How could you analyze the formation of the plural below?

Singular - Plural
teatər - teatri - theater
bobər - bobri - beaver
pesen - pesni - song
psalom - psalmi - psalm
bancik - bancigi - band saw
izverk - izvergi - monster

/i/ is the plural suffix, and vowels such as /ə,e,o/ are deleted in plurals.

  • Is that last sentence the rule you're proposing to make plurals? How do you state it formally?
    – jlawler
    May 18, 2014 at 16:04
  • @user3608 I have edited your question for better readability - feel free to revert the changes, if you don't agree with them.
    – robert
    May 18, 2014 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


The deletion of certain <e o> and all <ъ> in Bulgarian is an effect of Havlík's law, and the forms /bantsik::bantsigi/ and /izverk::izvergi/ are demonstrative of Bulgarian's word-final devoicing; all Bulgarian obstruents lose voicing word-finally and the underlying forms are actually |bantsig::bantsigi| and |izverg::izvergi|

Other than that, the plural is formed with, among others, a suffix /-i/

As to answering the question, I'd just analyse the plural forms as "word-PL", nothing more.

  • 2
    Bulgarian plurals are formed with lots of fifferent suffixes, not only -i, and not every ъ /ə/ is deleted before the plural suffix, like in /zəb :: zəbi/ (tooth :: teeth).
    – Yellow Sky
    May 18, 2014 at 17:44
  • 1
    I think you might have misunderstood me: I said that (well, at least as far as I know) all deletions of <ъ> are a result of Havlík's law, not that all <ъ> get deleted due to Havlík's law (of course some don't, but those that do do so due to Havlík's law)
    – Darkgamma
    May 18, 2014 at 17:46
  • You misunderstand Havlík's law. This law describes where the Proto-Slavic vowel <ъ> disappeared and where it became a full-length vowel, and this law stopped to work long before the word teatər first appeared in Slavic languages. In teatər, bobər and pesen the last vowel, which gets deleted in the plural, is a Bulgarian innovation, that's a case of epenthesis (anaptyxis), no Proto-Slavic <ъ> corresponds to the last vowel of these words, so Havlík's law doesn't apply here, these vowels were introduced long after that law stopped working.
    – Yellow Sky
    May 18, 2014 at 22:59
  • Well yeah, but an extension of the effect of Havlík's law - the fleeting vocalisations of most (all?) Slavic languages - is what caused this; i.e. an analogical development. The same happens in Serbian, where loanwords that have /a/ in the final syllable sometimes lose it in declension mimicking the effects of Havlík's law. Also, the law isn't a Proto-Slavic development; it's rather a development in Common Slavic as it is not present in Old Church Slavonic
    – Darkgamma
    May 20, 2014 at 21:10

Plural formation in Bulgarian depends on whether the noun is masculine, feminine or neuter. On top of that, it also depends if the noun is monosyllabic or polysyllabic.

  1. Masculine nouns

    • Monosyllabic: in most cases, use ~ove at the end of the word (e.g. stol - stolove - chair). Nevertheless, some masculine monosyllabic nouns have their own plural form and do not use the ~ove ending (den - dni - day; krak - kraka - leg). There are different historical reason for these exceptions.
    • Polysyllabic: form the plural by adding ~i at the end (pisatel - pisateli - writer). Some polysyllabic masculine nouns form the plural through phonetic change. All nouns ending in ~ik change the ~k for ~tsi /~ци/ (uchenik - uchenitsi - pupil; rabotnik - rabotnitsi - workman).
  2. Feminine nouns form the plural by adding ~i at the end. If the noun end in ~a or ~ya /я/ the ~i replaces it (sestra - sestri - sister; staya - stai - room); nouns that end in ~iya /~ия/ form the plural with ~ii (chiniya - chinii - plate)

  3. Neuter

    • if the noun ends in ~o, the plural is formed by replacing the ~o with ~a (leglo - legla - bed)
    • if the noun ends in ~e, the plural is formed by replacing the ~e with ~a (letishte - letishta - airport)

    • Exceptions: Some neuter nouns have their own form (tsvete - tsvetya - flower; oko - ochi - eye). Again - there are different historical reasons for the formation of these words.

I hope this helps.

  • This doesn't really address the dropped vowels asked about in the question, such as teatər - teatri
    – b a
    Aug 26, 2019 at 12:18

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