Basics - Part 2

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Lesson Notes

Grammatical gender

In Bulgarian, nouns have a "gender". This is called the grammatical gender and is unrelated to the meaning of a word. Instead, it can generally be determined by looking at the ending of the word.

Every Bulgarian noun is of one of these 3 genders:

Masculine Words ending in a consonant (incl. -й) (ex: мъж)
Feminine Words ending in -а or -я (ex: жена)
Neuter Words ending in -о or -е (ex: куче)

The letter й is a semi-vowel and words ending in -й, such as чай (tea), are usually masculine.

Unfortunately, those are just guidelines, and there will be exceptions, that you will learn throughout the course. Here's one word that you've seen before: нощ (night, as in лека нощ - good night) is a feminine word.

One last thing: words ending in -и, -у and -ю are generally loan words (often coming from English), and are usually neuter. For example: меню (menu), такси (taxi).


The ending of a noun changes in its plural form:

Gender Ending Plural
Masculine ‑consonant +и or +ове
Feminine ‑а or ‑я ‑и
Neuter ‑о or ‑е ‑a or +та

As with the genders, those are general rules subject to exceptions. Here's the first one: the plural of мъж (man) is мъже (men).

For masculine words, "и" is added at the end of words having more than one syllable, whereas "ове" is added at the end of monosyllabic words.

приятел ➜ приятели (friend/friends)
град ➜ градове (city/cities)
мъж ➜ мъже (man/men)

For feminine words, the final -а or -я is replaced with "и".

жена ➜ жени (woman/women)
стая ➜ стаи (room/rooms)

For neuter words ending in -о, the final "о" is replaced by "а". For those ending in -e, and for loan words, an extra "та" is added at the end:

село ➜ села (village/villages)
кафе ➜ кафета (coffee/coffees)
такси ➜ таксита (taxi/taxis)

To be

We previously saw how to use съм (to be) with "I" and "he/she/it". Here's the full conjugation of the present tense, along with all personal pronouns:

Съм - Present
I amаз съм
you are*ти си
he/she/it isтой/тя/то е
we areние сме
you are*вие сте
they areте са

Remember that in Bulgarian, there are two ways to say "you":

The first (ти) is used when talking to only one, familiar person (friend, family...). The second (вие) is used when either talking to a group, or to one person when using formal speech (elder stranger, ...).

When вие is used for formality, it is capitalized ("Вие").


Exercise 1

две, една, жени, кафета, мъже, ние, са, сме, те, ябълка, ябълки


Exercise 2

град, градове, котки, кучета, кучето, момичета, момчета, харесвам


Exercise 3

вие, меню, приятел, приятели, села, село, си, сте, такси, ти


Exercise 4

кафета, ябълки, кучета, таксита