Remember that in Bulgarian, there is no indefinite article such as the English a. The word for cat, "котка", can be used alone to mean "a cat" (an indefinite cat).
In English, that same cat can be made definite by using the: "the cat" (a specific one).
In Bulgarian, the definite article is added at the end of the noun, attached to it:
"котка" - a cat
"котката" - the cat
The article will vary depending on the gender and ending of the word:
|Feminine nouns that end in consonants||-та||нощ ➜ нощта|
|Nouns that end in -а or -я||-та||котка ➜ котката|
|Nouns that end in -е or -о||-то||кафе ➜ кафето|
|Masculine nouns that end in consonants||-ът/-а*||мъж ➜ мъжът / мъжа*|
|Plural nouns ending in -a or -я||-та||кафета ➜ кафетата|
|All other plural nouns||-те||градове ➜ градовете|
* Why are there 2 different articles for masculine words?
Masculine words ending in a consonant will use the -ът article when they are the subject of the sentence, and the -а article when they're not.
"Мъжът говори" - The man is talking
"Аз говоря с мъжа" - I'm talking with the man
In the second sentence, "I" is the subject and "the man" is the object, thus it gets the -а article.
The long form is also used for the predicate after a copula (that is, after stative verbs like "to be").