The 2001 census defines an ethnic group as a "community of people, related to each other by origin and language, and close to each other by mode of life and culture"; and one's mother tongue as "the language a person speaks best and usually uses for communication in the family (household)".
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Bulgarian is the country's only official language. It's spoken by the vast majority of the Bulgarian population and used at all levels of society. It is a European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group. Its closest relative is the Macedonian language and the difference between the two are on dialectal level.
The Turks constitute the largest minority group in the country. The Turks in Bulgaria are descendants of Turkic settlers who came from Anatolia across the narrows of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, as well as Bulgarian converts to Islam who became Turkified during the centuries of Ottoman rule.
The Romani constitute the second largest minority group in the country. The Romani in Bulgaria are descendants of Romani nomadic migrants who came from India across the narrows of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, in the late 13th century and following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, and also during the five centuries of Ottoman occupation.
According to a Eurobarometer survey conducted in 2012, English was the most commonly known foreign language in Bulgaria (25% claimed workable knowledge of it), followed by Russian (23%), and German (8%).
In the 2012 Eurobarometer survey, however, the situation was different, with 25% of people saying they know English well enough in order to be able to have a conversation, and only 23% answering Russian (a decrease of 12 points). This is because many of the people who learned Russian at school are from an older generation and some are now deceased or as time has elapsed, have forgotten how to speak the language. When asked which two languages, other than their mother tongue, would be the most useful for children to learn in their future, an overwhelming majority of respondents said English (90%), with German coming second (36%), and Russian third (14%).