Society

Languages Spoken In Bulgaria

Bulgarian is the official language of Bulgaria and is spoken by the majority of the country's population.

Bulgaria, a country spanning an area of 110,994 square km in southeastern Europe, is bordered by Romania to the north, Turkey, and Greece to the south, and Macedonia and Serbia to the west. The Black Sea lies to the east of Bulgaria.

Prehistoric human settlements in Bulgaria existed as early as the Neolithic period. Greeks, Romans, and Thracians lived in the region since the early days. The country was unified for the first time in 681 AD when the First Bulgarian Empire was established. After the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, the Ottoman rule was established in the region which continued for five centuries. The Third Bulgarian State came to existence after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. During the World Wars, Bulgaria allied with Germany and in 1946 it came under the rule of the Soviet Union. The country became a democracy after multi-party elections were conducted in 1989.

Currently, the country has a population of 7.4 million people which is predominantly urbanized. Bulgarians are the primary ethnic group in the country, and the minority groups are Turks and Roma people.

Official Language Of Bulgaria

Bulgarian, an Indo-European language is the official language of Bulgaria and is spoken by a majority of the country’s population. The language is a close relative of the Macedonian language and a member of the Slavic group of languages. The Cyrillic alphabet is used to write Bulgarian.

The Bulgarian and the Macedonian language possess several features that set them apart from other Slavic languages. The development of suffixed definite article, removal of case declension, lack of a verb infinitive, etc., are some of the changes visible in these two Slavic languages.

Minority Languages Of Bulgaria

The two main minority languages spoken in Bulgaria are Turkish and Romani.

Turkish

The Turkish language is spoken by the Turks residing in Bulgaria. The Turks arrived in the region from Anatolia during the 14th and early 15th century when the Ottomans conquered the Balkans. Turkish is also spoken by the native Bulgarians whose ancestors converted to Islam during the Ottoman rule in the region. Today, the Turks form the largest minority group in Bulgaria and thus Turkish is the most commonly spoken minority language in Bulgaria.

Romani

The second widely spoken minority language in Bulgaria is the Romani language. The language is spoken by the Romani people in the country who are descendants of the Romani nomadic migrants. These migrants arrived in Bulgaria from Northern India via the Bosporus and Dardanelles towards the end of the 13th century. They also continued to arrive during the five centuries of Ottoman occupation of the region.

Foreign Languages In Bulgaria

A number of foreign languages are spoken in Bulgaria. Russian is the most commonly spoken foreign language in the country. 35% of the country’s population claim to possess a workable knowledge of this language. English is the second most common foreign language in Bulgaria and is spoken by about 23% of Bulgarians. Italian and Spanish (12%) and French (9%) are the other popular foreign languages spoken in the country.

Languages Spoken In Bulgaria

RankNative LanguageBy Ethnic GroupPercentageBy First LanguagePercentage
1Bulgarian6,655,21083.93%6,997,00088.46%
2Turkish746,6609.42%663,0008.62%
3Romani370,9104.67%128,0001.13%
4Others69,0000.87%71,0000.89%

More in Society