Bulgarian Language - Alphabet


See also: Bulgarian Braille

In 886 AD, the Bulgarian Empire introduced the Glagolitic alphabet which was devised by the Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 850s. The Glagolitic alphabet was gradually superseded in later centuries by the Cyrillic script, developed around the Preslav Literary School, Bulgaria in the beginning of the 10th century.

Several Cyrillic alphabets with 28 to 44 letters were used in the beginning and the middle of the 19th century during the efforts on the codification of Modern Bulgarian until an alphabet with 32 letters, proposed by Marin Drinov, gained prominence in the 1870s. The alphabet of Marin Drinov was used until the orthographic reform of 1945 when the letters yat (Ѣ, ѣ, called "double e"), and yus (Ѫ, ѫ, called "big yus" or "ъ кръстато") were removed from the alphabet, reducing the number of letters to 30.

With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on January 1, 2007, Cyrillic became the third official alphabet of the EU.

The following table gives the letters of the Bulgarian alphabet, along with the IPA values for the sound of each letter:

Bulgarian alphabet ISO 9 Official transliteration IPA* Name of Letter English equivalent
А а A a A a /a/ or /ɐ/ a a as in "adorable"
Б б B b B b /b/ or /p/ бъ b as in "bug"
В в V v V v /v/ or /f/ въ v as in "vet"
Г г G g G g /ɡ/ or /k/ гъ g as in "god"
Д д D d D d /d/ or /t/ дъ d as in "dog"
Е е E e E e /ɛ/ е e as in "best"
Ж ж Ž ž Zh zh /ʒ/ or /ʃ/ жъ s as in "treasure"
З з Z z Z z /z/ or /s/ зъ z as in "zoo"
И и I i I i /i/ и i as in "igloo"
Й й J j Y y /j/ и кратко y as in "yes" or "yoyo"
К к K k K k /k/ or /g/ къ

c as in "cat"

Л л L l L l /l/ or /ɫ/ лъ

l as in "call" or "lend"

М м M m M m /m/ мъ m as in "man"
Н н N n N n /n/ нъ n as in "normal"
О о O o O o /ɔ/ or /o/ о o as in "order"
П п P p P p /p/ пъ p as in "pet"
Р р R r R r /r/ ръ r as in "restaurant"
С с S s S s /s/ or /z/ съ s as in "sound"
Т т T t T t /t/ or /d/ тъ t as in "top"
У у U u U u /u/ or /o/ y оо as in "tool"
Ф ф F f F f /f/ фъ f as in "food"
Х х H h H h /x/ хъ ch as in Scottish "loch"
Ц ц C c Ts ts /t͡s/ цъ ts as in "fits"
Ч ч Č č Ch ch /t͡ʃ/ чъ ch as in "chip"
Ш ш Š š Sh sh /ʃ/ шъ sh as in "shot"
Щ щ Št št1 Sht sht /ʃt/ щъ sht as in "shtick"
Ъ ъ Ă ă1 A a /ɤ/ or /ɐ/ ер голям u as in "turn"
Ь ь J j1 Y y /j/ or not pronounced ер малък soft sign: y as in canyon
Ю ю Ju ju1 Yu yu /ju/, /jo/, /u/ or /o/ ю u as in "menu"
Я я Ja ja1 Ya ya /ja/, /jɐ/, /a/ or /ɐ/ я ya as in "yarn"

Most letters in the Bulgarian alphabet stand for just one specific sound. Three letters stand for the single expression of combinations of sounds, namely щ (sht), ю (yu), and я (ya). Two sounds do not correspond to separate letters, but are expressed as the combination of two letters, namely дж (/dʒ/) and дз (/dz/). The letter ь marks the softening (palatalization) of any consonant (besides ж, ч, and ш) before the letter о, while ю and я after consonants mark the palatalization of the preceding consonant in addition to representing the vowels /u/ and /a/. A letter that represents a voiced consonant can represent its voiceless counterpart and vice versa when adjacent to a voiceless or voiced consonant, respectively, or when a voiced consonant is syllable final, for example - вторник /ftornik/ - Tuesday, нож /nɔʃ/ - knife, сграда /zgradɐ/ - building, сватба /svadbɐ/ - wedding.

The names of most letters are simple representations of their phonetic values, with consonants being followed by /ɤ/ – thus the alphabet goes: /a/ – /bɤ/ – /vɤ/, etc. However, the name of the letter Й is "и-kratko" (short /i/), the name of Ъ is "er-golyam" (large Er), and the name of Ь is "er-malak" (small Er). People often refer to Ъ simply as /ɤ/.

Read more about this topic:  Bulgarian Language

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