Armenian [Hayeren] is a language of the Indo-European family, though its relationship to the other Indo-European varieties is still debated. Together with the Slavic, Baltic and Indo-Iranian languages, Armenian belongs to the so-called Satem-languages. The Armenian alphabet, which is completely phonetically based (every sound has its own letter and each letter represents a single sound), is very old ―it was created for religious and cultural purposes, after the introduction of Christianity to the Armenians in the 4th century. Armenian has more than 60 varieties. Eastern Armenian is the state language of the Republic of Armenia [Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun], where literary Armenian is used in education. The western dialects predominate in the diaspora communities. Of the estimated 7.4 million speakers of Armenian some 5.1 million live in European states and 3.2 million in Armenia, that became independent in 1991 after the break-up of the USSR.
The Armenians’ presence in Bulgaria is long-standing, with troops from Byzantine-controlled eastern Anatolia being stationed in the territory back in the 4th-5th century (and their families since the end of the 6th century), a migration flow which continued well into the 10th century. Paulician dissidents seem to have been part of this migration (7th century). Several Byzantine Emperors were of Armenian origin (among them Constantine V, Leo IV, Basilius I). Armenian immigration in Bulgaria intensified in the 17th century, and between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, following their persecution under Ottoman rule. In 1922 Armenians refugees were allowed into Bulgaria, increasing the Armenian population to 25,963 in 1934. Many Armenians originally spoke Turkish, and learnt Armenian in Bulgaria. Since the end of World War II their number has progressively dwindled. They were 21,954 in 1956 (with a few thousands moving to the Soviet Union when Armenia became a distinct Republic in 1936), 20,282 in 1965, 14,526 in 1975 and 13,677 in 1992. The 2001 census recorded 10,832 Armenians, including more recent economic migrants. Armenians live in all major Bulgarian cities but especially in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. Since 10,294 citizens declared Armenian as their mother tongue, there is an apparently close match between ethnos and language ― with language emerging as a strong element of self-identification. In 1992 a smaller number of people (9,796) had declared Armenian as their mother tongue.
Between the end of the 19th century and the end of World War II, education in Armenian (primary school level) was provided in 13 Bulgarian towns. In Plovdiv, schools included Viktorija i Krikor Tjutjundzjan, Mahitarjan, Mesrobjan Dzemaran, Armjan Tabroz. In the 1960s, under the communist regime, education in Armenian became optional ― a development which drastically affected language use. Until the 1960s there had been a number of Armenian schools, especially in big cities such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, etc. After the collapse of the communist regime these schools continued to exist and Armenian was reintroduced as the language of teaching, with the opening of new schools (mostly weekend primary schools) and the establishment of a chair in Armenian philology at the University of Sofia. Currently there are three big primary schools – two in Plovdiv and one in Sofia. Problems remain, with a dearth of textbooks, teaching aids and resources. Armenian press has a long-standing tradition. Armenian books have been printed in Bulgaria for a century, while in the period 1884-1944 approx. 70 newspapers and magazines were published. The first Armenian paper (Hujs) dates from 1884. In the interwar period the magazines Meghu, Razmig and Azad Hosk appeared, although their publication was later discontinued. In 1944 the paper Ervan was founded. Other Armenian publications (bilingual Bulgarian-Armenian) include Vahan (weekly) in Plovdiv, Hajer and Armentsi in Burgas. One of the most ancient Armenian manuscripts (a Gospel from Bachkovo monastery) is preserved in Sofia. The associations Vahan Manelian and Papekordzagan were founded in 1905 and 1910 respectively. Between 1944 and 1989 Armenian social and cultural life was centred on the Erevan association, with a choir, an acting ensemble, a library and a (weekly) newspaper. The association is present in 13 districts. Other Armenian organisations include Parekordzagan, HOM [Woman’s Beneficiary Organisation], Haj tod [Armenian History Club], OSOK Haskain, Mesrob Mashtob, the scouts’ association Homenatmen, and St.Hovaghimjan school. Armenian theatre has been active for a long time: the first drama group was formed in Ruse (1870) and actors such as Berdz Taktakjan, Dartad Nashanjan and Edi Chaprasd were famous. In the 1950s, the Shirvanzade group from Varna and the Plovdiv Mechitarists were very popular. Other names in drama are Sarkis Muhibjan and the director Krikor Azarjan. In music, Armenian singers are Nadia Afejan and Stefka Onikjan; other Armenians are the director Hajgashold Amirhanjan, the composer Hajgashod Agasjan and the internationally reknowned singers Silvi Tartan and Filip Kirkorov. Armenian writers in Bulgaria include Agop Melkonjan (1949) and Sevda Sevan (1945). The Armenian Apostolic Church in Bulgaria has 12 branches in various parts of the country. Services are held in the Armenian language. Although the family traditionally acted as a strong element in preserving language and culture, the lack of education and literacy suffered by generations of Armenians during the totalitarian regime considerably affected the use of the Armenian language. Nowadays it is no longer clear which is the language mostly spoken by Armenians within the family. Studies show that Armenians cite Bulgarian cultural and historical values without any bias.
Aro(u)manian [Armînesti], also known as Macedo-Romanian and sometimes Vla(c)h or Wallachian [Vlachika] (as in the 2001 Bulgarian census), is a Romance language written in the Latin (or Greek) alphabet and used by scattered communities in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and former parts of Yugoslavia (including Macedonia, where Aromanians (“Vlachs”) are constitutionally recognized as a minority) and in other countries of the Aromanian diaspora. Together with the two other sub-Danubian varieties of Romanian (Istro-Romanian and Megleno-Romanian), Aromanian is sometimes considered as a dialect of Romanian, while others prefer to define it as a distinct variety ― probably originating from a “common” Romanian language and separating from the Daco-Romanian variety (now used in Romania) by the 10th century, with the arrival of Slavonic-speaking peoples in the region. It is the neo-Latin language spoken in the Balkans today ― strongly influenced by Greek and abounding in Turkish, Albanian and Slavic loan words. The first Aromanian grammar was published in Vienna (1813). In 1996 the Aromanian language textbook Limba Armânjlor was published in Bulgaria, based on the dialect spoken in Krushevo (southern Macedonia).
The origin of Aromanians and Vlachs (in Bulgaria, Vlachs [Vlasi] or Aromanians [Armâni] are used as self-designations) has been the object of several hypotheses, with the term “Vlach” generally indicating Romance-speaking people in South-eastern Europe although ― in the middle ages ― it referred to all nomadic populations, irrespective of their ethnic affiliation (cf. also Greek in Bulgaria, 3.2). Their original settlements were in northern Greece, southern Albania and Macedonia among others. Aromanians in Bulgaria sometimes refer to themselves as “Vlachs” (cf. census data → Bulgaria, 3.1) but strictly speaking Aromanians should be distingushed from the Vlachs: the former migrated to Bulgaria in the 17th century as craftsmen and tradesmen, the latter arrived in the 18th century mainly as nomadic and trans-humant stock-breeders. During the Ottoman period Aromanians were to be found in Mezovo, Nikulce, Linotipi, Varani, Fuscia and Moschopolis (which became the second most important city in the Balkans after Constantinople, with as many as 60,000 inhabitants until it was destroyed in 1789). The Aromanians, who mostly define themselves as belonging to the fara armaneascā [Aromanian tribe] and rarely use the (neologism) natsie [nation], belonged to the Greek patriarchate of Costantinople and their cultural and economic activities were bound to the Greek Church. It was especially the urbanised Aromanians who spoke Greek (the first documents in Aromanian were written in the Greek alphabet and were not aimed at teaching Aromanian but spreading the Greek language). A second, different orientation of the Aromanians has been pro-Romanian (→ Romania, 4.2). In 1905 the Aromanian-Romanian movement culminated in the recognition of the Aromanians/Vlachs as a separate community [milllet] within the Ottoman Empire, but the formation of an Aromanian nationhood never occurred. Rather, it was the Aromanians who contributed to further that of other Balkan peoples. As a consequence, Aromanians underwent different states of assimilation and now show a great variety in self-identification, making them a very heterogeneous group as regards their ethnicity (Kahl, 2002).
In Bulgaria, the earliest Aromanian colonies (19th century) were in Melnik, Blagoevgrad, Doupnitsa, Pazardijk, Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, Peshtera and Stara Zagora. These urban Aromanians, the tsintsari [цинцари] were comparatively assimilated by the Bulgarian population. By contrast, herder communities of Vlachs tended to preserve a high level of endogamy. After the 1878 liberation, new waves of Aromanians came to Bulgaria, with part of them having a distinct Romanian education as a result of the Aromanian national revival. With the support of Romania, Romanian schools were opened in Gorna Djoumaya and Sofia in 1896, and Aromanian associations were founded. The Aromanian craftsmen and tradesmen who migrated to Bulgaria in the 18th century have been largely assimilated, while the descendants of the Vlach herdsmen (at least the older generations) still consider themselves as Aromanians [Vlachs or Armâni]). Although urban Aromanians tend to identify themselves as tsintsars and call the Aromanian herders Vlachs, this does not seem to affect the sense of community. There are no reliable data concerning language transmission.
In the 2001 census 10,566 citizens declared to be “Wallachians” [влахи], but only 6,587 appear to be speakers of “Wallachian” (in the census, the term is used to refer to the language spoken by the Aromanians/Vlachs). According to estimates from other sources, their number does not exceed 6,000 people. They mainly live in Blagoevgrad, Dupnica, Darkovo, Bistrica, Velingrad, Rakitovo, Bracigovo, Pirdop, Sofia, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik. The Aromanian Association has been restored in 1992 and the Romanian schools in Sofia offers courses in Aromanian, too. The quarterly Armânlu and the “Aromanians in Bulgaria and over the Balkans” are published by the Sofia Aromanian Society. During the past years there have been contacts between the Wallachian communities in Bulgaria and those in neighbouring countries, for example between Wallachian villages in the Vidin area and Wallachian villages in Romania and Serbia. For five years now (with the exception of 2002), an annual Wallachian song-and-dance festival has been held in Vidin-Rabrovo: it has become the focal point of cultural exchanges among Wallachians from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine and Moldova. Bulgarian Wallachians participate in the annual festival of Wallachian poetry in Lasi (Romania) and in meetings of writers in Skopie (Republic of Macedonia). A mini-festival is also organized in Rabrovo with the participation of Wallachians from Romania and Serbia. In August 2001 a symposium was held in Constanta, Romania: “The eternal character of the Wallachian presence in the Balkans - Aromanian history and civilization”. There was also an International Aromanian Folklore Festival. Members of the Bulgarian Centre for the Aromanian Language and Culture and the Aromanian Society took an active part in it. In November of the same year, the second Aromanian Poetry Festival and the second Symposium of Literature and Culture were held in Skopie. Aromanians from Bulgaria attended both events. In the last few years, the festival took part in the International Wallachian festivals in Rabrovo (Bulgaria), Seres (Greece) and Konstanta (Romania). In September 2002, the first Aromanian folklore festival in the Rhodope Mountains has been organised.
Greek [Ellinika] represents an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken mainly in Greece and Cyprus, but also worldwide by the members of the Greek diaspora. Standard Modern Greek (SMG), the official language of Greece, was previously known as dimotiki [common language], the variety that had coexisted for a long time in a diglossic situation with katharevousa [purified language]. Dimotiki was used in everyday interaction, while katharevousa ― closely related to ancient Greek ― was reserved for literary and official purposes. In the late 1970s Greece adopted SMG as its official language used in administration, education and the media.
Historically, Greek-speaking people in Bulgaria belong to two different groups (Assenova 1997): the descendants of the Greeks who established themselves in the Black Sea area, and the Karakachans (from Turkish Kara [black] and kachan [refugee]), also known as Sarakatsani [Σαρακατσάνοι], inhabiting the mountain region of Stara planina (the towns of Sliven, Kotel, Zheravna, Karnobat, Kazanlăk, Karlovo, Sopot), the Rila mountains (Samokov, Dupnitsa) and parts of North-Western Bulgaria (Berkovitsa, Vărshets, Montana, Vratsa). Greeks use dialects of the northern variety, which displays archaic features (Assenova 1997). During the Ottoman rule (1396–1878), the Greeks enjoyed considerable prestige, since the Patriarch of Constantinople represented all Christians (→ Bulgaria, 2.1) ― a position which lasted until the Bulgarian Church proclaimed its independence (1870). Throughout this period, upper-class Bulgarians used to receive their education in Greek and were practically bilingual. Between the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century Greek schools were opened in Plovdiv, Melnik, Sozopol, Bourgas, Assenovgrad and Varna, and were attended also by Bulgarians. The origin of the Karakachans has been mainly attributed to either Greek nomadic groups or to Greek-speaking Aromanian (→ Aromanian) communities (Assenova 1997). They normally designate themselves as Vlachs [Vláha], refer to their language as Vla(c)h [Vla(c)hika] and appear to use a Greek dialect displaying archaic features. As they are a nomadic community, however, they are normally bilingual or trilingual and are of Greek Orthodox faith. Most of the Greek-speaking people left Bulgaria after the conflicts with Greece (1906) and the second Balcanic War (1013): while the 1900 census counted as many as 70,887 Greek speakers, already in 1926 their number had dwindled to 12,787. In the 2001 Bulgarian census, 3,408 people declared a Greek ethnicity and 4,107 a Karakachan ethnicity. Greeks are mainly to be found in the Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna districts. As many as 6,876 declared Greek as a mother tongue (of these, 2,800 Greeks and 3,276 Karakachans). However, this is a slight decrease compared to 1992, when approx. 7,500 people declared Greek as their mother tongue (4,517 Greeks and 2,891 Karakachans) but there were also less people (4,930) who declared a Greek ethnicity and identified themselves as Karakachans (5,144). Unofficial estimates indicate higher numbers.
After 1989 distinct organisations for Greek speakers have developed, for both Greeks and Karakachans. Greek is mainly used in the family, with a diglossic Bulgarian-Greek situation: it should be noted that Greek has several features in common with Bulgarian, despite the fact that the latter is a Slavonic language (together with Romanian and Albanian forming the so-called Balkan Sprachbund). This phenomenon facilitates code-switching from Greek to Bulgarian (and the other way round). The National Federation of Greek Cultural and Educational Organizations in Bulgaria has branches in Burgas, Sozopol, Pomorie, Obzor, Sliven, Yambol, Topolovgrad, Golyam i malak manastir, General Inzovo, Okop i Kamenar, and publishes a monthly bulletin. It hascontacts with over 77 national Greek associations around the world, the most active ties being with Germany, Russia and the USA. In 1991 the Karakachans’ cultural association was founded in Sliven, later (1995) to become a federation of cultural associations. Their main goal is to promote cultural cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece and organise festivals such as the one in Karandila (near Sliven) on the first Saturday and Sunday of July. Unlike other minorities, the Karakachans have no press. There are also local associations such as the Bulgarian-Greek Association in Berkovitsa (since 1991) and the Karakachans’ Association in Rechitsa (since 1996).
Romanian [româna] belongs to the group of Balkan Romance languages. The Cyrillic script was used for centuries, then was replaced by the Roman alphabet in 1860. Varieties of Romanian used in Romania can be described in terms of structural aspects, a distinction being made between standard (literary) Romanian (→ Romania, 4.2) and in terms of regional distribution, with varieties displaying minor differences in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary, and mutual intelligibility.
The Romanian minority in Bulgaria (români or rumâni in Romanian; vlasi or rumuni in Bulgarian) is concentrated in the northwestern part of the country, in the Vidin, Vratsa and Pleven provinces and speaks the Oltenian variety of the Romanian language. Romanians from the Vidin Province are separated into two main groups: the Dunăreni" (who live along the Danube river) and the "Pădureni" (who lived in the higherregions of the country). The territory where the Romanians live in Bulgaria never belonged to Romania and most of them declare their ethnicity using the Bulgarian name "vlasi" (= Vlachs) (e.g. in the census), though theycall themselves "rumân" (= Rumanians) in their own language. The 2001 census counted 1,088 Romanians but many more (8,714) declared Romanian as their mother tongue. Among these 5,059 declared to be Wallachians (→ Aromanian in Bulgaria). The Romanian minority has recently started organizing its activities by founding the Association of the Vlahs in Bulgaria – Street Gradinska, no. 7. A new association, the Community of the Romanians of Bulgaria, was founded in 2002. Timpul, a Bulgarian and Romanian quarterly, has been published by the Wallachian Association in Bulgaria since 1993.
Russian [russkij jazyk] is an East Slavonic language of the Indo-European family, closely related to Ukrainian and Belorussian. Written in the Cyrillic alphabet, it is mainly spoken in the Russian Federation and former territories of the USSR. With the introduction of Christianity in the late 10th century, Russian literature developed from translations of the Orthodox liturgy into Old Church Slavonic; as Russia took a leading role within the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 16th century, Russian Church Slavonic (still used for liturgical purposes) superseded other Church Slavonic varieties. In the 17th century Russian gradually emerged as a national language under the reign of the Tsars. Owing a great deal to the efforts of the polymath Lomonosov and his Russian Grammar (1755), modern standard Russian was established by the time of Pushkin (1799-1837) and its written language became closer to the spoken norm. Since the Romanov Empire — and later on in the USSR — Russian has been in close contact with over a hundred other languages,
In the 18th century, a number of Russians who opposed Patriarch Nikon’s reform (1605 – 1681) escaped to Ottoman-controlled territories, including Bulgaria. These “Old Believers” [староверы] (→ Russian in Estonia; Russian in Poland; Russian in Romania) still inhabit two villages in Tataritsa (near Silistra) and Kazashko (near Varna), which could be considered as “linguistic islands” where a specific Southern Russian dialect is used. A different, later presence can be traced back to Russian troops remaining in Bulgaria after the 1877-1878 Russian-Turkish war. Most Russians in Bulgaria, however, descend from a third immigration wave ― those who left Russia after the 1917 Revolution (→ Russian in the Czech Republic), in particular White Guard refugees. Between 1919 and 1923 approx. 35,000 refugees arrived from Russia, a number which has dwindled over the years because of repatriations and other factors. At the time, no distinction was made by the Bulgarian government between Russians, Cossacks and Ukrainians. When the communists came to power in 1944, attitudes towards Russian refugees deteriorated: many of the White Guard immigrants who had not already been repatriated took Soviet citizenship, mixing with other Soviet nationals who settled in Bulgaria for various reasons (no Soviet troops, however, were stationed in Bulgaria). According to the 2001 census, 15,595 declared a Russian ethnicity ― a further decrease compared to 1992 (17,000). 18,477 people declared Russian as their mother tongue (and 14,347 of these a Russian ethnicity), suggesting that the language has been preserved and transmitted as a strong element of identification. Most Russians are to be found in the districts of Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas and Varna.
The interrelationship between the Russian and the Bulgarian languages, cultures and literatures has been considerable. Byzantine culture penetrated Russia via the Orthodox religion, and the role of Bulgaria as a mediator and of the Slavic Bulgarian language as a factor for overcoming the language barrier between Greeks and Russian was highly significant (→ Bulgaria, 2.1). In the 19th century, Russian represented an educational model which posed an alternative to Greek (→ Greek in Bulgaria), significantly influencing the Bulgarian intelligentsia of the time. The first Russian associations and schools in Bulgaria were founded in the early 1920s by White Guard refugees from Odessa and Crimea. By 1925 pre-primary, primary and secondary school education was provided in Sofia, Varna, Pleven, Nesebar, Sozopol, Pomorie, Ljaskovets and Burgas, as well as Shumen, Peshtera and Tarnovo-Sejmen, with more than 1,500 pupils and students. During the communist period Russian became a compulsory school-subject snf, although its role has been declining, Russian is still being taught at school. Belaya Volna is a quarterly published in Bulgarian and Russian by the Union of White Russian expatriates and their descendants in Bulgaria since 1992.
Albanian [Gjuha shqipe] is an Indo-European language representing a branch of its own, spoken primarily in Albania (where standard Albanian is an official language) and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Western Balkans as well as in Greece and Italy. It is now written in the Latin script. Its two main varieties are Gheg (northern) and Tosk (southern), reflecting the neat geographical division made by the river Shkumbini in the central part of the country. Each variety has its own literay tradition. After World War II the language was standardised on the basis of the Tosk variety (the south being politically dominant, and Gheg being highly fragmented in different dialects). Gheg, which has been revived since the 1990s (Gheg was an official language in former Yugoslavia together with Serbian), is used by most of the Albanian-speaking communities ouside Albania. Albanian migrations took place to Greece (12th-14th century), as well as to southern Italy (15th-18th centuries to Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Molise, Sicily, Campania) where the linguistic variety is called Arb(ë)resh. Other migrants settled in Romania, Turkey, Egypt and Bulgaria (town of Mandritsa in Kurdzali). The Albanian presence can be traced back to the times of the Ottoman rule in Albania (late 15th c.) when Albanians were employed mainly as workers in agriculture and masonry. A second wave dates back to the period after the Russian-Turkish war in 1878, and mostly consists of craftsmen and merchants who participated actively in the establishment of the new Bulgarian state.
Judeo-Spanish [Español], also called Judezmo or Ladino (in its written form) has been for centuries the traditional language of the Jews in the Balkans ― with the largest migratory influx originating from the expulsion of Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492. The Ashkenazi communities are few and much smaller than the Sephardic communities, and there is no Yiddish tradition in Bulgaria. Under the Ottoman rule, Jews enjoyed many privileges and often attained positions of high prestige. Ladino derives from the late medieval Spanish dialects of North-Western and central Spain, with not only Hebrew but also Aramaic, Balkan (especially Greek) and Turkish elements. Until the 19th century texts in Ladino (translations from the Bible, commentaries etc.) were written in the ancient rashi characters, later superseded by the Latin script. As from the beginning of the 20th century Judeo-Spanish has been gradually replaced by Hebrew (Ivrit) and Bulgarian in the press. As a spoken language, it is nowadays used only by the oldest members of the Sephardic communities. The Hebrew language (Ivrit), previously confined to religious functions, has been spoken in Bulgaria for a long time. With the support of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, 31 schools were open in Bulgaria in the period 1902-1903. In 1907 there were Jewish schools in Shumen, Rousse, Samokov, Sofia, Pazhardzhik and Varna, with a total of 2,752 students. After a long interruption, Ivrit was re-introduced in 1992 as a school-subject in the Dimcho Debeljanov school. Ivrit classes are provided also in Sofia, Plovdiv, Rousse, Burgas and Varna. Jewish press has a long-standing tradition: the first newspaper, Solun [Salonicco], dates from 1869-1874. Other popular magazines were in Ivrit, Ladino and Bulgarian (such as Evrejski glas, Svetilnik, Atar-Nabel). The Jewish organisation in Bulgaria “Shalom” (http://www.shalom.bg/static_pages/index.htm) is well-known for its publishing activities and other initiatives. The 2001 census counted 1,363 Jews but only 584 declaring Hebrew (Ivrit) as their mother tongue.
Macedonian [Makedonski] belongs to the Eastern group of the South Slavonic languages and shares a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Bulgarian ― so much so that in Bulgaria (and also according to some non-Bulgarian scholars) it is mainly, and officially, considered as a regional variety of Bulgarian. Its dialects form indeed a continuum with Bulgarian and Serbian dialects (Fielder 1997), but as a standard language it developed on the basis of the Titov Veles-Prilep-Bitola west-central dialect group (Schrijver 1998). Macedonian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet and was standardised as as a literary language only in 1945. The geographical region of Macedonia, after the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 and the Bucharest Treaty (1913), was partitioned between Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia, the south-western corner of Bulgaria), Greece (Aegean Macedonia) and Serbia (Vardar Macedonia). Many Macedonians left Vardar Macedonia for Pirin Macedonia to escape Serbian domination, while at the end of World War I and the Neuilly Treaty (1919) Bulgaria lost western Thrace (in Aegean Macedonia), with further thousands of Macedonians being transferred to Bulgaria and re-settled in the Black Sea area, formerly inhabited by the Greeks (Fielder 1997). The region's troubled history has generated many disputes over the existence of a separate Macedonian nationality (Kramer 1997), although in former Yugoslavia Macedonian was one of the official languages. In 1993 the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence. The 1946 Bulgarian census identified over 250,000 Macedonians, but after the Tito-Stalin split their number dropped (to less than 10,000 in 1965). According to the latest Bulgarian census (2001), 5,071 people declared themselves as Macedonians, and 3,518 declared Macedonian as their mother tongue (as against 10,803 and 3,109 in the 1992 census). Most of them (3,117) are resident in the district of Blagoevgrad, bordering with the Republic of Macedonia to the west and Greece to the south.
(Crimean) Tatar [Qırımtatarca] is a north-west Turkic language of the Altaic family, the language of the Crimean Tatars. It is spoken in Crimea, Central Asia (mainly in Uzbekistan) and, as a result of the Crimean Tatar diasporas, also in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. The formation of the Crimean Tatar dialects began with the first Turkic invasions of Crimea. However, the official written languages of the Crimean Khanate were Chagatai and Ottoman Turkish. After their Islamization, Crimean Tatars wrote using a Persian-Arab script. In 1928, this alphabet was replaced by the Uniform Turkic Alphabet based on the Latin alphabet. The Uniform Turkic Alphabet was itself replaced in 1938 by a modified Cyrillic alphabet, which, from the 1990s, is in the process of being replaced again by a Latin-based version, though the Cyrillic alphabet is still widely used (mainly in published literature and newspapers). The current Latin-based Crimean Tatar alphabet is the same as the Turkish alphabet with two additional characters: Ñ ñ and Q q. Tatars, of Islamic faith, first moved to Bulgaria (Dobrich district) in the 13th-14th century, when military units being persecuted in the wake of dynastic feuds in the Golden Horde defected to Bulgarian rulers. Other groups migrated to Bulgaria at the end of the 18th century during the Russian-Turkish war (1806-1812) and during the Crimean War (1853-1856). According to some sources, in the 19th century there were as many as 230,000 Tatars living in the Balkans. In the 2001 census, 2,388 people declared Tatar as their mother tongue. They live mainly in the areas of Kavarna and Balchik. There is a cultural centre of Tatar women in Dobrich ("Navrez"). Most Tatars in Bulgaria have become linguistically assimilated by Turkish), because they started communicating in Turkish after the liberation, and, later, because most children were sent to Turkish rather than Tatar schools. In 1910, 546 Tatars from Southern Dobruja declared Turkish as their native language. Tatar remains a means of communication among elderly people only; children appear to understand the language but do not speak it. Nevertheless Tatars seemingly regard their language as a distinctive feature of their collective identity and the loss of their language as a loss of ethnic differentiation.
Ukrainian [ukrajins'ka mova] is a language of the East Slavonic subgroup of the Slavic languages, along with Russian and Belarusian, all three languages being spoken in the Kievan Rus region (9th century). The denomination for the whole East Slavonic territory often caused confusion as Rus was equated with Russia ― that is also why Russian was called “Great Russian”, Ukrainian “Small Russian” and Ukrainian was often classified as a Russian dialect. The language shares some vocabulary with the languages of the neighbouring nations, most notably with Polish and Slovak in the west, and Belarusian and Russian in the north and the east. On the basis of the south-western dialects of the medieval East Slavonic subgroup, Ukrainian developed as a separate language in the course of the 14th century, and as a written language using the Cyrillic alphabet by the end of the 18th century. The number of Ukrainian speakers today amounts to approx. 45 million worldwide; most of them live in Ukraine (ca. 37.4 million, or 70.5% of the country’s population). There is a Ukrainian-Bulgarian Association in Varna (Chernomorie, on http://www.geocities.com/bulukr2000/index_en.htm). Ukrainya press (http://ukrpress.bol.bg) is a newspaper published in Sofia (in Ukrainian and Bulgarian). Since 1998 there is also a magazine published online (http://www.ukrpressbg.com/index.html) on political issues, business, history, culture and sports. Since 2001 the foundation "Mati Ukrajna" has been active in promoting Ukrainian culture. Ukrainian is taught at the Kliment Ochridski University of Sofia.