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> The Language Of Vardarska
post Apr 2 2008, 12:50 AM
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Modern Slav-macedonian (makedonski in Slavic Macedonian) is a South Slavic language (Slavic). It is not to be confused with Ancient Macedonian, a language more close to the Greek (and not Slavic) affiliation, whose most famous speaker was Alexander the Great. Makedonski is closest to Bulgarian and Serbian.Makedonski is descended from the dialects of Slavic speakers who settled in the Balkan peninsula during the 6th and 7th centuries C.E.

The oldest attested Slavic language, Old Church Slavonic, was based on dialects spoken around Thessaloniki, in what is today Greek Macedonia(Makedonia). As it came to be defined in the 19th century, geographic Macedonia is the region bounded by Mount Olympus, the Pindus range, Mounts Shar and Osogovo, the western Rhodopes, the lowercourse of the river Mesta (Greek Nestos), and the Aegean Sea. Many languages are spoken in this region, but it is the Slavic dialects to which the glossonym Makedonski is applied.The region was part of the Ottoman Empire from the late 15th century until 1912 and was partitioned among Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria (with a western strip of villages going to Albania) by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913.

The modern Republica of Makedonjia, in which Makedonski is the official language, corresponds roughly to the southern part of the territory ceded to Serbia plus the Strumica valley. The population is 2 022 547 (2002 census) and the Makedonski speakers estimated in 65% of the population.

Outside the Republic, Makedonski is spoken by ethnic communities in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Kosovo as well as by emigre´ communities elsewhere. Greece does not recognize the existence of minorities with the name of Macedonian , Bulgaria insists that all Slavmacedonians are really Bulgarians, Albania refused to include questions about language and ethnicity in its last census (2001), and there has not been an uncontested statistical exercise in Kosovo since 1981, so official figures on Makedonski speakers outside the republic are unavailable estimates range to 700 000.


The language spoken by the majority of the people of the Republica of Makedonjia which they have quite arbitrarily known with the English term «Macedonian», is a Slavic dialect so closely resembling Bulgarian and Serbian, that according to linguistic principles it can hardly be considered an independent language at a par with the other two. The only detinite boundaries of this Slavic dialect are set by the Greek language. They broadly coincide with the South Slavic-Greek cultural frontiers except for a small enclave which that dialect forms on Greek territory in the mountainous regions north of Kastoria. In the West, that Slavic dialect borders on the Albanian language, but, in this case, the linguistic frontier does not coincide with the national Albanian- South Slavic border; for the State of Skopje counts among its inhabitants, 164,000 Albanian-speaking people.The linguistic frontier on the Serb and Bulgarian sides are lost in the fluidity of equally divided linguistic groups on either side and are impossible to determine. The so-called Makedonski dialect is, in fact, an intermediate stage between Bulgarian and Serb. As one moves towards Bulgaria, the Serb elements grow rarer while the Bulgarian elements multiply and vicc versa. For that reason, just as the Vardar region was the apple of discord between the politicians of Bulgaria and Serbia, so its language has become an object of dispute. Serbian linguists stress its affinities with the Serb language; Bulgarians emphasize its similarities with Bulgarian. Both are anxious to prove that it is reallv an extension of their respective languages.Makedonski dialects are divided by a major bundle of isoglosses running from northwest to southeast along the River Vardar, swerving southwest at the confluence of the Vardar and the Crna and continuing down the Crna and into Greece southeast of Florina. The number of the dialects according Slavmacedonians sources estimated in 51(Donski).


Two centers of Balkan Slavic literacy arose, one in what is now northeastern Bulgaria, the other in what is now southwestern geographical Macedonia. In the early 19th century, all these intellectuals called their language Bulgarian, but a struggle emerged between those who favored northeast Bulgarian dialects and those who favored western Makedonski dialects as the basis for what would become the standard language. Northeast Bulgarian became the basis of standard Bulgarian, and Macedonci intellectuals began to work for a separate Makedonski literary language. The earliest known published statement of a separate Makedonskata linguistic identity was by Gjorgji Pulevski 1875, but evidence of the beginnings of separatism can be dated to a letter from the teacher Nikola Filipov of Bansko to the Bulgarian philologist Najden Gerov in 1848 expressing dissatisfaction with the use of eastern Bulgarian in literature and textbooks (Friedman, 2000: 183) and attacks in the Bulgarian-language press of the 1850’s on works using Makedonski dialects (Friedman, 2000: 180).

Kristo Misirikov a known Bulgarian Macedonian scholar writes about the closing connection of the Makedonski and Bulgarian languages in 1910…

We the Makedonci voluntarily choose one and the same language with Bulgarians long before the liberation of Bulgaria from Turkey. The prohibition from the Serbs to use our literally language, which is the only one connection between us and Bulgarians is significant violation of our human rights. .. and further.. when they forbid us to call ourselves Bulgarians, to learn Bulgarian history and to be ashamed from everything which connect us with Bulgarians. It is enough to learn our Makedonci culture and history to understand that we are very different from Serbian nationality.


To sever the linguistic bonds between the “Macedonians” and Serbs and Bulgarians, a new language was fabricated and touted as a separate Macedonian language, the language, it was said, of Alexander the Great (Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou 1988). In contrast to Alexander’s language, which had an alphabet (Greek), the present “Macedonian” language did not have an alphabet until 1945. To complete the deception, Tito commissioned the linguist Blago Konev (he changed his name later to Blaze Koneski) to devise an alphabet. Koneski modified the Serbian version of the Cyrillic alphabet and called it the “Macedonian alphabet” (Templar 2002). Koneski and his glossologists also modified the old church Slavonic, used by Cyril and Methodius (now named “old Macedonian”), and fabricated thelexicon of the “Macedonian” language from a mixture of Bulgarian, Serb, Croat, Slovenian, and other Slavonic languages.

The new nation needed a written language, and initially the spoken dialect of northern geographical Macedonia (South FYROM) was chosen as the basis for the Makedonski language. However, this was deemed too close to Serbian and the dialects of Bitola-Veles became the norm. These dialects were closer to the literary language of Bulgaria but because the latter was based on the eastern Bulgarian dialects, it allowed enough differentiation for the Yugoslavs to claim it as a language distinct from Bulgarian-a point which Bulgaria has bitterly contested ever since. In fact the differentiation between the Macedonian and Bulgarian dialects becomes progressively less pronounced on an east-west basis. Makedonski shares nearly all the same distinct characteristics which separate Bulgarian from other Slav languages lack of cases, the post-positive definite article, replacement of the infinitive form, and preservation of the simple verbal forms for the past and imperfect tenses-but whether it is truly a different language from Bulgarian or merely a dialect of it is a moot point(Poulton).

The alphabet was accepted on 3 May 1945 and the orthography on 7 June 1945, and the first primer in the new language appeared by 1946, in which year a Makedonskata Department in the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Skopje was also founded.

A grammar of the Makedonski literary language appeared in 1952 with the help of the American linguist Horant Lunt, and the Institute for the Makedonski Language “Krste P’ Misirkov” was founded the following year. Since the Second world ‘war the new republic has used the full weight of the education system and the bureaucracy to make the new language common parlance, and indeed it is noticeable that old people still tend to speak a mixture of dialects which include obvious Serbianisms and Bulgarianisms, while those young enough to have gone through the education system in its entirety speak a ‘purer’ Macedonian (Andriotis).


In subsequent years, painstaking efforts were also made to camouflage the language’s fabricated origin, but nonetheless it remains an offshoot of Bulgarian and is spoken in villages and towns of what is now known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).’” The new dialect was carefully cleansed of glossic elements betraying its Bulgarian origin, replaced by “Macedonian” neologisms, and forced on the pupils from above for political reasons (Koneski 1993; Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou 1988).

These comments are not meant to denigrate the language spoken in FYROM today, but simply to insist that this most impressive new language must not be touted as “Macedonian,” which it is not, but sinlply as a new Slavonic dialect based on the Bulgarian language.(Papavizas, 2006)

The most recently political aspect is that two university professors in electrical engineering ( Aristotel Tentov and Tome Bosevski ) from Skopje, operating under the auspices of the government funded Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Skopje and presented to the official Makedonskata Academy of Sciences and Arts , are claiming that the ” Egyptian Demotic” script is, in fact, a text related to the “old Slavonic Makedonski language” and is Ancient Macedonian. This contradicts all mainstream interpretations of the Stone and the mainstream scientific evidence that Ancient Macedonian was not a Slavic language and, not least, that Slavic speaking peoples did not reach the Balkan peninsula until the 6th CenturyCE. This theory is also promoted by the authorities and church in Skopje as a “2,200 Years Old Script and Text in the Makedonski Language”.

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