Americans. Words are often slurred making it hard for the non-native listener to understand the meaning.‎

How are the letters pronounced ?‎

Most letters in the Bulgarian alphabet stand for only one specific sound. Three letters stand for ‎the single expression of combinations of sounds, namely щ (sht), ю (yu), and я (ya). Two sounds ‎do not correspond to separate letters, but are expressed as the combination of two letters, namely ‎дж (/dʒ/) and дз (/dz/). The letter ь marks the softening (palatalization) of any consonant (besides ‎ж, ч, and ш) before the letter о, while ю and я after consonants mark the palatalization of the ‎preceding consonant in addition to representing the vowels /u/ and /a/. A letter that represents ‎a voiced consonant can represent its voiceless counterpart and vice-versa when adjacent to a ‎voiceless or voiced consonant, respectively, or when a voiced consonant is syllable final, for ‎example – вторник /ftornik/ – Tuesday, нож /nɔʃ/ – knife, сграда /zgradɐ/ – building, сватба ‎‎/svadbɐ/ – wedding.‎

The names of most letters are simple representations of their phonetic values, with consonants ‎being followed by /ɤ/ – thus the alphabet goes: /a/ – /bɤ/ – /vɤ/, etc. However, the name of the ‎letter Й is “и-kratko” (short /i/), the name of Ъ is “er-golyam” (large Er), and the name of Ь is “er-‎malak” (small Er). People often refer to Ъ simply as /ɤ/‎

Is it easy to spell words correctly in a dictation exercise?‎

Bulgarian is usually described as having a phonemic orthography, meaning that words are spelled ‎the way they are pronounced. This is largely true, but does have exceptions. Three of the most ‎cited examples are:‎

  • The sounds /ɐ/ and /o/, which appear in unstressed syllables, are written with two ‎different letters each – а or ъ and о or у respectively.‎
  • The vowel in stressed verb endings -а, -ат, -я and -ят and the stressed short definite ‎articles -a and -я is pronounced [ɤ]. Thus чета (“I read”) is pronounced [t͡ʃe’tɤ], and ‎мъжа (“the man”) is pronounced [мɐ’ʒɤ].‎
  • Voiced consonants are pronounced unvoiced when at the end of a word or when ‎preceding an unvoiced consonant – e.g. vtori (“second”) is pronounced “ftori”, and grad ‎‎(“city”) is pronounced “grat”. Similarly, unvoiced consonants are pronounced voiced ‎when preceding a voiced consonant – e.g. врабче (sparrow) is [vrɐp’t͡ʃe]. (The voiced ‎consonant в is an exception – it does not cause the preceding unvoiced consonant to ‎become voiced – сватба (wedding) is [‘svadbɐ].‎

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