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Basic Bulgarian, Bonus Material - Writing your name in Bulgarian

Isn't it always fun to try and translate foreign names into your own language? :)

I think we're ready to do it in Bulgarian! Here are some guidelines for how to do it.

The "J" in James and the "Ge" in George become "Дж", because we don't have a separate letter for that sound

  • Jim - Джим
  • George - Джордж
  • Raj - Радж

Double consonants like the "mm" in "Jimmy" or the "nn" in "Jenny" become single consonants. Also true for "ck".

  • Jimmy - Джими
  • Jenny - Джени
  • Jessie - Джеси
  • Billy - Били
  • Nick - Ник
  • Ricky - Рики

The so-called "long" vowels 'a' (as in James), 'i/y' (as in Kyle, Miles) and 'ee' (as in Reed, Bean) become "ей", "ай" and "ий", respectively

  • James - Джеймс
  • Caleb - Кейлеб
  • Catie - Кейти
  • Kyle - Кайл
  • Miles - Майлс
  • Reed - Рийд
  • Bean - Бийн

Vowels in unstressed syllables, like the "e" in Vader, the "a" in Miriam or the "o" in Simon usually become "ъ", because that's the closest Bulgarian sound

  • Dylan - Дилън
  • Vader - Вейдър
  • Simon - Саймън
  • Jillian - Джилиън

The "a" in Pat, Max, etc becomes a plain "а", because Bulgarian doesn't have the English sound

  • Pat - Пат
  • Pamela - Памела
  • Janet - Джанет

The "ch" in Charles, "sh" in "Shawn" and "ts/tz" in Kravitz are "ч", "ш" and "ц", respectively. Remember - Cyrillic has separate letters for these sounds.

  • Chandler - Чандлър
  • Trish - Триш
  • Kravitz - Кравиц

'x' as in Nixon becomes 'кс'

  • Nixon - Никсън
  • Hendrix - Хендрикс

'w' becomes 'у' - we only have that sound in loanwords.

  • Will - Уил
  • Corwin - Коруин

Putting it all together

Here are some examples from popular US culture:

  • Harley Davidson - Харли Дейвидсън
  • Janet Jackson - Джанет Джаксън
  • Jimmy Fallon - Джими Фалън
  • Simon Cowell - Саймън Кауъл
  • Rihanna - Риана
  • Beyonce - Бийонсе (or Бионсе)
  • Pentatonix - Пентатоникс
  • Keanu Reeves - Киану Рийвс
  • Meryl Streep - Мерил Стрийп
  • Chandler Bing - Чандлър Бинг
  • Phoebe Buffay - Фийби Бъфей
  • Warren Buffet - Уорън Бъфет
  • Lenny Kravitz - Лени Кравиц

Now try and write your own name in Bulgarian! You don't have to post it here, but it could be fun :)

September 30, 2015



Sorry for being a nitpick, but...

'Raj' can be written 'Раж'

There are a few cases where J is pronounced softly like the French 'je', and this is one of them.

You can look at it as us having no separate letter for 'Ж' and 'ДЖ' ;)


No problem :) All the people I know with that name pronounce it with a дж, but it's true that Bulgarian spelling doesn't always go with foreign pronunciations.


Also, see https://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A0%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B6_%D0%9A%D0%B0%D0%BF%D1%83%D1%80 Based on that and a few other BG Wikipedia pages, I'm not sure how frequently the Раж spelling is used. Do you have any links you could show me?


Ricardo in Portuguese; Хикахду or Хикарду in Cyrillic. :)


Our spellings of Portuguese names don't always match very well the Portuguese pronunciation. I guess you're from a part of Brazil where the "r" is [x], but we're most likely going to spell your name Рикарду, like on this Wikipedia page about Kaká: https://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/Кака_(футболист)


Yup, I know. But spelt as Рикарду sounds more Italian or Spanish to Brazilian ears. When I write in Cyrillic, I prefer the phonetic transcription (the way I pronounce it). :)


Of course :) I think in recent times, there's been an overall trend in Bulgaria to allow name spellings that are closer to the foreign pronunciations, so several variants sometimes coexist.


Anna - Анна I can't write my surname. First is privacy, second - I don't know how to write Polish "y" sound that isn't in Receved Pronunciation English. It's IPA [ɨ] or [ɘ̟]. And shch can be written "щ" like in Ukrainian or it must be written "шч"?


Hi Anna! Your name is interesting in that we have people who spell it with a double "n" - Анна - and people who spell it with a single "n" - Ана. In fact, just in my extended family there is an Анна whose grand-daughter is called Ана :) The "y" sound becomes "и", because unlike Russian we don't have that sound in Bulgarian, and hence no letter. For example, Wisława Szymborska becomes "Вислава Шимборска". And finally, "shch" becomes "шч", since in Bulgarian щ = шт.


Okay, thanks for your answer. And I also have my name because my grandma :) Анна Юшчик


Don't forget Gus, Гюс.

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