Bulgarian 101

Most of the word-stock of modern Bulgarian consists of derivations of some 2,000 words inherited from proto-Slavonic through the mediation of Old and Middle Bulgarian. The influence of the old Bolgar language is relatively insignificant, and a negligible number of words of presumably Bulgar origin have survived in Modern Bulgarian (20 at best according to most estimates, though some scholars will have that number increased up to 200). Thus, the native lexical terms in Bulgarian (both from proto-Slavonic and from the Bulgar language) account for 70% to 75% of the lexicon.

The remaining 25% to 30% are loanwords from a number of languages, as well as derivations of such words. The languages which have contributed most to Bulgarian are Latin and Greek (mostly international terminology), and to a lesser extent French and Russian. The numerous loanwords from Turkish (and, via Turkish, from Arabic and Persian) which were adopted into Bulgarian during the long period of Ottoman rule have, to a great extent, been substituted with native terms or borrowings from other languages.

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