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Bulgaria, Bulgarian | български, Bulglish, Cyrillic - Bulgarian | Кирилица - Български, Language, Travel, Worldlish, Writing Systems

Bulglish: The use of English and the Latin Alphabet in Bulgarian

Bulgaria has a range of Bulgarian/English (Bulglish), which along with the choice of latinization of words reflects Bulgaria’s willingness to engage with Europe and the English-speaking world whilst maintaining their Bulgarian cultural identity.

“McDonald’s localization” is always an interesting yardstick. I didn’t see any examples of the company logo being written in Cyrillic – which is common in Russia. However as can be seen in the images below some menu items are in Cyrillic whilst others remain in the Latin alphabet.

I saw many examples of borrowings and cognates, and as expected modern concepts tend to use more borrowings than their more traditional counterparts (e.g. the national carrier is ‘Telephone’ in English using Latin characters).

As an interesting side note Bulgarian uses the borrowing ‘fitness centre’ – which in US and UK English is nearly always expressed as ‘gym’ – but in common with many European countries ‘gym’ short for ‘gymnasium’ is a false friend for a type of school, hence the use of ‘fitness’.

The ‘open 24 hours’ signs below were seen in a side street in Sofia, and were almost directly opposite each other on either side of the street. Both were convenience stores signs, and illustrate how the mix of English, Bulgarian, Latin and Cyrillic coexist, healthily IMHO, in ‘modern Bulgarian’.

About Doug Lawrence

I help businesses to grow internationally


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