Bulgarian belongs to the southern branch of Slavic language family, along with Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian and Bosnian. If you decide to learn Bulgarian you don’t just gain access to one language, but you start to unlock others as well. Meaning, that if you understand Bulgarian, you’ll understand most of Macedonian, and to a lesser extent Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian. Therefore knowing a language such as Bulgarian can be a fantastic asset especially when traveling around the Balkans.
Introduction to the Slavic language family
Why not learn Bulgarian as a springboard to learn one of the other Slavic languages ? One major difficulty that learners of the various Slavic languages come up against is the complex case system. While certainly no walk in the park, thanks to the loss of its case system (with the exception of pronouns), Bulgarian is slightly easier for native speakers of Romance and Germanic to learn. After learning Bulgarian you can use it as a stepping stone to Russian for example.
The Bulgarian people
When I come across someone learning Bulgarian, one of the most common answers I get for why they’re learning Bulgarian is that they have a Bulgarian boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s even why I started learning the language myself. While most of the younger generation of Bulgarians can speak English to varying degrees, the older generation (such as parents and grandparents) doesn’t fare so well, therefore learning the language can help you communicate with your partner’s family members. I must also mention Bulgarians are very proud of their language and extremely helpful especially when they find out that you’re learning Bulgarian.
Bulgaria is a popular tourist destination thanks to its beautiful landscape. It boasts mountains that are great for hiking or skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. During the summer, the beaches are popular destinations. One thing I like really like about Bulgaria is the rich history, especially for its ancient Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine ruins. Also, speaking the language is obviously extremely useful when traveling throughout the country. I had hardly heard of Bulgaria before I visited, and I’m convinced it is one of the gems of Europe that everyone should visit at least once during their lifetime.
With roughly 12 million speakers, learning the Bulgarian language will definitely make you unique in the world. Perhaps you would like to learn a language off the beaten track and distinguish yourself from the hordes of people learning languages such as French, German, Spanish and others. I’ve been asked many a time “Why learn Bulgarian?” from fellow language learners and even Bulgarians themselves, so be ready for that question, it will come up frequently.