Dialects of the Macedonian Language
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Dialects of the Macedonian Language

The dialects of Macedonian comprise the Slavic dialects spoken in the Republic of North Macedonia as well as some varieties spoken in the wider geographic region of Macedonia.[1] They are part of the dialect continuum of South Slavic languages that joins Macedonian with Bulgarian to the east and Torlakian to the north. The precise delimitation between these languages is fleeting and controversial.

Macedonian authors tend to treat all dialects spoken in the geographical region of Macedonia as Macedonian, including those spoken in the westernmost part of Bulgaria (so-called Pirin Macedonia), whereas Bulgarian authors treat all Macedonian dialects as part of the Bulgarian language.[2][3] Prior to the codification of standard Macedonian in 1945, the dialects of Macedonia were for the most part classified as Bulgarian.[4][5][6] In Greece, the identification of the dialects spoken by the local Slavophone minority with either Bulgarian or Macedonian is often avoided, and these dialects are instead described simply as "Slavic",[7] Dopia ('Local'), Stariski (old) or Na?inski (ours).

Linguistically, the dialects of Macedonia in the wider sense can be divided into Eastern and Western groups (the boundary runs approximately from Skopje and Skopska Crna Gora along the rivers Vardar and Crna) based on a large group of features. 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 (o). That classification distinguishes between the following 3 major groups:[8][9]


Macedonian Slavic dialects.png
Dialect divisions of Macedonian[10]
  Crna Gora
  Kumanovo / Kratovo
  Drimkol / Golo Brdo
  Mala Reka / Gali?nik
  Vev?ani / Radda
  Upper Prespa / Ohrid
  Mariovo / Tikve?
  ?tip / Strumica
  Male?evo / Pirin
  Solun / Voden
  Ser / Drama
  Lower Prespa

Northern dialects

  • Western group:
  1. Tetovo dialect
  2. Skopska Crna Gora dialect
  3. Gora dialect
  • Eastern group:
  1. Kumanovo dialect
  2. Kratovo dialect
  3. Kriva Palanka dialect
  4. Ov?e Pole dialect

Western Dialects:

  • Central group:
  1. Prilep-Bitola dialect[11]
  2. Ki?evo-Pore?e dialect[12]
  3. Skopje-Veles dialect
  • Western and north western group:
  1. Gostivar dialect
  2. Reka dialect
  3. Gali?nik (Malorekanski or Mala Reka) dialect[13]
  4. Debar dialect
  5. Drimkol-Golo Brdo dialect
  6. Vev?ani-Rado?da dialect[14]
  7. Struga dialect
  8. Ohrid dialect
  9. Upper Prespa dialect
  10. Lower Prespa dialect

Eastern and Southern dialects

  • Eastern group:
  1. Tikve?-Mariovo dialect
  2. ?tip-Ko?ani dialect
  3. Strumica dialect
  4. Male?evo-Pirin dialect[15]
  • South-western group:[16]
  1. Nestram-Kostenar dialect
  2. Kor?a (Gorica) dialect
  3. Kostur dialect
  • South-eastern group:
  1. Solun-Voden dialect[17]
  2. Ser-Drama-Lagadin-Nevrokop dialect[17]

Most linguists classify the dialects in the Pirin (Blagoevgrad) region of Bulgaria and in the far east of Greek Macedonia as Bulgarian and the dialects in the rest of Greece and in Republic of North Macedonia as Macedonian.[18][19]

Variation in consonants

Map of the phoneme kj in Macedonian
Map of the phoneme gj in Macedonian

As far as consonantal features are concerned, the entire Western region is distinguished from the East by loss of /x/ (except Tetovo, Gora and Kor?a) and the loss of /v/ in the intervocalic position (except Mala Reka and parts of Kostur-Kor?a): /?lava/ (head) = /?la/, /?lavi/ (heads) = /?laj/. The Eastern region preserves /x/ (except Tikve?-Mariovo and Kumanovo-Kriva Palanka) and intervocalic /v/. The East is also characterised by the development of epenthetic /v/ before original /o/ where the West has epenthetic /j/: Eastern /va?l?n/ (coal) but Western /ja?l?n/. The diphonemic reflexes are most characteristic of the dialects of Greek Macedonia and Blagoevgrad Province, Kostur-Kor?a and Ohrid-Prespa. The Serres - Nevrokop dialects have a series of phonemically palatalised consonants.

Variation in word stress and its effects on vowels

The Western dialects generally have fixed stress, antepenultimate in the Republic of North Macedonia, and penultimate in Greece and Albania. The Eastern region, along with the neighbouring Bulgarian dialects, has various non-fixed stress systems. In Lower Vardar and Serres-Nevrokop unstressed /a, ?, ?/ are reduced (raised) to [?, i, u]. The reduction of unstressed vowels (as well as the aforementioned allophonic palatalisation of consonants) is characteristic of East Bulgarian as opposed to West Bulgarian dialects, so these dialects are regarded by Bulgarian linguists as transitional between East and West Bulgarian.

External links


  1. ^ isp. a? , tom. 37, Moscow 1938, ? 743-744
  2. ^ Institute of Bulgarian Language (1978). ? ? ? ? ? ? (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. p. 4. OCLC 6430481.
  3. ^ ? (Stoykov), (2002) [1962]. ? (Bulgarian dialectology) (in Bulgarian). . . "?. ". ISBN 954-430-846-6. OCLC 53429452.
  4. ^ Mazon, Andre. Contes Slaves de la Macédoine Sud-Occidentale: Etude linguistique; textes et traduction; Notes de Folklore, Paris 1923, p. 4.
  5. ^ ?, . , 1968.
  6. ^ K. Sandfeld, Balkanfilologien (Copenhagen, 1926, MCMXXVI).
  7. ^ Ethnologue. By Barbara F. Grimes, Richard Saunders Pittman, Joseph Evans Grimes, Summer Institute of Linguistics ISBN 0-88312-815-2, ISBN 978-0-88312-815-2
  8. ^ . 244 ? - , ? , ? -?, ?- ?- 2001
  9. ^ Z. Topoli?ska - B. Vidoeski, Polski~macedonski- gramatyka konfrontatiwna, z.1, PAN, 1984
  10. ^ After Z. Topoli?ska and B. Vidoeski (1984), Polski-macedonski gramatyka konfrontatiwna, z.1, PAN.
  11. ^ .68 , ?, ?- 1967
  12. ^ ? , ? . , 1957, VIII, 1, . 31-90.
  13. ^ Beli? 1935: A. Beli?, Gali?ki dijalekat, Srpski dijalektolo?ki zbornik, VII, Srpska kraljevska akademija, Belgrade - Sr. Karlovci, 1-352+IV
  14. ^ The Rado?da-Vev?ani Dialect of Macedonian: Structure, Texts, Lexicon by P. Hendriks. The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), pp. 111-112
  15. ^ A Comparative Historical Analysis of Nominal Accentuation in Archaic (Male?evo) and Transitional (Nivi?ino) Eastern Macedonian Dialects," in Proceedings of the Third North American-Macedonian Conference on Macedonian Studies. Indiana Slavic Studies 10:135-151. 1999
  16. ^ ? ?: (? ?). ? ?: , 23-24 1991. , 1994, . 23-60.
  17. ^ a b str. 249- 252 Makedonski jazik za srednoto obrazovanie- S. Bojkovska, D. Pandev, L. Minova-?urkova, ?.Cvetkovski- Prosvetno delo AD- Skopje 2001
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Schmieger, R. 1998. "The Situation of the Macedonian Language in Greece: Sociolinguistic Analysis", International Journal of the Sociology of Language 131, 125-55.

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