Personal Pronouns

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Lesson Notes

Unlike other slavic languages, Bulgarian does not generally have a case system. However, like English, Bulgarian preserved remnants of that system in the personal pronouns.

In English, when you say "I am", "I" is the nominative case of the 1st person singular personal pronoun, because it is the subject. When you say, "He told me", "me" is the accusative case of that same pronoun, because it is the direct object of a transitive verb ("he" is the subject). When you say, "He gave them to me", "to me" is a dative case, because it is the indirect object ("them", the direct object, is the accusative case of "they").

He           gave       them           to me
-----                   -----          -----
Nominative              Accusative     Dative


English Long Short
oneselfсебе сисе


English Long Short
to meна мен/менеми
to youна теб/тебети
to him/itна негому
to herна неяѝ
to usна насни
to youна васви
to themна тяхим
to oneselfна себе сиси


  • When used for politeness, вас/ви takes a capital letter
  • мен and мене, and теб and тебе are interchangeable

In modern Bulgarian, the long forms of dative cases are replaced by the preposition "на" followed by the long form of the accusative case. Note how the short dative pronouns are the same as the short possessive pronouns.

If you are a bit confused about whether you should use the accusative or the dative case, remember that the long dative forms use the "на" preposition, so the short dative forms can only be used where you would have used "на" + accusative in the long form.


Long forms come after the verb:

"Аз питам теб" - I am asking you
"Аз говоря на теб" - I am talking to you
"Давам ябълката на тях" - I give the apple to them

As a rule, the short forms are placed in front of the verb. However, as they are clitics, they can't appear as the first word of the sentence and sometimes have to be moved after the verb:

"Аз те питам" or "Питам те" - I am asking you
"Аз ти говоря" - I am talking to you
"Давам им ябълката" - I give them the apple

Generally, the short forms are prefered over the long ones, unless one wants to put the emphasis on the pronoun, or unless the long form is required by a preposition such as "с", "от" or "за". Even though it's not incorrect to use the long forms when the short ones could be used instead, it can sound a little convoluted, especially when there are several pronouns in the same sentence.

As a side note, you may remember the following sentence from the Possession lesson:

"Той е братовчед ми" - He is my cousin

This sentence can also be worded with a dative pronoun:

"Той ми е братовчед" - He is my cousin

Litterally, this would be "He is a cousin to me" but the meaning is the same as the first sentence.


Exercise 1

мен/мене, теб/тебе, него, ме, те, го, ела


Exercise 2

нея, нас, вас, тях, я, ни, ви, ги


Exercise 3

ми, ти, му, ѝ, ни, ви, им