Which family does Bulgarian belong to?
Bulgarian belongs to the Slavic family and is a South-Slavic language.
Who speaks Bulgarian?
Bulgarian is the official language in the Republic of Bulgaria. The country is located in South-eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Greece. The language itself is affiliated to the Slavic language family. Other languages belonging to that family are Russian, Polish, Czech and Macedonian, to name a few.
Although Bulgarian is mainly spoken on the territory of Bulgaria (population around 7.4 million), in total there are around 12 million speakers around the world. There are large Bulgarian minorities in neighbouring Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, also in the Ukraine. In addition there are a large number of Bulgarians immigrants escaping the country during the last century due to wars or the political situation in the past. They emigrated into a number of countries – mainly in Western Europe and Northern America – Canada, Germany, UK and USA.
History of its origins
Bulgarian is known to be the first written Slavic language (9th century A.D.). There are 3 periods in the evolution of the language – Old Bulgarian, Middle Bulgarian and Modern Bulgarian. The latter dates from as far back as the 16th century. The foundations of the language were laid by the brothers Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, monks and philosophers born in the 9th century A.D. in the city of Thessaloniki (present-day Greece). It is still being argued over their ethnic origin - Bulgarian or not, but in Bulgaria they are greatly saluted for their work. Yearly, there is a day celebrated in their name as a public holiday.
Cyril and Methodius are in fact attributed with the development of the Glagolotic script, which was the basis for the Cyrillic alphabet, developed later by their disciples. The two brothers translated Church literature from Greek into the new language – called the Slavic language. They distributed the literature over the Balkans region. Some time later that Slavic language, which is the common origin of the rest of the languages of the Slavic family, was renamed officially to Bulgarian language (11th century A.D).