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Lesson One - Nouns

Now we have mastered the alphabet it's time to start a complete 12-lesson course to give you a thorough grounding in the Bulgarian language. This course was developed exclusively for Quest Bulgaria by Catherine Billebeau an international language teacher of English and Russian and a dedicated fan of Bulgaria. So, now over to Catherine ...

You have become familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet by now (see 'Complete Language Course' article in this section). Even though some of the letters still prove difficult to remember or pronounce, you know you are on the right track.

Before we start, I would thoroughly recommend you to purchase a good dictionary. In future lessons I intend throwing in some words which I won't be giving you a translation for ... it's up to you to find them in the Bulgarian dictionary and discover their meaning! I would advise that you print off each lesson in turn and make your own notes on them (and translations of words I haven't given).

The noun:

A Bulgarian word can either be masculine, feminine or neutral. This is called the gender of the word. It obeys to some rules which can be perceived as difficult at the beginning but will become easier with practice. In order not to hinder your progress, do not focus on the grammatical terms, just memorise the way it works.

Learning a foreign language is a slow process and you should always remember to put things into practice every time there is an opportunity for you to do so and this without any fear of making mistakes.

One more thing you will have to take into consideration before we start explaining how the Bulgarian word works is the stress. Keep in mind that the stress is essential to pronounce the word correctly and therefore make yourself understood properly. To make things easier for you, the stressed letter will always be marked in bold: Кола, kola = car

Tip: In Bulgarian, all the letters and syllables are pronounced exactly as you see them.

Once again, stick to the step by step motto to keep language confidence on your side. Try to practice a little bit and often to ensure some progress ... remember, Rome wasn't built in a day!

Look at the table below to understand how the Bulgarian word works. At the moment we will deal only with the singular as the plural obeys that might generate confusion at this early stage! Try to read and understand all of the words in this table. Also, try to write the words in cyrillic alphabet in your own notebook, making a note of the translations shown in brackets.


Adding the 'The'!

Although we have chosen not to introduce the plural for now because of the difficulties it might generate, you will find comfort in being able to use the definite article which is characteristic of its presence at the end of the word. The suffix changes according to the gender of the word.

For most masculine words, use –ьт at the end of word:
офис = офисът (office = the office) куфар = куфарът (suitcase = the suitcase)

For most feminine words, use –та at the end of the word:
кола = колата (car = the car) къща = къщата (house = the house)

For neutral words, use –то at the end of the word:
време = времето (weather = the weather) бюро = бюрото (desk = the desk)

Time to Practice

Time has now come to put things into practice and check how much you can remember from the previous page. Take a look at the words in the table below and determine their gender. The solution will be provided in the next lesson. Watch out, there is an exception to the rule hidden in there!!


If you have correctly found the gender of the words above, then, see how many of these words you can now use with the definite article (adding the 'the'!). Print off the table and try to write the words in the middle column with the appropriate 'the' added. Also, this is a perfect method of starting to read and write using the cyrillic alphabet.

We have tried to make you learn words you will hear and use in every day conversation. Once you are completely confident in reading, writing and speaking the words in this lesson, then proceed to Lesson Two.

Успех! Good luck!

До скоро! See you soon!