Living in Bulgaria without learning the language

Tips and advice on learning Bulgarian

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booboo
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Postby booboo » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:43 pm

mihangel wrote:
scot47 wrote:
In some cases Bulgarians have no experience of listening to foreigners speaking their language and just get bamboozled by a slight change in stress or accent.


This is absolutely true, and it is not just the Bulgarians. Many years ago I remember being with my father walking through the main shopping street in Portsmouth. A man who was obviously from Yorkshire came up and asked the way to Arundel Street. My father, who didn't travel far in those days, couldn't make out what the man wanted at all, and it was only after the man repeated himself a few times that the penny dropped and my father realised that it was Arundel Street that the man wanted. Of course it was only around the corner and the man was then pointed in the right direction. Arundel Street became a family joke from then on.

Bending one's ear to account for strange accents is a skill that not everyone has, particularly people in Bulgarian villages and small towns.


So true.

I knew a guy from Paaaaartsmith or was it soooooodhampteen that would not dare speak cus he dare not ask for directions. He knew that speaking in the south would be met with little response and no help. Obviously the further north he went he found nicer and friendlier people (Obviously true unless the mod is a southerner :P :P ).Eventually he made his way to Yorkshire and asked for AA-rundel gate (mate) - and where the hell would that be we thought? Eventually we coaxed it out of the guy he wanted the cr uuuuuucibel theatah (mate) that was near arUNDEL gate.

Our ceilings were never the same again...

proving your point perhaps? Dialect and pronunciation is and are VERY important


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby mastylo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:57 am

This is a great discussion indeed! Thank you all for the fruitful comments!
In my opinion, there is a mistake in the question :-) Learning is not only an intentional process. I bet even these people, saying "I am not learning the lingo", have already learned so many words, phrases, constructions, etc. We learn even when we don`t want to learn :-) Is it a curse or a blessing? God only knows... :-)

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Seedy
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Postby Seedy » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:52 am

mastylo wrote: Is it a curse or a blessing? God only knows... :-)


Hmmmm 8) - and "god" in Bulgarian is "bog", of course.... :oops:

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Postby mastylo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:24 am

Seedy wrote: Hmmmm 8) - and "god" in Bulgarian is "bog", of course.... :oops:

Actually, it`s "Bog", unless you like to visit Hell :lol: God is a linguist, so be careful about the spelling mistakes, as they could be considered as a sin :lol:

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Postby Seedy » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:02 pm

mastylo wrote:Actually, it`s "Bog", unless you like to visit Hell :lol: God is a linguist, so be careful about the spelling mistakes, as they could be considered as a sin :lol:


Where I come from, there used to be more than one "bog" - and Hades indeed a place where one could visit but still return..... :wink:

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Postby mastylo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:57 pm

It`s called in Bulgarian "езичник" :lol:

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Postby booboo » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:59 pm

Seedy wrote:
mastylo wrote: Is it a curse or a blessing? God only knows... :-)


Hmmmm 8) - and "god" in Bulgarian is "bog", of course.... :oops:


Good at least you are keeping it on topic NOT :P :P :P :P

And to think the OP ranted about home schooling not being on topic, now we have god! My apologies I am just playing DEVILS advocate :twisted: :twisted:

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Postby gimlet » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:07 am

mastylo wrote:
Seedy wrote: Hmmmm 8) - and "god" in Bulgarian is "bog", of course.... :oops:

Actually, it`s "Bog", unless you like to visit Hell :lol: God is a linguist, so be careful about the spelling mistakes, as they could be considered as a sin :lol:


Capital idea :wink:

If a езичник is a heathen, does that mean that all language teachers are beyond redemption? :)

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Postby Hippyboy » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:25 am

I've been down on the beach and at Kavarna Rock Festival for the last couple of weeks , so I've missed all the action on this topic ,and it seems to be veering on to religion (which we were discussing 5am at Kavarna) but ,having ploughed through 13 pages ,if Kembo is still interested here's my twopenneth .

Firstly Kembo , as a Cockney living in Ireland you must be aware that people speak English differently in different places , use slang , local phrases , etc. and Bulgarian is just the same ; you learn some new word or phrase in your village , go 20km down the road , and either nobody understands you , or (hopefully) they laugh at you ; I've been driving around with Bulgarian friends , and when they asked directions they sometimes couldn't understand a word of what the locals were saying ! (I'd struggle in some parts of the UK)
Dialects , and local ways of saying things , are a part of all languages .

Secondly , whilst learning the alphabet is useful , especially for reading signs ,menus ,etc. , it's not essential to get you started , the basic words and phrases are . I'd reccomend that you get a pocket phrase book (I like the Hermes one ) and carry it around with you ; if nothing else it will give you something to read whilst spending hours queueing at the wrong desk . However , the 'translalations' (phonetic interpretations) of the alphabet vary a bit from one book to another , and I don't agree with a couple of the ones from the list you posted . Many people said that the letters are always pronounced exactly the same , which is fine if you can ever get that pronounciation right in the first place , but , for example , 'Bulgaria' is not pronounced the same as we do in English (as my mates are always critizing me for ) , its more like 'Burlgaria' , with a gutteral 'u' sound .

Thirdly , is pronounciation important ? Well yeah , but you'll be OK with the most basic words (probably) But , as Mihangel said , where you put the stress on a word is vitally important , and for me the biggest problem with communication ; I often have the word right , but without the wrong stress many people won't understand . Lyn gave a good example of the English word 'invalid' . Does it mean somebody that's injured , OR something that's not correct (valid) ? It all depends on the way that you say (stress) it .My mates here still rib me about a time that I said that I would come back 'POSLE' (later) , but I said 'POZLE' meaning worse ; as I was already half-cut they were a bit worried what state I would return in !

Fourthly , I can't remember . Oh yeah that's the problem with ageing brains , and its a big problem for me too ; even though I'm not as old as some of the forum members . When I was younger (oh those were the days ) I was able to pick-up languages just by being in the country and practising a bit , but now , even though I can remember other languages , I have difficulty remembering new words in Bulgarian for more than a few seconds , and get embarressed asking "what was that word again?" ; after the 6th or 7th time !

Fifthly , if you want to communicate you can and will . Don't be put off by the alphabet ; people said that they'd never get used to new money when the UK went decimal , or kilograms and litres , but they soon did (well most of them ) . Mind you , years ago I had an Italian girlfriend in London who spoke great English , but many of her Italian friends didn't . They managed to stay living there for years , working in Italian restaurants or shops , hanging-out mostly with other Italians , and what happened ? I ended up learning Italian in London !

Tim

Kembo

Postby Kembo » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:22 pm

Right, which git mentioned God in the topic :evil: :lol:

After reading back over the comments on the last few pages, it says to me that yes, whilst it can be beneficial to know some Bulgarian, such as commonly used words and phrases, it doesn't necessarily mean you will be understood by anyone you say it to.

I find it a bit crazy that people can pronounce words correctly in social situations, restaurants etc, but, get a blank expression from the Bulgarian you are talking to, yet, a Bulgarian could walk in, say the exact same thing, and be perfectly understood, or maybe the Bulgarians involved just had an attitude problem with English/foreign people?

I don't know about anyone else, but if I took the time to try and learn words, and which I pronounced correctly, and then to get a blank look from a Bulgarian, I would say, sod it, can't be arsed with this any more, no point learning if people don't understand or choose not to understand what I'm saying.

Then there's the other thing mentioned by Tim about people from one village talking one way, yet they aren't understood in the next village or town 20km down the road. I'm not going to be learning all different accents/dialects/slang or whatever people want to term it as, just to fit in.

I'll learn a few words and phrases, plus the alphabet, and that's my lot, but if I find people there can understand when I say words, then I may learn some more, but as soon as I get blank expressions, I'll not waste any more time, and speak English only, if they don't understand, such is life, same goes for them, they can speak to me in English or not at all.

I wont bother remembering the words for 'please' or 'thank you', apparently, that's a put down of some sort to them. Anything I need for official stuff, I'll get a translator.

where you put the stress on a word is vitally important , and for me the biggest problem with communication ; I often have the word right , but without the wrong stress many people won't understand . Lyn gave a good example of the English word 'invalid' . Does it mean somebody that's injured , OR something that's not correct (valid) ? It all depends on the way that you say (stress) it


Sorry, Tim, but I don't accept the 'invalid' example, if I strung numerous words together to make a sentence, and got the stressing of one word wrong, I would expect any normal person to know what I was saying, simply by what I had said in the rest of the sentence.

As an example, if I said something like this in Bulgarian, hold on, I'm just finishing this off, I'll be with you in a minute, even if I stressed the word 'minute' wrongly, I would expect the person listening to know that I was referring to a minute of time, rather than the size, minute, if they can't work that out from the context of what I said to them, that's not my problem.


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