No Bulgarian On Duolingo? Let's Find Alternatives

There is no Bulgarian on Duolingo. It's a sad fact for me since I've been wanting to learn this interesting language for a while now. Still, I'm very interested in seeing a Bulgarian course for English speakers on Duolingo. I visit Bulgaria once a year and really would like to be able to understand and speak the language while I'm there.

In this blog post, I will talk about possible reasons why there is no Bulgarian on Duolingo and what are alternatives we can try.

About The Bulgarian Language

Bulgarian language (Bulgarian: Български език) is one of the South Slavic languages which is the official language in Bulgaria where it is used in all spheres of public life. As of 2011, it is spoken as a first language by about four out of every five Bulgarian citizens. And since 2007 has been among the official languages of the European Union.

Bulgarian is most similar to Macedonian, while in Bulgaria, Macedonian is considered the second variant of Bulgarian. 

Along with the closely related Macedonian language (collectively forming the East South Slavic languages), it is a member of the Balkan sprachbund and South Slavic dialect continuum of the Indo-European language family. The two languages have several characteristics that set them apart from all other Slavic languages: changes include the elimination of case declension, the development of a suffixed definite article, and the lack of a verb infinitive, but it retains and has further developed the Proto-Slavic verb system. One such major development is the innovation of evidential verb forms to encode for the source of information: witnessed, inferred, or reported.

There are three literary norms in modern Bulgarian - Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Banat (so-called Banat Bulgarian). 

How Many People Speak Bulgarian And Where? 

The number of people whose mother tongue is Bulgarian is estimated at around 8-9 million. Most of those people live in Bulgaria and there are smaller groups in Greece, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, and Serbia. It is also a recognized minority language in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, Albania, Romania. 

The language is also represented among the diaspora in Western Europe and North America, which has been steadily growing since the 1990s. Countries with significant numbers of speakers include Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom (38,500 speakers in England and Wales as of 2011), France, the United States, and Canada (19,100 in 2011).

Why Is There No Bulgarian On Duolingo?

In my honest opinion, there are 2 main reasons why there is no Bulgarian on Duolingo yet. Here they are: 

  1. There are not enough contributors to do so
  2. It takes a lot of time to make a course

I know that it's not an easy thing to just make a great course for learning the Bulgarian language and it surely takes time. However, there are 8 - 9 million natives. Certainly, there are some who are qualified enough. Yes. But even so, it takes more than knowing a language to be qualified you need to know that language and one that the person who is learning is learning. It also takes determination.

My point being, in a European country with that many people, there are about to be more than enough people who know English, well enough so they can teach others. And it's not like there are no Bulgarian immigrants in the US or UK. Most people want to see their language being represented, so among those who know both languages, there will be some who have the determination.

My good friend is a native Bulgarian and he just applied to the incubator. He was super excited and super qualified to contribute to a Bulgarian course, and then he saw this topic is over 5 years old and nothing has been done... It's pretty discouraging to see how many people have been applying in the past years and nothing happened. I guess they just have to keep bugging Duolingo until they make it!

There are obviously people that are eager to learn this interesting language, as well there are Bulgarian that want/need to learn English but don't have the money or time to spend in courses. However, Duolingo is an awesome platform for learning foreign languages due to being free and enabling people to use it whenever they have free time to do so. Also, it all depends on their own willingness and pace to learn the language. 

What Are The Alternatives To Duolingo?


No Urdu On DuolingoI am glad you asked. There is one very obvious recommendation that can be made here, and that is the Ling Bulgarian app. Ling uses native Bulgarian speakers to help you learn Bulgarian, just like it will sound in the country. 

Through the gamification of learning, also makes the whole process much more engaging. You can see yourself progress as you make your way through the different topics and tests that come along with it.

Then there is the chatbot feature that simulates conversations and makes for great practicing your Bulgarian language skills. For an introvert like me, it helps to build up my courage to eventually feel confident enough to use it when out and about.

While these mobile apps do share a common goal of making language learning fun and accessible, what sets Ling apart is the focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you will use in everyday speech. 

Simply Learn

No Urdu On DuolingoThis one is actually a part of the same family as Ling. Simply Learn Bulgarian is a phrasebook in app form, giving you all the benefits that come with that. You can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Bulgarian speakers, along with the Bulgarian and phonetic spellings of the words.

It makes for a great companion both when practicing and when you are in Bulgarian. It makes use of flashcards and the spaced repetition learning technique that is said to really improve language learning.

It may not be the top choice if you want a deep understanding of the language but helps you start out with pronunciation and basic grammar like word order.

Other Resources 

There are quite a few different apps and websites that work great with helping you to learn Bulgarian. Each one goes about its own way to replace the hole made by the lack of Bulgarian in Duolingo. Ultimately, it is a case of finding which option works best for your case.

Like we said before, it is good to make a language learning plan and mix things up if you are serious about learning Bulgarian. 

What Are The Chances Of Slovak Appearing In Duolingo?

It's a fact that many people would like to see the Bulgarian language In Duolingo. However, I would advise them not to get their hopes high. I doubt that Bulgarian/English courses and vice versa will happen in Duolingo in the near future. Unfortunately, it seems like the guys at Duolingo are busy doing other things than building their customer base and increasing their market reach.

Even though Bulgaria has been in the European Union since 2007, it's a totally unpopular and overlooked country. The most common answer to that situation is that all Slavic languages are similar and we don't need all of them in Duolingo. Learning Russian or Polish will do just fine. 

Duolingo has proven to be pretty disappointing in this regard. So, maybe you should consider using other alternatives for learning the Bulgarian language. 

Last Thoughts

Well, Duolingo still does not have a Bulgarian course, even though I see many people who want to learn this language. I also want to learn Bulgarian. So, I tried to find another source and I found the app called Ling app. This app is nice and really good for learning languages. Like learning through playing games. Also, you can choose the level of your Bulgarian from beginner to expert including 50 lessons to learn. I totally recommend Ling! It has an app version and web version as well.

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