Learning Bulgarian


I pride myself on being able to understand many more languages than I’m able to speak. I do VERY well with Spanish and German, and function OK with French and American Sign Language. The first time I saw “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” it was without subtitles (Swedish language version) and was pleasantly suprised that when I went back and watched it with English subtitles I had actually gotten about 75% of it the first time. I had never heard Swedish spoken before in my life.

Learning Bulgarian has been a whole different experience altogether.

I cannot read the cryllic writing. My brain simply won’t make the connection. I gave up on being literate and have since relied heavily on Google Translate. I figured I would have at least some luck learning to speak (and understand) the language if I could hear it spoken and see it spelled phoneticially in the Latin Alphabet.

Epic Fail.

In 10 months I have been able to retain 1-2 phrases. I can say “I don’t know”. Why? Because saying “I don’t know” in Bulgarian sounds like you are saying “Ass is numb”. Or that I am a numb-ass. True on so may levels that it has found it’s way into my brain. The second phrase I sort-of have been able to get is “I’m sorry”…which sounds like either “She’s eleven” or “Cheese eleven”. This took awhile to get (and I haven’t mastered it).

Unfortunately there is no Bulgarian version of “Rosetta Stone”. Crap.

I’m told that we will have a translator on both trips, which is excellent, but what happens when I have been home in the US for about 10 minutes with 2 kids who don’t speak English? Can you comprehend my terror?

Enter the Lingo 44 Language Translator (which I purchased today for $50). It was cheaper than buying a course on the internet for learning Bulgarian (which already isn’t going well), and promises to be able to translate some ridiculous amount of words into phonetic spelling so I can verbally mutilate them in my attempt to speak Bulgarian just by typing the English equivalent into the device and pressing a button. It seems like the least worst option I have going for me.

I’m hoping that when the times comes the kiddos will pick up the Sign Language (that we are apparantly going to start using) quickly. Which reminds me…I better start brushing up on that language too.


One response »

  1. Check out the Bulgarian Phrases for Children CD. (http://www.phrasesforchildren.com/bg_main_new.html) We bought a copy for our first adoption and it’s pretty easy to use. It gives you enough to be polite with the locals and to help get through the first week in Bulgaria with your kiddos. You hear the word spoken by both a man and a woman, and you can follow along on your paper. I gave up on learning the alphabet pretty fast!!

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