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The Bulgarian language is quite confusing the first time you encounter it; the letters are different and some of them look like the Latin but are pronounced in a completely different way. The words are unlikely to sound familiar unless you know some Russian, and the grammar might drain you with its nine tenses. That’s not all, folks. Here are 11 incredible facts about the Bulgarian language.
Six of them are vowels, and the rest are consonants.
The Bulgarian “B” is pronounced like the Latin “V,” and the “H” is actually pronounced as “N.” If you see a P, pronounce it like an “R.” Perplexed? It gets even more complicated when you understand that what looks like a mirror image of R, is the Bulgarian vowel Я (ja), and what looks like a mirror image of N is И (i).
If you only have the letter ь, you cannot pronounce it until you add an “o” next to it. Then it becomes a ьо [jo]. This is the only letter with that specific feature.
The letter ш in Bulgarian, [ʃ] sounds like “sheep,” but there is a щ too, [ʃt] that sounds like “shoe.” There are also the ю [ju] like in “Yuletide,” and я [ja] like in “yard.”
In Bulgarian, there are words that are impossible to translate because they explain a whole lifestyle or a complex condition. For example, aylyak, one of the guilty pleasure of Bulgarians, explains a relaxed approach to life. Practitioners don’t take anything too personally, they take their time, and they enjoy their time to the fullest.
This is непротивоконституционствувателствувайте—don’t even try to pronounce it. It’s more of a tongue twister for drunk people than a word Bulgarians use in the real world. It means “don’t act against the Constitutions.”
Although there are certain rules, you can arrange the words in many ways, and it will still sound completely natural.
Although the present tense has only one version, the past and future have several varieties, such as past preliminary or future preliminary in the past.
Contemporary Bulgarian is mainly a mix of Slavic and Proto-Bulgarian words with foreign words having penetrated the language through the years, including Greek, Latin, Turkish, Russian and English. According to the Bulgarian Academy of Science’s Institute for Bulgarian Language, there are around 200,000 words in the language.
May 24 is the day when Bulgarians celebrate the Bulgarian language, script, and culture and the day the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the brothers who invented the Cyrillic script.