bulgarianalphabetBulgarian is a Southern Slavic language with about 12 million speakers mainly in Bulgaria, but also in Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Greece, Romania, Canada, USA, Australia, Germany and Spain. Bulgarian is mutually intelligible with Macedonian, and fairly closely related to Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Slovenian. Bulgarian was the first Slavic language to be written: it started to appear in writing during the 9th century in the Glagolitic alphabet, which was gradually replaced by an early version of the Cyrillic alphabet over the following centuries. As the size of Bulgaria’s English-speaking community grows, so does the prevalence of English. It is the most common second language in Varna, where a good range of facilities is available for English-speaking expats. Some people may speak German, others French.

Until 1989, all Bulgarian schoolchildren had to learn Russian, though many people chose not to speak it. Nowadays, children learn either English or German instead. The Russian and Bulgarian languages have much in common, so Russian speakers should be able to communicate in Bulgaria. Bulgarian is a southern Slavic language, written with the Cyrillic alphabet (invented by the Greek brothers St Cyril and St Methodius in the 9th century). Much Turkish vocabulary has infiltrated the language, evidence of the lengthy Ottoman occupation. Though Bulgarian can be a difficult language to master, you will start to make progress once you have grasped the alphabet.

It can be extremely beneficial to learn the language when you move to a different country: from communicating effectively with officials to reading road-signs and even chatting to neighbours or people you meet outside the big cities, learning some Bulgarian will help you integrate better. Think about signing up for a language course in your local area, ask other expats for their recommendations. Use the means already at your disposal, such as Bulgarian television and newspapers, to help you learn. It is quite useful to communicate with the neighbors as much as possible in Bulgarian. People are usually quite friendly and open for socializing. Learning any new language is a challenge but it will pay dividends! At present there are organized courses teaching Bulgarian language, for foreigners in Varna as the interest and the demand have increased.

NOTE – Bulgarians shake their head for ‘Yes’ and nod for ‘No’!!