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Bulgarian Language | Will Polish and Russian understand?


The Bulgarian language belongs to the South Slavic branch of the Slavic language family. In this episode, we’re going to see to what extent it’s intelligible to the speakers of Polish – a West Slavic Language and Russian – an East Slavic language. In order to do that, we designed a word guessing game and the participants are: Gery Galabova – a Bulgarian writer, blogger and stand-up comedian. Alexey Dubinin – an English teacher and music producer from Moscow. And I’m Norbert, an online Polish teacher, and I’m going to speak Polish in this video. If you like language related content like that subscribe to my channel and hit the bell to be notified when the next video is out. And now, let’s see! Will Polish and Russian understand Bulgarian? Gery: Okay. I have four words. Hi! Norbert: Four words. G: Four words. The first one: Food. Norbert and Alex: “Hrana” G: Something we eat when we watch films N: I think I know what it is. It’s food that you eat when you watch movies. That’s how I understand it. And you Lyosha, how do you understand it? Alexey: Is it something you would record movies on? Like a disk, for example? A DVD, or? G: No, no Something we eat When we go to the cinema. For example. A: ‘Hrana’, right? G: Food. G: We go to the cinema and we usually get… this food N: ‘Hrana’ is food. That’s how I understand it. N: ‘Hrana’ is food. That’s how I understand it. Lyosha do you understand what it is? A: Not sure… Not sure. G: Food to eat. N: Food – the thing you eat. A: Is it something that we eat? It’s some kind of food, right? G: yes, yes. A: Is it something like popcorn or nachos? G: Popcorn. N: Popcorn. Yes. A: Popcorn. G: In Bulgarian “pukanki” A: “Пуканки”? Is it because of the sound the make, “puk”? N: That’s right! Because they pop on the pun. It’s interesting. N: In Polish we normally say ‘popcorn.’ And Lyosha, do you call it popcorn too? A: Also “попкорн”. If you say… Popcorn is an American word, and it’s easier to say it this way – “попкорн” A: Everyone knows, what it means. G: Yes. A: But in Russian it would be “воздушная кукуруза.” “Воздух” as in air, and “кукуруза” as in… corn. N: That’s right. In Polish it’s ‘prażona kukurydza’ (roasted corn.). And how would it sound in Bulgarian? G: Corn. Corn, corn is “tsarevitsa” N: Interesting. Ok. A: Interesting. N: So the first word is done. A: Yes. G: Yes, this is the first one. G: The second one is connected to nature. A: It has something to do with nature. N: It’s something connected with nature. G: Something big, tall/high N: I don’t know what ‘gulamu’ means. Something up high? G: Something… there are trees A: Is it something that has trees, where trees grow? G: Yes. N: A forest. A: Yes, forest. G: ‘Les’? A: Forest, with many-many-many trees. G: I think that means forest G: It’s not a forest, but something where there is “les”, a lot of “les” in one place, big. N: In one city… In one place there is a lot of trees. But I still don’t understand what ‘gulamo, gula’ means. G: Big means something, for example, we have something small and something big. A: Ah, “гулямо” as in big, tall? G: High, “bolshoe” yes. N: Ah! Tall, big. Something big. I get it. G: A place where we go on walks or climbing. A: Is it a place where we go for hiking, for a walk, right? N: We go for walks. Right? It’s a place we go for walks to? A: “Spacer” (go for a walk)… Yes, a German word. G: This is, yes, you go on a treck… on walks, there could be a lake, “les”, but it’s the whole thing A: So it’s a big place, which can have a forest, and many trees, a lake, lakes, may be there? And it’s very big, right? Not tall, but big, right? G: Yes. Both, high and large A: Maybe it’s like a park, a national park? N: Well, I also thought it could ba a park. Is that right? G: Bigger than a park. A: Well, not a park as in a city, but a national park, a big one. G: yes. N: Ah! National park. N: And in Bulgarian? G: National Park. N: Aha! Ok. So we get it. National park. N: Attention now! Maybe Gery… What national park do you recommend in Bulgaria? G: Can you repeat? N: What national park do you recommend in Bulgaria? If I go to Bulgaria, where I must go? What must I see? The park. G: There are national parks in all mountains: Rila… N: In the mountains. G: Yes. N: Yes, but can you recommend a specific national park? G: I’m looking for the word where there is a national park, which I said a second ago. A: Which national park in Bulgaria would you recommend? Like “Oh, that one park in Bulgaria is just awesome.” Which one? G: My favourite park, national, in Bulgaria is probably Rodopi. A: Sigurni… Where is that? G: In the mountain Rodopi. G: Because there are a lot of preserved types of flowers and animals. N: Aha! That’s fine. And Lyosha! What park do you recommend? Which park do you recommend in Russia? A: Of those which I’ve already been to, or? N: That’s right. A: Actually Russia is very large, but I’ve only been to Moscow, Saint-Petersburg. and a few more cities. N: But a national park! A: Yes. A: It’s hard to say, to be honest… To think of a park, a national park, with nature and animals… I don’t know. I think, of those, which i’ve never been to, where I would want to go, I would really love to go to Baikal – the largest (freshwater) lake in the world, Baikal. the largest (freshwater) lake in the world, Baikal I would love to go to Altai – that is, the Altai mountains, they’re also very beautiful. Yeah, there are many places in Russia, where i’d love to go, where I haven’t been yet. N: Aha! Ok. That’s cool. So if the ones who’re watching us, can recommend a nice national park in Bulgaria, Russia or Poland, write it down in the comments, ok? I recommend Biebrza National Park. A: Bebrzansky? N: Biebrza National Park in Poland. It’s the biggest national park in Poland. And it’s my area. Close to my hometown. So I recommend it. G: But the word I was looking for… the second word was “planina” N: So it wasn’t the word we were supposed to guess? G: No, but it’s close. But, you know, a lot of mountains are also national parks. N: So ‘góra’ (mountain) was the word, right? What word was it? ‘Planina’ N: Ok. In Polish góra (mountain.). And in Russian? A: Mountain. N: Ok. So we got it. G: In Bulgarian ‘les’ is forest. N: ‘Gora’ is a forest in Bulgarian. It’s a false friend. A: Ah, false… “Fałszywy przyjaciel”! False friend. G: Yes. G: The third word. N: Yes. G: It is a mood, also an action which you perform when you are not at work. The word comes from Turkish N: Lyosha. Do you understand? A: I only understood “настроение” (mood) and “действие” (action), after that I understood nothing. G: The word comes from Turkish. A: What is “турский”? N: It’s a word of Turkish origin. Right? It originates from Turkey. A: Ah! Turkish etymology, right? G. Turkish language, yes. A: Yes-yes. G: And it’s very popular in Bulgaria. A: Is it a word? G: And you use it when you are resting or don’t have work. N: You use it when you don’t have work? A: Ah, when you got no work, when you rest, when you’re going out? A: So, if I understood correctly, it’s a Turkish word which means a mood or a state, right? When you’re not working, you’re relaxing and everything is awesome? or a state, right? When you’re not working, you’re relaxing and everything is awesome? G: Exactly, yes, yes. A: Turkish… I need to think. There are also many Turkish words in Russian. Norbert, any ideas? N: Is it a bowed string instrument? G: I don’t understand. A: I don’t think Geri’s talking about an instrument. N: Oh! It isn’t a musical instrument, is it? A: No, it’s not an instrument. N: Ah! So I get it completely wrong. N: So what ‘nastrojenie’ is? A: That is, mood as in emotion, state. N: Aha! It’s ‘nastrój’ (mood) in Polish. G&A: Yes, a mood. A: A mood when you got no work, “nie ma pracy”. Siesta. Siesta Turkish-style. Something like that, right? A: I don’t know, it’s not obvious. N: We don’t have this concept. A: We need a tip! G: It starts with ‘a’. G: Close. A: Ok, so it’s almost like “айда”, but not “айда”. N: I completely don’t know what it could be. G: Should I tell you? A: There’s a similar thing in Russian – “айда”. It sounds Turkish, but I’m not sure. It’s just an idea. G: In Bulgarian we use ‘aylak’ N: I didn’t know that either. A: No, no chance. I wouldn’t have guessed. G: ‘Aylak’ you can use in a sentence like “I am aylak” or when you say something is ‘aylak’, as if saying ‘chill’. A: It’s chilling Turkish-style, I got it. N: No. I didn’t know it. How would it be in Polish? I don’t know either. If someone has an idea on how it would be in Polish, write it down in the comments! In Russian as well… Do you have any ideas, Lyosha? A: I don’t even know, I need to think. I’m not sure. A: Well… The thing is, there are many Turkish words in Russian, which are actually from Tatar. Tatar is also a Turkic language and there are many words, but that one.. I’m not sure, I don’t know. If anybody comes up with something, write in Russian in the comments section, what word that is. N: Ok. G: The fourth word. N: Yes. G: It is an animal. N: Animal. A: Yes-yes, it’s an animal. G: A pet. A: A pet. N: A domestic animal/a pet. G: Yes. G: It can be small or big. A: “Малко”? As in “молоко”, “млеко” (milk)? G: No, no, no. “Malko” means tiny. N: It’s about the size. This animal can be either small or big. G: Size, yes. You take it for a walk, you walk it. A: Ah, popular? N: On walks. G: “Razhodka” means going out. A: Ah! “Ходят на вън” as in go out in the street? Outside? G: Or in a park. A: So it doesn’t stay at home all the time? You can walk it in the park and etc.? A: Ok. On a leash? G: Yes, on a leash. N: On a leash. N: I Polish we say that we can go out with it on a leash. I guess we know what animal it is, right? A: Probably it’s a dog? A hound? N: A dog. G: In Bulgarian it is “kuche”. N: Interesting! Because in Hungarian it’s ‘kutya’ (dog.). A: Really? And in Hindi it’s ‘kuta’. I guess. A: “Kuta”? Seriously?! N: Yes. That’s what I heard when I was in India. They would say ‘kuta’. N: So it’s something similar. A: That’s odd. G: And when it is small, young, it is ‘kuchentse’. N: ‘Szczenię’ (puppy) in Polish. A: In Russian it’s “щенок” (a puppy.). N: This one is closer to Polish. A: Yes. Is Bulgarian closer to Polish or Russian? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you got this far into the video you definitely need to subscribe to my channel. And if you’re learning Polish and need conversation practice, you can book a one-on-one conversation practice session with me on my website. And if not, I’ll see you in the next video. Cześć!

100 Replies to “Bulgarian Language | Will Polish and Russian understand?”

  • It is not fear! The word number 3 is dialect sleng used only by people from or in city Plovdiv! It is not from regular Bulgarian, I hardly guessed that, she is using very hard not b lgarian or even near slavic words, not funny at all 🙁 I am disappointed

  • Думите, които тя беше избрала са различните в сравнение с останалите славянски езици. Самите ние, българите, не можем да обясним точното значение на думата ''айляк'' и не се използва в цялата страна , а основно в Пловдив и е само в разговорната реч. За думата ''куче'', ние също използваме и ''пес'' понякога. Много трудна задача е възложила в този случай. Беше интересно! 😁

  • The words weren't at all good choices, especially the third one. "Айляк" is overall only used in one city (Plovdiv), even if we put aside the fact that it's not a bulgarian word, it's not even a that commonly used word in Bulgaria.

  • Even I am German I still can understand kinda what they r saying, cuz I just learned the russian alphabeth 😀
    (and well… sounds, of course)

  • 3ье -Расслабон можно сказать 3 🙂 да ща подростки говорять "чилить" 🙂

    формат супер, согласен вторую серию. прямо превосходно замечательное трио

    я считаю, что вы делаете не только отличную, но и важную работу <3 цмок

    мышление синонимами включается.

  • Kada je djevojka kazala: golemo, visoko … ja sam razumio da se radi o planini ili gori. Nema li u ruskom riječ "golemo", a u poljskom jeziku je "ogromnie"? … U hrvatskom jeziku postoje sinonimi: golemo= ogromno = veliko.

  • Нужно позвать русского батюшку который знает церковный язык, может он поймет этих болгаров)) все-таки русский сейчас сильно изменился после многих реформ.

  • this girl was explaining horribly and she chose a word that's used only in 1 city of Bulgaria and that's not actually what it means in Turkish but it is a Turkish word used as "chill" by us Bulgarians from the city of Plovdiv or also known as (Philippopolis) and also forgot to mention that we also use "Пес" that also means a dog but it's sort of a more vulgar word to use and also Bulgarian is much closer to Russian especially when read or when the "older version" of it is used

  • As a bulgarian, I've never heard the word "ailyak". Anyway, it sims to be incorrect to use words from other linguistic families in experiments with languages from the slavic family.

  • No problem understanding you Norbert (apart from a word here or there) or the Russian guy, but the Bulgarian girl? Almost zero. I don't think the other people understood what's so funny about "kutta." Good video.

  • My mama was Carpatho Rusin but she grew up in Moravia so I can speak Czech. I taught myself to speak Slovak although it wasn't necessary because they understand each other with no problem, I just like the way it sounds. I understand the Polish and most of the Russian because he speaks very slowly and clearly (and I've been around Russian speakers for years), but I barely understand the Bulgarian. I just understand a few words but I could never understand what she's talking about. With the Russian I get the majority, but I've listened to Russian for a quite some time. Maybe I need to listen to Bulgarian to understand better. I certainly want to visit there someday.

  • Айляк (the 3rd word) is colloquial or even slangy word, that is popular only in parts of Bulgaria. I know nothing of this girl, but my guess is she's from Plovdiv. Or more generally from Southern Bulgaria. I do not think anyone in Northern Bulgaria uses айляк. The meaning is roughly equal to "chilling out" in American English. And about the languages – they are hardly mutually intelligible. I understand Russian very well, but only because it was a mandatory discipline in school during Communism and I had to study it. My younger colleagues at work understand nothing of it and ask me to translate to them even most basic things. From having studied Russian and being able to compare to Bulgarian, when I read Czech, Polish or another Slavic language, I understand good portion of it. But when I listen Polish people speaking, I understand nothing.

  • Коллеги, мне кажется, достаточно небольшого погружения (немного пожить в стране), и мы заговорим понятно для местных Славиков )) Чем больше смотрю, тем понятнее. Спасибо за канал!

  • I know Ukrainian and Russian and expected to understand Bulgarian better but no way. Polish is much easier to understand. Bulgarian is easier to read and pick up same words but pronunciation is way off. After watching your videos for few months i can even pick up Polish words meaning much quicker now. Djakuju.

  • Alexey: "spacery" to nemeczke slowa! 🙂 Kartoszka! Today I understand mostly only Norbert. Norbert, u are from Biebrzansky park?

  • My Mother is from former Yugoslavia (now Serbia). My Wife's hometown is in eastern Slovakia. Although I just speak some rather broken Serbian and just a few words in Slovak – Polish and Bulgarian were the easier ones for me to understand. The Bulgarian Girl used a lot of expressions and words that are very similar and common in Serbian while Polish remembered me to Slovak. Russian is still the most fascinating though, probably because it's the most exotic to me 🙂

  • i'm russian and i understood almost everything in bulgarian and like 50% in polish because i can't read it in latin. guess i'm more of bulgarian russian than polish russian xD
    also it seems the girl understood everything Alexei said, feels like she is very familiar with russian.

    my suggestion for the 3rd word in russian would be kaif(кайф) – though in russian it's not the same thing and gererally refers to just a good feeling, it originally comes from arabic word keif and means exactly what the girl meant, which relaxation from doing nothing!

    thank you for the video, it was lots of fun.

  • In retrospect what prevented me to understand western slavs better is what I can explain as decoration of extra sounds in the language :)) trows me cold off the trail

  • Очень удивило слово Айляк… Первый раз услышал это слово от этой девушки… Я был уверен, что слово будет Кеф (кайф по русски) …
    Типа, нет работы, отдых, сплошной кеф! 🙂 А тут айляк полный! 😉

  • ama dobro se mi sloveni razumemo. pitanje za vas braco….kada ce mo mi stvoriti jednu veliku slovensku drzavu? koja bi bila od vladivostoka do gdanska?…to bi bilo stvarno nesto predivno

  • The word "ailyak" was greatly bad idea. As Bulgarian I have never used it…or any of my friends/family have. I would rather use "bezgrijen". I guess the word is used in the region/town where Geri comes from. Someone who is speaking the official Bulgarian language will prefer a synonym of it. She should have picked a more proper Bulgarian word not a Turkish one that means "bezdelnik"…pretty much triggered.

  • От "кучи" в русском языке остался кутёнок. В литературе встречается это слово в значении щенок

  • Тази е супер тъпа. Как можа да избере турска дума сред всички български. Тази май, че е от Кърджали.!?

  • I am Czech and I understood everything in Russian as I studied the language, and I also understood Polish very well. However, I did not understood some Bulgarian words, but it's still really similiar and understandable. Also the knowledge of these Slavic languages helped me a lot… But I still think Bulgarian is a little bit closer to Russian than Polish. 🤔😅 Well anyway, keep up the great work! Greetings from the Czech republic!/Zdravím z Česka!/Привет из Чехии!

  • Странно, что русскоязычный Алексей не упомянул, что в русском есть однокоренное с болгарским Куче – Кутёнок, то есть очень маленький щенок.

  • В русском есть слово "кутята" и это означает родившийся недавно щенки.

  • Аз съм българин, но ме е срам след като гледам тази блогарка колко беден речник има и колко зле обяснява. Освен това, всичко което обяснява дори не знае какво означава какво остава да го обяснява на други хора. Не я обвинявам просто е много малко и явно семейството е такова. Чети, чети и се ограмотявай само с блогарство няма да се получи!

  • Norbert ja cie podziwiam bo ja tumok to prawie nic nie zrozumialem a przyjechalem do stanow 20 lat temu i sie nasluchalem przeroznych jezykow

  • I don't know any polish but have studied Russian for a few years now. I could understand more Bulgarian than polish so in my opinion it is close to Russian.

  • Я очень быстро стал все понимать по болгарски, но когда говорю по русски болгары нихрена не понимают, даже если от болгарских слов русские слова отличаются одной буквой или окончанием, как будто ни у кого абстрактное построение моделей в голове просто не работает :))

  • Царевица наверное потому что "царица полей" :))
    Реально это наверное самые отличающиеся от русского слова в болгарском – куче, гора(лес). Девочка подобрала самые интересные стандартные непонимания. В остальном все намного проще. Ну а что позаимствовано из турецкого, конечно маловероятно что поймут, однако в русском тоже полным полно заимствований из тюрских языков. Причем вроде българы это тюрские кочевые племена, жившие в шатрах и имевшие тех же ханов, которые в какое то время ассимилировались в славянских племенах предков "болгар". В целом думаю что база славянская была просто идентичной и у полян, древлян и тд и тп племен и сдвиги в языке базировались на соседстве просто, кто с кем контактировал те так и самоидентифицировались позже.

  • Работал на польской фирме, где работал один болгарин. Со мной он общался на русском, а поляки понимали его плохо.

    I worked for Polish company, while being myself Russian, and one of my colleagues was from Bulgaria. He spoke with me in Russian, but Polish employees understood him badly.

  • This is really funny. I like this channel it strengthens my knowledge of all the Slavic languages. I am more and more convinced that the languages are even closer than I thought. I am Macedonian, but I can easily understand Polish (normally when they talk slowly). Once when I visit Poznan, I was amazed by how much I can understand the people. We also have a lot of Polish tourists and I am talking Macedonian with then, they are talking Polish and somehow we can understand each other. There are a lot of old Polish words similar to Macedonian. A lot of times when I want to explain something to a Polish tourist, I am telling him several words that are synonyms in the Macedonian language, and he can understand the meaning. Continue the good work. This is a really interesting channel.

  • Лёша, ну етить его мать, несколько раз сказали, есть, едим, кушац – наконец таки. Как можно не понять, что такое храна?!?

  • When I was listening to all three languages simultaneously I thought about it as the ONE language. The future language of Slavs.

  • нац парк – куршская коса, тебе близко, и визу бесплатно электронную делают

  • сиеста, ничегонеделание
    Передышка, перерыв, перекур, антракт,отпуск,развлечение, увеселение, забава,передышка, привал, роздых, передых, отдышка,
    ничегонеделание, безделье, праздность, кейф,развлечение, досуг, простой,отдохновение, расслабление, успокоение, умиротворение, успокоенность, эйфория,днёвка, стоянка,безделье, стояние, бездействие,удовольствие, радость,передышка, перерыв, перекур, проволочка, оттяжка, канитель,отсрочка, остановка, заминка, промедление, задержка, приостановка, замедление,расслабление, успокоение, умиротворение, рай, эйфория, мир, благодать,рекреация, окно,тишина, неподвижность,частье, радость, мир,счастье, удача,увеселение, празднество, шабаш,праздность, беспутство,угомон,прибыль, извлечение, отведение
    забава, дурачество, шалость, ребячество,спанье, таска, малина,ночёвка, кайф,отвязка,покой, расслабон, лень, спокойствие,безмятежность, умиротворённость, балдеж,умиротворённость, спокойствие,мёртвый час, тихий час, расслабуха, почивание,лафа

  • Honestly, she could explain things better. I didn't get the second word at all. And the choice of a Turkish slang word … that you won't see in any dictionary …

  • Rozumiałem polski i rosyjski, którego kiedyś trochę się uczyłem. Gorzej z bułgarskim, z niego naprawdę niewiele zrozumiałem w porównaniu do rosyjskiego.

  • Bułgarski jest nieco bardziej zrozumiały dla Rosjanina. Zdaje się , że Polak zna trochę rosyjski. Bez tej znajomości byłoby ciężej cokolwiek zrozumieć z bulgarskiego.

  • По-моему русскоязычному легче понять болгарский. Поляк немного знает русский язык. Без этого было бы сложнее понять болгарский.

  • В русском есть слово "кутёнок", которое означает щенок, но его редко используют

  • Не че искам да съм негативен, обаче това момиче изобщо не беше подходящо за това видео. Нужен е човек, който знае поне малко други славянски езици, в случая полски и руски. Тя не миже да разбере какво и говорят, докато те разбират дори и да е малко. И второ, какви са тези думи, които е избрала да обяснява… Айляк, национален парк…….

  • Well i would say that im from bulgaria and i mostly understood what were u trying to say and explain and the same goes for russian. I think these 3 languages are very close to each other. Nice video <3

  • 14:27 Татары(Волжские Булгары) из Татарстана родственны одному из "народов", который образовал современную Болгарию.

  • Алексей из Татарстана или Башкортостана? Я думала, только у нас знают про "айда".

  • Ja polecam wszystkie parki narodowe 🙂 Słowiński jest niesamowity, Ojcowski jest jeszcze bardziej niesamowity, ale Biebrzański i Białowieski też są ekstra 🙂

  • I think that bulgarian is more like russian because the old bulgarian language (slavonic/church slavonic) had a great influence on russian, and russian had a great influence on polish so bulgarian had directly influenced russian and indirectly polish. Also, the south slavic branch and the east slavic branch were longer a single branch, the first slavic language that went apart of the slavic language was old sorbian which is the first west slavic language and the oldest ancestor of polish, czech, slovak, silesian, sorbian and kashubian.

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