Currently around 2,900 of the world’s 7,000 languages are at risk of dying out. Is Bulgarian one of them?
This post will cover if Bulgarian is a dying language and how many people currently speak it.
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Is Bulgarian A Dying Language?
No, Bulgarian is not a dying language.
UNESCO regularly publishes a list of endangered languages – Bulgarian does not feature on the list.
An endangered language is a language that is at risk of falling out of use because there is little transmission of the language to younger generations. If a language loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language.
Languages can be considered endangered or dying out for many different reasons. I’ve summarised the main characteristics of a dying language below.
- The language is not widely spoken
- Other more dominant languages are being spoken instead
- Children are not learning the language
Bulgarian doesn’t fit any of the above criteria of a dying language.
How Widely Spoken Is Bulgarian?
There are currently roughly 8 million speakers of Bulgarian, most of which live in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian is the official language of Bulgaria and is spoken natively by around 85% of the population.
In Bulgaria, Bulgarian is used in all aspects of public life including at work, at school and at home.
There are also significant numbers of ethnic Bulgarians living abroad who use the language on a regular basis. Most of these live in Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.
Are There Any Other Dominant Languages In Bulgaria?
This is a common reason why languages tend to die out.
Often another language may be spoken within a country and over time people start using it more and more and stop learning their mother tongue e.g. in Hawaii, very few Hawaiians speak Hawaiian, instead they speak English.
There are no other dominant languages used in Bulgaria. The vast majority of people living in Bulgaria speak Bulgarian and it is used in pretty much all aspects of society.
Few foreign languages are spoken in Bulgaria, the most common foreign language being English (spoken by 25% of the population to a working level).
Are Children Learning The Language?
Another reason why languages often die out is that children grow up speaking another language and don’t learn their mother tongue. Languages die out when they’re not passed to the next generation.
Children do grow up speaking Bulgarian, it’s not just the older generation that speak it.
They are taught in Bulgarian at school and grow up speaking Bulgarian in the home. This means there’s no risk that the language will not be passed on to the next generation.
As Bulgarian is very widely spoken within Bulgaria and is being passed onto the next generation, there is currently no risk that the language will die out.
How Can I Learn Bulgarian?
Bulgarian is not a dead language so it’s worth learning as there’s millions of people out there to practice with.
By learning Bulgarian you would be able to communicate with 8 million people and enjoy their vibrant and interesting culture. This can range from movies, TV shows, music, books and much more.
Unfortunately, some of the biggest language apps don’t include Bulgarian. For example, Duolingo does not have a Bulgarian course. But luckily there are a number of other options.
My top recommendation for learning Bulgarian is Glossika which is a great resource for building up vocabulary and learning to speak the language fluently.
The best thing about Glossika is that they help you to acquire the language (rather than memorizing). It’s a fun, easy and effective way to learn Bulgarian.
If you’re looking for a standard textbook to help you with Bulgarian then the Teach Yourself Bulgarian book is one of the best out there.
If you also want to be able to read and write in Bulgarian then you’ll need a textbook like this one. It’s a great reference point and explains the language in clear, easy to understand terms.
Related Post – Is It Hard To Learn Bulgarian For An English Speaker?
How Many People Speak Bulgarian?
Bulgarian currently has about 8 million speakers around the world.
The majority of Bulgarian speakers live in Bulgaria but there are significant numbers of speakers spread across the world.
Apart from Bulgaria, parts of Greece, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine are the main places where Bulgarian is spoken.
There are also lots of Bulgarian citizens living abroad that speak the language frequently. The biggest numbers of Bulgarian citizens can be found in the following countries (outside of Bulgaria).
- Turkey – 1,300,000
- United States – 500,000
- Germany – 267,000
- Spain – 250,000
- Serbia – 150,000
- United Kingdom – 50,000
Thanks for reading this post on if Bulgarian is a dying language.
If you’re interested in learning Bulgarian then check out our Bulgarian posts here.