Reading Bulgarian

Note that some Bulgarian letters, when written in italics (or someone’s handwriting) look a bit confusing. As you can see on the picture, the Bulgarian small letter “T” is written like a small “M” in the Latin alphabet. Similar is the case with letters и, п, й. The letters д and г are completely unlike any character in the Latin alphabet.
The italics are not too often used but you should have that in mind in case you need it some day.

Remember: In Bulgarian each letter corresponds to just one specific sound.

In English, a letter can be read in several ways. For example, the letter C sounds different in the words cat and cell. In Bulgarian, this does not exist. The letters always represent just one sound.

The exception is only one:

When a word ends with any of the letters Б, В, Г, Д, Ж, З those letters are read as П, Ф, К, Т, Ш, С respectively. You don’t need to remember this rule, it will come naturally. Mainly because it is much more difficult to pronounce the last letter clearly in a word ending in the first set of consonants. Here is how the letters sound change:

Б => П | В => Ф | Д => Т | Г => К | Ж => Ш | З => С

This means, that if we have a word ending with З, for example – гаЗ (you can hear it in the video), we pronounce it гаС. In the next short video you can hear several examples of this rule.

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Word Stress

The word stress in Bulgarian is dynamic. There is no certain rule that indicates which vowel should be stressed in a word. The stressed syllable sounds louder and longer. It is important to remember the right words stress from beginning because it is more difficult to unlearn the sound of a wrongly remembered word. Also, the stress on some words can change their meaning. For example, the word “вълна” (stressed on the “a”) means wave. The word “вълна” (stressed on “ъ”) means wool.

From now on in this course we will indicate the stressed vowel with a bold letter (as shown above). Of course, you can hear the right pronunciation of almost all words also in the videos.

Test Your Reading Skills

We have learned the Alphabet and some new words. Now is the time to try reading correctly. The following video exercise leaves you enough time to read the words by yourself. After a certain period you will be able to hear the correct pronunciation. Note that there will be a few unknown words!

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Reading Bulgarian:

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Test Your Reading Skills:

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