The Languages of Bulgaria
Bulgarian is the official language of the Republic of Bulgaria. It is spoken by approximately nine million (2011) native speakers, mainly in Bulgaria but also in Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey (Europe), Ukraine, Australia, Canada, USA, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Moldova, Russian Federation (Europe), Slovakia.
Bulgarian belongs to the family of South Slavic languages and forms part of the Balkan linguistic union (Balkan Sprachbund).
The Bulgarian regional variations are split into Eastern and Western by the “Yat Border”, which marks the different mutations of the Old Bulgarian “yat” form.
Features of Bulgarian:
- As a Slavic language it possesses a rich inflectional and derivational morphology, verb aspect pairs, etc. However, due to the mutual influence of Balkan languages, Bulgarian has lost noun cases (except vocative) and completely has lost the infinitive form.
- The official Bulgarian alphabet is Cyrillic. It is the first Slavic language with its own writing system which dates from the 9th century.
- Specific characteristics of the Bulgarian language pose a challenge for the computational processing of natural language. The rather flexible word order which when combined with the lack of morphological distinction for nominal cases and subject omission is a real challenge for natural language processing of Bulgarian.