The official language of Bulgaria, Bulgarian is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family, which also includes Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, and Slovenian. It has around 9 million native speakers and was the first specific Slavic language ever named in writing.
Before the 7th century, people throughout what is now Eastern and Central Europe spoke versions of the same proto-Slavic language. Around the 9th century, however, a literary version of the language began to evolve as Byzantine missionaries, in their effort to convert the Slavic people, began standardizing the language and using it to translate the Bible. This language was initially referred to simply as языкъ словяньскъ (yazika slovyanyska) or “the Slavic language,” but the late 11th century, the language gradually began being called языкъ блъгарьскъ (yazika blagaryska), the “Bulgarian language.”
Bulgarian Fun Facts
Be careful with gestures: When Bulgarians shake their heads it means yes and when they nod, it means no. Sometimes they reverse these gestures if they know they’re speaking to foreigners, complicating the issue further.
Nedko Solakov, one of Bulgaria’s most prominent contemporary artists, has helped introduce a new vein of experimental art. His ink drawings use humor to explore love, sadness, and anxiety. One drawing reads:“A Balloon and a Cactus became friends. For the time being—everything OK.”
The name Bulgaria derives from the Bulgars, a semi-nomadic people who arrived in the country in the seventh century.
The Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo submitted by Gabriela.
Musala, the summit of Bulgaria's Rila mountain, is the highest peak in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula. Photo submitted by Morgenrot.
A view of Sliven, the 8th largest city in Bulgaria and home to the Sinite Kamani (The Blue Stones) Nature Park. Photo submitted by Mitka Daneva.
Bulgarian and the Livemocha Community
- 17% of people on Livemocha learning Bulgarian actually live in Bulgaria. In fact, more Bulgarians are learning Bulgarian than people from any other country, though they are closely followed by people from United States, Turkey, and Russia
- After English, the top 5 languages Bulgarians are learning are German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Bulgarian
- Bulgarians on Livemocha primarily speak Bulgarian and English but a significant number also speak Russian, German, Turkish and French