Dialogue

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Vocabulary

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как kak how
как сте kak ste How are you?
добър ден dobyr den Hello.
добре dobre fine
съм sym I am
благодаря blagodarya Thank you.
ден den day
добре съм dobre sym I’m fine.

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson Is Bulgarian Greetings.
Как сте?
"How are you?"


Как сте is a polite way to ask someone how he or she has been. It is a phrase that you can also readily use just to greet people you have not seen for a while. This form of the phrase is formal, so the verb in it is in the second-person plural form.

It is a very popular expression, and people say Как сте not only as a learned phrase after a greeting but also to check the other person's condition, feelings, and so forth and expect an answer. The answer is usually constructed with an adverb plus the corresponding verb form. Quite often, the answer is Добре съм, which you can use in the same way as the English "I'm fine"/"I'm OK." Still, when the partner in the conversation is not feeling well, other expressions come to replace the otherwise typical answer Добре съм. For example, they might be Горе-долу, meaning "so-so." In this case, you can omit the verb съм.

Verb Form in Как сте?


The verb in the expression is in the second-person plural. That is the most common way of conjugating the verb when using formal speech. The same verb in the second-person plural is си, and the expression Как си? becomes the informal version.

For Example:

  1. Как сте днес?
    Kak ste dnes?
    "How are you today?" (plural)
  2. Как си, мило?
    Kak si milo?
    "How are you, dear?" (singular)

Examples from This Dialogue


  1. Как сте?
    Kak ste?
    "How are you?"

Sample Sentences


  1. Как си след злополуката?
    Kak si sled zlopolukata?
    "How are you after the accident?"
  2. Как сте, господин Петров?
    Kak ste, gospodin Petrov?
    "How are you, Mr. Petrov?"


Language Tip


The pronunciation of Как сте/Как си has one important point: the stress goes on the first word, как, and we pronounce it very distinctly. You want to put the emphasis on asking "how" the other person is feeling.

Cultural Insights

Greeting Elders and People in the Countryside


Bulgarians like to greet each other on the street when they are close acquaintances or friends. It is a very typical thing to see in the countryside. People would stop by to talk to their friends and ask them how they feel or just to say politely hello and have a short conversation in which they usually use the expression Как сте?/Как си?

When talking to elderly people, it is considered polite to use the second-person plural form of the phrase and other phrases like Добър ден and благодаря instead of their more informal versions, Здравей/Здрасти and мерси. In this formal situation, the speakers use the second-person plural to mark their respectful feelings toward each other.

Lesson Transcript

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Intro

Jonathan: Hello and welcome to the Absolute Beginner series at BulgarianPod101.com. This is season 1, lesson 1, First Encounters in Bulgarian. I’m Jonathan.
Iva: And I’m Iva!
Jonathan: Together we will guide you through the first steps in Bulgarian.
Iva: That’s right. So get ready and … enjoy!
Jonathan: Yes, because it is fun to learn Bulgarian.
Iva: And we’re here to make your absolute beginner experience easy and productive! Okay, Jonathan, what do we have first?
Jonathan: In this lesson you'll learn how to say "hello" in Bulgarian in the daytime.
Iva: This conversation takes place on the street.
Jonathan: The conversation is between two people.
Iva: The speakers know each other but their relationship is formal, so they’ll be speaking formal Bulgarian.
Jonathan: Let’s listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUES
[during the day]
Jonathan: Добър ден.
Iva: Добър ден.
Jonathan: Как сте?
Iva: Добре съм, благодаря.
Jonathan: Now let’s hear the conversation one time slowly. (slow speed, broken down by syllable)
[during the day]
Jonathan: Добър ден.
Iva: Добър ден.
Jonathan: Как сте?
Iva: Добре съм, благодаря.
Jonathan: And Now with the English translation.
Iva: Добър ден.
Jonathan: Hello.
Iva: Добър ден.
Jonathan: Hello.
Iva: Как сте?
Jonathan: How are you?
Iva: Добре съм, благодаря.
Jonathan: Fine, thanks.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Jonathan: OK, so now it is time for some more information about Bulgarian culture.
Iva: Yes. Bulgarians like to greet each other on the street when they are close acquaintances or friends.
Jonathan: It is also a very typical thing to see in the countryside, right Iva?
Iva: Yep! People would stop by to talk to their friends and ask them how they feel, or just to say politely hello and have short conversation.
Jonathan: So what would you say in this situation?
Iva: In this case we usually use the expression “Как сте?/Как си?”.
Jonathan: Remember that when talking to elderly people, it is considered polite to use the second person plural form of the phrase.
Iva: ...and other phrases like “Добър ден” and “благодаря” instead of their informal versions “Здравей/Здрасти” and “мерси”.
Jonathan: In our formal situation the speakers use the second person plural to express their respect for each other. Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB
Jonathan: Now let’s take a look at the vocabulary in this lesson. The first word we shall see is...
Iva: Добър ден
Jonathan: Hello
Iva: Добър ден (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: Добър ден
Iva: Как сте
Jonathan: How are you?
Iva: Как сте (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: Как сте
Iva: Добре съм
Jonathan: I’m fine
Iva: Добре съм (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: Добре съм
Iva: Благодаря
Jonathan: Thank you
Iva: Благодаря (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: Благодаря
Iva: съм
Jonathan: I am
Iva: съм (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: съм
Iva: добре
Jonathan: fine
Iva: добре (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: добре
Iva: как
Jonathan: how
Iva: как (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: как
Iva: ден
Jonathan: day
Iva: ден (slow, broken down by syllable)
Iva: ден
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Jonathan: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Iva: Yes, in addition to their meaning, we will explain some information about their forms and usage.
Jonathan: The first word from this dialogue is…
Iva: "Добър ден"!
Jonathan: This is one of the most important phrases in Bulgarian.
Iva: Yes, you will hear this every day.
Jonathan: It can be used both with people you know or people you are meeting for the first time.
Iva: Literally it means "Good day" so that’s why it’s used in the daytime.
Jonathan: There are other expressions used to greet people in the morning and in the evening...
Iva: But for now, just remember “Добър ден”.
Jonathan: It’s the most common way to greet people in Bulgaria. What’s next, Iva?
Iva: “Добре съм” which means “I am fine” or "I am well".
Jonathan: This phrase naturally follows the question “How are you” in Bulgarian.
Iva: In Bulgarian, “how are you” is “Как сте?” for the formal and “Как си?” for the informal question. Как сте? for formal and Как си? for informal.
Jonathan: Ok, so make sure you listen out for this question! Can you tell us more about the phrase “I am fine”?
Iva: The adverb "добре" means “fine”, “well”, “OK” and sometimes can be the only answer to the question “How are you?”.
Jonathan: So how does that sound?
Iva: For example, you answer the informal question “Как си?” with just one word- “Добре!”
Jonathan: It can be used among friends, right?
Iva: Yes, it can be used in conversation as an affirmative “OK”, like in English.
Jonathan: That’s right! And the last one we’ll talk about is…
Iva: “Благодаря” meaning “thank you”.
Jonathan: Another very useful Bulgarian word!
Iva: Indeed, do not forget to use it often.
Jonathan: Yes, it will help you in so many ways.
Iva: Bulgarians never forget to say “Thank you.”
Jonathan: And this one is mostly used in formal speech but can be used in the informal too.
Iva: That’s right. Its informal substitute is “Мерси”.
Jonathan: Oh, that sounds familiar!
Iva: I know, but we are going to talk about it in detail in our next lesson!
Jonathan: Ok, let’s move on to the grammar!
GRAMMAR POINT
Jonathan: The focus of this lesson is how to greet people in the daytime in Bulgaria.
Iva: And ask them how they are feeling.
Jonathan: Yes, so “How are you” in Bulgarian is…
Iva: “Как сте?”
Jonathan: "How are you" or "How you are feeling"? There are several phrases used to ask how someone is feeling in Bulgarian, just as in English.
Iva: But let's just focus on the usage of “Как сте” in this lesson.
Jonathan: Okay, (name). Give us an example.
Iva: Here it is – “Как сте днес?” It means...
Jonathan: How are you today?
Iva: And it is formal.
Jonathan: Because the verb is in its polite form.
Iva: “Как си, мило?”
Jonathan: Means “How are you, dear?” There's no difference in the meaning of the phrase. Just remember that the verb changes its form from “сте” to “си”.
Iva: The first one “сте” is the second person plural and the second one, “си” is the second person singular of the auxiliary verb.
Jonathan: OK. Here's a question for you. If you were visiting a friend in the hospital after he’d had an accident, what would you say?
Iva: “Как си след злополуката?”
Jonathan: Which means “How are you after the accident?”
Iva: I hope I won’t have to ask any of my friends this question though!
Jonathan: OK, OK, sorry! Next you'll learn how to ask how someone is (feeling) in a formal situation. Let’s say you are asking Mr. Petrov.
Iva: That will be “Как сте, господин Петров?” It is formed using a phrase you already know plus the name of the person.
Jonathan: It means “How are you, Mr. Petrov?” right?
Iva: Yes, Petrov is one of the common family names in Bulgarian.
Jonathan: So what is the usual way to reply to this question?
Iva: Quite often the answer is “Добре съм”. x2
Jonathan: It used in the same way as the English because it means “I’m fine/I’m OK.”
Iva: Still, when the partner in the conversation is not feeling well other expressions can be used to replace the otherwise typical answer “Добре съм.”
Jonathan: Can you just mention some of them?
Iva: “Горе-долу”, meaning “So-so.”
Jonathan: In that case the verb can be omitted.
Iva: Yes, that’s right.
Jonathan: Let's recap this lesson. You want ask someone “How he/she is?” What would you say?
Iva: If he or she is your friend?
Jonathan: Yes.
Iva: “Как си?”
Jonathan: And how about if this is your boss, for example.
Iva: “Как сте?”

Outro

Jonathan: OK. That's all for this lesson. In the lesson notes, you can find more details about this expression. So be sure to read them.
Iva: Yes, please! OK, see you next time!
Jonathan: Bye everyone!