Reading Bulgarian Through Russian

Charles E. Gribble

This book teaches the user to read contemporary standard (literary) Bulgarian. Unlike other textbooks which teach a Slavic language in a more or less traditional manner, with references to Russian for those who know it, this book presupposes a good knowledge of Russian and bases its teaching methodology upon the constant comparison of Bulgarian and Russian. Features of Bulgarian which correspond reasonably well to Russian are given little attention, whereas items which differ (such as the past tenses and the presence of a definite article) are given appropriate treatment. In successive sections the most important features of the Bulgarian language are outlined in comparison to both Russian and English. The grammatical material is followed by exercises and reading selections to reinforce the exposition. While a teacher is helpful in using the book, the author recognizes that many persons who wish to learn Bulgarian will not have a teacher available, so the book has been made suitable for self-instruction as well. From the first reading selection broad use is made of proverbs, which provide reading with real content but with limited vocabulary and only those grammatical structures which have been explained to date. This means that from the beginning the student is reading Bulgarian which was not written for a textbook, but which was intended for native speakers and is interesting for the message conveyed, and not just because of the grammatical material presented. Connected, unaltered texts are used for reading as soon as the student has mastered sufficient grammatical structures. Every word of the reading material in the book was taken from works written by Bulgarians and published in Bulgaria. The book also contains several long reading passages on various aspects of Bulgaria and Bulgarian culture (in the broadest sense), a short section on the pre-1945 orthography, and a seven-page annotated Bibliography of dictionaries, grammars, textbooks, etc. for use after finishing this course. "This excellent book is a welcome addition to the materials available for the study of Bulgarian." (SEEJ) "...a useful, imaginative and unobtrusively humorous book..." (SEER) The 2nd edition of this title was published in 2013 and is now available for purchase (ISBN 978-0-89357-416-1).