To read Bulgarian Cyrillic we must first learn the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet. But DON’T PANIC! Most of the letters used in the Cyrillic alphabet are also used in the 26 letter Latin alphabet which is used in most parts of the world so you don’t have too many new letters to learn.
Bulgarian words are pronounced phonetically so learning the cyrillic alphabet is the key to help us read and pronounce words in Bulgarian.
If you dedicate only a few hours to this exercise you will be able to read Bulgarian Cyrillic.!!
You may not understand the meaning of the word but you should be able to pronounce it with some level of accuracy and at least be able to be understood by a local.
If you set your mind to it you could learn the alphabet in a day, but take it easy and learn 10 letters everyday for the next three days and practice on line with some Bulgarian phrases.
Did you Know?
The Cyrillic alphabet is used by over 252 million people in 12 countries throughout the world and by the end of this post we hope to make that number 252 million and one!
For more information and a brief history on the Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet read ‘Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet Day‘
Just before we move on,
Without getting into a big and confusing technical debate. I understand that some Bulgarian words use stress on a particular letter. For the sake of this post we are not getting into that. The aim of this post is to keep it simple and encourage you to know how easily you can start to read Bulgarian Cyrillic. You can either impress your friends the next time you watch Expendables 2 (shot in Bulgaria) or if visiting Bulgaria you may learn a few words before your arrival and,or, you maybe able to read your phrase book better!
Read Bulgarian Cyrillic Road Signs
If you visit Bulgaria you will notice that signposts to many major destinations are now written in Cyrillic and underneath will have the literal Latin word too. However off the beaten track, there are many villages that are still without these dual alphabet signs.
So, should you hire a car and find yourself in a situation with only a map written in Bulgarian Cyrillic. You will not have a problem finding your way around.
Although you may not understand all the words you are reading, sometimes you will be amazed at how many words you can work out and recognise that are similar to English and other European words we know.
The chart below shows all the 30 characters of the Cyrillic alphabet that make up all the words in the Bulgarian dictionary.
( most of them you already know)
- The first column shows the Cyrillic letter
- The second column shows the English sound of the Cyrillic letter
- The third column is an example of how that letter sounds in an English word.
Listen to the sound of the letters in THE VIDEO AND THE WRITTEN ALPHABET COLUMNS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE EXERCISES
Please just don’t just read through this text without checking on the letters.
Take a few moments to use the alphabet to get to know the Cyrillic letters and their corresponding sounds.
Ok, Lets have some fun!
Your first 3 Bulgarian words are: бар, хотел, телефон
б а р Looking down our list the first letter is pronounced b (as in boy), the second a (as in apple)and the third is r (as in rat) put them together and we pronounce it b a r. A place where we can have a well earned drink after this post. Well that was easy wasn’t it?
х о т е л The first letter is pronounced ch,(as in loch, I sometimes use a h I have problems with ch) next o,( as in pot) next t,(as in toy) next e,(as in egg) the last l,(as in luck) them together and we have h o -t e l. A place to stay when we spend too long at the б а р
How are we doing? You’ll soon get the hang of it.
т е л е ф о н First letter T, next e next l next e next f next o last n T e l -e -f o n (telephone) For calling to explain why we are are staying at a х о т е л.!
Well done !You have just read Bulgarian Cyrillic and learned your first three Bulgarian words. браво!
and more practice
Б ъ л г а р и я By putting your letters together you should have b ul gar i ya, say it quicker twice over ! Bul gar i ya Bul gar i ya (Bulgaria)
С о ф и я Put your letters together and you have Sof i ya (Sofia) the capital of Б ъ л г а р и я
П л о в д и в. the second largest city in Б ъ л г а р и я after С о ф и я is Plov div (П л о в д и в)
браво! You are beginning to sound like a local!
Writing your name in Bulgarian Cyrillic
Little bit more tricky but you can do this!
All names have a meaning, and so in any language your name should always be pronounced as in your native language, even though many names have an English or other nationality variant. for example, Paul = Павел (Pavel Bulgarian variant).
Although your name is not changed, it is written in Cyrillic as it sounds or pronounced because your Latin name may not contain letters from the Cyrillic alphabet, for example……….
My name is Paul. It sounds like Pol so we use the sound of Pol and in Cyrillic it will be written Пoл (it will not change to Павел (Pavel = the Bulgarian variant of Paul)
My name is John. (tricky one!) sounds like dzh on ( it does to some) so we use the sound of dzhon and is written in Cyrillic as Джoн .
Ok, Listen to the sound of your name and try to write it in Cyrillic.
Have a go at these 4 Bulgarian names. Scroll down if you need help with its Latin sound.
Now try these useful phrases.
scroll down if you need help
Good Day Добър Ден
What is your name? Как се казваш?
My Name is… kазвам се…
How are you? Как си?
I am good, thank you. Аз съм добрe, благодаря.
Good night Лека Нощ
For your last exercise read and translate these 5 drinks from Bulgarian Cyrillic .
наздраве!, Cheers, here’s to you and good health, Hic !
бира : водка : коняк : джин : уиски
Scroll down to check your answers to the Drinks Problem Below ?
Cyrillic names to Latin:
xристофор prounced chri sto for :Йордан pronounced yor dan : Желязко pronounced zhel yaz ko: Цветко pronounced svet ko
10 Useful Phrases in Bulgarian Cyrillic
dob ur den
kak se kaz vash?
kaz vam se…
az sum dobray, blag o dar ya
do vizh da ne
бира = Beer : водка =Vodka : коняк =Cognac: джин =Gin : уиски =whisky
How did you Do ? Leave a comment with your Cyrillic name.
I hope you have enjoyed and managed to get the hang of how to use the sounds of the alphabet to pronounce words in Bulgarian Cyrillic. Don’t worry if its not exact, our different dialects sometimes make it hard to pronounce the letters like a local.
Its just a matter of practice!