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Jan 02

Bulgarian New Year’s Vocabulary

By Darina Rossier | Language

The beginning of the year is a good time to start learning or to continue improving your Bulgarian. To support you, we have a little gift for you. We created 2 short lessons with common phrases and words related to the new year that you can use these days when speaking to your Bulgarian friends and family.
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Jun 24

More Tips for Learning Bulgarian

By Darina | Language , Learning

Bulgarian leaningIn the previous article we gave you some tips about learning Bulgarian. But there are more things you can do to make the learning experience easier and more entertaining.

Visualize what You Learn

It helps if you visualize the words that you are learning. Don’t just translate them to English, but try to imagine the object or action that the word represents. If you want to learn the word for “pear”, imagine the fruit and connect it with the word in Bulgarian – круша. This video lesson can help you learn a few fruits by visualizing them.

Learn Phrases

Learn phrases rather than verbs. It is easier to remember because there is a story behind. You can even invent funny or silly sentences to help you remember the more challenging words. It’s easier to remember the phrase “Един билет, моля” (One ticket please), than the word билет on its own.

Learn Grammar Literally

Imagining the grammar literally will help you learn it faster. Don’t try to translate grammar. For example, the Bulgarian phrase for “I miss you” is Липсваш ми which literally translates to “You are missing to me”.

Chat

Find a Bulgarian you can talk with. If you already have Bulgarian friends ask them to speak with you in their language from time to time. If you don’t have any Bulgarians to talk to go to a chat room or Facebook and meet some. Bulgarians are quite curious about foreigners and would gladly help you exercise. When you learn a new word try to use it immediately in the next sentence, if possible, in order to commit it to mind. We remember by repetition so you need to repeat the new words until you get familiar with them.

Immerse Yourself in the Language

Exercise by reading news in Bulgarian (you can do it herehere and here), watching TV shows (here), reading stories (such as Little Red Riding Hood), listening to radio (here) or watching Bulgarian movies (here). Do a Bulgarian day. Cook yourself a moussaka, read the news and watch this Bulgarian comedy. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all. The immersion in the language will help you, you will realize later that you recognise words that you’ve heard in this movie or that radio program and that will make them easier to remember.

What’s the Word For…

This basic sentence will help you learn a lot of new Bulgarian words. So, if you want to know how an object is called in Bulgarian, point at it and ask the nearest Bulgarian “Коя е думата за това?” (Koia e dumata za tova?|What is the word for this?).

Learn Bulgarian Idioms

Start learning idioms. If you translate them literally some of them sound funny and are easy to remember. For example, the idiom изплюй камъчето, literally translates to “spit out the pebble”, but is used as the English “spill the beans”. This will help you get a feeling for the language.

Jun 17

How to Learn Bulgarian

By Darina | Language , Learning

Learning Bulgarian

Learning a new language is always a challenge. A lot of new words have to be remembered and new sentence structure and grammatical rules have to be mastered. It can, however, be a fun process.

Listed below are a few tips that will show you how to learn Bulgarian easily by emerging yourself in the language.

Create a Routine

Do a little every day. It doesn’t have to be for long, but if you don’t refresh your knowledge daily, you will forget what you know easily. In order to create a routine easily, add the Bulgarian learning activity to an already existing routine. Learn a few new words with your morning coffee or watch a short video lesson before your TV time at evening. Make it happen.

Learn the Correct Pronunciation

Most languages have general rules for the correct words stress. Bulgarian is not one of them. It is easier, therefore, to memorize each word with the correct word stress from the beginning. On this website, all Bulgarian words have the correct stress indicated with a bold letter. For example: Ябълка – the letter я is the sound which should be prolonged when you pronounce the word.

Practise Unfamiliar Sounds

Every language has their typical sounds. In Bulgarian, the sounds that are different from any sound in English are the ones corresponding to the letters ж, р, ц, ч, ъ. You can hear them in our alphabet video.

Flash Cards

It is a well known technique. You can make them yourself, using small cards with the Bulgarian word on one side and the English one on the other. Flip them during the day and examine yourself. There are also a lot of free flash card apps for smartphones, which provide you with hassle free learning. You can learn while waiting on the bus stop and utilize otherwise wasted time. You can also employ your visual memory by adding post it notes on common objects at home which you are currently trying to remember. Stick a note at your hair brush saying “четка”, and after a few days you will learn the word without much effort on your part.

Talk to Yourself in Bulgarian

As an addition to flash cards, a good exercise would be to speak in your head the words corresponding to the objects you see. Go trough your day and when you see a lamp, a car or a store, say the words in Bulgarian in your mind. To expand this even further, try to think whole sentences. Write your shopping list in Bulgarian or if you are a diary person, try to add a short entry in Bulgarian every day. This might not be a controlled environment but you will still be practicing and that’s more important.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

Learning a new language always involves some awkward situations. You will say stupid things, you will misunderstand people. This is part of the process. Embrace it. Enjoy it. After a few years when you become fluent in Bulgarian you will have a good arsenal of funny lost-in-translation stories to share with your friends. It is not a big deal to make mistakes but it is important to get over the fear of it, because it hinders you to exercise and practising is the best way to learn a language.

May 29

Fruits: Bulgarian Video Lesson

By Darina | Language , Learning

If you want to learn some more Bulgarian words, we suggest you try our new video. Instead of words, this time we use pictures of the fruits to teach you their names in Bulgarian. As usual, each word is repeated in a slower pace. Here is the video:

The point of this exercise is to help you visualise the physical object while learning the word for it in Bulgarian. This way you should be able to learn the words intuitively.

So please tell me at the end: how do you like learning with pictures?

Jun 03

The Bulgarian Alphabet

By Darina Rossier | Language

We’ve decided to share a mini-lesson of the Bulgarian Alphabet with you. This video is part of our Bulgarian language course called QuickStart Bulgarian. Because it is a beginner course, QuickStart Bulgarian’s first lesson teaches the Bulgarian alphabet, how to read it, as well as explanation related to some challenging letters and specifics. The following video is the “fast mode” of the Bulgarian alphabet, or simply the alphabet without shown examples.

May 24

Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature

By Darina Rossier | Culture , History , Language

Cyril and Methodius

May 24 is the Bulgarian education and culture, and Slavonic literature day. It is also known as the day of St. Cyril and Methodius, in honor of the brothers who created the Cyrillic alphabet. It is a public holiday in Bulgaria, celebrated with an abundance of cultural events.

Cyril and Methodius were canonized as saints for their extensive work for the christianizing of the Slavs and the creation of the first Slavic alphabet. They are also known as “Apostles of the Slavs”.

In a nutshell, Cyril and Methodius were born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. With the help of their uncle, Cyril received his education in the university of Mganaura (the most prestigious school in the Byzantine empire, where the children of the aristocracy got their education) and Methodius received a job as a manager of an area near Thessaloniki.

Cyril’s education and his ability to speak both Arabic and Hebrew made him appropriate for several missions in the Middle East. Then in 862 the prince of Moravia requested from the Byzantine emperor to send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. Cyril and Methodius were sent for this mission. During their mission they developed the Glagolitic alphabet, with the tasks of translating the Bible in Slavonic. The Glagolitic is the first alphabet used for the Slavonic language.

After the death of his brother, Methodius continued his work among the Slavs with the help of his disciples. However, the new Pope forbade the use of Slavonic for liturgy in the Church and Methodius found himself in an uncomfortable position; he had to flee to the First Bulgarian Empire.

The Glagolitics was based on the Greek letters and was difficult for daily use. St. Clement of Ohrid, a disciple of Cyril and Methodius, simplified the Glagolitic and thus the Cyrillic alphabet was born.

In memory of Cyril and Methodius, the national library of Bulgaria in Sofia bears their names. A statue of the two brothers is situated in front of the library in their honor. Also, the first modern Bulgarian university, the University of Sofia, bears the name of St. Clement of Ohrid.

Oct 02

Hadji Dimitar

By Darina Rossier | Culture , History , Language , Learning

Recently Bulgaria celebrated its Independence (September 22) and Unification (September 6) national holidays. It is a time of appreciation of freedom and what that freedom cost Bulgaria. In this sense we would like to share with you one of the most beloved poems in Bulgarian literature. It is about the last hour of a dying hero and praises the bravery and heroic deeds of the ones who fought for their country’s welfare.

Hadji Dimitar is a ballad-like poem written by the famous author, revolutionary and national hero Hristo Botev. It was published in 1873 in a revolutionary newspaper called “Independence”.  The author wrote a lot of poems, but the poem about his fellow-revolutionary Dimitar is surely the greatest of all.

The poem was translated to English by Henry Baerlein at 1904. Despite the complexity of the original poem, the translation is remarkably good. It is not completely literal but the translator tried to be as close as possible to the original. Below, you can find both the original text and the translated equivalent. You can use it for study purposes.

[av_one_half first]

Хаджи Димитър

Жив е той, жив е! Там на Балкана,
потънал в кърви, лежи и пъшка
юнак с дълбока на гърди рана,
юнак във младост и в сила мъжка.

 

На една страна захвърлил пушка,
на друга сабля на две строшена;
очи темнеят, глава се люшка,
уста проклинат цяла вселена!

 

Лежи юнакът, а на небето
слънцето спряно сърдито пече;
жътварка пее нейде в полето,
и кръвта още по-силно тече!

 

Жътва е сега… Пейте, робини,
тез тъжни песни! Грей и ти, слънце,
в таз робска земя! Ще да загине и тоя юнак…
Но млъкни, сърце!

 

Тоз, който падне в бой за свобода,
той не умира: него жалеят
земя и небо, звяр и природа
и певци песни за него пеят…

 

Денем му сянка пази орлица
и вълк му кротко раната ближе;
над него сокол, юнашка птица,
и тя се за брат, за юнак грижи!

 

Настане вечер – месец изгрее,
звезди обсипят сводът небесен;
гора зашуми, вятър повее, –
Балканът пее хайдушка песен!

 

И самодиви в бяла премена,
чудни, прекрасни, песен поемнат, –
тихо нагазят трева зелена
и при юнакът дойдат та седнат.

 

Една му с билки раната върже,
друга го пръсне с вода студена,
третя го в уста целуне бърже –
и той я гледа, – мила, зесмена!

 

“Кажи ми, сестро, де – Караджата?
Де е и мойта вярна дружина?
Кажи ми, пък ми вземи душата, –
аз искам, сестро, тук да загина!”

 

И плеснат с ръце, па се прегърнат,
и с песни хвръкнат те в небесата, –
летят и пеят, дорде осъмнат,
и търсят духът на Караджата…

 

Но съмна вече! И на Балкана
юнакът лежи, кръвта му тече, –
вълкът му ближе лютата рана,
и слънцето пак пече ли – пече!

[/av_one_half] [av_one_half]

Hadji Dimitar

He lives yet! he lives yet! there on the Balkan –
The blood has run dark from his bosom to die.
Behold the young hero whose bosom was throbbing,
Whose blood ever shouted as dawn in the sky.

There on the ground has he thrown the long rifle,
too and broken his sabre is hurled,
Over his eyes now the darkness is spreading,
On his lip trembles a curse for the world.

Silent he lies there and in the heavens
Has the sun halted and angrily glows,
Far down in the meadow some worker is singing
And faster and faster thet hero-blood flows.

It is the harvest. Sing, you slave-worker,
Sing the sad songs! You are shining, O sun,
Over a slave-land; ’twill die with our hero –
Have done with your tempests, my bosom, have done.

He that has fallen fighting for freedom
Chooses not death – to that hero belong
The tears of the sky and of earth and her children
And of the voice of the maker of song.

An eagle is spreading her wing for a shadow,
A grey wolf is licking the wound and above,
Above them the falcon, that bird of the heroes,
Floats over his brother, for sorrow and love.

Now falls the twilight and the moon clambers
Into that arch where the happy stars dance,
Now the wood rustles, now the wind hisses,
Now chants the Balkan a robber’s romance.

And all the white arrayed elves of the forest
Trumpet their wondering, silvery strain,
Softly they float thro’ the shadows above him,
Till they alight as the summer-sweet rain.

One of them brings the keen herbs of the woodland,
Another brings water to quicken his brow,
Another one calls him to life with her kisses,
So that he turns like a wind-embraced bough.

„Tell, me, where is my comrade Karadja?
Where are the faithfull who followed my sword?
Tell me and I shall sleep sweetly, my sisters,
Where yhe sweet blood from my body has poured.”

They clap with their hands, they embrace one another
And singing they fly on the back of the wind,
Fly to the dim region where ghosts have assembled
But never the ghost of Karadja they find.

Now dawn has leaped to the mountains;
the hero on the Balkan. Ah! see, the blood flows,
The grey wolf is licking his wound and the poison,
Scarlet the sun is and angrily glows.[/av_one_half]

Note: “Hadji” in old Bulgaria was a title for someone who went to a religious journey to Jerusalem and back. 

Here is a video where you can hear the original in well-spoken Bulgarian. The actual reading starts a bit later.

Jul 25

Bulgarian QuickStart Course

By Darina Rossier | Language , Learning

Hello!

We will launch a Bulgarian QuickStart Course at the beginning of August 2011.

This course is for you, if you want to…

  • finally get fluent in reading the Bulgarian alphabet
  • count in Bulgarian
  • be able to introduce yourself in Bulgarian
  • learn vocabulary for every day use (travel, relationships, shopping, restaurants etc.)
  • build your own basic phrases
  • learn to ask questions
  • learn more about the Bulgarian culture

and many more things, which we will announce later.

The course will be an online video course with the contents available in audio and text format as well. You can download everything and learn whenever and wherever you want, even on your mobile device.

The course is not for you, if you are already fluent in Bulgarian and have a rich vocabulary.

If you need a quick start into the Bulgarian language, we are looking forward to see you in the course at the beginning of August 2011.

Write us an e-mail in case you have further questions: support@learn-bulgarian.net