Bulgarian views on the Macedonian language

Bulgarian views on the Macedonian language

Official view

Official Bulgaria holds the view that Macedonian is one of three “norms” of the Bulgarian language, the other two being standard Bulgarian and the language of the Banat Bulgarians. This formulation was detailed in 1978 in a document of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences entitled “The Unity of the Bulgarian Language Today and in the Past”.ref|Mahon1 Although Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Macedonia, it has refused to recognise the existence of a separate Macedonian ethnic and a separate Macedonian language. This was a major obstacle to the development of diplomatic relations between the two countries until a compromise solution was worked out in 1999.

In their everyday life, people from the Pirin Macedonian region in Bulgaria use theirdialects and literary Bulgarian language to communicate with one another. When dealing with the official administration they use literary Bulgarian. There was no suppression of the Macedonian language in Bulgaria. For example, in Blagoevgrad one was free to buy an issue of the "Narodna Volja", a newspaper with articles both in Bulgarian and Macedonian (Kanev, 1998a). The dialect, spoken by the Macedonian minority is very close to the official Bulgarian language. Moreover, the orthography used is a Bulgarian variant of the Cyrillic script and not of the Macedonian one. Macedonian is not taught in Bulgaria. There havehardly been any demands for that, apart from the demands of some radical OMO Ilinden activists in the period 1992-1994.(Center for Documentation and Information on Minorities in Europe - Southeast Europe (CEDIME-SE) MINORITIES IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE Macedonians of Bulgaria) [http://www.greekhelsinki.gr/pdf/cedime-se-bulgaria-macedonians.PDF]

Historical overview

Bulgarian ethnos in Macedonia existed long before the earliest articulations of the idea that Macedonian Slavs might form a separate ethnic group from the Bulgarians in Danubian Bulgaria and Thrace. Throughout the period of Ottoman rule, the Slav-speaking people of the geographic regions of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia referred to their language as Bulgarian and called themselves Bulgarians. [Verković, St. "Narodne pesme makedonski bugara (Folk Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians)". Beograd, 1860.] [Miladinov, D. and Miladinov, K. "Bulgarian Folk Songs (Български народни песни)". Zagreb, 1861.] For instance, the Serbian researcher St. Verković who was a long term teacher in Macedonia, sent by the Serbian government with special assimilatory mission wrote in the preface of his collection of Bulgarian folk songs: "I named these songs Bulgarian, and not Slavic because today when you ask any Macedonian Slav: Who are you? he immediately answers: I am Bulgarian and call my language Bulgarian ... ." ["Но ја сам ове песме назвао бугарскима, а не словенскима, због тога, јер данас кад би когод македонског Славенина запитао: што си ти? с места би му отговорно: я сам болгарин, а свој језик зову болгарским. . .", p. 13] The name "Bulgarian" for various Macedonian dialects can be seen from early vernacular texts such as the four-language dictionary of Daniil of Moschopole, the early works of Kiril Pejchinovich and Ioakim Kurchovski and some vernacular gospels written in the Greek alphabet. These written works influenced by or completely written in the Bulgarian vernacular were registered in Macedonia in the 18th and beginning of the 19th century and their authors referred to their language as Bulgarian.ref|Weigand The first samples of Bulgarian speech and the first grammar of modern Bulgarian language were written by the leading Serbian literator Vuk Karadjić on the basis of the Macedonian Razlog dialect. [Vuk Karadjić. "Dodatak k sanktpeterburgskim sravniteljnim rječnicima sviju jezika i narječja sa osobitim ogledom Bugarskog језика". Vienna, 1822.] In those early years the re-emerging Bulgarian written language was still heavily influenced by Church Slavonic forms so dialectical differences were not very prominent between the Eastern and Western regions. Indeed, in those early years many Bulgarian activists sometimes even communicated in Greek in their writing.

When the Bulgarian national movement got under way in the second quarter of the 19th century some cities in Macedonia were among the first to demand education in Bulgarian and Bulgarian-speaking clerics for their churches ref|Yasamee. By the 1860’s however, it was clear that the Central Balkan regions of Bulgaria were assuming leadership in linguistic and literary affairs. This was to a large extent due to the fact that the affluent towns on both sides of the Central Balkan range were able to produce more intellectuals educated in Europe than the relatively more backward other Bulgarian regions. Consequently, when the idea that the vernacular rather than Church Slavonic should be represented in the written language gained preponderance, it was the dialects of the Central Balkan region between Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv that were most represented.ref|Strukova1.

Some prominent Bulgarian educators from Macedonia like Partenii Zografski and Kuzman Shapkarev called for a stronger representation of Macedonian dialects in the Bulgarian literary language but their advice was not heeded at the time and sometimes met with hostility.ref|Strukova2.In the article "" by Petko Rachev Slaveykov, published on 18th January 1871 in the Makedoniya (newspaper) in Constantinople, Macedonism was criticized, his adherents were named Macedonists, and this is the earliest surviving indirect reference to it, although Slaveykov never used the word "Macedonism".The term's first recorded use is from 1887 by Stojan Novakovic to describe Macedonism as a potential ally for the Serbian strategy to expand its territory toward Macedonia, whose population was regarded by almost all neutral sources as Bulgarian at the time. [http://books.google.com/books?q=Stojan+Novakovic+Macedonism&btnG=Search+Books] The consternation of certain Macedonians with what they saw as the domineering attitude of Northern Bulgarians towards their vernacular was later deftly exploited by the Serbian state, which had begun to fear the rise of Bulgarian nationalism in Macedonia.

Up until 1912/18 it was the standard Bulgarian language that most Macedonians learned (and taught) in the Exarchate schools. All activists and leaders of the Macedonian movement, including those of the left, used standard Bulgarian in documents, press publications, correspondence and memoirs and nothing indicates they viewed it as a foreign language. ref|Mihajlov This is characteristic even of the members of IMRO (United) well into the 1920’s and 1930’s, when the idea of a distinct Macedonian nation was taking shape. ref|United

From the 1930s onwards the Bulgarian Communist Party and the Comintern sought to foster a separate Macedonian nationality as a means of achieving autonomy for Macedonia within a Balkan federation. Consequently it was Bulgarian-educated Macedonians who were the first to develop a distinct Macedonian language, culture and literature.ref|Galchinref|Miteva When Socialist Macedonia was formed as part of Federal Yugoslavia, these Bulgarian-trained cadres got into a conflict over the language with the more Serbian-leaning activists, who has been working within the Yugoslav Communist Party. Since the latter held most of the political power, they managed to impose their views on the direction the new language was to follow, much to the dismay of the former group. ref|PK1

After 1944 the communist-dominated government sought to create a Bulgarian-Yugoslav federation (see Balkan Communist Federation) and part of this entailed giving "cultural autonomy" to the Pirin region. Consequently, Bulgarian comunists recognised the Macedonian language as distinct from Bulgarian.ref|Mahon. After 1948, the date of the Tito-Stalin split, those plans were abandoned. This date also coincided with the first claims of Bulgarian linguists as to the Serbianisation of the Macedonian language ref|Friedman. Officially Bulgaria continued supporting the idea of Macedonian unification and a Macedonian nation but within the framework of a Balkan Federation and not within Yugoslavia.ref|PK2 However, a reversal in the Macedonisation policy was already announced in the secret April plenum of the BCP in 1956 and openly proclaimed in the plenum of 1963. 1958 was the first time that a "serious challenge" to the Macedonian position was launched by Bulgaria.ref|PK3 These developments led to violent polemics between Yugoslav and Bulgarian scholars and sometimes reflected on the bilateral relations of the two countries. ref|Mahon2

Bulgarian claims of Serbianisation

Although the original aim of the codifiers of Macedonian was to distance it from both Bulgarian and Serbian, Bulgarians today view the standard Macedonian language as heavily Serbianised, especially with regards to its vocabulary. Bulgarian scholars such as Kosta Tsrnushanov claim there are several ways in which standard Macedonian was (sometimes deliberately) influenced by Serbian:

1. Alphabet and phoneticsThe Bulgarian letters й, ъ, ь, щ, Unicode|ѣ, Unicode|ѫ were thrown out and the Serbian ј, џ, њ, љ were introduced. The pro-Serbian codifiers of the language succeeded in prevailing over the more independent-minded Macedonians ones in purging the "dark vowel" ъ, which is found in many (if not most) Macedonian dialects and also in most other Bulgarian dialects.

2. Vocabulary

:: (a) purely Serbian words instead of local Macedonian or literary Bulgarian ones. For example: благаjник ("treasurer"), безбедност ("security"), друштво ("society"), заедница ("community"), мора ("must" instead of the Macedonian треба), постои ("exists"), пороѓaj ("birth") instead of раѓaње просечно ("average") instead of средно, намештаj ("household items") instead of покуќнина, etc.ref|KC1

:: (b) Macedonianised versions of Serbian words that are not present in native Macedonian dialects. For example: чамец (Serb. "чамац - boat"), значаен (Serb. "значаян - notable"), заключок (Serb. "заключак - conclusion"), поредок (Serb. "поредак - order"), почеток (Serb. "почетак - beginning"), очигледен (Serb. "очигледан - obvious").ref|KC2

:: (c) widespread use of Serbian personal names: Душан, Љубиша, Видоja, Бранко, Жарко, Ґоко, Велибор, Небоjша, Оливера, Слободан, Томислав, Доброслав, Урош, Драгосав, Бранислав, Витомир, Зоран, Кокан, Властимир, Велимир, Мирослав, Видое, Драгутин, Синиша, Данило, Чедомир, Бранка, Радмила, Слаѓана, Гордана, Славица, Даница, Ружица, Милица, Лепа, Зорица. ref|KC3

3. Morphology:: (a) word formation with Serbian-style suffixes instead of Old Church Slavonic, local Macedonian or literary Bulgarian ones:::: - use of Serbian -ачки, -ички instead of Old Church Slavonic -ещ, -ащ: загрижувачки (загрижващ), очаjнички (отчайващ), решавачки (решаващ), насрчувачки (насърчаващ), охрабрувачки (охрабряващ), застрашувачки (застрашаващ), отстапувачка (отстъпваща), понижувачка (унижаваща)::: - use of ::: - use of

4. Syntax One example is the use of the Serbian construction "а да не" instead of the local Macedonian "без да", which is not found in Serbian. For example: “Тоj никогаш не работи, а да не посака награда” instead of „Тоj никогаш не работи, без да посака награда" ("He never worked without demanding a reward").). ref|KC5


# Mahon, M. (1998) "The Macedonian question in Bulgaria" in "Nations and Nationalism". Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 389-407.
# Prof. Dr. Gustav Weigand, ETHNOGRAPHIE VON MAKEDONIEN, Geschichtlich-nationaler, spraechlich-statistischer Teil, Leipzig, Friedrich Brandstetter, 1924.
# 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.
# Струкова, К. П. "Общественно-политическое развитие Македонии в 50-70-е гг XIX века", Российская Акедемия наук, Москва 2004, стр. 85-136. ISBN 5-7576-0163-9
# Ibid., стр. 85-136.
# Иван Михайлов [http://www.promacedonia.org/im_statii/kakpisheha.html КАК ПИШЕХА НАШИТЕ НАРОДНИ БУДИТЕЛИ И ГЕРОИ]
# Димитър Влахов "Борбите на македонския народ за освобождение", Библиотека Балканска Федерация, № 1, Виена, 1925 Also here: [http://www.promacedonia.org/rami/dv/index.html Vlahov]
# Доц. д-р Петър Галчин "МАКЕДОНСКИ ЛИТЕРАТУРЕН КРЪЖОК (1938–1941 г.)" ,"Македонски Преглед", София, бр. 1 & 2, 2002)
# Юлия Митева, [http://liternet.bg/publish8/iumiteva/ezika.htm "Идеята за езика в Македонския литературен кръжок - естетически и идеологически аспекти"]
# Palmer, S. and R. King, "Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question", Archon Books, 1971, p. 137. ISBN 0-208-00821-7
# Mahon, M. (1998) "The Macedonian question in Bulgaria" in "Nations and Nationalism". Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 389-407.
# Friedman, V. (1998) "The implementation of standard Macedonian: problems and results" in "International Journal of the Sociology of Language". Issue 131. pp. 31-57
# Palmer, S. and R. King, "Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question", Archon Books, 1971, p. 126. ISBN 0-208-00821-7
# Ibid., p. 163.
# Mahon, M. (1998) "The Macedonian question in Bulgaria" in "Nations and Nationalism". Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 389-407.
# Коста Църнушанов, "Сърбизиране на македонския казионен "литeратурен език"" (част I), Македонски Преглед, XIV, 1991, 1. [http://www.promacedonia.org/statii/mp_1991_1_tsyrnushanov.html Also here]
# Ibid.
# Ibid.
# Ibid.
# Ibid.

External links

* [http://www.promacedonia.org/en/kronsteiner/ik_3_eng.html Otto Kronsteiner, "The Fathering of the Macedonian Literary Language"]
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/en/other/clarke.html James F. Clarke, "Macedonia from S. S. Cyril and Methodius to Horace Lunt and Blazhe Koneski: Language and Nationality"]
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/statii/mp_1991_1_tsyrnushanov.html Коста Църнушанов, "Сърбизиране на македонския казионен "литeратурен език"" (част I)] bg icon
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/statii/mp_1991_2_tsyrnushanov.html Коста Църнушанов, "Сърбизиране на македонския казионен "литeратурен език"" (част II)] bg icon
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/ik/ik_2.html Ив. Кочев и Ив. Александров, "ДОКУМЕНТИ ЗА СЪЧИНЯВАНЕТО НА МАКЕДОНСКИЯ КНИЖОВЕН ЕЗИК"] bg icon
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/is_ran/is_ran_4.html И. И. Калиганов, "Размышления о македонском "срезе" палеоболгаристики"] ru icon
* [http://www.kroraina.com/knigi/as3/seli_3.htm А.М.Селищев, "Македонские говоры"] ru icon
* [http://www.promacedonia.org/la/index.html Любомир Андрейчин, "Из историята на нашето езиково строителство"] bg icon

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