Dialogue - Bulgarian

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Vocabulary

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свързан svarzan connected, related
уговорен ugovoren agreed upon, stipulated
интервю intervyu interview
обявявам obyavyavam announce, advertise
накратко nakratko briefly
идеален idealen ideal, perfect
работа rabota work
непознат nepoznat strange, unknown, unfamiliar
общувам obshtuvam to communicate, to interact

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of this Lesson is How to Speak in a Formal Context
Заповядайте! Уговорката Ви е с мен.
Zapovyadayte! Ugovorkata Vi e s men.

"Come in! Your appointment is with me."


 

1. Introduction of Personal Pronouns and the Subject Nominative

There are a total of nine categories of pronouns in Bulgarian language. Although nowadays no case forms are used by Bulgarians when they speak, three case forms have remained in the personal and interrogative pronouns forms. It takes some time and practice to learn them all. We will start with the Nominative form of the personal pronouns, and will introduce other cases and types of pronouns in the following lessons.

The Nominative (dictionary form) of pronouns is divided in two main groups according to number, and three sub-groups according to whether it is in first, second, or third-person:

Personal Pronouns in Nominative:

 

Number

Person

Bulgarian

"English"

Singular

1st

аз

"I"

2nd

ти

"you"

(singular informal)

3rd masculine

той

"he"

3rd feminine

тя

"she"

3rd neuter

то

"it"

Plural

1st

ние

"we"

2nd

вие

"you"

(plural, polite)

3rd

те

"they"

 

You can always double-check it with the question "Who?"

For example:

  1. Кой е това? - Това съм аз.
    "Who is this? - This is me."

 

*The formal "You":

In the Bulgarian language, there is a clear distinction between the formal and informal language forms. When speaking in a formal setting, no matter whether they are addressing one person or a group of people, Bulgarians use the second person plural form of the personal pronoun, which is вие.

The accepted rule is that in written speech, when Bulgarians want to be polite, they write the respective form of the personal pronoun with a capital letter.

As the verb in Bulgarian changes according to person and number, even if the personal pronoun gets omitted during a conversation, it is still clear whether people are talking in a formal or informal way.

Here are some examples:

Formal Singular or plural

Informal Singular

Informal Plural

Търсих Ви.

"I was looking for you."

Търсих те.

"I was looking for you."

Търсих ви.

"I was looking for you."

Този подарък е за Вас.

"This present is for you."

Този подарък е за теб.

"This present is for you."

Този подарък е за вас.

"This present is for you."

Ще й предам Вашето съобщение.

"I will pass your message to her."

Ще й предам твоето съобщение.

"I will pass your message to her."

Ще й предам вашето съобщение.

"I will pass your message to her."

 

 

The other two remaining case forms are:

Dative

The Dative is a "giving-taking" concept where we point out the "receiver" in the Dative. For example:

  1. Той ми даде подарък.
    "He gave me a present."

Той or "he" is a personal pronoun in Nominative and ми or "to me" is the "I" short personal pronoun form in Dative.

 

Accusative

The Accusative designates a person or thing to whom or which an action is being done.

  1. Те ме взеха от летището.
    "They picked me up from the airport."

Те or "they" is a personal pronoun in Nominative and ме or "me" is the "I" short personal pronoun form in Accusative.

 

 

2. Omitting the Personal Pronoun

If you would take a closer look back at the dialogue, you would notice that the interviewer and the interviewee hardly used any personal pronouns while they talked. For example, in these lines:

  1. Първо, бихте ли се представите накратко...
    "First, would you introduce yourself briefly?"
    OR
    Казвам се Калин и съм студент по Психология. Бих желал да започна работа през лятото.
    "My name is Kalin, and I study psychology. I would like to get a job during the summer."
    OR
    Какво имате предвид?
    "What do you mean?"   

As you already know, the verbs in Bulgarian change according to person and number, therefore even if you omit the personal pronoun, you will still be able to understand who is the subject of the conversation.

Omitting the personal pronoun in Nominative is actually very common in spoken language, both in informal and formal situations.

However, there are a few cases when the personal pronoun in Nominative CANNOT be omitted and they are as follows:

1. As the verb form of the three genders in third person singular is the same, this is one situation where the personal pronoun in Nominative cannot be omitted. If it is omitted the sentence will not make sense to the listener. For example:

We can say:

Отих на кино. ("I went to the cinema")

Отидохме на кино. ("We went to the cinema")

But we cannot just say:

Отиде на кино. ("went to the cinema,") because the subject might be either she or he. Therefore, we need to add:

Тя/Той отиде на кино. ("She/He went to the cinema")

 

2. It is not acceptable to omit the personal pronoun in nominative in written formal speech, especially in novels, stories, textbooks, reports, articles, etc. 

When you are writing a formal email, you would also be expected to have full sentences and not omit the personal pronouns.

For example, let's compare how Kalin introduced himself in the interview and what he would have done it if he had sent an introductory email to Gergana:

Introduction in the dialogue:

  1. Казвам се Калин и съм студент по Психология. Бих желал да започна работа през лятото.
    "My name is Kalin, and I study psychology. I would like to get a job during the summer."

 

Introduction in an email:

  1. Уважаема г-жо ... (фамилия),
    Аз се казвам Калин
    и съм студент по Психология...
    "Dear Ms... (family name),
    My name is Kalin, and I study psychology..."

 

Examples from the dialogue:

  1. Така... Първо, бихте ли се представили накратко...
    Taka... Parvo, bihte li se predstavite nakratko...

    "So... First, would you introduce yourself briefly?"
    Какво имате предвид?
  2. Kakvo imate predvid?
    "What do you mean?"

 

 

Sample Sentences


  1. Каква специалност сте завършили?
    Kakva spetsialnost ste zavarshili?

    "What major did you graduate with?"
  2. Къде сте работили преди?
    Kade ste rabotili predi?

    "Where did you work before?"
  3. Обаждам се, за да потвърдя срещата Ви за днес от 13 ч.
    Obazhdam se, za da potvardya sreshtata Vi za dnes ot 13 ch.

    "I am calling to confirm your appointment today at 1 p.m."

Cultural Insights

Може ли да си говорим на "ти"? ("May we talk in an informal way?")

The formal "you" form is usually referred to as the Vie-form, and the informal as the Ti-form.

When people address each other formally, they usually use their family names. The Vie- form is used when talking to people you do not know, or when you want to demonstrate respect or to acknowledge power distance. Respectively, when people use informal speech, they use their given names. The Ti-form is the language used between friends or when people want to intentionally shorten the power distance.

In the last 20 years, following the "western" pattern of creating a more friendly work environment, people have started using the informal form in the office. Especially in smaller companies, and when the boss is younger (say in their 30s or 40s), people prefer to be addressed by their given name. Even in government administration, people tend to use informal language when talking to colleagues.

Therefore, during an interview, especially if it is conducted by a recruiter, or by the person who is going to be the interviewee's direct supervisor, do not be surprised if shortly after the introduction, you hear the question:

Бихте ли имали нещо против да си говорим на "ти"? ("Would you mind if we talk to each other in the informal form?")

or

Може ли да си говорим на "ти"? ("May we talk in an informal way?")

As mentioned, the Vie- form is the language of respect. Therefore, if you have started a relationship with someone in a formal way, but over time you get really close, you might still continue to address the person in a formal way. For example, if you have a school teacher with whom you still keep in touch even long after you have left school, you might keep addressing your former teacher by their family name and use the Vie- form with them. In this case, the Vie- form is not an expression of power distance, but of your respect to the other person.

Sometimes, as a kind of joke, long-time friends or family members might use the Vie- form to address each other. Then they will use their family names. Here is an example:

  1. Какво ще кажете, г-жо Петрова, дали бихте желали да отидем на кино тази вечер?
    "What do you say, Mrs. Petrova, would you like to go to the cinema this evening?"

Finally, a semi-formal way to talk to people exists in the Bulgarian culture. It may occur in a formal context, when you want to slightly shorten the distance between each other, but still to not become too close. In this case, you might hear people using their given names, but talking in the formal Vie- form. For example:

  1. Мария, бихте ли организирали, моля, среща между мен и г-н Иванов по някое време следващата седмица?
    "Mary, would you please organize a meeting between me and Mr. Ivanov some time next week?"

 

 

 

 

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome to BulgarianPod101.com. This is Intermediate Season 1 Lesson 1 - A Bulgarian Job Interview, Part 1. Eric here.
Tina: Здравейте. I'm Tina.
Eric: In this lesson you’ll learn how to speak in a formal context. The conversation takes place in the office of a recruitment company.
Tina: It's between Gergana and Kalin.
Eric: The speakers are strangers, so they'll be using formal Bulgarian. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
Калин: Здравейте! Имам уговорено интервю за 10 ч, за позицията "Аниматор на круизен кораб".
Гергана: Заповядайте! Уговорката Ви е с мен.
Гергана: Така... Първо, бихте ли се представили накратко...
Калин: Казвам се Калин и съм студент по Психология. Бих желал да започна работа през лятото.
Гергана: Разбирам... А защо проявявате интерес към тази позиция точно?
Калин: Иска ми се да правя нещо, което ми е интересно и е свързано с моята специалност.
Гергана: Какво имате предвид?
Калин: Лесно общувам с непознати и обичам да създавам добро настроение. Това изглежда като идеалната работа за мен.
Eric: Listen to the conversation with the English translation.
Kalin: Hello! I have an appointment for an interview at 10 am for the position of cruise ship host.
Gergana: Come in! Your appointment is with me.
Gergana: So... First, would you introduce yourself briefly?
Kalin: My name is Kalin and I study psychology. I would like to get a job during the summer.
Gergana: I see... And why are you interested in this job opening in particular?
Kalin: I'd like to do something that I'm interested in and is related to my major.
Gergana: What do you mean?
Kalin: I interact easily with strangers and I love to keep up the good mood. This sounds like the perfect job for me.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Eric: Tina, in Bulgarian, formal language and informal language are separated. Could you tell us more about that?
Tina: Sure. When you talk to someone you should keep in mind that the formal “you” form is usually referred to as the Vie-form, and the informal as the Ti-form.
Eric: How can we decide which one to use?
Tina: You should use the Vie- form when you’re talking to people you don't know, or when you want to demonstrate respect or to acknowledge power distance. When people address each other formally, they usually use their family names. On the other hand, when people use informal speech they use their given names. The Ti-form is used between friends or when people want to feel closer.
Eric: What about on the job?
Tina: In the last 20 years people have started using the informal form in the office, following the "western" idea of a friendly work environment.
Eric: And how about in job interviews?
Tina: During an interview, especially if it’s conducted by a recruiter, or by the person who is going to be the interviewee's direct supervisor, do not be surprised if shortly after the introduction you hear the question Бихте ли имали нещо против да си говорим на "ти"?
Eric: Meaning “Would you mind if we talk to each other in the informal form?”
Tina: or also Може ли да си говорим на "ти"?
Eric: meaning “May we talk in an informal way?” Listeners, check out the lesson notes to get more details about these forms. Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Eric: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Tina: интервю [natural native speed]
Eric: interview
Tina: интервю[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: интервю [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: уговорен [natural native speed]
Eric: agreed upon, stipulated
Tina: уговорен[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: уговорен [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: свързан [natural native speed]
Eric: connected, related
Tina: свързан[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: свързан [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: работа [natural native speed]
Eric: work, job
Tina: работа[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: работа [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: обявявам [natural native speed]
Eric: announce, advertise
Tina: обявявам[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: обявявам [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: накратко [natural native speed]
Eric: briefly
Tina: накратко[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: накратко [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: общувам [natural native speed]
Eric: to communicate, to interact
Tina: общувам[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: общувам [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Tina: непознат [natural native speed]
Eric: strange, unknown, unfamiliar
Tina: непознат[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: непознат [natural native speed]
Eric: And lastly..
Tina: идеален [natural native speed]
Eric: ideal, perfect
Tina: идеален[slowly - broken down by syllable]
Tina: идеален [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Eric: Let's have a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first phrase is..
Tina: провеждам събитие
Eric: meaning "to conduct” or “to carry out an event."
Tina: провеждам is an imperfective transitive verb and means “to do something” or “to carry out something.”
Eric: The verb is almost exclusively related to the organizing and carrying out of an event.
Tina: It can be used in phrases such as провеждам среща
Eric: "to hold a meeting"
Tina: or провеждам избори
Eric: "to carry out elections"
Eric: It is most often used in formal or reported speech, like in a business setting or news announcements.
Tina: In informal speech, the verb провеждам can sometimes be replaced by правя
Eric: which means "to do." Can you give us an example using the formal version?
Tina: Sure. For example, you can say.. Срещите на Световния икономически форум се провеждат в Давос.
Eric: ..which means "The meeting of the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos." Okay, what's the next phrase?
Tina: явявам се (на интервю)
Eric: meaning "to go to" in situations like an interview.
Tina: явявам се is a reflexive verb and literally means "to appear, to show up, to arrive," and the verb contains the notion of expectedness. It's very close in meaning to the verb появявам се, which means "to appear, to show up, to come into view," but that verb somehow contains the nuance of unexpectedness or surprise.
Eric: Let’s explain this a little more with some examples.
Tina: For example, you can say both явявам се на интервю and появявам се на интервю,
Eric: both are translated in English as “to go to an interview.”
Tina: появявам се на интервю would imply that you do it unexpectedly or uninvitedly, whereas явявам се на интервю would imply that you went through a required procedure.
Eric: Can you give us an example?
Tina: Sure. For example, you can say.. Бебето се яви на бял свят в 2 часа през нощта.
Eric: .. which literally means "The baby saw the light of day at 2 am," meaning that's when the baby was born. Okay, what's the next phrase?
Tina: подготвям (се за интервю)
Eric: meaning "to prepare."
Tina: подготвям is an imperfective verb meaning "to prepare, to get ready," and it contains the notion that something is in the process of preparation; the perfective form of the verb is подготвя. It can also be a reflexive verb - подготвям се, подготвя се, implying that the action is performed by oneself.
Eric: It can be used both in formal and informal situations.
Tina: Right. For example, Подготвяш ли се за сватбата?
Eric: .. which means "Are you getting ready for the wedding?"
Tina: You might also hear Самолетът се подготвяше за излитане, когато неочаквано затвориха летището.
Eric: meaning "The airplane had been preparing for take off when they closed the airport unexpectedly." Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Eric: In this lesson, you'll learn how to speak in a formal context while mastering personal pronouns.
Tina: There are a total of 9 categories of pronouns in Bulgarian. Although nowadays no case forms are used by Bulgarians when they speak, three case forms have remained in the personal and interrogative pronouns forms.
Eric: It takes some time and practice to learn them all. We'll start with the nominative form of the personal pronouns. The nominative form of pronouns, which is also the dictionary form, is divided into two main groups according to number, and three sub-groups according to whether it is in first, second, or third-person. Let’s see the singular ones first.
Tina: For the first person we have аз
Eric: Which means “I.”
Tina: The second person is ти
Eric: which is "you," singular informal.
Tina: For the third person there are three forms, masculine, той, feminine, тя, and neuter то
Eric: Which respectively translate as “he,” “she,” and “it.” Let’s list the plural ones now.
Tina: They are ние, вие and те
Eric: Respectively meaning “we,” or “you” in the plural and polite form, and “they.” Let’s give an example.
Tina: For example Кой е това? - Това съм аз.
Eric: meaning "Who is this? - This is me." The plural “you” is also used as the polite form of “you” right?
Tina: Right, when speaking in a formal setting, no matter whether they are addressing one person or a group of people, Bulgarians use the second person plural form of the personal pronoun, which is вие.
Eric: Listeners, remember that the accepted rule is that in written speech, when Bulgarians want to be polite, they write the respective form of the personal pronoun with a capital letter. Let’s give the same examples in both the formal and informal version. For example, what’s the formal version of “I was looking for you”?
Tina: Търсих Ви. The informal is Търсих те.
Eric: Both are translated as “I was looking for you” in English, but they are two different sentences in Bulgarian. Now which are the other two cases that you mentioned before?
Tina: The dative and the accusative.
Eric: The dative is a "giving-taking" concept where we point out the "receiver" in the dative.
Tina: Here’s an example -Той ми даде подарък.
Eric: “He gave me a present.”
Tina: Notice that Той or “he” is a personal pronoun in nominative and ми or “to me” is the “I” short personal pronoun form in dative.
Eric: The accusative designates a person or thing to whom or which an action is being done.
Tina: Here is an example - Те ме взеха от летището.
Eric: “They picked me up from the airport.”
Tina: Те or “they” is a personal pronoun in nominative and ме or “me” is the “I” short personal pronoun form in accusative.
Eric: We have talked about the pronouns, but if we take a closer look back at the conversation, we can see that the interviewer and the interviewee hardly used any personal pronouns.
Tina: That’s right, for example, Gergana says Първо, бихте ли се представите накратко…
Eric: meaning “First, would you introduce yourself briefly?”
Tina: Kalin says Казвам се Калин и съм студент по Психология. Бих желал да започна работа през лятото.
Eric: meaning “My name is Kalin, and I study psychology. I would like to get a job during the summer.” As you already know, the verbs in Bulgarian change according to person and number, so even if you omit the personal pronoun, you'll still be able to understand who the subject of the conversation is.
Tina: Omitting the personal pronoun in nominative is actually very common in spoken language, both in formal and informal situations.
Eric: Are there any cases when the personal pronoun cannot be omitted?
Tina: Yes, for example, when the verb is in the third person singular, because it’s the same for all three genders.
Eric: Let’s give some examples.
Tina: For example, we can say Отих на кино.
Eric: Meaning “I went to the cinema”
Tina: but we can’t just say Отиде на кино.
Eric: meaning just “went to the cinema”. The subject might be either she or he. We need to add the pronoun.
Tina: Right, for example Тя отиде на кино.
Eric: “She went to the cinema.”
Tina: Also in written speech, we always need to add the personal pronoun. This is not only the case for textbooks or articles, but for formal emails as well.
Eric: So, suppose that Kalin wants to introduce himself in an email to the company he applied for, what should he write?
Tina: Аз се казвам Калин и съм студент по Психология…
Eric: Which means “My name is Kalin, and I study psychology…”
Tina: While in the dialogue, he just said Казвам се Калин, without Аз at the beginning.

Outro

Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Tina: До скоро!