Bulgaria and the adjacent provinces of Macedonia are considered to have been the cradle of the old Slavic languages. The ancient Bulgarian language was the richest of them all, and was the Scriptural language of the Greek-Slavic church, and the great medium of ecclesiastical literature in the ancient Slavic lands. After the overthrow of the Bulgarian kingdom at the close of the 14th century, the grammatical structure and purity of the language became impaired by admixture with the Walla-chian, Albanian, Rouman, Turco-Tartar, and Greek vernaculars. Turkish inflections are appended to Slavic words; but properly the modern Bulgarian language has only the nominative and the vocative of the seven Slavic cases, all the rest being supplied by prepositions; the inflection of the verb is in like manner imperfect. There is an article, which is put after the word it qualifies, like that of the Albanians and Wallachians. Among the ancient Bulgarian literature must be mentioned the translations of the Bible by Cyril and Methodius, and the writings of John of Bulgaria in the 10th century.

The separation of the Bulgarian church from the Latin, and its union with the Greek, had no influence in creating a Bulgarian literature; the clergy, then as now, procured their liturgies from Russia. The modern literature is very slender, consisting almost entirely of a few elementary and religious books. Grammars of the Bulgarian language were published by Neofyt in 1835, and by Christaki in the following year. Yenelin, a young Russian scholar sent to Bulgaria by the Russian archoaographical commission, published in 1837 a grammar and two volumes of a history of the Bulgarians, but died while he was engaged in preparing a third volume. A new grammar was published by Bogoyev in 1845, and finally in 1849, by the Rev. E. Riggs, an American missionary stationed at Smyrna, who also sent a Bulgarian translation of Gallaudet's "Child's Book on the Soul" to New York. Dictionaries of the Bulgarian language have been prepared by Neofyt and Stojanowicz. A Bulgarian version of the New Testament was printed at Smyrna in 1840 for the British and foreign Bible society. The Bulgarian national songs are numerous, and are similar to those of the Servians. Celakovsky's collection of Slavic songs contains a number of Bulgarian songs.

Bogoyev published twelve historical poems in 1845. There is as yet no place in Bulgaria where books are published. Works in the language are printed in Bucharest, Belgrade, Buda, Cracow, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Odessa.