Basics - Part 1

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Lesson Notes

Definite and indefinite articles

In English, and many other languages, there are 2 types of articles: definite and indefinite.

The woman - A definite woman
A woman - An indefinite woman

There is no indefinite article in Bulgarian. See how the words "жена" (woman) and "куче" (dog) are used alone to refer to "a woman" or "a dog":

"Тя е жена" - She is a woman
"Аз имам куче" - I have a dog

(although sometimes, the word for "one", едно, can be used in a way similar to an indefinite article)

Basic forms of "to be"

In Bulgarian, verbs are conjugated according to the subject (I, you...) and the tense (present, past...). Тhe conjugation is applied to the ending of the verb.

Bulgarian verbs do not have an infinitive form. When referring to a verb, we use the first person conjugation of that verb. This is the citation form: the form used to refer to a verb or to look it up in a dictionary, and is different from the infinitive in a grammatical sense.

For example, "to be" is "съм" in Bulgarian. "Съм" is used for the citation form and for "I am".

In this lesson, you will be introduced to these two conjugations of "съм":

I amаз съм
he/she/it isтой/тя/то е


"Той е мъж" - He is a man
"Тя е жена" - She is a woman
"Това е куче" - This is a dog

Since conjugations are unique to each subject, the pronoun can generally be left out.
Instead of "аз съм мъж" (I am a man), you can say "мъж съм".

Why did the verb suddenly change position?

Most words in Bulgarian have a tonic accent (a stressed syllable). However, the present forms of "to be", such as "съм", are not accentuated, and it is a rule that a sentence cannot start with a non-accentuated word.

"Аз съм мъж" or "Мъж съм" - I am a man


"Не" means "no" in Bulgarian. It can also be used to negate a sentence:

"Ана не е мъж" - Ana is not a man

"Да" means "yes":

"Да, мъж съм" - Yes, I am a man

How to type Cyrillic on your keyboard?

In this exercise you will need to type sentences in Cyrillic.

If you already have a Cyrillic keyboard, that's great! Otherwise, don't worry, there's a way to type Cyrillic on your phone or your classic (say, QWERTY) keyboard.

Check out these links to find out how to install another keyboard layout (such as Bulgarian Cyrillic), on your operating system:

Another option, if you're on a computer, is to use or transliteration tool. With it you can just type in Roman letters and we'll convert that to Cyrillic for you!

Bulgarian Transliteration Input Helper

For some Bulgarian letters that do you have a direct equivalent in Roman letters, you'll have to use a combination of letters like "ya" for "я" and "zh" for "ж". Please refer to the Cyrillic lesson for the romanization standard.


Exercise 1

аз, е, жена, и, или, котка, куче, мъж, не, съм, това


Exercise 2

да, кола, къща, момиче, момче