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I also don't really understand where or how the consensus of Bulgarian having "no inflections like English" comes from.

If we take a look at the definitions between analytical and synthetic languages, we have the following:

Analytical language: Any language that organizes words and grammar by strict word order, particles rather than inflection to convey meaning.

Synthetic language: Any language that organizes words and grammar through inflection to convey meaning rather than relying on word order.

Now if we compare some text in English and Bulgarian:

English: Even though he had pain from arthritis, he studied hard because he wanted to go to medical school.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките от артрита, учеше усилено, защото искаше да отиде в медицинско училище.

We notice that болежките is an inflected form that serves a purpose in the sentence. болежки means pains and болежките means the pains (the pains that he had) the suffix те is a definite article that acts a lot like (is) an inflectional ending belonging to the noun, учеше усилено can also be усилено учеше in English this translates to only he studied hard here we notice that word order is relatively free. Also артрита is an inflection of артрит which can act either as a genitive case or a definite article (still an inflection) to describe that the arthritis is causing pain.

So if we compare the flexibility of word order of both sentences we get.

English: Even though he had pain from arthritis, he studied hard because he wanted to go to medical school.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките от артрита, учеше усилено, защото искаше да отиде в медицинско училище.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките от артрита, усилено учеше, искаше да отиде в медицинско училище.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките от артрита, усилено учеше, искаше в медицинско училище да отиде.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките от артрита, усилено учеше, искаше в медицинско училище. (Notice that да отиде is entirely optional.).

Bulgarian: Въпреки артрит болежките, усилено учеше, искаше в медицинско училище.

Bulgarian: Въпреки болежките, усилено учеше, искаше в медицинското.

(Here болежките implies/defines that he is suffering from arthritis and медицинското implies/defines medical school.).

So using this simple example and coming back to the above definition, why is Bulgarian considered "analytical"? This classification doesn't really make any sense.

Does it organize words and grammar by strict word order? No.

Does it use more particles rather than inflection to convey meaning? No.

Does it have strict word order? No.

Does it have inflections? Yes.

Does it rely more on inflection to convey meaning rather than strict word order? Yes.

As illustrated from the example above, Bulgarian clearly has more inflection and word order variation in comparison to English and is surely more synthetic than analytical by a large degree.

So, why is it classified as "analytical"?

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    Тhe word "болежка/болежки" is consistently misspelled.
    – dipetkov
    Jan 27 at 14:05
  • @dipetkov only to an extent - the word is somewhat archaic and I am sure I have seen it both ways. Anyway, I would also use "болежка".
    – fraxinus
    Jan 27 at 20:11
  • 1
    @fraxinus rechnik.chitanka.info/w/болешка.
    – dipetkov
    Jan 27 at 20:16

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Analytical vs. synthetic is more like a spectrum than the two possible states, some languages are more analytical than the others, some languages are very synthetic, but no absolutely analytical or absolutely synthetic languages exist. The Proto-Slavic language was very synthetic like most IE dialects, but the modern Slavic languages have all lost that level of syntheticity and are moving towards analyticity now, each with its own speed, though, but Bulgarian together with the closely related Macedonian language are definitely the champions among them. (I won't mention Macedonian any more, it has almost the same features as Bulgarian in terms of analyticity.)

The loss of the category of case in nouns and adjectives is the most striking leap towards analyticity, unprecedented in other Slavic languages. Of the 7 Proto-Slavic cases only the Common and Vocative are left in nouns, naturally if you count the Vocative as a case, if you don’t, then Bulgarian has no noun cases at all. The function of the cases are now performed by prepositions: на “of” for the Genitive case and “to” for the Dative case, с “with” for the Instrumental case. The remnants of case are found only in the personal pronouns which have Nominative, Accusative-Prepositional, and Dative forms. Adjectives lost not only the case, but also the so-called ‘full’ forms and the old synthetic comparative degree form substituting it with a proclitic which is analytical. Now there's the Bulgarian enclitic definite article which having developed from a demonstrative pronoun still keeps the subject/object distinction (only in masculine gender nouns) and creates an illusion of at least some nouns keeping their object case forms, but at the same time allowing for a rather free word order.

As for the verb, it is really fully inflected, Bulgarian having the most complicated and extensive verb system of all the Slavic languages. Still, even the verb system has definitely acquired some analytical features the Proto-Slavic lacked. The most striking one is the loss of the infinitive which is now substituted for the analytical construction of the particle да + the present tense form of the verb. Also, Bulgarian has many innovations in its verb system which are analytical. There are two new tenses:

  • щях да чета “(I) would read” — Future-in-the-past
  • щях да съм чел “(I) would have read” — Future-in-the-past perfect

Also, Bulgarian innovated the system of verbal forms for expressing evidentiality, there are 4 kinds of it, Indicative, Inferential, Renarrative, and Dubitative, each of them distinguishes 5 tenses, the last three kinds of evidentiality are expressed analytically, which means 3×5=15, but since the Present-and-past-perfect Dubitative form doesn't exist, so there are 14 “new” analytical tense-evidentiality forms, see the chart in that Wiki article on the Bulgarian verb. Of the 9 tenses of the Indicative mood only 3 are synthetic (Present, Imperfect, Aorist), and also the Conditional mood is analytical. All in all, there are 18 analytical vs. 3 synthetic verb tenses.

As you can see, during the last 1000 years Bulgarian has lost most of the nominal synthetic forms and introduced lots of verbal analytical forms, which makes Bulgarian the most analytical among the Slavic languages. Every language is analytical to some degree, even Latin has analytical features like prepositions or compound tense forms, but Bulgarian is very analytical. Well, for a person raised inside such an extremely analytical language as English or French, the degree of the Bulgarian analyticity may seem pretty petty, still it's not so, Bulgarian is really very analytical, especially when compared with its ancestor and neighbor languages. Being locked in the Balkan Sprachbund, Bulgarian shares many of its grammar features with Romanian, but Bulgarian is definitely more analytical than Romanian, one of the Romance languages which are all famous for their analyticity.

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