The foundation of the Bulgarian Literary Society in Braila in 1869 marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of the Bulgarian philological studies. One of the central aims of the Bulgarian Literary Society is the development and cultivation of the Bulgarian Literary language.
After the Liberation in 1878, the Bulgarian Literary Society is moved from Braila to Sofia. Together with the newly established Higher School of Sofia (the future University of Sofia), two centres for Bulgarian philological studies emerge – the Faculty of History and Philology at the Higher School of Sofia and the Department of History and Philology at the Bulgarian Literary Society. A normative act of 1911 restructures the Bulgarian Literary Society into the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The new institution started its activity by establishing an ad hoc Dictionary Committee, which launched the compilation of a dictionary of the Bulgarian language with a focus on regional dialects. The extensive lexicographic work in the following years led to the establishment of the Bulgarian Dictionary Service on 15 May 1942, which is later renamed into Institute for Bulgarian Dictionary and in 1949 becomes the Institute for Bulgarian Language.
Gradually, the research at the Institute widened its scope and at present it includes a range of fields: studies on modern Bulgarian, language competence, dialectology, historical linguistics, ethnolinguistics, general and comparative linguistics, lexicology and lexicography, etymology, onomastics, terminology, computational linguistics, etc.
In 1953 prof. Lyubomir Andreychin initiated the establishment of the Language Information and Consultations Service, which provides citizens, institutions, organisations, media, etc., with competent information with regards to the Bulgarian language. The Language Information and Consultations Service has an extensive archive and a digital database, which support the research on the dynamics of the literary norms and their codification.
In 1951 the Institute began to issue the magazine “Bulgarian language”, which is the main scientific organ of the Institute for Bulgarian Language, and in the period 1951 to 1985 “Proceedings of the Institute for Bulgarian Language” had been issued, inherited by the series “Bulgarian linguistics” (1995-2004). In 2014 the publishing of the Proceedings has been resumed.
Since 1959 the “Linguistique Balkanique” has been published, a magazine dedicated to the study of Bulgarian and the Balkan languages. One of the most recent editions is the bulletin “Lexicographic Review” which started in 1998.
One of the main objectives of the Institute for Bulgarian Language is the description and codification of literary norms. Spelling rules and regulations are published in academic spelling dictionaries, the latest of which is the “Official Spelling Dictionary” (2012). In 1982-1983 the three volumes of the “Grammar of Modern Bulgarian” have been issued and in 2014 the first three-volume Bulgarian Lexicology has been released. These are amongst the most authoritative theoretical works in their respective fields.
As a result of decades of lexicographical work a large number of dictionaries and reference books have been published. For the purposes of various research projects, a number of electronic corpora have been compiled to support the work and facilitate the access to unique language resources in specialised fields such as dialectology, onomastics, terminology.
Generations of scientists have contributed to the creation of the Institute’s library, which maintains a book collection of over 30,000 titles.
Acad. Stoyan Romanski (Director of the Institute 1942-1951)
Acad. Vladimir Georgiev (Director of the Institute 1951-1957)
Prof. Lubomir Andreychin (Director of the Institute 1957-1975)
Prof. Svetomir Ivanchev (Director of the Institute 1975-1977)
Acad. Valentin Stankov (Director of the Institute 1977-1979)
Corr. Member Dora Ivanova-Mircheva (Director of the Institute 1979-1989)
Corr. Member Todor Boyadzhiev (Director of the Institute 1989-1992)
Prof. Stoyan Zherev (Director of the Institute 1992-1994)
Dr. Julia Baltova (Director of the Institute 1995-2002)
Prof. DSc Vasil Raynov (Director of the Institute 2003-2011)
Prof. Svetla Koeva (Director of the Institute 2012-2020)