By Published On: January 27th, 2016Categories: Article

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?” by fellow language learners and even Bulgarians themselves, so be ready for that question, it will come up frequently. When I first came to Europe I honestly can say I had never heard of Bulgaria the country or the Bulgarian language. But after having visited Bulgaria numerous times since then I have come to appreciate this country with its rich history and culture and a place that I always recommend to friends that are visiting Europe.

So, why would you want to learn Bulgarian? In this article, I give you five reasons why I think learning Bulgarian is worth it, some of these may or may not apply to you.

It’s a great introduction to the Slavic language family

Why not learn Bulgarian as a springboard to learning 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 easier for native speakers of Romance and Germanic languages to learn. After learning Bulgarian you can use it as a stepping stone to other Slavic languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian etc.

Mutual intelligibility

Bulgarian belongs to the southern branch of the Slavic language family, along with Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian and Bosnian. If you decide to learn Bulgarian you do not just gain access to one language, but you start to unlock others as well. Meaning, that if you understand Bulgarian, you will understand most of Macedonian, and to a lesser extent Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Slovenian. Therefore knowing a language such as Bulgarian can be a fantastic asset, especially when travelling around the Balkans.

Bulgaria’s rich history and culture

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 its rich history, especially its ancient Thracian, Roman, and Byzantine ruins. Also, speaking the language is obviously extremely useful when travelling throughout the country.  Bulgarian is also a bit of a hidden gem in Europe, many people spend their summer holidays in busy places like Italy and Croatia whereas Bulgaria feels a bit off the beaten track with fewer tourists.

Visiting and Travelling around Bulgaria will be easier

As I mentioned above, Bulgaria has an extremely rich history and has been home to many civilisations from the Thracians to the Byzantines and to most recently the Ottomans, therefore there are many sights to visit and discover thanks to this rich history. Even though nowadays Bulgaria is becoming a more popular tourist destination there are still many people in Bulgaria who do not speak English. While most of the younger generation of Bulgarians can speak English to varying degrees, the older generations (such as parents and grandparents) do not fare so well, therefore learning the language can help you communicate with them. I must also mention Bulgarians are very proud of their language and extremely helpful especially when they find out that you’re learning Bulgarian. So if you are planning on visiting Bulgaria it definitely is worth learning even some basic words, and expressions in order to make your life easier.

Learn Bulgarian for love

When I come across someone learning Bulgarian, one of the most common answers I get for why they are learning Bulgarian is that they have a Bulgarian boyfriend or girlfriend. It is even the reason why I started learning the language myself. Typically, when learning a language there is a romance period that lasts around three months, after this period, many people’s motivation begins to falter. Love is an extremely strong motivator because you want to be able to connect with your partner, learning their language can perhaps help you to get to know a different side of them that you would have never known if you did not bother to learn their language. Perhaps you have a Bulgarian partner and you want to be able to speak with their parents or grandparents. All these are good reasons to learn the language.