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Much vocabulary has been borrowed from Russian, Greek, and Turkish, and the latter two have had a strong influence on Bulgarian grammar.Bulgarian has two main dialectal variants, eastern and western, and also local dialects.

The dominant national culture is that of the ethnic Bulgarians, and there is little sense of shared national culture among the three main ethnic groups.

Turks usually do not self-identify as Bulgarians, whereas Gypsies often do.

Bulgarian is necessary for interaction with the authorities and in commerce, and is the medium of instruction in schools, though minorities are entitled to be taught their mother tongue.

The national media use Bulgarian, while some radio broadcasts and print media are available in Turkish. The Bulgarian nation is symbolized in the coat of arms, which has at its center a crowned lion, a symbol of independence dating to the medieval Bulgarian state.

The population increased gradually for most of the twentieth century, but has decreased by more than 700,000 people since 1988.

This decline stems from out-migration and falling birthrates during the uncertain postsocialist period. The names "Bulgar", and "Bulgarian" most likely derive from a Turkic verb meaning "to mix." Ethnic Bulgarians trace their ancestry to the merging of Bulgars (or Proto-Bulgarians), a central Asian Turkic people, and Slavs, a central European people, beginning in the seventh century in what is now northeastern Bulgaria.Besides ethnic Bulgarians, there are several ethnic minorities, the most numerous being Turks and Gypsies, with smaller numbers of Armenians, Jews, and others.It also offered easy access to Macedonian lands, which were not part of the new Bulgarian state.Regional cultural variation sometimes reflects occupational specialization associated with local environmental conditions (e.g., fishing, animal husbandry), along with the influence of other cultural groups. Bulgaria's population was 8,230,371 on December 31, 1998.During the state socialist period, the crown (a symbol of monarchy) was replaced by a star.