Bulgarian grammar

Bulgarian grammar

Bulgarian grammar is the grammar of the Bulgarian language. The Bulgarian language is a South Slavic language that also is one of the members of the Balkan sprachbund. As such, it shares several grammatical innovations with the other southwest Balkan languages that set it apart from other Slavic languages. These include a sharp reduction in noun inflections; most Bulgarian nouns and adjectives are inflected for number and gender, but have lost noun cases. Bulgarian also has a suffixed definite article, while most other Slavic languages have no definite article at all. Bulgarian has also lost the verb infinitive, while otherwise preserving most of the complexities of the Old Bulgarian verb conjugation system, and has further developed the proto-Slavic verb system to add verb forms to express nonwitnessed, retold, and doubtful ("irrealis") actions.

Bulgarian is a part of the Balkan linguistic union, which also includes Greek, Macedonian, Romanian, Albanian and Torlakian dialect of the Serbian language. Most of these languages share some of the above-mentioned characteristics.


Bulgarian nouns have the categories grammatical gender, number, case (only vocative) and definiteness. A noun has one of three specific grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) and two numbers (singular and plural), With cardinal numbers and some adverbs, masculine nouns use a separate count form. Definiteness is expressed by a definite article which is postfixed to the noun.

-a/-я and -ът/-ят (masculine singular)-та (feminine singular)-то (neuter singular)

-те (masculine, feminine plural)-та (neuter plural)

Case remnants

:"See also: Bulgarian Language - Case"

While Bulgarian has largely lost its declensions, some remnants of the old cases do still exist. Due to their rarity, however, they are no longer seen as case endings, but are rather considered to be part of some completely different phenomenon, such as being a subcategory of the definite article or of the plural, as with the genitive, below:

* the accusative and the dative still survive -
** in the personal pronouns - eg. "mene" (me), "neya" (her); "nèmu" (to him), "im" (to them, short form)
** in the masculine only of some key words such as the interrogative pronoun "кой (koy)" "who" and its derivatives, and in some other related words, such as "vseki" (everyone), "vsekigo" (acc.), "vsekimu" (dat.). This usage is becoming ever rarer, especially in the spoken language.

* the genitive case is preserved in the masculine -
** in the incomplete definite article suffix ("nepulen chlen"). This is used when the noun is the "object" of a sentence:
*** stol (a chair) → stol"at" (the chair, subject) → pod stol"a" (under the chair - object)

* the vocative -
** for family members - eg. "майка → майко" ("maika → maiko" - "mother")
** for masculine names - eg. Петър → Петре (Petar → Petre)

* the instrumental -
** mostly for set phrases, such as "noshtem" ("during the night", from "nosht"); "sbogom" ("farewell" - lit. "with God", from "s + bog"); or "begom" ("while running" from "byagam" - to run)

Remnant of the dual

:"See also: Language and Nouns articles"

In Bulgarian, the numerical plural form "(broyna mnozhestvena forma)" is a remnant of the grammatical dual number, which disappeared from the language in the Middle Ages. The numerical form remains in the masculine, when there is a precise amount of something, eg. –
* stol (chair) → mnogo stol"ove" (many chairs) → dva stol"a" (two chairs) / kolko stola? (how many chairs?) [The forms the words take in the numerical plural and in the incomplete definite (genitive remnant, see above) are often identical to each other – eg. "dva stola/pod stola", as above, or "dva konya/na konya" - "two horses/on the horse"), but not always – eg. "grad" (city) → "dva gràda" (two cities), but "v gradà" (in the city), or "svyat" (world) → "dva svyàta" (two worlds), but "na svetà" (in the world).]

An exception occurs in some "exclamations" following "kolko", when the inferred meaning is "what a large amount of!": "kolko kone! (ordinary plural, lit. "how many horses!")" - meaning "look at all those horses!".


A Bulgarian adjective agrees in gender, number and definiteness with the noun it is appended to and is put usually before it. The comparative and the superlative form are formed analytically.


Bulgarian pronouns vary in gender, number, definiteness and case. The distinguishable types of pronouns include the following: personal, possessive, interrogative, demonstrative, reflexive, summative, negative, indefinite and relative.


"Main articles: Bulgarian verbs and Bulgarian conjugation."

Bulgarian verbs are the most complicated part of Bulgarian grammar. They are inflected for person, number and sometimes gender. They also have lexical aspect (perfective and imperfective), voice, nine tenses, five moods and six non-finite verbal forms. Bulgarian verbs are divided into three conjugations.


The voice in Bulgarian adjectives is presented not through the auxiliary verb, as it is in English ("I "have" eaten" - active; "I "was" eaten" - passive), but rather by the ending on the past participle; the auxiliary remains "съм" ("to be"):
* Active - "ударил съм... - udaril sum..." - I have hit...
* Passive - "ударен съм - udaren sum" - I have been hit


Mood in Bulgarian is expressed not through verb endings, but through the auxiliary particles "че (che)" and "да (da)" (which both translate as the relative pronoun "that"). The verbs remain unchanged. [In ordinary sentences, the imperfective aspect is most often used for the indicative, and the perfective for the subjunctive, but any combination is possible, with the corresponding change in meaning.
* eg iskam da stanesh (perfective) / iskam da stavash (imperfective) - i want you to get up.The latter is more insisting, since the imperfective is the more immediate construction.
] Thus:
* Indicative - че -
** eg. "знам, че си тук - znam, che si tuk" - I know that you are here;
* Subjunctive - да -
** eg. "искам да си тук - iskam da si tuk" - I want you here (lit. "I want that you are here")

The inferential is formed in exactly the same way as the perfect, but with the omission of the auxiliary:
* Perfect - "той е бил - toy e bil" - he has been
* Inferential - "той бил - toy bil" - he (reportedly) was

The imperative has its own conjugation - usually by adding "-и" or "-ай" ("-i" or "-ay") to the root of the verb:
* eg. sit - "сядам → сядай" ("syadam → syaday" – imperfective), or "седна → седни" ("sedna → sedni" – perfective).
** Negative instructions - either "ne syaday" or "nedey da syadash" - "don't sit down". (See section on "intentional particles".)

Word order

Although Bulgarian has almost no noun cases its word order is rather free. It is even freer than the word order of some languages that have cases, for example German. This is due to the agreement between the subject and the verb of a sentence. So in Bulgarian the sentence "I saw Lubomir" can be expressed thus:
* Видях Любомир.
* Любомир (го) видях.It is clear that the subject is "аз" ("I"), because the verb "видях" ends in x.

Other examples - Ivan greeted the girls:
* Иван поздрави момичетата.
* Момичетата (ги) поздрави Иван.
* Иван момичетата поздрави.
* Момичетата Иван (ги) поздрави.
* Поздрави Иван момичетата.
* Поздрави (ги) момичетата Иван.Theoretically all permutations are possible but the last one sounds rather odd.

The girls greeted Ivan:
* Момичетата поздравиха Иван.
* Иван (го) поздравиха момичетата.
* Момичетата Иван поздравиха.
* Иван момичетата (го) поздравиха.
* Поздравиха момичетата Иван.
* Поздравиха (го) Иван момичетата.

The clitic doubling (го/ги) is obligatory only when the subject and the object are both in third person, and they are either both singular or both plural, but when the meaning is clear from the context it can be omitted. Examples:
* Иван го поздрави Мария. - Maria greeted Ivan.
* Мария я поздрави Иван. - Ivan greeted Maria.but
* Ролите озвучиха артистите... - The artists...(enumerating their names) sound-screened the roles. (They made the soundtrack for the film.)In the compound tenses, when a participle is used, and when the subject and the object are of different gender or number, the clitic doubling can also be left out. So the first two of the above examples can be expressed in a compound tense thus:
* Иван (го) е поздравила Мария. - Maria has greeted Ivan.
* Мария (я) е поздравил Иван. - Ivan has greeted Maria.Although they sound odd without the doubling, the meaning is clear.



In Bulgarian, the numbers 1 and 2 take gender.

Furthermore, numbers take special endings when:
* referring to men (2-6 and 10, and 20-100) - add "-ma""
** eg. 2 chairs - "dva stola"; 2 brothers - "dvama bratya"
* referring to a roundabout number (10-100 and, rarely, 5-9) - add "-ina""
** eg. "dvadeset dushi" - 20 people; "dvadesetina dushi" - about 20 people
* they are used as common nouns - add the feminine "-ka"/"-tsa" [Less commonly - "-"orka" (eg. "shestorka, sedmorka"); or else the masculine ""-ak", but only to the numbers 6-8 and 10-100 - "shestàk, stotàk", etc.]
** "sedem" - "seven", but "sedmitza" - the number seven (as in "the seven" in a deck of cards, or "bus number seven", etc.). [With adjectives or definite articles – "hvani sedmitzata" - "catch "the" (bus) number seven"; "dai edna sedmitza" "give me a (card number) seven"; "novata sedmitza" "the new (Audi Q-)7", etc.]

* In Bulgarian, numbers can be used directly in front of uncountable nouns - eg. "vodа" "water" → "edna voda" "a glass of water" (the quantifier" 'glass of' "is inferred from the context - comp. English " 'a beer"').
* The word "edni" can be translated as "some" - eg. "edni tzigari" "some cigarettes" (comp. Spanish "unos/unas").
* When counting, the "neuter" numbers are taken - "edno, dve, tri...".
* Fractions are the same as the ordinal numbers, and are done in the feminine 1/5 - edna peta, 2/5 - dve peti, etc.
* The words for men can be used by themselves, without a noun following - eg. simply "vidyah dvama" - I saw two men, or even colloquilaly "edni dvama..." - these two men...
* Irregularly, "sedmina" and "osmina" can be used (archaically, poetically) to also mean "7/8 men" rather than "around 7/8".
* The smaller denomination of the Bulgarian currency - the "stotìnka (pl. stotìnki)" literally mean "hundredths" (diminutive); 100 stotinki = 1 lev.


External links

* [http://bg.wiktionary.org/wiki/Начална_страница Bulgarian Wiktionary]

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