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An Introduction to the Bulgarian Language


Here is a short but detailed introduction to the Bulgarian language, written by a native, including history and key words and phrases.

Updated: 2018-05-13.
flag of BulgariaThe Bulgarian language is an important member of the Slavic language family, spoken by about 12 million people from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Romania, Canada, USA, Australia, Germany, and Spain.

It has a very long and rich history, dating back to the 860s. The Cyrillic alphabet (the one used by Bulgarians) is used in several other languages like Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Macedonian and some Central Asian Altaic languages.

The first Slavic language to be written, the Bulgarian language is closely related to Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Slovenian, making it relatively easy for these nationalities to communicate with little or no translating assistance.

It was in 886 AD when the Glagolitic alphabet was introduced to the Bulgarian Empire. It was the work of the Saints Cyril and Methodius. The purpose of the Bulgarian alphabet creation was to make it easier for Christianity preachers to preach in an understandable for the Bulgarians language. The two Solun brothers, Cyril and Methodius, were chosen to finish this task as they knew very well the spoken language of the local Slavo-Bulgarians. The alphabet they created was also the basis of all other Slavic literary languages, accounting for over 315 million people speaking them.

With a lot of words (about 30%) borrowed from Turkish, Latin, Greek, Russian, French, Italian, German and English, Bulgarian is a versatile language. As Bulgaria is part of the European Union, it also became one of the official languages of the European Union – it is the third official script after Latin and Greek.

Here are some of the most famous Bulgarian expressions borrowed from other languages:

  • Мерси (mersí) – Thank you (from French)
  • Чао (cháo) – Bye (from Italian)
  • Cупep (súper) – Super (from Latin)
  • Aло (álo) – Hello on the phone (from French)

If you are traveling to Bulgaria, you may find these phrases, expressions, and words useful:

English Phrases

Bulgarian Translation

English Greetings Bulgarian Greetings:
Hi! Zdrawei!
Good morning! Dobro utro!
Good evening! Dobar wecher!
Welcome! (to greet someone) Dobre doshal!
How are you? Kak si?
I’m fine, thanks! Dobre, mersi!
And you? A ti?
Thank you (very much)! Mnogo blagodaria!
Good night! Leka nosht!
See you later! Do po-kasno.
Good bye! Chao.
Asking for Help and Directions
I’m lost Zagubih se
Can I help you? Moje li da Vi pomogna?
Can you help me? Moje li da mi pomognete?
Where is the (bathroom/pharmacy)? Kade e (baniata/aptekata)?
Go straight! then turn left/right! Varvete napravo!Posle savivate na liavo/diasno!
One moment please! Edin moment, molia.
How much is this? Kolko struva tova?
Excuse me …! (to ask for something) Izvinete…
Do you speak (English/ Bulgarian)? Govorite li (angliiski/ balgarski)?
Just a little. Malko.
What’s your name? Kak se kaswate?
My name is … Az se kasvam…
Mr…/ Mrs.…/ Miss… Gospodin/ gospoja/ gospojitsa
Nice to meet you! Priatno mi e da se saposnaem!
Where are you from? Ot kade ste?
I’m from (the U.S/ Bulgaria). Az sam ot (Amerika/ Balgaria).
I’m (American) Az sam amerikanets.
Where do you live? Kade jiweete?
I live in (the U.S/ Balgaria) As jiweia w (Amerika/ Balgaria).
How old are you? Na kolko godini ste?
I’m (twenty, thirty…) years old. As sam na (dwadeset, trideset…) godini.
I have to go Triabva da tragwam.
I will be right back! Ste se warna.
Wish Someone Something
Good luck! Uspeh!
Happy birthday! Chestit rojden den!
Happy new year! Chestita nova godina!
Merry Christmas! Vesela Koleda!
Congratulations! Pozdrawlenia!
Enjoy! (for meals…) Da vi e vkusno!
Bless you (when sneezing)! Nazdrave!
Good night and sweet dreams! Leka nosht i sladki sanishta.
Solving a Misunderstanding
I’m Sorry! (if you don’t hear something) Sa sajelenie ne vi chuh.
Sorry (for a mistake) Sajaliavam.
No Problem! Niama nikakav problem.
Can you say it again? Moje li da go povtorite.
Can you speak slowly? Moje li da govorite po-bavno.
I don’t understand! Nishto ne razbrah!
I don’t know! Ne znam!
I have no idea. Niamam nikakva predstava.
How do you say “Please” in Bulgarian? Kak e “please” na balgarski?
What is this? Kakvo e tova?
My Bulgarian is bad. Balgarskiiat mi e losh.
Don’t worry! Ne se trevoji.
Bulgarian Expressions and Words
Good/ Bad/ So-So. Dobar/ losh/ taka i taka
Big/ Small Goliam/malak
Today/ Now Dnes/ sega
Tomorrow/ Yesterday Utre/ vchera
Yes/ No Da/ ne
Here you go! (when giving something) Zapoviadai.
Do you like it? Haresva li vi?
I really like it! Naistina mi haresva.
I’m hungry/ thirsty. Gladen sam./ Jaden sam.
In The Morning/ Evening/ At Night. Sutrin/ Vecher/ Pres nochta.
Really! Naistina li?
Look! Vij!
Hurry up! Pobarzai.
What? Where? Kakvo? Kade?
What time is it? Kolko e chasat?
I love you! Obicham te.
I feel sick. Bolen sam.
Hristina Dimitrova
Written by
Hristina Dimitrova
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