This is my answer to the same question on Quora, which was subdivided into the following three parts:
- What language(s) do you speak fluently now?
- What language(s) are you learning at the moment?
- What language(s) do you want to learn and why?
(1) Currently, I consider myself fluent in:
- Bulgarian because I am Bulgarian who was born and raised in Bulgaria.
- English because I grew up almost bilingual with it thanks to extensive language classes in and outside of school, movies, music, the Internet, etc.
- German because I have studied it extensively during high school and have been living in Germany and studying in German since 2010.
(1.5) What is more, I am somewhat fluent in:
- Macedonian because it is the closest language to Modern Bulgarian. It is so close that in Bulgaria it is still largely considered to be just a dialect despite the fact that after WWII it diverged under the influence of Serbo-Croatian (see below). Fun fact: the Bitola dialect was almost chosen for the standard form of Bulgarian after the formation of the modern Bulgarian state in 1878. Modern-day Macedonian is largely based on it! :) However, I have quite a few other reasons for learning it: I have some Bulgarian and Macedonian friends who come from Macedonia and I enjoy reading contemporary Macedonian literature and listening to current Macedonian music. In addition, most folk songs, proverbs, myths, fables and national heroes (among other things) are common in present-day Bulgaria and Macedonia and the language offers another point of view over many of them, so this helps me appreciate my heritage more.
- Russian because in school I participated in many science olympiads and the best problems in Mathematics, Physics, and to some extent Computer Science (among others), could only be found in old Soviet textbooks. Later in life, I started to occasionally read Rusian literature, watch Russian television, and listen to Russian music. Literary Russian is a Slavic language and has largely evolved along with Old Church Slavonic, which until the 12th-13th century was mostly influenced by Bulgarian scholars. In fact, Old Bulgarian is considered to have been almost entirely identical as Old Church Slavonic, although this is not entirely correct because there were some manuscripts in territories that weren’t that influenced by Bulgaria at that time. I have occasionally tried to speak Russian, but it’s hard for me because we (mostly) don’t have cases in Modern Bulgarian and they are not always identical to the older revisions of Old Church Slavonic.
(1.75) I can understand the following languages to various extent:
- Old Church Slavonic because of many of the remarks about Russian. Obviously, I like history, too, so I have enjoyed reading various old texts written in Old or Middle Bulgarian which were closer to it. Its modern revision (that was in turn largely influenced by present-day Russian) is partially used in churches so I can understand it without any problems. However, I can’t speak it as it’s a dead language, even more so than Latin. Most discussions on religious matters are done in the respective modern language.
- Serbo-Croatian (and thus present-day Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin) because they are the closest Slavic languages to Bulgarian after Macedonian due to the geographic proximity and a lot of common history, though not as much as with Macedonia. For example, many medieval monarchs on both sides were with mixed blood and territories often changed their possession, so the languages continued to be very similar for quite some time, and have actually largely remained so despite some major differnces like the almost complete lack of noun cases in Modern Bulgarian and their extensive use on the other side. Furthermore, I have enjoyed a significant amount of Yugoslavian and post-Yugoslavian movies and music.
(2) I am going to keep it brief here, although I have studied other languages as well, but you will find them in the final section:
- Spanish because I started studying it without any particular reason, apparently liked the language, and am somehow still learning it. I can now understand a lot, but can barely use it on my own.
- French because I really like French food, movies, music, humour, literature, and culture in general.
- Esperanto because of the answers to my question here: Which conlang can be considered best for everyday usage? There is more to it, but this discussion actually made me start learning it. :)
(3) I would like to learn (in this order):
- Romanian because I have always wanted to be able to communicate with my fellow Romanians. It turns out that we have a lot more in common than we often admit to ourselves, not just in the past, but in the present as well. :)
- Italian: same reasoning as for French, but (currently) not as pronounced.
- Modern Greek and maybe Modern Turkish: same reasoning as for Romanian, but not as pronounced. I don’t personally know as many natives and the languages are linguistically different from everything I am familiar with. However, there are significant Greek and Turkish minorities in Bulgaria and historical influences from the languages to Bulgarian, so both of them should be pretty useful to appreciate my heritage even more.
- Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) and maybe Japanese because of the respective culture and the way the languages sound like. I have tried properly studying both in the past and am still passively interacting with them, however mostly with Chinese.
- I have thought about studying a lot of other natural and constructed languages and I may try some of them if I find the necessary motivation, but I am pretty sure I have enough to do before being able to move all of the above to the first group. :)