Nowadays, Bulgarian and Macedonian are the only Slavic languages where the system of cases isn't developed. Bulgarian and Macedonian are very close to each other, but are considered to be 2 independent languages though previously Macedonian was supposed to be a dialect of the Bulgarian language. The countries where these languages are spoken have boundaries with other Slavic countries.So they've always been in close cultural connections and had influence on each other's language.However, the closest Bulgarian Slavic neighbour, Serbia, has still kept 7 cases system.So my question is: how can it be explained that Bulgarian lost its cases?

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    Bulgaria and North Macedonia don't "have boundaries with other Slavic countries", they border only on Serbia. And Bulgarian still has cases, Nominative, Accusative, Dative in pronouns, and Nominative and Oblique in definite nouns. Also, nouns have Vocative case. Anyhow, Bulgarian is geographically on the periphery of the Slavic world, so no surprise it developed some features other Slavic languages don't have.
    – Yellow Sky
    Nov 24, 2019 at 14:35
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    @YellowSky "on the periphery" is questionable, it's not any more peripheral than Polish, or Russian in Siberia. Also Old Church Slavonic - which has cases - was developed there and was in diglossia. Nov 24, 2019 at 19:53
  • @AdamBittlingmayer - Old Church Slavonic is irrelevant in this discussion since it appeared 1000+ years ago when all the Slavic languages were just dialects.
    – Yellow Sky
    Nov 24, 2019 at 21:10
  • @YellowSky Why would it's age make it less relevant? It's basically a snapshot of Macedo-Bulgarian a thousand years ago. Nov 25, 2019 at 9:29
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    @YellowSky I do not think that's a verifiable statement about grammar (as Adam says). It might have gone either way, all Slavic sprang from OCS, or it's an adstratum to already similar languages. It might be indeed as you say, that OCS is not very relevant here.
    – vectory
    Nov 25, 2019 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


The features of Bulgarian and Makedonian are explained by mutual influence of the languages on the Balkan (including non-Slavonic Languages such as Romanian, Albanian, and Greek). The neighbouring languages of Bulgarian show a characterisitc reduction of the case system to 2 cases (3 including vocative) with genitive and dative merged into one case. Due to their mutual influence the Balkan languages form a sprachbund named Balkan sprachbund.

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    Romanian, Albanian and Greek have case. Lack of case is not a feature of the Balkan sprachbund. Nov 24, 2019 at 21:04
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    And Romanian (or more precisely Eastern ie Balkan Romance) is the only modern vulgar Romance branch that has case. Nov 24, 2019 at 21:06
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    But reduction of case to a 2 (or 3 with vocative) case system with same endings for genitive and dative is. Nov 24, 2019 at 21:06
  • Your answer would be improved by including that, and why it applies here, because it's not obvious Macedo-Bulgarian even has genitive/dative, or any cases at all beyond pronouns. Nov 25, 2019 at 9:40
  • Given that Macedo-Bulgarian has less case morphology than the rest, it's not obvious it's an effect of this tendency in the sprachbund, rather than the cause. Nov 25, 2019 at 9:44

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