Bulgarian is an Indo-European language that has roots in the Slavic language. Based on the 2011 census, it is estimated that there are at least 6.8 million Bulgarian speakers, mostly residing in or around the nation of Bulgaria. However, growing diaspora will lead to more Bulgarian speakers worldwide. It is one of the official languages of the European Union since 2007.
It is closely related to the Macedonian languages, but has several distinctions that bar it from being a truly Slavic language, including the lack of infinitive verbs and case declension. The development of the Bulgarian language took place over hundreds of years starting in the 9th century AD. Bulgarian is known as the first Slavic language in which writing took place.
The language is mainly split into two broad dialect areas, based on the different reflexes of the Common Slavic yat vowel. This split, which occurred at some point during the Middle Ages, led to the development of Bulgaria's eastern and western dialects. Modern Bulgarian was based essentially on the Eastern dialects of the language, but its pronunciation is in many respects a compromise between East and West Bulgarian.