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Do you have in-laws? One of the things that they do not tell you when you start dating is that you are going to have to take in the whole family of your spouse after you finally tie the knot. All the miserable times when your grandma tells you that you are fatter than anyone she knew growing up are multiplied by two, as you get stuck with a second family. It can be even harder when your spouse and their family are not from the same culture as you. When I started falling for a Bulgarian woman, I decided to search right away for Bulgarian tutors near me. If she was Turkish, it would have been Turkish tutors.
The first time that I met my future grandmother-in-law, she looked like she was about to put a curse on me. She barely spoke a word of English and kept saying things that I did not understand to my future mother-in-law, who chuckled along. I kept nudging my girlfriend asking for a translation, but she would tell me that it was better off that I did not know. This would happen every time I met her family, to no end. I was getting so sick of it that I finally decided to do something.
Behind my girlfriend’s back, I started working with private Bulgarian tutoring. I made sure that I never blew my cover, to the point that she was worried I was cheating on her. Lucky for me, I am convincing enough that she realized that I was not stepping out on her for something nefarious. When I finally decided to reveal the results of my hard work, I shocked everyone.
It creates a great moment when you finally reveal that you have been working with a language tutor. I waited until her grandma said something mean about me to finally make my move. She had a habit of calling me kifla, which I figured out is Bulgarian slang for a girl who is too into her looks. It turns out that the practice of making fun of someone’s masculinity is internationally respected. I shot back a quick phrase in Bulgarian and she was left in shock. If not for the fact that she started faking a medical issue, I would have left victorious. But she is smarter than I gave her credit for and managed to turn my prank back on me. Touche, grandma. Touche.
One way that I learned, which was incredibly helpful to me, was reading books in English along with a Bulgarian audio version. It was something that I could not start until I was already fairly good at the language, but it allowed me to hear how the words were said and helped me transition my brain from thinking in English to thinking in Bulgarian. This was a technique introduced to me by my tutor and one that I highly suggest. You can get a lot of major books in other languages, so this can coincide with reading a book you have been interested, although it might take a lot longer to finish. I noticed that Michelle Obama’s book Becoming has a Bulgarian audiobook and I almost considered buying that one instead of the English version because I like to stay in practice. The only reason I did not was that she narrates the English version herself and I doubt that Michelle Obama’s Bulgarian pronunciation is good enough that she could do it herself.
One of the things lost when you learn a language on your own is the pronunciations and nuance of hearing a voice, so getting a Bulgarian tutor that can teach you to interpret accents is really helpful. Even though I knew most of the words, it took me an extra couple of visits to grandma before I was finally able to understand her thick accent.
Finding private Bulgarian tutors is not easy and you may have to use Skype if you want to work with the best. There just are not many Bulgarian tutors that exist, so finding one can be a huge annoyance. You also want to make sure that the tutor you are working with is someone that you work well with. When your options are limited, this can often mean that you have to sacrifice one quality to benefit from another, but that does not have to be the case anymore.
With online services, you can get the best Bulgarian tutors near me because you are able to choose from a larger group of options than you would find otherwise. Bulgarian is not ever a top 10 language in Europe, let alone in the US. To find someone, your best bet is to reach out to a company like ours, with lots of relationships in place.
There are not a lot of famous Bulgarians in media, so it is hard to use media to learn the language, but one person that inspires future Bulgarians is the Canadian actress, Nina Dobrev. Originally born in Sofia, Nina has been a proud Bulgarian throughout her career. A video she did for Vanity Fair as one of their YouTube videos highlighting the international roots of actors shows Ms. Dobrev going through different Bulgarian slang terms, which takes you out of the traditional or standard lessons. Ultimately, these are some of the most important words to learn, as they are the ones that help you communicate with real Bulgarians. Admittedly, this is where I learned about kifla, which was also something that Nina Dobrev did not know. Maybe it is more common with grandma’s generation. It is also where I learned ne mi pravi selski nomera, which was another term grandma tried to sneak by me. It essentially means, “stop trying to trick me.” I do not know what she was referring to with me because I am a very trustworthy grandson-in-law. Mostly.
The best Bulgarian tutors around are ones that understand the slang and when to use it. You want someone that prepares you to actually speak the language, so it is good to practice even slang words. Many kids ask what all the dirty words are when they learn a language and, while they are not the most important, they are still a major part in learning how to communicate like a natural Bulgarian.
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