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Old 08-05-2021, 09:12 PM   #1
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Default Characteristics of the Macedonian language

The Codex Zographensis was created at the end of the 10th (or beginning of 11th) century. It is an early manuscript written in the Glagolitic alphabet and was discovered at the Zograf Monastery on Mount Athos. The Codex Marianus, another Glagolitic manuscript, is from around the same period. It was discovered at a hermitage, also on Mount Athos. Both of them contain features such as the vocalisation of reduced vowels, indicating a Macedonian provenance.
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Balkan Slavic may be divided into two parts on the basis of one very old feature: in the east, the two Common Slavic reduced vowels known as jers (ъ and ь) did not develop alike, while in the west the two fell together and shared the same subsequent developments. The western part of Balkan Slavic evolved into the dialects which gave rise to the Slovene and the Serbo-Croatian literary languages. The eastern Balkan Slavic dialects gave rise to the Bulgarian literary language in the nineteenth century and to the newest of European literary languages, Macedonian, in our own day.

Horace Lunt, Grammar of the Macedonian Language (1952). p. 1.
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One specifically Macedonian trait is found even in the oldest of the Old Church Slavonic texts from the Balkans, the Codex Zographensis and the Codex Marianus. The reduced vowel ъ, in the so-called 'strong position' is often replaced by o as for instance, in сонъ (probably pronounced son) for an older сънъ. A closely related trait which is characteristic of Macedonian and the neighboring Bulgarian dialects, but not of Serbian or Eastern Bulgarian, is the replacement of 'strong ь' by e, as in темьно (probably pronounced temno), found in the oldest manuscripts beside the older form тьмьно. There are other special Macedonian features occurring in such manuscripts as the Bologne Psalter and the Ohrid Apostle Lessons, from a slightly later period.

Horace Lunt, Grammar of the Macedonian Language (1952). pp. 2-3.
The Codex Zographensis and Codex Marianus also contain examples of the postpositive demonstrative pronoun in рабъ тъ, which served as a precursor for the postpositive definite article. The Dobrejovo Gospel was written in the 13th century. Previously located in Edirne, Turkey, it was eventually discovered in Tulcea, Romania. Its characteristics suggest that either the manuscript or the one it was based on had its origins in Macedonia. It reveals the earliest recorded examples of the postpositive definite article.
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Complexes such as рабъ + тъ, etc. had passed after the changes of the jers in complexes such as работ, etc. In the new relation, раб: работ, the last complex is analyzed in a new manner: раб + от. The morpheme от thus already represents an externally different element from the older demonstrative pronoun form тъ. A similar formal distinction is obtained in other cases and in another manner, for example, by shortening the postpositional demonstrative pronoun in жена-ва, жена-на (from жена + ова, жена + она). In prepositional use, demonstrative pronouns, on the other hand, were amplified by the acquisition of particles (тъ + и, та + ꙗ, etc.) and this contributed even more to the formal distinction between strong and weak demonstrative pronouns, thus facilitating the reversal of the latter into article morphemes. The article, from these beginnings in question, evolved quite early. That it developed even before the synthetic declension was displaced, is testified by the article forms in oblique cases, like those found in some of our dialects even today (cf. старцатого, старцутому, старцитим, женатуи, etc. in the Korča dialect). After all, it shows that towards the 13th century, the article was already a grammatical category. The example злꙑотъ рабъ from the Dobrejovo Gospel (13th century) shows us that the article morpheme -от was already transmitted as a separate morphological element from the noun of the adjective (to its definite form which now becomes only the basis of the article adjective form).

Blae Koneski, History of the Macedonian Language (1986, 1st ed. 1965). pp. 152-153. (English translation)
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The loss of т in the form -от (лебо, дено, etc.) is usual in our eastern dialects, and in some of the western ones (Prilep, Bitola). We have a case of loss of voice in the composition of a morpheme facilitated by the fact that the morpheme is, even without that voice, sufficiently expressed. In the morpheme -o there is no trace left of the former demonstrative pronoun тъ. In some dialects in the east (Maleshevo-Pirin) an -e appears as an allomorph of the article morpheme -o behind soft consonants or those which were once soft: клучe (клучот), etc. That, on the contrary, in our other dialects the article morpheme in the variant of the hard change became generalized already at the beginning of the 12th century is shown by these examples from the Dobrejovo Gospel: стоуденецось, деноть.

Blae Koneski, History of the Macedonian Language (1986, 1st ed. 1965). p. 154. (English translation)
As noted above, the definite article developed from demonstrative pronouns. It is assumed that this occurred in Macedonian as a result of contact with other Balkan languages. Romanian/Aromanian and Albanian also have postpositive definite articles which are somewhat similar to each other, although substantially different from those in Macedonian, which are based on its own demonstrative pronouns. Although Koneski points to language contact as the impetus for the development of the definite article in Macedonian, he also highlights that its forerunner, the postpositive demonstrative pronoun, was an existing feature.
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The article developed from demonstrative pronouns in postposition. The postpositive use of demonstrative pronouns is an old feature of the Slavic languages - it was known to the Proto-Slavic language. Thus, the articles денес(ка), летоска, etc. contain the former demonstrative pronoun сь, used postpositively (дьнь + сь, etc.).

Blae Koneski, History of the Macedonian Language (1986, 1st ed. 1965). p. 150. (English translation)
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Only in the south-eastern part of the Balkans, in the area of the particularly strong influence of the Balkan linguistic environment, did the Slavic dialects fully build the category of determination. Here, that certain inclination towards the division of the subject, manifested in Proto-Slavic in the already mentioned way, found a suitable ground to develop into a special grammatical category, with its own morphological mechanism. Contact with the Balkan languages was crucial in this regard.

Blae Koneski, History of the Macedonian Language (1986, 1st ed. 1965). p. 151. (English translation)
Could the postpositive definite article have naturally evolved in Macedonian and disseminated its structural inclination to Romanian/Aromanian and Albanian through the direct or second-hand influence of its speakers? Is it instead, more likely, that a faded Romance language or an obscure Albanian one, neither of which were backed by numerical superiority or institutional force, influenced Macedonian to make the simple transition from рабъ тъ to the eventual работ? Whatever the case may be, this key attribute that distinguishes Macedonian and Bulgarian from other Slavic languages first appeared in a manuscript that exhibits concurrent Macedonian characteristics.
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:24 PM   #2
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So interesting to think about this. And another reason to support the logic of our language coming from Macedonia and influencing the Bulgarians. We were geographically closer to the other cultures.

Useful to think of a timeline though. To think that only a few centuries later we had that Kostur 16th century document showing our modern language for all intents and purposes.
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Old 08-06-2021, 10:30 AM   #3
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Cyril and Methodius were from Macedonia, their literary language was based on a southeastern Macedonian dialect, and of the two literary centres established by their students after being expelled from Moravia, the one in the east (i.e., Bulgaria) disappeared in less than a century whereas the one in the west (i.e., Macedonia) flourished for much longer. I don’t think there can be any doubt about where most of the influence came from during that period. With respect to the development of the definite article, it’s difficult to chart an exact timeline of each stage, as substantial nuances in the evolving vernacular may have been avoided by most conservative religious figures who created and copied manuscripts. All that can be said for certain is that sporadic examples began to appear in the 13th century. It's entirely possible that it was used in common parlance well before its first appearance in written form. By the 16th century, it was a regular grammatical feature of the spoken language in Macedonia, but as all of the prior documents were in the church language, there is no clear way to determine when it reached that level of development.
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Old 08-07-2021, 12:26 PM   #4
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Macedonian dialects are not, of course, uniform. They shade into the neighboring Serbian dialects to the north and Bulgarian to the east. There is a relatively homogeneous group of dialects to the west of the Vardar River, in the area roughly defined by the quadrangle Prilep—Bitola—Kičevo—Veles, and, since this is also the most populous area of Macedonia, these dialects were taken as the basis of the literary language.

Horace Lunt, Grammar of the Macedonian Language (1952). p. 5.
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It may be noted, however, that there is no sharp, distinct line which marks off Serbian from Bulgarian, any more than there is an absolute frontier between Macedonian and Serbian or Bulgarian, or, on the other hand, between Croatian and Slovene. Macedonian has very few phonemic, morphological or syntactical traits which are unique, but the peculiar combination of traits marks off a system which is different from those of all the other Slavic languages. The Macedonian accent is unique, and it is the outstanding feature which sets Macedonian apart from Bulgarian. The stress is bound to the antepenult, while Bulgarian stress is free. Macedonian does not have the musical intonations which are characteristic of the western Balkan Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian and Slovene.

Horace Lunt, Grammar of the Macedonian Language (1952). pp. 6-7.
Koneski has received criticism for some of the decisions he took during the codification of the Macedonian literary language after WWII. One complaint is about the formal accent, in which the stress falls on the third from last syllable in words with three or more syllables, and on the first syllable in words with two syllables, with some exceptions for loanwords and verbal adverbs. Macedonian dialects are diverse and apply stress in a variety of ways, depending on the region. Contrary to some fallacious or ignorant claims, however, the formal accent is not artificial. In fact, it is found in much of the western part of the Macedonian republic, particularly among the west-central dialects, which form the basis of the literary language. That doesn’t mean other dialects are less Macedonian from a historical standpoint, but the west-central dialects include many of the features that distinguish Macedonian from literary Bulgarian and/or literary Serbian. Their central location, both culturally and numerically significant, also makes them more readily understandable to speakers of other Macedonian dialects. This is why Misirkov, Koneski et al. chose them. It is why they prevail in much of our traditional songs and literature.

One can, of course, appreciate the attachment that a person may have to their local vernacular and accent. In that regard, Macedonian dialects are quite resilient, even in the Macedonian republic, where generations have been exposed to the literary language. In regular conversation, many people, despite their formal education, still speak as their ancestors did. Colloquial variations of stress may even be used by some speakers of west-central dialects. Preserving the richness of our language, to the extent it is possible, is a good thing. However, codification requires consistency and that inevitably leads to sacrifices. In the case of the Macedonian literary language, this was mostly at the expense of the more southern and eastern dialects, which were either outside of the Macedonian republic, further removed from the centre and/or had fewer speakers. Perhaps there were ways to make it more flexible or inclusive, but within the context and circumstances of the time, the rationale behind the decision on the formal accent can be understood. Either way, I would be interested to know if (and why) anybody has a dissenting opinion.
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Old 08-08-2021, 02:38 AM   #5
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The antepenult is even present in the Kostur dialect, one of our language's most divergent. By this logic, I assume the antepenult also exists in the Gorica/Korča dialect as well.
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Old 08-08-2021, 09:12 AM   #6
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The accent is uniform in the Macedonian literary language whereas in the Kostur dialect, it is more complex. For example, word stress in trisyllabic nouns can be penultimate, so you have кобѝла, вечра, etc., but if the noun ends in a definite article, then it is antepenultimate, so you have жната, дтето, etc., unless it is masc., in which case, it would again be penultimate, so чоко, петло, etc. Verbs also have varied word stress, so penultimate for отѝде, седнле, умѝрам, продвам, etc., but antepenultimate for краме, бриме, etc. There are also other nuances. The above words (along with diacritics) come from stories recorded in Kostur and Lerin at the end of the 20th century by Kuzman Shapkarev.
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Old 08-09-2021, 12:33 AM   #7
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Yes, I also have read some of thsoe stories from Šapkarev and found it very resourceful that he chose to include accent and stress. I have sometimes confused speakers from other parts of Macedonia as I sometimes pronounce words differently to them, that being I place the stress on a different syllable. Teachers attempted to "correct" this in me at Macedonian school and I made an effort to speak more „литературен“ when conversing outside the family unit but eventually just gave up as it just did not come as natural to me.
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Old 08-09-2021, 06:15 AM   #8
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I don't see an issue with that or with an education in the Macedonian literary language, irrespective of your dialect. I also speak my own dialect when conversing with others in Macedonian. However, there are cases in which the literary language should be used, such as a politician representing Macedonia in an official capacity, a teacher giving a lecture, a journalist delivering a news report, a person making a formal speech to a broad audience, etc. Ditto for written (formal) correspondence. It isn't such a great leap. Going back to Shapkarev's collection, here is a story recorded from Bitola.
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Еден стрец тиде една нкь да крдит крỳши. Се кчил на дъ̀рвото и шч-туку втил да брит, една мчка дшла и тя да я̀дит крỳши. Се кчила на дъ̀рвото, а стрецот се скрѝл зад лѝсьето. Мчката скѝнала една крỳша и втила да глдат на месечѝната и да си влит: Цървсана йе, или здрла йе? Стрецот си мѝслеше, оти мчката му я двала крỳшата, та рче плека: Н сакам, н сакам. И мчката йе лпнала крỳшата. Скѝнала ушче и дрỳги, и втила и тѝйе да ’и глдат на месечѝната и п да си прѝказват: Ць̀рвосан йе, или здрл йе? Стрецот пк си мѝслеше, оти го книт, та йе ркол на мчката: Н сакам, н сакам. Мчката йе ѝзела и та крỳша. И пк скѝнала ỳшч едн круша, и пк си прикзваше на месечѝната. И стрецот, како шчо си пмисли, оти го кнеше со крỳшата, ѝзвикал вѝсоко: Н сакам, н сакам. Мчката се уплшила от вѝкот и пднала от дъ̀рвото, та се утпала.
Note the stress. The accent is basically on point for both the Bitola dialect and literary language. Lexically, it is almost the exact same as that spoken by my family.
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