The Focus of this Lesson is Asking if Someone can Speak a Language
О... знаете ли български?
O... znaete li bylgarski?
"Oh... you know Bulgarian?"
In Bulgarian, when people ask about language ability they usually use this format Знаете ли~ (language) for the formal speech and Знаеш ли~ (language) for the informal. The literal meaning is "Do you know~ (language)?" Note that this type of expression is mostly used in the conversational context, as in this lesson's dialogue. The more formal and correct way to ask the same question is Говорите ли~ (language)? for the formal speech and Говориш ли~ (language)? for the informal. The English meaning is "Do you/Can you speak~ (language)?" For this second expression the formal version is used more often than the informal one. Still, it is recommended to use it as a proper way to ask about someone's language ability.
When expressing amazement at someone's language ability, we can simply say Говорите~ (language)?! for the formal speech and Говориш~ (language)?! for the informal with the right intonation that shows we did not expect such fact.
All these expressions are used when we want to confirm if someone can speak the target language.
Saying Languages in Bulgarian
Note that in Bulgarian, when we want to say "Bulgarian language" for example, we say български език or just български. Actually, the context shows we are talking about language so usually the word for language in Bulgarian, език, is omitted. Note also that languages in Bulgarian are written in lower case, unlike English.
- Говориш ли английски?
Govorish li angliiski?
"Do you speak English?"
- Знаете ли немски?
Znaete li nemski?
"Do you know German?"
Examples from this Dialogue
- Мария: О... знаете ли български?
Maria: О... znaete li bylgarski?
"Oh... you know Bulgarian?"
- Знаете ли английски?
Znaete li angliiski?
"Do you speak English?"
- Говорите ли български?
Govorite li bylgarski?
"Do you speak Bulgarian?"
This type of question usually includes the Bulgarian particle for forming questions ли. It means something like "whether" in English. Without it, we can form a question with the same meaning as explained above but we need to change the intonation so that the sentence can sound like question. With ли, we emphasize the word for language instead.
Getting to this Popular Bulgarian Tourist Destination
In this lesson the dialogue takes place on an airplane going from the Black Sea-side resort and big city of Varna to the capital Sofia. This type of flight is very common during the summer vacation and is a relatively low-cost flight. Bulgaria has four nonstop flights between the two cities. Three airlines operate these flights. Eleven flights per week fly out of Varna, connecting to Sofia, with just under 1,200 seats available per day. The shortest flight between Varna and Sofia is 226 miles and lasts about one hour.
Varna Airport is the third largest airport in Bulgaria and is located ten kilometers from the center of the city of Varna. There are domestic and international flights to about 70 destinations in 25 countries, with Bulgarian and foreign airlines. The busiest season for the airport is from the end of May to the beginning of October, just like the tourist season at the Black Sea resorts.
|Becky: Hello and welcome to BulgarianPod101.com. This is Lower Beginner, season 1, lesson 1 - Making Friends on a Bulgarian Flight. I’m Becky.|
|Iva: Zdrasti. My name is Iva!|
|Becky: In this lesson, you'll learn how to talk about someone’s language ability.|
|Iva: This conversation takes place on a plane.|
|Becky: It’s between Maria and James.|
|Iva: The speakers are meeting for the first time, so they’ll be using formal Bulgarian.|
|Becky: OK, let’s listen to the conversation.|
|POST CONVERSATION BANTER|
|Becky: Iva, let’s talk a little more about the dialogue.|
|Iva: Well, it takes place on an airplane going from the Black Sea resort and big city of Varna, to the capital Sofia.|
|Becky: Are those flights popular?|
|Iva: They are very common during the summer vacation, and they are also relatively low-cost flights.|
|Becky: How about the length of the flight? What’s the distance between the two cities?|
|Iva: The shortest flight between Varna and Sofia lasts about one hour.|
|Becky: I see. Sounds fast and comfortable!|
|Iva: It is! Varna Airport is the third largest airport in Bulgaria.|
|Becky: Is it in the city of Varna?|
|Iva: It’s actually 10 kilometers from the center of the city.|
|Becky: And the busiest season for the airport is from the end of May to the beginning of October.|
|Iva: Because that’s how long the tourist season at the Black Sea resorts is.|
|Becky: So listeners, if you’re going on holiday in Bulgaria, keep that in mind! Ok, now on to the vocab.|
|KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES|
|Becky: Let’s take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. What`s first, Iva?|
|Iva: The first word we have is “Заповядайте”.|
|Becky: This is a Bulgarian expression used when inviting people to enter a place, right?|
|Iva: Yes. But also when offering them a seat.|
|Becky: Like saying “Go ahead!”|
|Iva: Exactly. “Заповядайте”.|
|Becky: So this form is in the formal speech?|
|Becky: Ok, can you tell us the informal one?|
|Iva: The informal one is “Заповядай”.|
|Becky: Listeners, repeat both words after Iva.|
|Iva: “Заповядайте” and “Заповядай”.[pause]|
|Becky: OK, what’s next?|
|Becky: This is a Bulgarian adverb meaning “actually”.When do you use it?|
|Iva: When you want to change the subject, or to introduce a new subject, usually in conversation.|
|Becky: Is it a formal word?|
|Iva: Actually, you can use it both in the formal and in informal situations.|
|Becky: Ok, now what is the last word?|
|Becky: It is a Bulgarian adverb used in the expression “Nice to meet you”, right?|
|Iva: Yes, “Nice to meet you” is “Приятно ми е да се запознаем!”|
|Becky: Do you use it in other cases?|
|Iva: Yes, it means “pleasant”, so here we have it`s neuter form.|
|Becky: What are the other forms?|
|Iva: The masculine is “приятен” and the feminine is “приятна”.|
|Becky: Alright. Now it’s time for the grammar.|
|Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask about someone’s language ability in Bulgarian.|
|Iva: In Bulgarian, when people ask about language ability, they usually say “Знаете ли~ (language)”.|
|Becky: This is for the formal speech?|
|Iva: Yes. “Знаеш ли~ (language)” is for the informal.|
|Becky: Could you repeat them again for our listeners please?|
|Iva: “Знаете ли~ (language)” and “Знаеш ли~ (language)”.|
|Becky: The literal meaning is “Do you know~ (language)?”|
|Iva: Note that this type of expression is mostly used in the conversational context,|
|Becky: …as in this lesson’s dialogue.|
|Iva: A less colloqiual and more correct way to ask the same question is “Говорите ли~ (language)?”|
|Becky: For the formal speech. And for the informal?|
|Iva: “Говориш ли~ (language)?”|
|Becky: And again, listeners, repeat after Iva.|
|Iva: “Говорите ли~ (language)?” and “Говориш ли~ (language)?”|
|Becky: The English meaning is “Do you/Can you speak~ (language)?”|
|Iva: Yes. For this second expression, the formal version is used more often than the informal one.|
|Becky: When you ask someone you don’t know, and you need to check if they can speak your language, for example.|
|Iva: I recommend using it as a polite way to ask about someone’s language ability.|
|Becky: What else can you tell us?|
|Iva: When expressing amazement at someone’s language ability, we can simply say “Говорите~ (language)?!” for the formal speech and “Говориш~ (language)?!” for the informal.|
|Becky: And you have to say it with the right intonation to show that it’s unexpected.|
|Iva: That’s right, all these expressions are used when you want to confirm whether someone can speak the target language, or not.|
|Becky: What about the part where you add the language you are asking about?|
|Iva: Well, in Bulgarian, when you want to say “Bulgarian language” for example, you say “български език” or just “български”.|
|Becky: Which one is used more often?|
|Iva: The shorter version is used in everyday speech.|
|Becky: Actually, the context shows we are talking about languages, so usually the word for “language” in Bulgarian is omitted.|
|Iva: And that word is “език”, by the way.|
|Becky: And “English language” will be?|
|Iva: “Английски език”.|
|Becky: And, "Do you speak English?"|
|Iva: ...is “Говориш ли английски?”|
|Becky: Ok, is that all?|
|Iva: Yes. But just one note - language names in Bulgarian are written in lowercase, unlike English.|
|Becky: That’s an important thing to remember.|
|Becky: OK, that’s all for this lesson. Listeners, make sure to check the lesson notes for more information and to reinforce what you’ve learned in this lesson.|
|Iva: Yes. Thanks for listening, everyone.|
|Becky: We’ll see you next time, bye!|