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Yura: Pronunciation Series Lesson 5 - Five Common Pronunciation Mistakes. Welcome back to the Pronunciation Series.
Iva: We are now at the last lesson in the series.
Yura: That’s right. You’ve come such a long way.

Lesson focus

Iva: In this lesson, we are going to teach you another important aspect of Bulgarian pronunciation.
Yura: This one is a big one so make sure you listen carefully. Once you’re done with this lesson, you’ll be on your way of having great Bulgarian pronunciation.
Iva: So, what topic are we covering in this lesson?
Yura: In this lesson, we’ll go over the top five pronunciation mistakes in Bulgarian. It’s important that you, our listeners, are familiar with them so that you can minimize them when you speak.
Iva: That’s right. What’s our first one?
Yura: Tip number one is: remember to trill your R’s.
Iva: Remember that in Bulgarian, the letter „r” is not pronounced in same way as it is in English.
Yura: That’s right. You don’t want to end up staking out like a sword thumb. And of the ways that people can detect a foreign accent over the phone is by the way you pronounce this particular sound.
Iva: For example, if you want some Bulgarian traditional alcoholic drink, you ask for ракия “rakiya ”. Ракия with a trilled „r”.
Yura: Yes. If you ask for ракия with an English like „r”, who knows what you’ll get?
Iva: So, what’s our next pronunciation tip?
Yura: Tip number two is: note the Bulgarian л „l”. The way the Bulgarians pronounce л „l” varies. Many young people pronounce it often as a “уъ”. Why is that?
Iva: Well, this phenomenon commonly known as мързеливо Л, lazy „l” in Bulgaria, was first registered in 1970’s and isn’t connected to regional dialects.
Yura: There are similar cases in languages like Polish, Sеrbocariation and certain dialects of English such as Coking.
Iva: So, how do we correct this?
Yura: Well, when you pronounce л „l”, make sure you say it as in „call” and not „cold”.
Iva: That’s good advice. What’s the next one?
Yura: Tip number three is: be careful with the voiced and voiceless consonants.
Iva: Right. In Bulgarian, a letter that represents a voiced consonant can represent its voiceless counterpart and vice versa.
Yura: When combined with the voiceless or voiced consonant respectively.
Iva: Right. This happens also when a voiced consonant is syllable final like in the word нож. The ж in the end sounds like „sh”.
Yura: Right. Another example is?
Iva: Вторник – „Tuesday”, where the в sounds like ф actually. Another good one is the word for „building”: Сграда. Here again, it gets voiced and sounds like with a „z”.
Yura: That’s a great example. So, what is the next step that we have here?
Iva: Tip number four is: learn where to put the stress in Bulgarian words.
Yura: Remember that the word stress in Bulgarian is also very important.
Iva: You can be recognized as non-native speaker by putting the stress on the wrong syllables.
Yura: Yes. You must also notice that Bulgarian stress is distinctive. For example:
Iva: въ̀лна.
Yura: Wool. And:
Iva: вълна̀
Yura: Wave, are only differentiated by stress.
Iva: Yes. For example, the same for the words па̀ра – „steam” and пара̀ – „coin”.
Yura: Again, notice the stress position in the beginning or the end of the word.
Iva: Ok, Yura, what’s the last tip we have for everyone?
Yura: Tip number five is watch out for similar sounding words. This could happen in any language, but Bulgarian has many words that sound really similar. The difference being only one syllable or something like that. And when you’re starting out and having still a small vocabulary it becomes even easier to mix words up.
Iva: Right.
Yura: What are some more infamous examples?
Iva: One example is жена̀ and жѐня.
Yura: That sounds really similar. So, what do they mean?
Iva: жена̀ without a я means „woman” while жѐня with a я means the verb „marry”.
Yura: Yes. You have to be careful with this one. You wouldn’t like to propose the first woman you meet.
Iva: Yes. That would be extremely awkward.
Yura: How about another example?
Iva: Here it is. коса and коза.
Yura: Wow. What do those mean?
Iva: коса means „hair”, the one on the head usually. коза is the word for „goat”.
Yura: So, be careful when you’re offering a compliment to a woman’s hairstyle.
Iva: Yes, that’s right.


Yura: All right. These are the top five tips for avoiding pronunciation mistakes in Bulgarian.
Iva: Remember to keep practicing.
Yura: We can’t stress this enough. Listening and repeating is the quickest way to get these sounds down.
Iva: That’s it for these series. See you next time.
Yura: See you.