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Macedonian language

Macedonian Language

The Macedonian language belongs to the eastern sub-branch of the South Slavic branch of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The closest relative of Macedonian is Bulgarian, spoken in Bulgaria, parts of the Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. Bulgarian and Macedonian properly form a dialect continuum, with the Bulgarian standard being based on the more eastern dialects, and the Macedonian standard being based on the more western dialects. Macedonian is largely mutually intelligible with both Bulgarian and south-eastern dialects of Serbian, notably the Torlakian dialects, which are also spoken in western Bulgaria.


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

    1. North (Tetovo, Skopje Crna Gora, Kumanovo-Kriva Palanka)
    2. Peripheral (Gostivar, Ohrid-Prespa, Kostur-Korca, Lower Vardar)
    3. West Central (Prilep, Kicevo, Bitola, Lerin)
    4. East Central (Tikves-Mariovo, Stip-Strumica, Malesevo-Pirin) -
    5. Debar
    6. Serres-Nevrokop.
It must be noted that the Seres-Nevrokop group is in fact located mostly outside of the republic of Macedonia (in Greece and Bulgaria, respectively) and hence its identification as a group of Macedonian dialects is an especially controversial issue. Bulgarian linguists regard both as dialects of Bulgarian.