Category Archives: bulgaria

Learning Bulgarian in an hour

Just read an interesting post: How to Learn (But Not Master) Any Language in 1 Hour. Let’s see how that works out with Bulgarian.

Introduction

Bulgarian is a slavic language written in a cyrillic alphabet of 30 letters:
alphabet2

pronunciation

For easier reading for us used to roman alphabets, and for Bulgarians with a US keyboard, there is a way to rewrite cyrillic words called “transliteration” or more specific “romanization”. I have -obviously- created one: Bulgarian romanization: cyrillic <> latin.

Difficulty

First estimating the difficulty of learning this language:

  1. Are there new grammatical structures that will postpone fluency? (look at SOV vs. SVO, as well as noun cases)
    Bulgarian seems to be a SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) language, just like Dutch & English.
  2. Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple time to fluency? (especially vowels)
    Not really, you pronounce it like you read it, but there are some peculiar letters like the “ъ” ( “schwa” or “ə” (phonetic) or palatalization).
  3. How similar is it to languages I already understand? What will help and what will interfere? (Will acquisition erase a previous language? Can I borrow structures without fatal interference like Portuguese after Spanish?)
    While Bulgarian adopts new words from English easily (e.g. businessman become “бизнесмен” which is transcribed as “biznеsmеn“), it is at the base a Slavic language with an abundance of words that have nothing to do with the words in Dutch/French/English.
    Let’s take the days of the week: понеделник вторник сряда четвъртък петък съботата неделята – which is transcribed into “pоnеdеlnik vtоrnik sryada chеtvartak pеtak sabоtata nеdеlyata“. Not that obvious, is it?
  4. All of which answer: How difficult will it be, and how long would it take to become functionally fluent?
    God, if I knew the answer to that question.

Read more »