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Macedonian language

Македонски јазик
Makedonski jazik
Native to Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria,[1][2] Greece, Serbia, Macedonian diaspora
Region Balkans
Ethnicity Macedonians
Native speakers
unknown (2–2.5 million cited 1986–1998)[3]
Cyrillic (Macedonian alphabet)
Macedonian Braille
Official status
Official language in
 Republic of Macedonia
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Macedonian Language Institute "Krste Misirkov" at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje
Language codes
ISO 639-1 mk
ISO 639-2 mac (B)
mkd (T)
ISO 639-3 mkd
Glottolog mace1250[7]
Linguasphere 53-AAA-ha (part of 53-AAA-h)

Macedonian (македонски јазик, makedonski jazik, pronounced  ( )) is a South Slavic language, spoken as a first language by around two million people, principally in the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian diaspora, with a smaller number of speakers throughout the transnational region of Macedonia. It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and an official minority language in parts of Albania, and Serbia.

Standard Macedonian was implemented as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1945[8] and has since developed a thriving literary tradition. Most of the codification was formalized during the same period.[9][10][10]

Macedonian dialects form a continuum with Bulgarian dialects; they in turn form a broader continuum with Serbo-Croatian through the transitional Torlakian dialects.

The name of the Macedonian language is a matter of political controversy in Greece[11] as is its distinctiveness compared to Bulgarian in Bulgaria.[12][13]


  • Classification and related languages 1
  • Geographical distribution 2
    • Macedonian language in Greece 2.1
    • Relationship to Bulgarian 2.2
    • Usage 2.3
  • Dialects 3
  • Phonology 4
  • Grammar 5
    • Nouns 5.1
    • Verbs 5.2
    • Prepositions 5.3
  • Vocabulary 6
  • Writing system 7
    • Alphabet 7.1
    • Orthography 7.2
    • Examples 7.3
  • History 8
  • Political views on the language 9
    • Bulgarian view 9.1
    • Greek view 9.2
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Bibliography 12
  • Further reading 13
  • External links 14
    • Documents 14.1
    • Macedonian language 14.2

Classification and related languages

The modern Macedonian language is unrelated to the Ancient Macedonian language. The modern Macedonian language belongs to the eastern group of the South Slavic branch of Slavic languages in the Indo-European language family, together with Bulgarian and the extinct Old Church Slavonic. Macedonian's closest relative is Bulgarian,[14] with which it has a high degree of mutual intelligibility.[13] The next closest relative is Serbo-Croatian. Language contact between Macedonian and Serbo-Croatian reached its height during Yugoslav times, when most Macedonians learned Serbo-Croatian as a compulsory language of education and knew and used Serbian (or "pseudo Serbian, i.e. a mixture of Serbian and Macedonian").[15]

All South Slavic languages, including Macedonian, form a dialect continuum.[13] Macedonian, along with Bulgarian and Torlakian (transitional varieties of Serbo-Croatian) also forms a part of the Balkan sprachbund, a group of languages that share typological, grammatical and lexical features based on geographical convergence, rather than genetic proximity. Its other principal members are Romanian, Greek and Albanian, all of which belong to different genetic branches of the Indo-European family (Romanian is a Romance language, whereas Greek and Albanian comprise separate branches). Macedonian and Bulgarian are sharply divergent from the remaining South Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian and Slovene,[16] and indeed all other Slavic languages, in that they do not use noun cases (except for the vocative, and apart from some traces of once productive inflections still found scattered throughout the languages). They are also the only Slavic languages with any definite articles, but only Macedonian has a set of three based on an external frame of reference: unspecified, proximal and distal definite article.

The "A Dictionary of Three languages" (1875) written by Cyrillic

Prior to the codification of the standard language (Standard Macedonian), Macedonian dialects were described by linguists as being either dialects of Bulgarian[17][18][19] or Serbian.[20][21] Similarly, Torlakian was also widely regarded as Bulgarian.[22] The boundaries between the South Slavic languages had yet to be "conceptualized in modern terms,"[23] and codifiers of Serbian even found it necessary to argue that Bulgarian was not a Serbian dialect as late as 1822.[23] On the other hand, many Macedonian intellectuals maintained that their language "was neither a dialect of Serbian nor of Bulgarian, but a language in its own right".[24] Prior to the standardization of Macedonian, a number of linguists, among them Antoine Meillet,[25] Andre Vaillant,[26] Mieczysław Małecki,[27] and Samuil Bernstein,[28] also considered Macedonian dialects as comprising an independent language distinct from both Bulgarian and Serbian. Some linguists, especially in Bulgaria, still consider Macedonian a variety or dialect of Bulgarian,[29][30][31] but this view is politically controversial.[13][32][33] Modern questions of classification are largely shaped by political and social factors. Structurally, Macedonian, Bulgarian and southeastern forms of Serbo-Croatian (Torlakian) form a dialectical continuum[34] that is a legacy of the linguistic developments during the apogee of the Preslav and Ohrid literary schools.[35]

Although it has been claimed that Standard Macedonian was codified on the base of those dialects (i.e. the Prilep-Bitola dialect) most unlike Bulgarian,[36] this interpretation stems from the works of Krste Misirkov, who suggested that Standard Macedonian should abstract on those dialects "most distinct from the standards of the other Slavonic languages".[37] Likewise, this view does not take into account the fact that a Macedonian koiné language was already in existence.[38] The codifiers ultimately chose the same dialects, but did so because they were "most widespread and most likely to be adopted by speakers of other dialects."[39]

Geographical distribution

The population of the Republic of Macedonia was 2,022,547 in 2002, with 1,644,815 speaking Macedonian as their native language.[40] Outside of the Republic, there are Macedonians living in other parts of the geographical area of Macedonia. There are ethnic Macedonian minorities in neighbouring Albania, in Bulgaria, in Greece, and in Serbia. According to the official Albanian census of 1989, 4,697 ethnic Macedonians reside in Albania.[41]

A large number of Macedonians live outside the traditional Balkan Macedonian region, with Australia, Canada and the United States having the largest emigrant communities. According to a 1964 estimate, approximately 580,000 Macedonians live outside of the Macedonian Republic,[42] nearly 30% of the total population. The Macedonian language has the status of official language only in the Republic of Macedonia, and is a recognized minority and official language in parts of Albania (Pustec), Romania, and Serbia (Jabuka and Plandište). There are provisions for learning the Macedonian language in Romania as Macedonians are an officially recognized minority group. Macedoninan is taught in some universities in Australia, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries.

Macedonian language in Greece

The front page of the Abecedar, school book published by the Greek government in 1925. The book was in the Lerin dialect and Latin script

The varieties spoken by the Slavophone minority in parts of northern Greece, especially those in the Greek provinces of West and Central Macedonia, are today usually classified as part of the Macedonian language, with those in East Macedonia being transitional towards Bulgarian.[43] Bulgarian linguistics traditionally regards them all as part of the Bulgarian language together with the rest of Macedonian.[44][45] However, the codification of standard Macedonian has been in effect only in the Republic of Macedonia, and the Slavonic dialects spoken in Greece are thus practically "roofless",[46] with their speakers having little access to standard or written Macedonian.

Most of the language speakers in Greece do not identify ethnically as "Macedonians", but as ethnic Greeks (Slavophone Greeks) or dopii (locals). Therefore, the simple term "Macedonian" as a name for the Slavic language is often avoided in the Greek context, and vehemently rejected by most Greeks, for whom Macedonian has very different connotations. Instead, the language is often called simply "Slavic" or "Slavomacedonian", with "Macedonian Slavic" often being used in English. Speakers themselves variously refer to their language as makedonski, makedoniski ("Macedonian"),[47] slaviká (Greek: σλαβικά, "Slavic"), dópia or entópia (Greek: εντόπια, "local/indigenous [language]"),[48] balgàrtzki in some parts of the region of Kostur, bògartski ("Bulgarian") in some parts of Dolna Prespa[49] along with naši ("our own") and stariski ("old").[50] In Kostur, however, the name "Macedonian" is used as well by the local people.[51]

The exact number of speakers in Greece is difficult to ascertain, with estimates ranging between 20,000 and 250,000.[52][53] Jacques Bacid estimates in his 1983 book that "over 200,000 Macedonian speakers remained in Greece".[54] Other sources put the numbers of speakers at 180,000[55],[56] 220,000[57] and 250,000, whereas Yugoslav sources vary, some putting the estimated number of "Macedonians in Greek Macedonia" at 150,000–200,000 and others at 300,000.[58] The Encyclopædia Britannica[59] and the Reader's Digest World Guide both put the figure of ethnic Macedonians in Greece at 1.8% or c.200,000 people, with the native language roughly corresponding with the figures. The UCLA also states that there are 200,000 Macedonian speakers in Greece.[60][61] A 2008 article in the Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia put the estimate at 20,000.[62]

The largest group of speakers are concentrated in the Florina, Kastoria, Edessa, Giannitsa, Ptolemaida and Naousa regions. During the Greek Civil War, the codified Macedonian language was taught in 87 schools with 10,000 students in areas of northern Greece under the control of Communist-led forces, until their defeat by the National Army in 1949.[63] In recent years, there have been attempts to have the language recognized as a minority language.[64]

Relationship to Bulgarian

The historical and linguistic relationships between the Macedonian and Bulgarian languages are special and complicated. Macedonian researchers claim Macedonian is spoken in southwestern Bulgaria, whereas Bulgarians argue Macedonian is a variety of Bulgarian.

With the rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire, its specific social system, and especially the so called Rum millet, began to degrade with the continuous identification of the religious creed with ethnicity.[65] The national awakening of each ethnic group inside it was too complex and most of the groups interacted with each other.

With the emergence of the Bulgarian national revival during the first half of the 19th century, the Bulgarian and Macedonian Slavs, who were under the supremacy of the Greek Orthodox clergy, wanted to create their own Church and schools in a common modern "Macedono-Bulgarian" literary standard, called simply Bulgarian.[66] Their originating national elites used mainly ethnolinguistic principles to differentiation between "Slavic-Bulgarian" and "Greek" groups.[67] At that time, every ethnographic subgroup in the Macedonian-Bulgarian linguistic area wrote in their own local dialect and a "base dialect" for the new standard was not an issue. Nevertheless, during the 1850s and 1860s a long discussion was held in the Bulgarian periodicals about the choice of the basic dialectal group (eastern, western or compromise) for the new standard.[68] During the 1870s this issue became contentious, and sparked fierce debates.[69]

After the establishment of a distinct Bulgarian state in 1878, Macedonia remained outside its borders, in the frame of the Ottoman Empire. As a consequence, the idea of a common compromise standard was rejected by the Bulgarian codifiers during the 1880s, when eastern

  • Macedonian Grammar
  • A grammar of Macedonian by Victor Friedman
  • Macedonian basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
  • Macedonian Language E-Learning Center - learn Macedonian language online
  • Digital Database of the Macedonian Words
  • Macedonian - English, Greek, Albanian, German, French, Italian translator

Macedonian language

  • Dictionary of three languages - Gjorgija Pulevski, 1875.
  • Zur Sprachlichen Beurtellung der Macedonischen slaven, Leonhard Masing - in German, 1890.
  • Zur Laut- und Akzentlehre der Macedonischen dialekte, Leonhard Masing - in German, 1891.
  • MACEDONISCHEN STUDIEN, Vatroslav Oblak - in German, 1896.
  • Un Lexique Macedonien du XVI siecle (French)
  • Dwie gwary macedońskie (Suhe i Wysoka w Soluńskiem) – Teksty , Mieczysław Małecki - in Polish, 1934.
  • Macedonian grammar, Krume Kepeski – 1946, in Macedonian
  • Macedonian orthography and dictionary, Blaže Koneski and Krum Tošev – 1950, in Macedonian
  • Grammar of the Macedonian Literary Language, Horace Lunt – 1952
  • The first phonological conference for Macedonian with short history, Victor Friedman.


External links

  • Documents, Contes et Chansons Slaves de l'Albanie du Sud, Andre Mazon - 1936.
  • L'Evangeliaire de Kulakia Un parler Slave du Bas-Vardar, Andre Mazon et Andre Vaillant - 1938.
  • Dwie gwary macedońskie (Suhe i Wysoka w Soluńskiem) – Teksty, Mieczysław Małecki - in Polish, 1936.

Further reading

  • Comrie, Bernard; Corbett, Greville (2002), "The Macedonian language", The Slavonic Languages, New York: Routledge Publications 
  • Dostál, Antonín (1965), "The Origins of the Slavonic Liturgy", Dumbarton Oaks Papers (Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University) 19: 67–87,  
  • Hill, P. (1999), "Macedonians in Greece and Albania: A comparative study of recent developments", Nationalities Papers 27 (1): 17,  
  • Friedman, Victor (2001), "Macedonian", in Garry, Jane; Rubino, Carl, Facts about the World's Languages: An Encyclopedia of the Worlds Major Languages, Past and Present, New York: Holt, pp. 435–439 
  • Friedman, Victor (1998), "The implementation of standard Macedonian: problems and results", International Journal of the Sociology of Language (131): 31–57 
  • Hoxha, Artan; Gurraj, Alma (2001), "Local self-government and decentralization: case of Albania. History, reforms and challenges.", Local Self Government and Decentralization in South-East Europe:Proceedings of the Workshop held in Zagreb, 6th April 2001 (PDF), pp. 194–224 
  • Levinson, David; O'Leary, Timothy (1992), Encyclopedia of World Cultures, G.K. Hall, p. 239,  
  • Lunt, Horace G. (1952), Grammar of the Macedonian Literary Language, Skopje 
  • Mahon, Milena (1998), "The Macedonian question in Bulgaria",  
  • Poulton, Hugh (2000), Who Are the Macedonians?, United Kingdom: C. Hurst & Co. Ltd.,  
  • Seriot, Patrick (1997), "Faut-il que les langues aient un nom? Le cas du macédonien", in Tabouret-Keller, Andrée, Le nom des langues. L'enjeu de la nomination des langues 1, Louvain: Peeters, pp. 167–190 
  • Topolinjska, Z. (1998), "In place of a foreword: facts about the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian language", International Journal of the Sociology of Language (131): 1–11 
  • Trudgill, Peter (1992), "Ausbau sociolinguistics and the perception of language status in contemporary Europe", International Journal of Applied Linguistics 2 (2): 167–177,  


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  2. ^ a b c "Ethnologue report for Macedonian". 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  3. ^ Although the precise number of speakers is unknown, figures of between 2.1 million (from Ethnologue) and 2.5 million (Topolinjska (1998)) have been cited. The general academic consensus is that there are approximately 2 million speakers of the Macedonian language, accepting that "it is difficult to determine the total number of speakers of Macedonian due to the official policies of the neighbouring Balkan states and the fluid nature of emigration." Friedman (1985:?).
  4. ^ "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  5. ^ Macedonian language, official in Dužine and Jabuka
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  7. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Macedonian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  8. ^ "МИА - Македонска Информативна Агенцијa - НА ДЕНЕШЕН ДЕН". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  9. ^ Gilbert, G.; Gilbert, Glenn G.; Fuller, Janet M.; Thornburg, Linda L.; Lang, Peter (2006). Studies in contact linguistics. p. 213.  
  10. ^ a b Friedman, V. (1998) "The implementation of standard Macedonian: problems and results" in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 131, pp. 31-57
  11. ^ Mirjana N. Dedaić, Mirjana Misković-Luković. South Slavic discourse particles (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2010), p. 13
  12. ^ Victor Roudometof. Collective memory, national identity, and ethnic conflict: Greece, Bulgaria, and the Macedonian question (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), p. 41
  13. ^ a b c d Language profile Macedonian, UCLA International Institute
  14. ^ Levinson & O'Leary (1992:239)
  15. ^ Kortmann, Bernd; van der Auwera, Johan (2011-07-27). Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide. p. 420. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  16. ^ Fortson, Benjamin W. (2009-08-31). Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction Blackwell textbooks in linguistics. John Wiley and Sons. p. 431.  
  17. ^ Mazon, Andre. Contes Slaves de la Macédoine Sud-Occidentale: Etude linguistique; textes et traduction; Notes de Folklore, Paris 1923, p. 4.
  18. ^ Селищев, Афанасий. Избранные труды, Москва 1968.
  19. ^ K. Sandfeld, Balkanfilologien (København, 1926, MCMXXVI).
  20. ^ a b James Minahan. One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups, p.438 (Greenwood Press, 2000)
  21. ^ a b Bernard Comrie. The Slavonic Languages, p.251 (Routledge, 1993).
  22. ^ Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (2008). Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world. Elsevier. p. 120.  
  23. ^ a b Joseph, Brian D. et al. When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Competition and Coexistence; Ohio State University Press (2002), p.261
  24. ^ Max K. Adler. Marxist Linguistic Theory and Communist Practice: A Sociolinguistic Study; Buske Verlag (1980), p.215
  25. ^ Antoine Meillet (French, linguist, 1928): Their dialects, differing among themselves, are not truly Serbian nor truly Bulgarian, especially if one is thinking of written Bulgarian, which is based on dialects quite far removed from the Macedonian dialects. In reality these dialects do not properly belong to either the one or the other of the two groups under dispute.
    1. Todor Dimitrovski, Blaže Koneski, Trajko Stamatoski. About the Macedonian language; "Krste Misirkov" Institute of the Macedonian Language, 1978; p.31.
    2. Kulturen Život. Macedonian Review, Volume 10; Kulturen Zhivot., 1980; p.105
  26. ^ Vaillant, A. (1938), "Le problème du slave macédonien, Bulletin de la Société linguistique, 39, 2(# 116): 194–210, cited in Fishman, J. A. (ed) (1993), The Earliest Stage of Language Planning, New York, p. 164.
  27. ^ Małecki, M. (1938), Z zagadnień dialektologii macedońskiej, Rocznik slawistyczny, 14: 119–144, cited in Fishman, J. A. (ed) (1993), The Earliest Stage of Language Planning, New York, p. 164.
  28. ^ "Несмотря на значительное диаметральное разнообразие, македонские говоры представляют собою единство и заметно отличаются от народных говоров Фракии, Родоп, Мизии и Балкан" [Despite their considerable diametrical diversity, Macedonian dialects represent a [linguistic] whole and differ markedly from the folk dialects of Thrace, the Rhodopes, Moesia and the Balkans]. Berstein, S. (1938), Great Soviet Encyclopedia, no. 36, p. 743, cited in Bernstein (1944), Несколько замечаний о македонском литературном языке [Some remarks on the Macedonian literary language].
  29. ^ Baker, Colin. Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. p. 415.  "Macedonian is similar to Bulgarian and is sometimes been [sic] regarded as a variety of that language. [...] Macedonian is spoken by about 200,000 people in Bulgaria, where it is viewed as a dialect of Bulgaria, and also in the province of Macedonia in northern Greece where the language is called Slavika. However, in the Republic of Macedonia, a separate Macedonian literary language has been in existence since 1944, and most scholars now accept Macedonian as a separate language. The Macedonian standard language is based on a difference group of dialects from the Bulgarian [...]."
  30. ^ R.E.Asher, J.M.Y.Simpson (editors), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, (1994), vol.1, p.429: "From a strictly linguistic point of view Macedonian can be called a Bulgarian dialect, as structurally it is most similar to Bulgarian. Indeed, Bulgarian scholars reject Macedonian as an individual language, but since it now has the status of a literary language, most other scholars accept its independent existence."
  31. ^ Linguasphere 53-AAA-h
  32. ^ Who are the Macedonians?, Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1-85065-534-0,p. 116.
  33. ^ Joseph, Brian D. (2003). When languages collide: perspectives on language conflict, language competition, and language coexistence. Ohio State University Press. p. 281.  
  34. ^ The Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide. 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  35. ^ Florin Curta. Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages; 500-1250. ; Cambridge. Pg 216
  36. ^ Trudgill, Peter (2002). Sociolinguistic variation and change. Edinburgh University Press. p. 120.  
  37. ^ Dedaić, Mirjana N. et al. South Slavic Discourse Particles; John Benjamins Publishing (2010) p.13
  38. ^ Bernard Comrie. The Slavonic Languages; Taylor & Francis (2002), p.251
  39. ^ John Shea. Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation; McFarland (2008), p.208
  40. ^ Popis na Naselenie, Domaćinstva i Stanovi vo Republika Makedonija, 2002 - Vkupno naselenie na Republika Makedonija spored majčin jazik.
  41. ^ Artan & Gurraj (2001:219)
  42. ^ Topolinjska (1998:?)
  43. ^ Schmieger, R. 1998. "The situation of the Macedonian language in Greece: sociolinguistic analysis", International Journal of the Sociology of Language 131, 125–55.; Friedman (2001).
  44. ^ Institute of Bulgarian Language (1978), Единството на българския език в миналото и днес (in Bulgarian),  
  45. ^ Шклифов, Благой. Проблеми на българската диалектна и историческа фонетика с оглед на македонските говори, София 1995, с. 14.; Шклифов, Благой. Речник на костурския говор, Българска диалектология, София 1977, с. кн. VІІІ, с. 201–205,
  46. ^ Trudgill P. (2000), "Greece and European Turkey: From Religious to Linguistic Identity". In: Stephen Barbour and Cathie Carmichael (eds.), Language and Nationalism in Europe, Oxford : Oxford University Press, p.259.
  47. ^ Lois Whitman (1994): Denying ethnic identity: The Macedonians of Greece Helsinki Human Rights Watch. p.39 Link
  48. ^ Greek Helsinki Monitor - Report about Compliance with the Principles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
  49. ^ Шклифов, Благой and Екатерина Шклифова, Български диалектни текстове от Егейска Македония, София 2003, с. 28-36, 172 - Shkifov, Blagoy and Ekaterina Shklifova. Bulgarian dialect texts from Aegean Macedonia, Sofia 2003, p. 28-36, 172)
  50. ^ Lois Whitman (1994): Denying ethnic identity: The Macedonians of Greece Helsinki Human Rights Watch. p.37 [3]
  51. ^ Danforth, Loring M. The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World. p. 62. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  52. ^ a b Michel Candelier, ed. ; Ana-Isabel Andrade ... (2004), Janua Linguarum — The Gateway to Language, Council of Europe,  , See Page 90, (Full Document)
  53. ^ Poulton, Hugh (1997), Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation, McFarland, p. 193,  
  54. ^ Jacques Bacid, Ph.D. Macedonia Through the Ages. Columbia University, 1983.
  55. ^ "GeoNative - Macedonia". Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  56. ^ L. M. Danforth, The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World 1995, Princeton University Press
  57. ^ Hill, P. (1999) "Macedonians in Greece and Albania: A Comparative study of recent developments". Nationalities Papers Volume 27, 1 March 1999, page 44(14)
  58. ^ Poulton, H.(2000), "Who are the Macedonians?",C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, page 167,
    As often occurs with Yugoslav sources, there appears to be confusion about the number of Macedonians in Greek Macedonia at present: some Yugoslav sources put the latter figure at 300,000, whereas more sober estimates put the number at 150,000 - 200,000
  59. ^
  60. ^ UCLA Language Materials Project: Language Profile
  61. ^ "UCLA Language Materials Project: Language Profile". 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  62. ^ Eleftherotypia article
  63. ^ Simpson, Neil (1994), Macedonia Its Disputed History, Victoria: Aristoc Press, pp. 101, 102 & 91,  
  64. ^ "Report of the independent expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall Mission to Greece 8–16 September 2008".  
  65. ^ Detrez, Raymond; Segaert, Barbara; Lang, Peter (2008). Europe and the Historical Legacies in the Balkans. pp. 36–38.  
  66. ^ Bechev, Dimitar (2009-04-13). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia Historical Dictionaries of Europe. Scarecrow Press. p. 134.  
  67. ^ From Rum Millet to Greek and Bulgarian Nations: Religious and National Debates in the Borderlands of the Ottoman Empire, 1870–1913. Theodora Dragostinova, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
  68. ^ """Bенедиктов Г. К. Болгарский литературный язык эпохи Возрождения. Проблемы нормализации и выбора диалектной основы. Отв. ред. Л. Н. Смирнов. М.: "Наука (PDF). 1990. pp. 163–170. (Rus.). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  69. ^ Ц. Билярски, Из българския възрожденски печат от 70-те години на XIX в. за македонския въпрос, сп. „Македонски преглед“, г. XXIII, София, 2009, кн. 4, с. 103-120.
  70. ^ de Gruyter, Michael G. (1992). Pluricentric languages: differing norms in different nations. p. 440.  
  71. ^ "Macedonian Language and Nationalism During the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries", Victor Friedman, p. 286
  72. ^ Nationalism, Globalization, and Orthodoxy: The Social Origins of Ethnic Conflict in the Balkans, Victor Roudometof, Roland Robertson, p. 145
  73. ^ "Though Loza adhered to the Bulgarian position on the issue of the Macedonian Slavs' ethnicity, it also favored revising the Bulgarian orthography by bringing it closer to the dialects spoken in Macedonia." Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0-8108-6295-6, p. 241.
  74. ^ The Young Macedonian Literary Association's Journal, Loza, was also categorical about the Bulgarian character of Macedonia: "A mere comparison of those ethnographic features which characterize the Macedonians (we understand: Macedonian Bulgarians), with those which characterize the free Bulgarians, their juxtaposition with those principles for nationality which we have formulated above, is enough to prove and to convince everybody that the nationality of the Macedonians cannot be anything except Bulgarian." Freedom or Death, The Life of Gotsé Delchev, Mercia MacDermott, The Journeyman Press, London & West Nyack, 1978, p. 86.
  75. ^ "Macedonian historiography often refers to the group of young activists who founded in Sofia an association called the ‘Young Macedonian Literary Society’. In 1892, the latter began publishing the review Loza [The Vine], which promoted certain characteristics of Macedonian dialects. At the same time, the activists, called ‘Lozars’ after the name of their review, ‘purified’ the Bulgarian orthography from some rudiments of the Church Slavonic. They expressed likewise a kind of Macedonian patriotism attested already by the first issue of the review: its materials greatly emphasized identification with Macedonia as a genuine ‘fatherland’. In any case, it is hardly surprising that the Lozars demonstrated both Bulgarian and Macedonian loyalty: what is more interesting is namely the fact that their Bulgarian nationalism was somehow harmonized with a Macedonian self-identification that was not only a political one but also demonstrated certain ‘cultural’ contents. "We, the People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe", Diana Miškova, Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 963-97762-8-9, p. 120.
  76. ^ Banač, Ivo (1988). The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics. Cornell University Press. p. 317.  
  77. ^ Fisiak, Jacek (1985). Papers from the Sixth International Conference on Historical Linguistics, v. 34. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 13–14.  
  78. ^ Fishman, Joshua A.; de Gruyter, Walter (1993). The Earliest Stage of Language Planning: The "First Congress" Phenomenon. pp. 161–162.  
  79. ^ Danforth, Loring M. (1995). The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world. Princeton University Press. p. 67.  
  80. ^ Hupchick, Dennis P. (1995-03-15). Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 143.  
  81. ^ Language, discourse and borders in the Yugoslav successor states - Current issues in language and society monographs, Birgitta Busch, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Multilingual Matters, 2004, ISBN 1-85359-732-5, pp. 24-25.. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  82. ^ "Up until the early 20th century and beyond, the international community viewed Macedonians as regional variety of Bulgarians, i.e. Western Bulgarians."Nationalism and Territory: Constructing Group Identity in Southeastern Europe, Geographical perspectives on the human past : Europe: Current Events, George W. White, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN 0-8476-9809-2, p. 236.
  83. ^ "At the end of the WWI there were very few historians or ethnographers, who claimed that a separate Macedonian nation existed... Of those Slavs who had developed some sense of national identity, the majority probably considered themselves Bulgarians, although they were aware of differences between themselves and the inhabitants of Bulgaria... The question as of whether a Macedonian nation actually existed in the 1940s when a Communist Yugoslavia decided to recognize one is difficult to answer. Some observers argue that even at this time it was doubtful whether the Slavs from Macedonia considered themselves a nationality separate from the Bulgarians."The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world, Loring M. Danforth, Princeton University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-691-04356-6, pp. 65-66.
  84. ^ "During the 20th century, Slavo-Macedonian national feeling has shifted. At the beginning of the 20th century, Slavic patriots in Macedonia felt a strong attachment to Macedonia as a multi-ethnic homeland. They imagined a Macedonian community uniting themselves with non-Slavic Macedonians... Most of these Macedonian Slavs also saw themselves as Bulgarians. By the middle of the 20th. century, however Macedonian patriots began to see Macedonian and Bulgarian loyalties as mutually exclusive. Regional Macedonian nationalism had become ethnic Macedonian nationalism... This transformation shows that the content of collective loyalties can shift."Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Ethnologia Balkanica Series, Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, LIT Verlag Münster, 2010, ISBN 3-8258-1387-8, p. 127.
  85. ^ Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition, Donna A. Buchanan, University of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 0-226-07827-2, pp. 260-261.
  86. ^ Kortmann, Bernd; van der Auwera, Johan; de Gruyter, Walter (2011-07-27). The Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide. p. 515.  
  87. ^ Ammon, Ulrich; de Gruyter, Walter (2005). Sociolinguistics: an international handbook of the science of language and society. p. 154.  
  88. ^ Trudgill, Peter (1992), "Ausbau sociolinguistics and the perception of language status in contemporary Europe", International Journal of Applied Linguistics 2 (2): 167–177
  89. ^ The Slavic Languages, Roland Sussex, Paul Cubberley, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 1-139-45728-4, p. 71. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  90. ^ The Changing Scene in World Languages: Issues and Challenges, Marian B. Labrum, John Benjamins Publishing, 1997, ISBN 90-272-3184-2, p. 66. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  91. ^ Fishman, Joshua. "Languages late to literacy: finding a place in the sun on a crowded beach". In: Joseph, Brian D. et al. (ed.), When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Competition and Coexistence; Ohio State University Press (2002), pp. 107-108.
  92. ^ a b "2002 Census - Mother tongue (p. 197)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  93. ^ "2002 Census - Total population (p. 22)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  94. ^ "1989 Census - ethnic Macedonians (p. 219)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  95. ^ "Albania : 4.2.2 Language issues and policies : Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  96. ^ "2011 Census - Mother tongue". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  97. ^ "Bulgarian 2011 census". Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  98. ^ a b "2002 Census - Mother tongue" (PDF). p. 16. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  99. ^
  100. ^ a b "Population by Ethnicity, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb:  
  101. ^ a b "2005 census" (PDF) (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  102. ^ a b 2003 Census
  103. ^ "Statistični urad RS - Popis 2002". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  104. ^ a b "2006 Census - Language spoken most often at home". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  105. ^ a b c d e Estimate from the MFA
  106. ^ a b "2001 Census - People who spoke a language other than English at home". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  107. ^
  108. ^ Estimate from the Macedonian MFA
  109. ^ "Italian government statistics". 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  110. ^ "American FactFinder". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  111. ^ "2000 Swiss government statistics - Population by National Languages" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  112. ^ "2010 Swiss government statistics - Population by Nationality". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  113. ^ 2001 census
  114. ^ 2001 census
  115. ^ "2001 census" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  116. ^ Population Estimate from the MFA
  117. ^ "OECD Statistics". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  118. ^ "2002 census". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  119. ^ "2006 census" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  120. ^ a b "2008 census". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  121. ^ "2003 census". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  122. ^ Statistics New Zealand:Language spoken (total responses) for the 1996-2006 censuses (Table 16)
  123. ^ 2002 census
  124. ^ After Z. Topolińska and B. Vidoeski (1984), Polski-macedonski gramatyka konfrontatiwna, z.1, PAN.
  125. ^ Comrie & Corbett (2002:247)
  126. ^ a b  
  127. ^ "Friedman, V. (2001) ''Macedonian'' (SEELRC), p. 40.". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  128. ^ a b Бојковска, Стојка; Лилјана Минова; Ѓуркова, Димитар Пандев; Живко Цветковски (December 2008). Саветка Димитрова, ed. Општа граматика на македонскиот јазик [General Grammar of the Macedonian language]. Скопје: АД Просветно Дело.  
  129. ^ Кепески, К. (1946), Македонска граматика, Скопје, Државно книгоиздавателство на Македонија.
  130. ^ In his most famous work "On the Macedonian Matters" (available online), Misirkov uses the word собитие (a Russian loan taken from Bulgarian) where настан is used today.
  131. ^ Friedman (1998:?)
  132. ^ a b c d Т. Димитровски. Литературната лексика на македонскиот писмен јазик во XIX в. и нашиот однос кон неа: Реферати на македонските слависти за VI Меѓународен славистички конгрес во Прага, Скопје, 1968 (T. Dimitrovski. The literary vocabulary of the Macedonian written language in the 19th century and our attitude to it. Abstracts of Macedonian Slavists for the 6th International Slavic Studies Congress in Prague. Skopje, 1968)
  133. ^ Friedman, V. (1998) "The implementation of standard Macedonian: problems and results" in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 131, pp. 31-57, p. 8
  134. ^ a b Л is /l/ before front vowels and /ɫ/ before back vowels. Љ is /l/ before back vowels.
  135. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–05, s.v. "Cyril and Methodius, Saints"; Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Incorporated, Warren E. Preece – 1972, p.846, s.v., "Cyril and Methodius, Saints" and "Eastern Orthodoxy, Missions ancient and modern"; Encyclopedia of World Cultures, David H. Levinson, 1991, p.239, s.v., "Social Science"; Eric M. Meyers, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, p.151, 1997; Lunt, Slavic Review, June, 1964, p. 216; Roman Jakobson, Crucial problems of Cyrillo-Methodian Studies; Leonid Ivan Strakhovsky, A Handbook of Slavic Studies, p.98; V.Bogdanovich , History of the ancient Serbian literature, Belgrade, 1980, p.119
  136. ^ The Columbia Encyclopaedia, Sixth Edition. 2001–05, O.Ed. Saints Cyril and Methodius "Cyril and Methodius, Saints) 869 and 884, respectively, “Greek missionaries, brothers, called Apostles to the Slavs and fathers of Slavonic literature."
  137. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Major alphabets of the world, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, 2008, O.Ed. "The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by St. Cyril, or Constantine (c. 827–869), and St. Methodius (c. 825–884). These men were Greeks from Thessaloniki who became apostles to the southern Slavs, whom they converted to Christianity."
  138. ^ Hastings, Adrian (1997). The construction of nationhood: ethnicity, religion, and nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 126.  
  139. ^ Fletcher, R. A. (1999). The barbarian conversion: from paganism to Christianity. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. 327.  
  140. ^ Cizevskij, Dmitrij; Zenkovsky, Serge A.; Porter, Richard E. Comparative History of Slavic Literatures. Vanderbilt University Press. pp. vi.  
  141. ^ The illustrated guide to the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press. 1998. p. 14.  
  142. ^ Smalley, William Allen (1991). Translation as mission: Bible translation in the modern missionary movement. Macon, Ga.: Mercer. p. 25.  
  143. ^ Littera et Lingua, ISSN 1312-6172, Пролет 2010, Лилия Илиева, Нови данни за българската поезия през ХVІ и ХVІІ век.
  144. ^ 'Un Lexique Macedonien Du XVIe Siecle', Giannelli, Ciro. Avec la collaboration de Andre Vaillant, 1958
  145. ^ Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world, Keith Brown, Sarah Ogilvie, Elsevier, 2008, ISBN 0-08-087774-5, pp. 120; 663.
  146. ^ F. A. K. Yasamee "NATIONALITY IN THE BALKANS: THE CASE OF THE MACEDONIANS" in Balkans: A Mirror of the New World Order, Istanbul: EREN, 1995; pp. 121–132.
  147. ^ Seriot (1997:177)
  148. ^ and the Macedonians: a history By Andrew Rossos. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  149. ^ The A to Z of Bulgaria, Raymond Detrez, Scarecrow Press, Incorporated, 2010, ISBN 0-8108-7202-1, p. 485.
  150. ^ Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918-1992, Dejan Djokíc, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2003, ISBN 1-85065-663-0, p. 119.
  151. ^ War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945: Occupation and Collaboration, Jozo Tomasevich, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-8047-7924-4p. 167. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  152. ^ The Struggle for Greece, 1941-1949, Christopher M. Woodhouse, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2002, ISBN 1-85065-487-5,p. 67.
  153. ^ Dostál (1965:69)
  154. ^ Institute of Bulgarian Language (1978), Единството на българския език в миналото и днес (in Bulgarian),  
  155. ^ Trudgill (1992:?)
  156. ^ Шклифов, Благой and Екатерина Шклифова, Български деалектни текстове от Егейска Македония, София 2003, с. 28–33 (Shklifov, Blagoy and Ekaterina Shklifova. Bulgarian dialect texts from Aegean Macedonia Sofia 2003, p. 28–36)
  157. ^ "1999/02/22 23:50 Bulgaria Recognises Macedonian Language". Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  158. ^ Although acceptable in the past, current use of this name in reference to both the ethnic group and the language can be considered pejorative and offensive by ethnic Macedonians. In the past, the Macedonian Slavs in Greece seemed relieved to be acknowledged as Slavomacedonians. Pavlos Koufis, a native of Greek Macedonia, pioneer of ethnic Macedonian schools in the region and local historian, says in Laografika Florinas kai Kastorias (Folklore of Florina and Kastoria), Athens 1996:
    "[During its Panhellenic Meeting in September 1942, the KKE mentioned that it recognises the equality of the ethnic minorities in Greece] the KKE recognised that the Slavophone population was ethnic minority of Slavomacedonians]. This was a term, which the inhabitants of the region accepted with relief. [Because] Slavomacedonians = Slavs+Macedonians. The first section of the term determined their origin and classified them in the great family of the Slav peoples."
    The Greek Helsinki Monitor reports:
    "... the term Slavomacedonian was introduced and was accepted by the community itself, which at the time had a much more widespread non-Greek Macedonian ethnic consciousness. Unfortunately, according to members of the community, this term was later used by the Greek authorities in a pejorative, discriminatory way; hence the reluctance if not hostility of modern-day Macedonians of Greece (i.e. people with a Macedonian national identity) to accept it."


See also

Greeks object to the use of the "Macedonian" name in reference to the modern Slavic language, calling it "Slavomacedonian" (Greek: σλαβομακεδονική γλώσσα), a term coined by some members of the Slavic-speaking community of northern Greece itself.[158]

Greek view

In most sources in and out of Bulgaria before the Second World War, the southern Slavonic dialect continuum covering the area of today's Republic of Macedonia and Northern Greece was referred to as a group of Bulgarian dialects. The local variants of the name of the language were also balgàrtzki, bùgarski or bugàrski; i.e. Bulgarian.[156] Although Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Macedonia, most of its academics, as well as the general public, regard the language spoken there as a form of Bulgarian. However, after years of diplomatic impasse caused by an academic dispute, in 1999 the government in Sofia solved the problem of the Macedonian language by using the euphemistic formula: "the official language of the country (Republic of Macedonia) in accordance with its constitution".[157]

Bulgarian view

Although described as being dialects of Bulgarian[126][154] or Serbian[20][21] prior to the establishment of the standard, the current academic consensus (outside of Bulgaria) is that Macedonian is an autonomous language within the South Slavic dialect continuum.[155]

In the ninth century AD, saints Cyril and Methodius introduced Old Church Slavonic, the first Slavic language of literacy. Written with their newly invented Glagolitic script, this language was based largely on the dialect of Slavs spoken around Thessaloniki; this dialect is closest to present-day Macedonian and Bulgarian.[153]

As with the issue of Macedonian ethnicity, the politicians, linguists and common people from Macedonia and neighbouring countries have opposing views about the existence and distinctiveness of the Macedonian language.

Political views on the language

The eventual outcome was that almost all of Vardar Banovina (i.e. the areas that geographically became known as Vardar Macedonia) was incorporated into the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a constituent Socialist Republic with the Macedonian language holding official status within both the Federation and Republic. The Macedonian language was proclaimed the official language of the Republic of Macedonia at the First Session of the Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia, held on August 2, 1944. The first official Macedonian grammar was developed by Krume Kepeski. One of the most important contributors in the standardisation of the Macedonian literary language was Blaže Koneski. The first document written in the literary standard Macedonian language is the first issue of the Nova Makedonija newspaper in 1944. Makedonska Iskra (Macedonian Spark) was the first Macedonian newspaper published in Australia, from 1946 to 1957. A monthly with national distribution, it commenced in Perth and later moved to Melbourne and Sydney.

During the second World War, most of Yugoslav Macedonia was occupied by the Bulgarian army, who was allied with the Axis. The standard Bulgarian language was reintroduced in schools and liturgies. The Bulgarians were initially welcomed as liberators from Serbian domination until connections were made between the imposition of the Bulgarian language and unpopular Serbian assimilation policies.[149] Even the Macedonian communist were then pro-Bulgarian oriented, but later the Bulgarians were seen as conquerors by communist movement.[150] However, there were pro-Bulgarian groups, which advocated independence as second Bulgarian state,[151] and others, who supported the union with Bulgaria.[152]

After the first two Balkan wars, the region of Macedonia was split between Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia (later Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Yugoslavia). Serbia occupied the area that is currently the Republic of Macedonia incorporating it into the Kingdom as "Southern Serbia". During this time, Yugoslav Macedonia became known as Vardar Banovina (Vardar province) and the language of public life, education and the church was Serbo-Croatian. In the other two parts of Macedonia, the respective national languages, Greek and Bulgarian, were made official. In Bulgarian (Pirin) Macedonia, the local dialects continued to be described as dialects of Bulgarian.

However, the Russian linguist of Bulgarian origin, Petar Draganov (1857 - 1928), after his visit of Macedonia, strongly opposed this 'Bulgarian origin of the Macedonian dialects', and he claimed that Macedonia is a separate ethnogeographic unit of the Balkans and the Macedonian dialects form separate language.[148] Similar ideas were proposed in Krste Misirkov's works. Misirkov was born in a village near Pella in Greek Macedonia. Although literature had been written in the Slavic dialects of Macedonia before, arguably the most important book published in relation to the Macedonian language was Misirkov's On Macedonian Matters, published in 1903. In that book, he argued for creation of a standard literary Macedonian language from the central dialects of Macedonia that would use a phonemic orthography.

In 1845 the Russian scholar Viktor Grigorovich travelled in the Balkans to study the south Slavic dialects of Macedonia. His work articulated for the first time a distinct pair of two groups of Bulgarian dialects: Eastern and Western (spoken in today Western Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia). According to his findings, a part of the Western Bulgarian variety, spoken in Macedonia, was characterized by traces of Old Slavic nasal vowels.[147] During the increase of national consciousness in the Balkans, standards for the languages of Slovene, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian were created. As Turkish influence in Macedonia waned, schools were opened up that taught the Bulgarian standard language in areas with significant Bulgarian population.

The earliest lexicographic evidence of the Macedonian dialects, described as Bulgarian,[143] can be found in a lexicon from the 16th century written in the Greek alphabet.[144] The concept of the various Macedonian dialects as a part of the Bulgarian language[145] can be seen also from early vernacular texts from Macedonia such as the four-language dictionary of Daniel Mоscopolites, the works of Kiril Peichinovich and Yoakim Karchovski, and some vernacular gospels written in the Greek alphabet. These written works influenced by or completely written in the local Slavic vernacular appeared in Macedonia in the 18th and beginning of the 19th century and their authors referred to their language as Bulgarian.[146]

The region of Macedonia and the Republic of Macedonia are located on the Balkan peninsula. The Slavs first came to the Balkan Peninsula in the sixth and seventh centuries AD. In the ninth century, the Byzantine Greek monks[135][136][137][138][139][140][141][142] Saints Cyril and Methodius developed the first writing system for the Slavonic languages. At this time, the Slavic dialects were so close as to make it practical to develop the written language on the dialect of a single region. The Ohrid Literary School was established in Ohrid in 886 by Saint Clement of Ohrid on orders of Boris I of Bulgaria. In the fourteenth century, the Ottoman Turks invaded and conquered most of the Balkans, incorporating Macedonia into the Ottoman Empire. Although the written language, now called Old Church Slavonic, remained static as a result of Turkish domination, the spoken dialects moved further apart.


Оче наш (Cyrillic alphabet)
Оче наш, кој си на небесата,
да се свети името Твое,
да дојде царството Твое,
да биде волјата Твоја,
како на небото, така и на земјата;
лебот наш насушен дај ни го денес
и прости ни ги долговите наши
како и ние што им ги проштеваме на нашите должници;
и не нè воведувај во искушение,
но избави нè од лукавиот.
Oče naš (Latinic version)
Oče naš, koj si na nebesata
da se sveti imeto Tvoe,
da dojde carstvoto Tvoe,
da bide voljata Tvoja,
kako na neboto, taka i na zemjata;
lebot naš nasušen daj ni go denes
i prosti ni gi dolgovite naši
kako i nie što im gi proštevame na našite dolžnici
I ne nè voveduvaj vo iskušenie,
no izbavi nè od lukaviot.

The Lord's Prayer


Macedonian orthography is consistent and phonemic in practice, an approximation of the principle of one grapheme per phoneme. A principle represented by Adelung's saying, "write as you speak and read as it is written" („пишувај како што зборуваш и читај како што е напишано“). However, there are occasional inconsistencies or exceptions.


А а
Б б
В в
Г г
Д д
Ѓ ѓ
Е е
Ж ж
З з
Ѕ ѕ
И и
Ј ј
К к
Л л
/ɫ, l/[134]
Љ љ
М м
Н н
Њ њ
О о
П п
Р р
С с
Т т
Ќ ќ
У у
Ф ф
Х х
Ц ц
Ч ч
Џ џ
Ш ш

The following table provides the upper and lower case forms of the Macedonian alphabet, along with the IPA value for each letter:

The modern Macedonian alphabet was developed by linguists in the period after the Second World War, who based their alphabet on the phonetic alphabet of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić, though a similar writing system was used by Krste Misirkov in the early 20th century. The Macedonian language had previously been written using the Early Cyrillic alphabet, or later using the Cyrillic script with local adaptations from either the Serbian or Bulgarian alphabets.


Writing system

New words were coined according to internal logic and others calqued from related languages (especially Serbo-Croatian) to replace those taken from Russian, which include известие (Russ. известие) → извештај 'report', количество (Russ. количество) → количина 'amount, quantity', согласие (Russ. согласие) → слога 'concord, agreement', etc.[132] This change was aimed at bringing written Macedonian closer to the spoken language, effectively distancing it from the Bulgarian language with its numerous Russian loans, and represents a successful puristic attempt to abolish a lexicogenic tradition once common in written literature.[132]

The use of Ottoman Turkish loanwords is discouraged in the formal register when a native equivalent exists (e.g. комшија (← Turk. komşu) vs. сосед (← PSl. *sǫsědъ) 'neighbor'), and these words are typically restricted to the archaic, colloquial, and ironic registers.[133]

The language of the writers at the turn of 19th century abounded with Russian and, more specifically, Old Church Slavonic lexical and morphological elements that in the contemporary norm are substituted with native words or calqued using productive morphemes.[132] Thus, the now slightly archaicized forms with suffixes –ние and –тел, adjectives with the suffixes –телен and others, are now constructed following patterns more typical of Macedonian morphology. For example, дејствие (Russ. действие) corresponds to дејство 'action', лицемерие (Russ. лицемерие) → лицемерство 'hypocrisy', развитие (Russ. развитие) → развиток 'development', определение (Russ. определение) → определба 'determination, orientation', движение (Russ. движение) → движење 'movement', продолжител (Russ. продолжитель) → продолжувач 'extender, continuator', победител (Russ. победитель) → победник 'winner, victor', убедителен (Russ. убедительный) → убедлив 'convincing, persuasive', etc.[132] Many of these words are now obsolete or archaic (as with развитие), synonymous (лицемерие and лицемерство) or have taken on a slightly different nuance in meaning (дејствие 'military act' vs. дејство 'act, action' in a general sense).

During the standardization process, there was deliberate care taken to try and purify the lexicon of the language. Serbianisms and Bulgarianisms, which had become common due to the influence of these languages in the region were rejected in favor of words from native dialects and archaisms. One example was the word for "event", настан [ˈnastan], which was found in certain examples of folk poetry collected by the Miladinov Brothers in the 19th century, whereas the Macedonian writer Krste Misirkov had previously used the word собитие [sɔˈbitiɛ], a Russian loanword (событие).[130] This is not to say that there are no Serbianisms, Bulgarianisms or even Russianisms in the language, but rather that they were discouraged on a principle of "seeking native material first".[131]

As a result of the close relatedness with Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian shares a considerable amount of its lexicon with these languages. Other languages that have been in positions of power, such as Ottoman Turkish and, increasingly, English also provide a significant proportion of the loanwords. Prestige languages, such as Old Church Slavonic—which occupies a relationship to modern Macedonian comparable to the relationship of medieval Latin to modern Romance languages—and Russian also provided a source for lexical enrichment.


Prepositions (предлози, predlozi) are part of the closed word class that are used to express the relationship between the words in a sentence. Because Macedonian lost its case system, the prepositions are very important for creation and expression of various grammatical categories. The most important Macedonian preposition is 'na' ('of', 'on', 'to'). Regarding the form, the prepositions can either be simple or complex. Based on the meaning the preposition express, they can be divided into prepositions of time, place, manner and quantity.[128][129]


Regarding the form, the verb forms can be either simple or complex. [128]. Furthermore, the i-subgroup is divided into three more subgroups: a-, e- and i-subgroups. This division is done according to the ending (or the last vowel) of the verb in the simple present, singular, third person.i-group and a-group, e-groupAccording to the categorization, all Macedonian verbs are divided into three major groups:

Macedonian has a complex system of verbs. Generally speaking Macedonian verbs have the following characteristics, or categories as they are called in Macedonistics: tense, mood, person, type, transitiveness, voice, gender and number.


The definite articles
Singular Plural
Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Unspecified −ot (−от) −ta (−та) −to (−то) −te (−те) −ta (−та)
Proximate −ov (−ов) −va (−ва) −vo (−во) −ve (−ве) −va (−ва)
Distal −on (−он) −na (−на) −no (−но) −ne (−не) −na (−на)

Macedonian nouns (именки, imenki) belong to one of three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) and are inflected for number (singular and plural), and marginally for case. The gender opposition is not distinctively marked in the plural.[127] The Macedonian nominal system distinguishes two numbers (singular and plural), three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), case and definiteness. Definiteness is expressed by three definite articles pertaining to the position of the object (unspecified, proximate and distal), which are suffixed to the noun.


Macedonian grammar is markedly analytic in comparison with other Slavic languages, having lost the common Slavic case system. The Macedonian language shows some special and, in some cases, unique characteristics due to its central position in the Balkans. Literary Macedonian is the only South Slavic literary language that has three forms of the definite article, based on the degree of proximity to the speaker, and a perfect tense formed by means of an auxiliary verb "to have", followed by a past participle in the neuter, also known as verbal adjective.



The Ser-Drama-Lagadin-Nevrokop dialect and Maleševo-Pirin dialect are also considered Bulgarian dialects.[126]

Eastern Dialects:

Western Dialects:

Based on a large group of features, Macedonian dialects can be divided into Eastern and Western groups (the boundary runs approximately from Skopje and Skopska Crna Gora along the rivers Vardar and Crna). In addition, a more detailed classification can be based on the modern reflexes of the Proto-Slavic reduced vowels (yers), vocalic sonorants, and the back nasal *ǫ. That classification distinguishes between the following 5 groups:[125]

Dialect divisions of Macedonian[124]
  Lower Polog
  Crna Gora
  Kumanovo / Kratovo
  Upper Polog
  Mala Reka / Galičnik
  Drimkol / Golo Brdo
  Vevčani / Radοžda
  Upper Prespa / Ohrid
  Lower Prespa
  Mariovo / Tikveš
  Štip / Strumica
  Maleševo / Pirin
  Solun / Voden
  Ser / Drama


State Number
Census data Lower range Higher range
Macedonia 1,344,815[92] 1,344,815[92] 2,022,547[93]
Albania 4,697[94] 30,000[95] - 150,000[2]
Bulgaria 1,404[96] 1,404[97]
Greece 35,000[52]
Serbia 14,355[98] 14,355[98] 30,000
Rest of the Balkans 15,807[99][100][101][102][103] 25,000
Canada 18,440[104] 18,440[104] 150,000[105]
Australia 72,000[106] 72,000[106] 200,000[105]
Germany 62,295[107] 85,000[105]
Italy 50,000[108] 74,162[109]
United States of America 45,000[110] 200,000[105]
Switzerland 6,415[111] 60,116[112]
Rest of World 101,600[105] 110,000[100][113][114][115][116][117][118][119][120][120][101][102][121][122][123]
Total 1,710,670[2] 4,100,000

The total number of Macedonian speakers is highly disputed. Although the precise number of speakers is unknown, figures of between 1.6 million (from Ethnologue) and 2–2.5 million have been cited; see Topolinjska (1998) and Friedman (1985). The general academic consensus is that there are approximately 2 million speakers of the Macedonian language, accepting that "it is difficult to determine the total number of speakers of Macedonian due to the official policies of the neighbouring Balkan states and the fluid nature of emigration" Friedman (1985:?). According to the 2002 censuses and figures, the number of speakers of Macedonian is:


During the first half of the 20th century the national identity of the Macedonian Slavs shifted from predominantly Bulgarian to ethnic Macedonian and their regional identity had become their national one.[82][83][84] Although, there was no clear separating line between these two languages on level of dialect then, the Macedonian standard was based on its westernmost dialects. Afterwards, Macedonian became the official language in the new republic, Serbo-Croatian was adopted as a second official language, and Bulgarian was proscribed. Moreover, in 1946-1948 the newly standardized Macedonian language was introduced as a second language even in Southwestern Bulgaria.[85] Subsequently, the sharp and continuous deterioration of the political relationships between the two countries, the influence of both standard languages during the time, but also the strong Serbo-Croatian linguistic influence in Yugoslav era, led to a horizontal cross-border dialectal divergence.[86] Although some researchers have described the standard Macedonian and Bulgarian languages as varieties of a pluricentric language,[87] they in fact have separate dialectal bases; the Prilep-Bitola dialect and Central Balkan dialect, respectively. The prevailing academic consensus is that Macedonian and Bulgarian are two autonomous languages within the eastern subbranch of the South Slavic languages.[88] Macedonian is thus an ausbau language; i.e. it is delimited from Bulgarian as these two standard languages have separate dialectal bases.[89][90][91]

With the rise of the SR Macedonia, as part of Communist Yugoslavia and finalized the progressive split in the common Macedonian–Bulgarian language.[81]

[77] the fact of political separation became crucial for the development of a separate Macedonian language.[76], which the Bulgarian government outlawed in 1892. Though standard Bulgarian was taught in the local schools in Macedonia till 1913,Young Macedonian Literary Association One example is the [75][74][73][72][71]

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