Bulgarian pronouns


Bulgarian pronouns

Bulgarian pronouns vary in gender, number, definiteness and case. They, more than any other part of speech, have preserved the proto-Slavic case system. The distinguishable types of pronouns include the following: personal, possessive, interrogative, demonstrative, reflexive, summative, negative, indefinite and relative.

Personal pronouns

In Bulgarian, there are two types of personal pronouns (лични местоимения): full (stressed, free) and short (unstressed, clitic). The full are used with both verbs and prepositions (only the direct object forms), whereas the clitic only with verbs. As in English, personal pronouns change depending on their function within the sentence (as a subject or an object, in other words they have cases: Nominative (Именителен), Accusative (Винителен) and Dative (Дателен). The dative clitic forms can also be used to indicate possession (most Bulgarian grammar books refer to them as short forms of the possessive pronouns). The subject forms are always strong and are used as subjects only when special emphasis is intended, since unstressed subjects recoverable from context are not overtly expressed anyway. In some special cases the full and the short forms of the object pronouns can be used together.

There is only one interrogative pronoun for quantity—колко—and it doesn't have any gender or number forms. It is used before plural nouns to ask about their quantity (then it is translated as how much/how many), and before an adjective or adverb to ask about the extent, degree, age, etc of something or somebody (translated as how).

Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns (показателни местоимения) agree in number and gender with the noun they refer to (except for this for quantity). There are three types of demonstrative pronouns: for persons and objects, for quality and for quantity. Each demonstrative can not only modify a noun, but also be used on its own. Personal demonstrative pronouns have two forms: for nouns that are close to the speaker or writer and for far nouns. Quality pronouns also have two forms: positive, that specifies that the noun has a particular quality (this kind of/this sort of/of that type) and negative, that specifies that the noun doesn't have a particular quality or has a different one (not this kind of/not this sort of/not of that type).

ummative pronouns

There are three types of summative pronouns (обобщителни местоимения): personal, for quality and for quantity. They all agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. Personal summative pronouns are used with both singular and plural nouns or on their own and mean all the things or people belonging to a group of one or more - each/every(body). When the personal summative pronoun всеки/всякой refers to a person and is used without a noun, it has accusative and dative forms - всекиго/всякого and всекиму/всякиму respectively. Quality summative nouns are used for specifying that the noun they refer to possesses all kinds of qualities - all kinds/sorts/types of. Quantity summative pronouns are always definite (except for the plural and the neuter form which can also be indefinite, when they are not used with a noun but on their own) and mean the whole number/amount of something - all (the). The indefinte neuter form also means everything.

Relative pronouns

The relative pronouns (относителни местоимения) are formed from the corresponding interrogative pronouns by adding -то to the end of the word. They are used for introducing a relative clause.


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