1. Grammar and Spelling
Section One – Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender and Case: Bulgarian has three noun genders, but it does not have cases.
2. Plural: There is no easy way of identifying the plural form as there are different plural endings for the three genders. However, the ending 'и' is the most frequent indicator of the plural form.
3. One-letter words: The only spelling form that might look to be a typographical mistake to a foreign eye is the capital letter 'B' which is used for the polite form of address, i.e. 2nd person plural.
4. Capitalisation: The general capitalisation rules in Bulgarian are roughly the same as in English - i.e. every sentence begins with a capitalised word and all proper names are capitalised. However, although proper names are capitalised, their derivatives (for instance adjectives formed from them) are not capitalised as they are in English. Hence we have България (Bulgaria), but български (Bulgarian). In longer proper names that can normally be abbreviated, only the first name is capitalised - i.e. USA (CAЩ = Cъeдинeни aмepикaнcки щaти).
Section Two – Punctuation
1. Speech marks: The first of the inverted commas is usually at the bottom whereas the second one is at the top (e.g. . ... .). However, it is widely accepted that, when typed, inverted commas are the same as in English because very few typewriters and/or computers have that facility.
If it is widely accepted to have the inverted commas the way they appear in English, it is because not many Bulgarian writers/typists bother to make this feature easily accessible from their keyboards. It is just a matter of assigning this function to a key the first time you buy your PC/keyboard. It is often easier to use the default settings of your equipment than to customise it.
Direct speech in Bulgarian is marked with a dash .-. as in French, whereas thoughts are usually marked with inverted commas.
2. Full stops: Normally, there are no full stops at the end of headings/bullet points, unless they are a series of proper sentences.
The other forms of punctuation are rather similar to those in English.
Section Three – Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: The only official measurements are metric. Imperial measurements are usually converted into metric ones, unless they are kept for specific purposes - i.e. 'local colour', conversion impossible, etc.
There are no measurements specific to Bulgaria.
Date: Normally dates are abbreviated as a combination of Arabic (for dates and years) and Roman numerals (only for months) - i.e. 11.IV.1999.
However, any of the three forms normally used in English are also visible nowadays - i.e. 25.10.1999 (this one is equally acceptable, but less so the ones that follow) or 11/12/99 or 20-10-99 (these are also recognised as date formats when seen in writing, but far from frequently used by Bulgarian writers).
Time: there are no abbreviated forms equivalent to am and pm and normally the hour is followed by the full word - e.g. 10.00 (a comma is traditionally used to separate the hours from the minutes) пpeди oбяд (before noon) and 2.00 cлeд oбяд (afternoon), but the 24 hour clock is much more commonly used - e.g. 10.30 and 14.30.
Numbers: Normally, numbers are written with a decimal comma (7,6)
although a decimal point (7.6) is acceptable
and is becoming more common as a separator.
Percentages should always use a decimal
There is normally a space between numbers and the measurement abbreviation [25 cm, 48 g etc.] except in the case of 34°C.
e.g. = Нaпp.
Section Four – Hyphenation
Hyphenation is a common feature in Bulgarian and the rules are similar
to those in English: i.e. for linking different
words (бpитaнcкo-бългapcкo cътpyдничecтвo = British-Bulgarian cooperation) and for splitting words over
a line (бaлaн-
In addition, hyphenation is a well-known and strictly adhered to rule which is used to form the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives and adverbs. Here, Bulgarian uses particles put before the adjective or adverb, separated by a hyphen, e.g. .по-силен. (stronger) or .по-интересен. (more interesting) and .най-силният. (the strongest) or .най-интересният. (the most interesting).
Unlike English, the rule of forming the comparative and superlative degrees is applied to all adjectives and adverbs regardless of their length, composition or number of syllables.
In Bulgarian, as in English, it is the common sense approach that serves as a guiding principle and there are no strange or unusual do.s or don'ts in this respect because the rules about dividing a word into syllables are simple, clear and straightforward, e.g. бa-нa-нoв кpeм = ba-na-na- cream.
Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities
As Bulgarian is currently going through a transitional stage from the rigidity of the Communist era to the flexibility of the post-Communist period, it is not easy to rely on any hard and binding rules. However, the main principles still applied are:
- English words which have Bulgarian equivalents should not be transliterated
or left in English.
Direct speech is always marked with a dash, e.g.: - Aз cъм oт Бългapия - кaзax aз. - Oткъдe cтe Виe? = "I am from Bulgaria", I said, "where are you from?"
Inverted commas are often used to express thought.
Upper case B (V) is used for polite forms.
Commas are used rather freely.
Section Six – Geographic Distribution
Bulgarian is spoken by about 90 percent of the population of Bulgaria, or some 8 million people. It is one of the Slavic languages and, in fact, played an important role in the historical development of this language family. When the first alphabet for the Slavic languages was devised in the 9th century, it was a dialect of Bulgarian that served as the base. During the Middle Ages it was one of the three major literary languages of Europe. The modern Bulgarian alphabet is virtually the same as the Russian.
The correct way to put this (with all my respect for the Russian language) is that the modern Russian alphabet is virtually the same as the Bulgarian since it was the Russians who borrowed the Cyrillic alphabet devised by the two Bulgarian brothers Kiril (Cyril) and Metodiyi (Methodius), and not the other way around. This is an historical fact recognised by the official Russian authorities and officially celebrated on 24th May (the Day of Slavic script and culture) in both countries.
Although part of the Slavic subgroup, a lot of specific features have evolved in Bulgarian over its historical development, which distinguish it from the rest of the Slavic languages, most importantly:
1. There are no noun cases.
2. There is a sophisticated and versatile tense system, while the rest of the Slavic languages have simplified their own.
3. Bulgarian has the category called .definiteness. of nouns manifested in the use of articles, which is not the case with the rest of the Slavic languages.
4. Unlike the other Slavic languages, the verb infinitive has disappeared from Bulgarian.
5. Bulgarian has some verb forms specially used to express actions not witnessed by the speaker, which are not present in the rest of the Slavic languages.
On the other hand, there are some important similarities between Bulgarian and the Romance, Germanic, and other Indo-European languages.
Bulgarian is spoken/used in the following countries:
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Section Seven – Character Set
[ ] = Alt key codes
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