Bulgarian 101

Bulgarian Peace Corps Course

Bulgarian Peace Corps CourseЗдравейте! This Bulgarian course was developed by the U.S. Peace Corps for its volunteers going to Bulgaria. It can be useful as a primer for learning the basics of the Bulgarian language. You can listen and follow along to each lesson or download the whole course directly.

Download Full Course (PDF and Audio Files)

Introduction

View text
Bulgarian is a Slavonic language, like Russian, Czech, Polish, and Serbian. Its history is centuries old and it is the earliest written language. It is a phonetic language, i.e. you pronounce what is written. Of course, first you get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet! Overall, it is easy to be mastered by English speakers: its structure is similar to English; besides so many Volunteers have learned it and speak it fluently. Naturally there are some distinctive features like the gender of nouns and the verb system.

The Old Bulgarian period dates back to the creation of the alphabet, the Glagolitsa, (circa 862 - 863 AD) by the Thessaloniki monks, Cyril and Methodius. The invention of the Glagolitic alphabet, comprised of 41 letters, constituted an original creative act. It was a new graphic system and ingenious creation, exactly adapted to the phonetic peculiarities of the Old Bulgarian language. Between the ninth and eleventh centuries yet another  script was created in Bulgaria - the Cyrillic alphabet, or Kirilitsa. It includes the 24 letters of the Greek titular code lettering to which several new signs have been added for the sounds peculiar to the Old Bulgarian tongue. The Cyrillic script is used by (among others) Bulgarians, Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Serbians, Macedonians and Mongolians, who adopted it from the Russians.

The Modern Bulgarian period is the third phase in the historical evolution of the traditional language of the Old Bulgarian and Middle Bulgarian periods. It has all the characteristic features of the Bulgarian of today. Thus, in a variety of ways, the language of Cyril and Methodius lived through the centuries, and conveyed the literary and language traditions, from the time of Cyril and Methodius to that of the modern Bulgarian literary language.

Bulgarian is an easy language to learn for speakers of English, as its structure is similar to English. However, there are some differences: the alphabet and sound system, the verb system, the place of the definite article, and the gender of nouns.

Lesson 1 – The Bulgarian Alphabet


Expand Text
Letter Pronunciation
Аа a as in “far”
Бб b as in “bag”
Вв v as in “van”
Гг g as in “good”
Дд d as in “dog”
Ее e as in “men”
Жж zh as in “s” in “pleasure”
Зз z as in “zoo”
Ии i as in “tin”
Йй y as in “yes”
Кк k as in “key”
Лл l as in “lip”
Мм m as in “man”
Нн n as in “not”
Оо o as in “or”
Пп p as in “pen”
Рр r as in “risk”
Сс s as in “sit”
Тт t as in “tin”
Уу oo as in “boot”
Фф f as in “fill”
Xx h as “hot”
Цц ts as in “cats”
Чч ch as in “chin”
Шш sh as in “short”
Щщ sht as “-shed” in “washed”
Ъъ u as in “but”
Ьь this letter has no sound, it softens the preceding consonant
Юю yu as in “youth”
Яя ya as in “yard”

Lesson 2 – Sounds


Expand Text
Look at the alphabet and find the letters that are written the same as the English letters. Say the Bulgarian sounds. Now listen and repeat them. Did you discover any differences?
А
В
Е
К
М
Н
0
Р
С
Т
У
X
Some letters are written the same as in English, but pronounced differently. Say the Bulgarian sounds of the letters from ex. 3 that differ most from the English ones. Now repeat the following letters.
E
У
P
H
X
C
B
Others are pronounced and written very differently from English. Look at the alphabet and find these letters. Now repeat them.
Ж
Ц
Ч
Ш
Щ
Ъ
Ю
Я
Some of these letters are written differently from English, but have a similar pronunciation. These are:
Б
В
Г
Д
Ж
З
И
Л
П
Ф
Ч
Ш
Щ
Ъ
Ю
Я

Lesson 3 – Places


Expand Text
Listen to the words and repeat them:
English Bulgarian
America Америка
Florida Флорида
Nevada Невада
Bulgaria България
Sofia София
Europe Европа
First look at the script and read the words. Did you guess their meaning? Now listen and repeat.
БАНКА ДОЛАР КОКА КОЛА
ПАСПОРТ ТЕЛЕФОН ФАКС
АПАРТАМЕНТ ОФИС ПРЕЗИДЕНТ
БАНАН ПИЦА ШОКОЛАД
Word dictation. Listen to the words, repeat them and try to write them. Check the spelling below.
МАМА ТАКА ОСЕМ
МЕК КАК САК
ОКО ОС КОС
ТОКА ТЕКА ДАТА
Introduce yourself following the model.
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
I am ……… (your name) ‘az sum… Аз съм…
I am from America as sum ot Amerika. Аз съм от Америка.

Lesson 4 – Useful Expressions


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
Good morning! dob’ro ‘ootro! Добро утро!
Good afternoon! ‘dobur den! Добър ден!
Good evening! ‘dobur ‘vecher! Добър вечер!
Good night! ‘leka nosht! Лека нощ!
Hello! zdra’vey! (sg./informal) zdra’veyte! (pl./formal) Здравей! Здравейте!
Good bye! do’vizhdane! Довиждане!
Welcome to Bulgaria! dob’re dosh’li v Bulgaria! Добре дошли в България!
Here you are. Zapoviadaite. Заповядайте.
All the best! ‘fsichko ‘hoobavo! Всичко хубаво!
Have a nice day! pri’yaten den! Приятен ден!

Lesson 5 – Meeting People


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
What is your name? kak se ‘kazvash? (sg./informal) kak se ‘kazvate? (pl./formal) Как се казваш? Как се казвате?
My name is… kazvam se…./’az sum… (or tell the name only) Казвам се… Аз съм…
How do you do? pri’yatno mi e! Приятно ми е!
Glad to meet you! pri’yatno mi e! Приятно ми е!
Where are you from? ot ku’de si? (sg./informal) ot ku’de ste? (pl./formal) От къде си? От къде сте?
I am from… ‘as sum ot… / ot… (sum). Аз съм от… / От… съм.
How are you? ‘kak si? (sg./informal) ‘kak ste? (pl./formal) Как си? Как сте?
I am fine, thanks. blagoda’rya, dob’re sum. Благодаря, добре съм.
And you? a ‘ti? (sg./informal) a ‘vie? (pl./formal) А ти? А вие?
Not too well. ne ‘mnogo dob’re. Не много добре.
Do you speak English/Bulgarian? go’vorite li an’gleeski/’bulgarski? Говорите ли английски/български?
A little. ‘malko. Малко.
I am sorry, I don’t. suzha’lyavam, ne go’vorya. Съжалявам, не говоря.
Do you understand? raz’birate li? Разбирате ли?
I don’t understand. ne raz’biram. Не разбирам.
I don’t know. ne ‘znam. Не знам.
Please, speak more slowly. ‘molya, govo’rete ‘po ‘bavno. Моля, говорете по-бавно.
I am married. o’muzhena sum. (said by a woman) ‘zhenen sum. (said by a man) Омъжена съм. / Женен съм.
I am single. ne ‘sum o’muzhena. (said by a woman) ne ‘sum ‘zhenen. (said by a man) Не съм омъжена. / Не съм женен.
I am divorced. raz’vedena sum. (said by a woman) raz’veden sum. (said by a man) Разведена съм Разведен съм.
Do you have children? ‘imate li de’tsa? Имате ли деца?
I have one child. ‘imam ed’no de’te. Имам едно дете.
I have two children. ‘imam dve de’tsa. Имам две деца.
I have a son/a daughter. ‘imam sin/dushte’rya. Имам син/дъщеря.

Lesson 6 – Forms of Address and Family Members


Expand Text

Forms of Address

English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
Mrs. gospo’zha Госпожа
Miss gos’pozhitsa Госпожица
Mr. gospo’din Господин

Family Members

English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
man muzh мъж
woman zhe’na жена
boy mom’che момче
girl mo’miche момиче
father ba’shta баща
mother ‘maika майка
son sin син
daughter dushte’rya дъщеря
brother brat брат
sister ses’tra сестра

Lesson 7 – Basic Questions and Answers


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
What is this? kak’vo e to’va? Какво е това?
This is a hotel. to’va e ho’tel. Това е xотел.
What does it mean? kak’vo ‘znachi to’va? Какво значи това?
How do you say table in Bulgarian? ‘kak e na ‘bulgarski table? Как е на български table?
Where is the hotel? ku’de e ho’tela? Къде е xотелът?
It is over there. tam e. Там е.
Go… vur’vete… Вървете…
…straight …na’pravo …направо
…to the right …na’dyasno …надясно
…to the left …na’lyavo. …наляво.
How can I get to the hotel ‘kak da ‘stigna do ho’tela? Как да стигна до хотела?
How can I get to… ‘kak da ‘stigna do… Как да стигна до…
the center? the station? ‘tsentura? ‘garata? центъра? гарата?
To/on the right. na’dyasno. Надясно.
To/on the left. na’lyavo. Наляво.
Straight ahead. na’pravo. Направо.
Where can I buy coffee? ku’de ‘moga da ‘koopya ka’fe? Къде мога да купя кафе?
Have you got coffee? ‘imate li ka’fe? Имате ли кафе?
Yes, we have. da, ‘imame. Да, имаме.
No, we haven’t. ne, ‘nyamame. Не, нямаме.
Please, give me a coke. ‘molya, ‘dayte mi ‘kola. Моля, дайте ми кола.
How much is it? ‘kolko ‘stroova? Колко струва…?
Here you are. zapo’vyadayte. Заповядайте.
Thank you. blagoda’rya. Благодаря.
You’re welcome. ‘nyama zash’to./ ‘molya. Няма защо./ Моля.
Sorry. (it is my fault) izvi’nete. Извинете.
Excuse me, may I ask you something? izvi’nete, ‘mozhe li da vi po’pitam ‘neshto? Извинете, може ли да Ви попитам нещо?
Excuse me, may I ask you for something? izvi’nete, ‘mozhe li da vi po’molya za ‘neshto? Извинете, може ли да Ви помоля за нещо?
Yes, please. da, ka’zhete. Да, кажете.
Yes, of course. da, raz’bira se. Да, разбира се.
I have a problem. ‘imam prob’lem. Имам проблем.
I need help. ‘imam ‘noozhda ot ‘pomosht./ pomog’nete mi! Имам нужда от помощ. / Помогнете ми!
I’ve lost my way. iz’goobih se. Изгубиx се.
Please, show me the way on the map. ‘molya vi, poka’zhete mi ‘putya na ‘kartata. Моля Ви, покажете ми пътя на картата.
I don’t feel well. ne se ‘chufstvam dob’re. Не се чувставм добре.
I’m sick. ‘bolen sum. Болен съм.
I’m tired. oomo’ren sum. Уморен съм.
What time is it? ‘kolko e cha’sa? Колко е часът?
It’s two o’clock. cha’sa e dva. Часът е два.
Would you like a coffee? ‘iskate li ka’fe? Искате ли кафе?
With pleasure. s oodo’volstvie. С удоволствие.
No, thanks. ne, blagoda’rya. Не, благодаря.
Where can I get a taxi? ku’de ‘moga da ‘vzema tak’si? Къде мога да взема такси?
Can I get a receipt, please? ‘mozhe li da mi da’dete kasova belezhka, ‘molya? Може ли да ми дадете касова бележка, моля?
Where can I change dollars? ku’de ‘moga da obme’nya ‘dolari? Къде мога да обменя долари?
What is the exchange rate? ka’kuf e ‘koorsa? Какъв е курсът?

Lesson 8 – In a Restaurant


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
A table for one/two, please. ‘masa za e’din/’dvama, ‘molya. Маса за един/двама, моля.
Are the seats available? svo’bodno li e? Свободно ли е?
What would you like? kak’vo shte zhe’laete? Какво ще желаете?
I would like… ‘molya, ‘dayte mi… Моля, дайте ми…
…a glass of mineral water …’chasha mine’ralna vo’da …чаша минерална вода
…juice/coffee/tea/milk …sok/ka’fe/chay/’mlyako …сок/кафе/чай/мляко
…a bottle of wine …bu’tilka ‘vino …бутилка вино
…beer …’bira …бира
…a coke …’kola …кола
…a salad …sa’lata …салата
…a steak …pur’zhola …пържола
…an omelette …om’let …омлет
We don’t have any. ‘nyamame. Нямаме.
I’m a vegetarian. az sum vegetari’anets. (said by a man) Аз съм вегетарианец.
  az sum vegetari’anka. (said by a woman) Аз съм вегетарианка.
Do you serve vegetarian food? ser’virate li vegetari’anska Hra’na? Сервирате ли вегетарианска xрана?
Here you are! zapo’vyadayte! Заповядайте!
Thank you! blagoda’rya! Благодаря!
Enjoy your meal! do’bur ape’tit! Добър апетит!
Cheers! naz’drave! Наздраве!
Where is the bathroom? ku’de e toa’letnata? Къде е тоалетната?
Can I have the bill, please? ‘mozhe li ‘smetkata? Може ли сметката?
Here you are! zapo’vyadayte! Заповядайте!
Thank you! blagoda’rya! Благодаря.

Lesson 9 – Food


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
meat me’so месо
veal teleshko телешко
pork ‘svinsko свинско
lamb ‘agneshko агнешко
chicken ‘pile пиле
turkey ‘pooyka пуйка
fish ‘riba риба
ham ‘shoonka шунка
mushrooms ‘gubi гъби
bread hlyab хляб
cucumbers ‘krastavitsi краставици
tomatoes do’mati домати
peppers ‘chooshki чушки
potatoes kar’tofi картофи
cheese sirene / kashka’val сирене / кашкавал
butter mas’lo масло
salt sol сол
sugar ‘zahar захар
vinegar o’tset оцет
black pepper ‘cheren pi’per черен пипер
fruits plodo’ve плодове
apples ‘yabulki ябълки
oranges porto’kali портокали
yoghurt kiselo ‘mlyako кисело мляко
white wine byalo ‘vino бяло вино
red wine cher’veno червено вино
wine ‘vino вино
beer ‘bira бира
soft drink bezalko’holno безалкохолно

Lesson 10 – Days of the Week


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
Sunday ne’delya неделя
Monday pone’delnik понеделник
Tuesday ‘ftornik вторник
Wednesday ‘sryada сряда
Thursday chet’vurtuk четвъртък
Friday ‘petuk петък
Saturday ‘subota събота

Lesson 11 – Numbers


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
one ed’no едно
two dve две
three tri три
four ‘chetiri четири
five pet пет
six shest шест
seven ‘sedem седем
eight ‘osem осем
nine ‘devet девет
ten ‘deset десет
eleven edi’nayset единайсет
twelve dva’nayset дванайсет
thirteen tri’nayset тринайсет
fourteen chetiri’nayset четиринайсет
fifteen pet’nayset петнайсет
sixteen shes’nayset шестнайсет
seventeen sedem’nayset седемнайсет
eighteen osem’nayset осемнайсет
nineteen devet’nayset деветнайсет
twenty ‘dvayset двайсет
thirty ‘treeset трийсет
forty che’tiriset четирийсет
fifty petde’set петдесет
sixty shey’set шейсет
seventy sedemde’set седемдесет
eighty osemde’set осемдесет
ninety devetde’set деветдесет
one hundred sto сто
two hundred ‘dvesta двеста
three hundred ‘trista триста
one thousand hi’lyada xиляда

Lesson 12 – Around the House


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
House ‘kushta Kъща
Bedroom ‘spalnya Cпалня
Bathroom ‘banya Баня (where you wash and have a shower; because in some houses in Bulgaria the bathroom and the toilet are separate)
Toilet toa’letna Tоалетна
Where is… ku’de e… Къде е…
…the bedroom? …’spalnyata? …спалнята?
…the bathroom? …’banyata? …банята?
…the toilet? …toa’letnata? …тоалетната?
cold water hot water stoo’dena vo’da ‘topla vo’da студена вода топла вода

Lesson 13 – Common Medical Problems


Expand Text
English Phonetic Pronounciation Bulgarian
I am sick. ‘bolen sum. (said by a man) ‘bolna sum. (said by a woman) Болен съм. Болна съм.
I have a headache. bo’li me gla’va. Боли ме глава.
I have a cold. nas’tinal sum. (said by a man) nas’tinala sum. (said by a woman) Настинал съм. Настинала съм.
I have a stomach ache. bo’li me sto’maha. Боли ме стомаxа.
Call the Medical Officer. oba’dete se na ‘lekarya. Обадете се на лекаря.
I am tired. oomo’ren sum, (said by a man) oomo’rena sum, (said by a woman) Уморен съм, Уморена съм,
I want to go to bed. ‘iskam da si ‘lyagam. искам да си лягам.
I cannot drink water from the tap. ne ‘mi e pozvo’leno da ‘piya vo’da ot chesh’mata i’li ot ‘sudove za suHra’nenie. Не трябва да пия вода от чешмата.
Where is the bathroom? ku’de e toa’letnata? Къде е тоалетната?

Lesson 14 – Listening Exercises 1 and 2


Expand Text

Listening Exercise 1

Bulgarian English
Здравейте! Как се казвате? A: Hello! What’s your name?
Аз съм Бил. А Вие? B: I’m Bill. And you?
Аз съм Мария. A: I’m Maria.
Приятно ми е. B: Pleased to meet you.
Приятно ми е. A: Pleased to meet you.

Listening Exercise 2

Bulgarian English
Здравейте! Аз съм Бил. A: Hello! I’m Bill.
Аз съм Мария. B: I’m Maria.
Приятно ми е. A: Pleased to meet you.
Приятно ми е. B: Pleased to meet you.
Откъде сте? A: Where are you from?
Аз съм от България. А Вие? B: I’m from Bulgaria. And you?
Аз съм от Америка. A: I’m from America.
Довиждане. B: Good bye!
Довиждане. A: Good bye!

Lesson 15 – Listening Exercises 3 and 4


Expand Text

Listening Exercise 3

Bulgarian English
Добър ден! Good afternoon!
Аз съм Мери. Аз съм от Америка. I’m Mary. I’m from America.
Аз съм от Флорида. I’m from Florida.
Аз съм учителка. I’m a teacher.
Аз съм доброволка от Корпус на мира. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Добър ден! Good afternoon!
Аз съм Бил. Аз съм от Америка. I’m Bill. I’m from America.
Аз съм от Невада. I’m from Nevada.
Аз съм учител. I’m a teacher.
Аз съм доброволец от Корпус на мира. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Добър ден! Good afternoon!
Аз съм Джими. Аз съм от Америка. I’m Jimmy. I’m from America.
Аз съм от Тексас. I’m from Texas.
Аз съм бизнесконсултант. I’m a business consultant.
Аз съм доброволец от Корпус на мира. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Добър ден! Good afternoon!
Аз съм Дона. Аз съм от Америка. I’m Dona. I’m from America.
Аз съм от Монтана. I’m from Montana.
Аз съм екоспециалист. I’m an environmentalist.
Аз съм доброволка от Корпус на мира. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Listening Exercise 4

Bulgarian English
– Извинете, къде е тоалетната? A: Excuse me, where is the bathroom (toilet)?
– Ей там. B: Over there.
– Извинете, къде е пощата? A: Excuse me, where is the post office?
– Ей там. B: Over there.

Lesson 16 – Listening Exercises 5 and 6


Expand Text

Listening Exercise 5

Bulgarian English
Добро утро! A: Good morning!
Добро утро! B: Good morning!
Как сте? A: How are you?
Добре. B: I’m fine.
Заповядайте, седнете! Искате ли кафе? A: Please, have a seat! Would you like some coffee?
Да, благодаря. B: Yes, please.
А мляко? A: What about milk?
Не, не обичам мляко. B: No, I don’t like milk.
Искате ли салам? A: Would you like sausages?
Не, благодаря. Аз съм вегетарианец. B: No, thanks. I’m a vegetarian.
Искам сирене и масло. A: I’d like some cheese and butter.
Моля, още кафе. B: Some more coffee, please.

Listening Exercise 6

Bulgarian English
Обичате ли кафе? A: Do you like coffee?
Да, обичам кафе. B: Yes, I do.
Обичате ли мляко? A: Do you like milk?
Да, обичам мляко. B: Yes, I do.
Обичате ли сирене? A: Do you like cheese?
Да, обичам сирене. B: Yes, I do.

Lesson 17 – Listening Exercises 7 to 9


Expand Text

Listening Exercise 7

Bulgarian English
Обичате ли кафе? A: Do you like coffee?
Не, не обичам кафе. B: No, I don’t.
Обичате ли мляко? A: Do you like milk?
Не, не обичам мляко. B: No, I don’t.
Обичате ли сирене? A: Do you like cheese?
Не, не обичам сирене. B: No, I don’t.

Listening Exercise 8

Bulgarian English
Може ли чаша вода? A: Can I have mineral water?
Да, заповядайте! B: Yes, here you are!
Може ли едно кафе? A: Can I have tea?
Да, заповядайте! B: Yes, here you are!
Може ли един сандвич? A: Can I have a sandwich?
Да, заповядайте! B: Yes, here you are!

Listening Exercise 9

Bulgarian English
Eдно кафе, mоля. A: Coffee, please.
Заповядайте! B: Here you are!
Благодаря. Колко струва? A: Thank you. How much is it?
50 стотинки. B: 50 stotinki.

Original Course Text

Download Full Course (PDF and Audio Files)

View other Peace Corps courses