I must learn Bulgarian

Some days ago, I was unexpectedly informed that I could spend three months in Sofia for a traineeship at the Italian embassy in Bulgaria (September-December). My application had first been rejected, but the chosen person eventually withdrew. After some
I am not required to speak Bulgarian, but I would like to learn it to talk to local people. Do you know any useful books / websites I could use for this purpose? I am only aware of the self-learning course by ASSIMIL, but it would take too long, I fear. I am aiming at learning to actually speak Bulgarian at a lower-intermediate level at least, so I am not looking for conversation books (with lists of sentences like “Hello, my name is… I come from…” “Where is the restaurant?” etc.).
Thanks for any help,

Yes, FSI (free online) and Lonely Planet phrasebooks.

Also try Mylanguageexchange.com to see if you can meet someone.

I know that Lonely planet has phrasebooks, but I’ve found that they have really USEFUL phrases.

Also check out the resources at Mastering any Language (Bulgarian) and How to learn any Language (the Swiss site).

What an exciting opportunity for you: Good luck with the posting and the learning!

Congratulations on the job opportunity!

I’m learning Bulgarian myself, and have learned quite a bit in the last three or so weeks using Teach Yourself’s Bulgarian course.

I also have the Assimil course and I can’t see any reason why it should take too long. The dialogues never really get particularly difficult, except for maybe the final five, and they’re all fairly practical as well.

Beyond that, there’s a series of two courses which appear to have a quite impressive amount of content - with purchasable audio - called “Intensive Bulgarian”, the authors of whose names escape me at the moment…

And additionally, for a higher level, there’s a “Bulgarian Reader” available from Dunwoody press, again with audio, the content of which has been culled from various magazines and newspapers. They even have a slang dictionary, which might help with understanding idioms and things you hear on TV, in conversation, etc. I haven’t seen it, and I’ve used a slang dictionary, so I have no idea how useful it’ll really be. Bulgarian verbs are pretty crazy, more so than any other Slavic language (besides Macedonian) and the online resources for reviewing conjugations are almost non-existant and Dunwoody publish a reference resource for Bulgarian verbs as well.

There are numerous concise grammar overviews for the language in various languages available through Sofiabooks.com.

I’m not sure how far you want to go with it, I’m actually not myself, but it’s a very interesting language. I even managed to download a dubbed version of Toy Story which is awesome, but there are no subtitle in Bulgarian. Oh well, still, it’s really quite rewarding to be learning a relatively minor language, it’s liked I’ve gained access to a world relatively few people know about!

Sorry, I meant to say “I’ve never used a slang dictionary.”

Michele, I am very glad that you are starting to learn a Slavic language with Cyrillic alphabet. The grammar of Bulgarian is different from that of East Slavic Languages, but vocabulary is similar to them, especially Russian. If you make some progress with Bulgarian, it would be easy for you to learn Russian on LingQ, and maybe also Ukrainian on your own.

Thanks everyone for your wishes and for the suggestions.

Chris, I have always used Assimil courses as they recommend to study them, i.e. one lesson per day. This is why I said it would take too long. Moreover, some courses by Assimil didn’t work so well for me (including all the Slavic languages ones - Czech, Polish, Serbo-Croatian), so I am unsure if I should buy the Bulgarian course. Have you already used it? What’s your opinion about it?

I will look for the other titles you suggested. I would like to learn Bulgarian at least at an intermediate level before the end of my traineeship, but why not more? It would be great if I could learn every language at an advanced level, even if it sounds difficult and contrasts a bit with my desire to learn all the (official) European languages… :slight_smile:

I have just noticed an unachieved sentence in my first post. I meant to write “After some hesitation, I accepted.” But you all understood it.

Chris, I have found the two volumes of “Intensive Bulgarian” at Amazon, but I don’t know if I should buy them as well as the Teach Yourself book, since it would turn pretty expensive… Do you have or are you aware of any decent bilingual dictionary? Even Bulgarian-English may be better than the pocket Bulg-Italian ones I can find in Italy.

Dmitry, I already learned some Serbian with a course by Assimil last year, so I am not new to the Cyrillic alphabet, which I could already read a bit even before trying Serbian. I hope I’ll learn Bulgarian well, so that it helps me with Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Macedonian… And I would still have several languages to go: Dutch, Turkish, Nordic and Caucasian languages, etc. Oh my! :slight_smile:

You can access some public domain Bulgarian text and audio learning material as well as public domain materials in many other languages here - FSI Bulgarian Basic Course . The audio is not bad but obviously not as good as some other commercially available.

Mike, try sofiabooks.com for dictionaries