The Department works on the complex problems of the origin of words and word forms in Bulgarian. Etymological studies aim to reveal the Slavic or the foreign origin of Bulgarian words and the connection of the Bulgarian language with other languages and peoples – Slavic, Balkan, Indo-European, etc., from the ancient times until present. The study of the origin of words contributes to the study of the genesis and the history of Bulgarian people and their material and spiritual culture over the centuries, which supports the preservation of the Bulgarian national identity in the current process of European integration and globalisation.
The Department has a significant role in the extensive etymological studies on Slavic, European and other languages. The Department also work on current problems of Slavic, Balkan, Indo-European and general linguistics, which contributes to the integration into the European Research Area.
Researchers from the Department are also members of the Commission of Balkan Linguistics, the Commission of Etymology and the Commission of Onomastics at the International Committee of Slavists, of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences (ICOS) and other international and national scientific organisations and expert boards.
Researchers from the Department were between the founding editors of the journal: “Balkansko Ezikoznanie//Linguistique Balkanique” (Balkan Linguistics), published by the Institute for Bulgarian Language since its first issue in 1959.
The Department was founded by Acad. Vladimir Georgiev in the 1950s.