Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Iva: “Здрасти!”
Yuri: You're in for a very useful lesson today.
Iva: That's right. We're here to give you some tips on how to avoid common mistakes made by learners of Bulgarian.
Yuri: Now remember, there's nothing wrong with making mistakes.
Iva: It's how you learn.
Yuri: Today, we'll give you a heads up, so that you can be aware and it will make your Bulgarian language learning experience a lot easier.
Iva: Let's get started.

Lesson focus

Yuri: Tip number one. Don't talk fast.
Iva: It's so hard to understand someone when they speak too fast.
Yuri: When you hear native Bulgarian speakers, it will seem like they are talking a thousand words per minute, but don't feel like you need to keep up. They're native, which means they can talk as fast as they want.
Iva: Many foreigners try to speak as fast as Bulgarians do, and even though their grammar is perfect, they smash the words together in ways that we can't decipher. It usually takes years of fine-tuning pronunciation to be able to speak as fast as a Bulgarian.
Yuri: I met a guy who had been living in Bulgaria for almost a year, and people still had a hard time understanding even simple phrases because he spoke so fast that he would jumble up the words. He started speaking slower, and people started understanding him more.
Iva: I've seen that happen many times.
Iva: What's the next tip?
Yuri: Tip number two. Be careful with the cognates of the English words.
Iva: Bulgarian and English have many cognates, but it isn't that simple.
Yuri: That's true. You have to be careful not to try copy the original pronunciation, but to learn the way Bulgarians pronounce it.
Iva: Should we go through some simple patterns?
Yuri: That sounds like a great idea. The easiest one to remember is that English words that end in Y will probably end in "ya" in Bulgarian.
Iva: Like “мелодия”, which means "melody" and “фантазия”, which means "fantasy."
Yuri: The next one is that English words that end in -ic often end in -en respectively in Bulgarian,
Iva: Like the word "dramatic," which is “драматичен” and "dynamic," which is “динамичен” in Bulgarian.
Yuri: There are a few more patterns that are useful to know, but we will go over those in future lessons.
Yuri: Tip number three. Learn basic conjugations.
Iva: Bulgarian verb conjugation is also important.
Yuri: Yeah. Bulgarian verbs are divided into three conjugations according to the vowel they use. The verb conjugation is affected by person, number, gender, tense, mood, and voice.
Iva: But don't worry. We'll go through the rules in our lessons, but still that is way too many to go over in just one lesson.
Yuri: And for that matter, if you're just starting out, “съм” or "to be" is a great place to begin because it is the most commonly used verb in Bulgarian.
Iva: People starting to speak Bulgarian often say things like “те уморени” or “аз сме американец”. This is incorrect and very painful for Bulgarians to hear.
Yuri: Yeah. It's kind of like hearing "They is tired" or "I are Americans," only worse.
Iva: Learning the correct conjugations isn't hard, but can be time consuming as there are so many. Just remember to pace yourself and focus on what each conjugation means instead of its grammatical function.
Yuri: That's right. Many people get frustrated when it comes to verb conjugation, because so much focus is placed on the grammatical function that the actual meaning of the verb is somehow lost.
Iva: We'll try to avoid that sinkhole in these lessons and help you understand verbs the way the Bulgarians do.
Yuri: That way, you'll learn faster and communicate better.
Iva: So what's our next tip?
Yuri: Tip number four. Learn the pronunciation now.
Iva: That's right. Don't delay. We've dedicated an entire lesson series to pronunciation because it's that important in Bulgarian.
Yuri: A mentor of mine always said, it doesn't matter how well you know the grammar. If you don't pronounce it right, they won't understand you.
Iva: So true.
Yuri: Tip number five. Watch out for stressed and non-stressed vowels.
Iva: This is very important.
Yuri: In Bulgarian, the length of the vowels differ when they are stressed and non-stressed. This is one of the most difficult aspects for foreigners to master, because the differences are so minor that most don't even notice there's a difference.
Iva: But we notice. It's one of the first things we hear when foreigners start talking.
Yuri: The good news is that with a bit of practice, knowing when a vowel should be stressed or not is easy.
Iva: For example, when the noun has the definite article, the stress moves to the second syllable, like in, “Мъ̀ж. Мъжъ̀т”, or "Man. The man."
Yuri: Could you say them again, one right after the other?
Iva: Sure. “Мъ̀ж”. “Мъжъ̀т”.
Yuri: The vowels in Bulgarian are shortened and lengthened depending on the stress. It's important to be aware of these early so you can learn them the right way the first time.


Iva: So make sure to listen to and practice the examples, so that when the time comes, you'll have the right word with the right pronunciation.
Yuri: Alright. Well, these are our top five tips for avoiding common mistakes in Bulgarian.