Vocative forms are used when you call someone's name to get their attention, as in:
Boris, where are you?
Usually the vocative is applied to names or nouns representing people, but it can also apply to objects (as one can address the sky, etc.).
In the above sentence, the name Борис will become Борисе:
Борисе, къде си?
Only singular masculine and feminine nouns have distinct vocative forms. Neuter and plural words, as well as family names, do not change in the vocative case.
Most masculine words form the vocative by adding -е, except:
- Those ending in -х, -ж, -ш, -ч, -ц, -к, -я and -ин have a vocative in -о
- Those ending in -л, -й, -ар, -яр have a vocative in -ю
- Those ending in -o don't have a distinct vocative form
Note that for masculine words with a vocative in -е, the final -к changes to -ч, -з to -ж,
and -г to -ж.
Also note that for words ending in an unaccentuated -ър, -ък, -ъг or -ъл, the "ъ" is dropped in the vocative form.
- Иван ➜ Иване (Ivan)
- Петър ➜ Петре (Peter)
- мъж ➜ мъжо (man, husband)
- работник ➜ работнико (worker)
- лекар ➜ лекарю (doctor)
There are many exceptions amongst masculine words. Here are a few for words you know:
- татко ➜ тате or татко (dad)
- баща ➜ тате or татко (father becomes "dad" in the vocative)
- син ➜ сине or синко (son)
- брат ➜ брате or братко (brother)
- лекар ➜ докторе (doctor)
Most feminine words form the vocative by replacing the final -а with -о, except:
- Those ending in -ица have a vocative in -e
- Those ending in -ка usually have a vocative in -е, except that those that represent people usually have it in -о
- Those ending in -я have a vocative in -ьо, unless they end in -ия, in which case they form the vocative in -йо
- Those ending in a consonant don't have a distinct vocative form
- сестра ➜ сестро (sister)
- кралица ➜ кралице (queen)
- майка ➜ майко (mother)
- учителка ➜ учителко (teacher)
- леля ➜ лельо (auntie)
- мария ➜ Марийо (Maria)
There are some exceptions. A common one is:
- дъщеря ➜ дъще (daughter)
Note that vocative female first names ending in -о (like Марийо) may sound a bit harsh or even rude to some people, and are usually avoided. In this case you can use the name in its usual form.
- god: бог
- right: прав
- carrot: морков
- question: въпрос
- professor: професор