Bulgarian is a Southern Slavic language with about 12 million speakers
mainly in Bulgaria, but also in Ukraine, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Greece,
Romania, Canada, USA, Australia, Germany and Spain. Bulgarian is mutually
intelligible with Macedonian, and fairly closely related to Serbian, Croatian,
Bosnian and Slovenian.
Bulgarian was the first Slavic language to be written: it start to appear in
writing during the 9th century in the Glagolitic
alphabet, which was gradually replaced by an early version of the
Cyrillic alphabet over the following centuries.
At the end of the 18th century the Russian version of Cyrillic
or the "civil script" of Peter the Great (1672-1725) was adapated to write Bulgarian
as a result of the influence of printed books from Russia. During the 19th century
a number of versions of this alphabet containing between 28 and 44 letters were used.
In the 1870s a version of the alphabet with 32 letters proposed by Marin Drinov became
widely used. This version remained in use until the orthographic reform of 1945
when the letters yat (Ѣ ѣ), and yus (Ѫ ѫ) were removed
from the alphabet.
A modern literary language based on vernacular spoken Bulgarian was standardised
after Bulgaria became independent in 1878. Many Turkish words were adopted into
Bulgarian during the long period of Ottoman rule. Words have also been borrowed
from Latin, Greek, Russian, French, Italian, German and increasingly from English.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Recordings on this page by Стефан Валериев
Станчев (Stefan Valeriev Stančev)