Macedonian - interesting facts


Macedonian is the mother tongue of 2 million people (about 0.03% of the world's population).

Macedonian is the official language of Macedonia. In addition, it has a minority language status in Romania, Albania and Serbia.

Macedonian belongs to the group of South Slavic languages. It derives from the Old Church Slavonic language, the first literary language of the Slavs. For centuries, Macedonian shared history with the Bulgarian language (some Bulgarian researchers, therefore, treat this language as a Bulgarian dialect, which is a controversial view). In the second half of the 19th century, after the liberation of Bulgaria from Turkish rule, the distinction between the Macedonian language and the Bulgarian language began to be noticed (the Macedonian lands were located outside the borders of Bulgaria). In the first half of the 20th century, there was an intensive development of Macedonian literature. Macedonian was officially recognised as a separate linguistic entity in 1944 by the Anti-Fascist Council for the Liberation of Yugoslavia.

Modified Cyrillic is used to write the Macedonian language. The alphabet consists of 31 letters.

Despite the relatively small number of native speakers, Macedonian is characterized by quite a significant dialectal diversity. There are five groups of Western dialects and two groups of Eastern dialects.

The standards of the Macedonian language are regulated by the Institute of the Macedonian Language "Krste Misirkov Bulgarian Language, a unit of the Skopje University of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

As in the case of the Bulgarian language, the distinguishing feature of Macedonian compared to other Slavic languages is the lack of a variety of nouns by chance. As in Bulgarian, there is also a definite article (equivalent to English the), which is attached as a suffix to a noun, e.g. човек (chovek) (English: man) → човекът.

The article system in Macedonian is more complex than in the case of Bulgarian. There are as many as three forms of the article depending on the degree of proximity or distance of the object or person from the speaker.

Another important difference between Bulgarian and Macedonian is the question of expressive accent. In Macedonian, unlike Bulgarian, it is fixed and falls on the third syllable from the end of longer words or the second syllable from the end of shorter words.


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Origin of the Macedonian language

Macedonian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and more specifically to the South Slavic group, which includes such languages as Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian or Slovenian. Macedonian is derived from Old Church Slavic dialects, which evolved over time, leading to the emergence of modern Macedonian. This language was recognized as a separate language in 1945 after the end of World War II. Today it is the official language of North Macedonia and is spoken by about 2 million people worldwide.

Macedonian alphabet

The Macedonian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet, developed based on the Bulgarian alphabet. It consists of 31 letters and was introduced in 1945. It is worth noting that the Macedonian alphabet differs slightly from the alphabets used in other Slavic languages using Cyrillic, such as Russian or Ukrainian. Therefore, learning the Macedonian alphabet can be an interesting challenge for Poles learning this language.

Similarities with Bulgarian 

Macedonian is very closely related to Bulgarian, meaning that many words, grammar and sentence structures are similar in both languages. For this reason, people who know one of these languages have a much easier time learning the other. It is also worth noting that both languages have many borrowings from other languages, such as Greek, Turkish or Persian, which makes them interesting from a linguistic point of view.

Influence of neighbouring languages and borrowing

Macedonian was influenced by various neighbouring and historical languages, such as Old Church Slavonic, Greek, Latin, Turkish, Albanian and Romanian. As a result, Macedonian contains many borrowings from these languages, which gives it a unique character and makes it interesting for foreign language learners.

A wealth of expressions and proverbs

Like other Slavic languages, Macedonian is characterized by a wealth of expressions and proverbs. They are the result of the long history and culture of the region and the influence of neighbouring countries. For Macedonian learners, discovering these unique phrases and proverbs can be fascinating to language learning.

"Добрата работа сама се фали." ("Dobrata rabota sama se fali.") - English Equivalent: Good deeds speak for themselves. This proverb emphasizes the Macedonian cultural value of humility and the belief that good deeds do not need to be boasted about; their impact will show on its own.

"Едно јаболко на ден, докторот го оддалекува." ("Edno jabolko na den, doktorot go oddalekuva.") - English Equivalent: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Like in many cultures, this proverb encourages a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, reflecting the universal value of health.

"Кој што сее, тој што жне." ("Koj sto see, toj sto zhne.") - English Equivalent: You reap what you sow. This proverb is about karma and emphasizes that our actions' consequences directly result from what we do, an idea prevalent in many cultures worldwide.

"Каменот се теми со трење." ("Kamenot se temi so trenje.") - English Equivalent: The stone gets worn away with rubbing. This proverb underlines the value of persistence and the idea that continuous effort can overcome even the toughest obstacles, a concept echoed in numerous cultures.

"Мајка си е мајка, колку и да те мачи." ("Majka si e majka, kolku i da te machi.") - English Equivalent: A mother is a mother, no matter how much she bothers you. This saying highlights the unique role of mothers in Macedonian culture emphasizing respect and love for them despite any disagreements or annoyances.


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Your Essential Macedonian




yes да (da)
no не (ne)
please Ве молам (Ve molam)
thank you Благодарам (Blagodaram)
I'm sorry Извинете (Izvinete)
good morning Добро утро (Dobro utro)
good evening Добра вечер (Dobra večer)
goodbye Лека ноќ (Leka noḱ)
good night Довидување (Doviduvaњe)
hi Здраво (Zdravo)
how are you?  Како си? (Kako si?)
well Благодарам, добро сум. (Blagodaram, dobro sum.)
My name is... Јас се викаам... (Jas se vikaam...)
I don't understand Не разбирам (Ne razbiram)



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