Geographical distribution of the Macedonian language

Geographical distribution of the Macedonian language

The Macedonian language is spoken throughout the Balkan Peninsula, Europe and the rest of the world. The actual number of Macedonian speakers is hard to determine as it is a controversial topic. An internal 1964 estimate of the emigrant population put the number of Macedonian speakers outside of the Balkan's at c.580,000 people. [Topolinjska, Z. (1998), "In place of a foreword: facts about the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian language", International Journal of the Sociology of Language (no. 131): 1-11 ]

Republic of Macedonia

The Macedonian language is the most widespread language used in the Republic of Macedonia. It was codified in 1944 and since then has been taught in schools across the republic. It is the primary language used by ethnic Macedonians and a secondary language of the various ethnic groups. It is the mother language of 70% of all inhabitants of the Republic of Macedonia [ [ CIA - The World Factbook 2002 - Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of ] ] .


The Macedonian language is spoken in the eastern border regions with Macedonia. It is the primary language in the Pustec district and other populations can be found in Mala Prespa and Golo Brdo.

The Macedonian language is taught and spoken amongst the Macedonian minority in Albania. It is the primary school language and it used for some official purposes. There is one Macedonian radio station and news-journal in circulation.


Thousands of ethnic Macedonians migrated to Serbia in the 1960s and 1970's. Some of them still prefer using their native language. In 2002, 25,847 people declared themselves as ethnic Macedonians. Large concentrations of Macedonian speakers can be found in Pančevo, Jabuka, Novi Sad and Belgrade. 14,355 people declared Macedonian to be their mother language. [] Currently there is no specific program to educate students in Macedonian. Yet there are attempts to introduce Macedonian language classes into areas where there is a significant minority. []


There is debate as to whether the language of the Gorani people in Kosovo is closer to Macedonian, Bulgarian or Serbian. They identify it as Našinski. Recently the Government of Kosovo began to teach the Macedonian language after it acquired Macedonian language textbooks and grammar books for the Gorani population. [ [ » Balkan News - Kosovo: Prishtina-Skopje railway line back into operation Global Geopolitics News: Intelligence, News, and Analysis from Global Geopolitics Net ] ]


After WWII the Bulgarian Communist Party was compelled by Stalin to accept the formation of Macedonian, Thracian and Dobrujan nations in order to include those new separate states in a Balkan communist federation.cite book
last =v
first =Joseph
title =The Communist Party of Bulgaria; Origins and Development, 1883-1936
publisher =Columbia University Press
pages =p. 126
isbn =
] cite book
last =A. Cook
first =Bernard
title =Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia
publisher =Taylor & Francis
date =2001
pages =p.810
isbn =0815340583
] cite book
last =Coenen-Huther
first =Jacques
title =Bulgaria at the Crossroads
publisher =Nova Publishers
date =1996
pages =p.166
isbn =156072305X
] From 1947-1958 the Bulgaria was forced to declare Macedonian the official language of Pirin Macedonia.cite book
last =A. Cook
first =Bernard
title =Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia
publisher =Taylor & Francis
date =2001
pages =p.810
isbn =0815340583
] Macedonian language newspapers were published and book houses were set up. Many teachers from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia were sent to Bulgaria to teach the Macedonian language. Scholars have suggested that this was done despite the unwillingness of the local population to co-operate. [Ангелов, Веселин. Хроника на едно национално предателство, София 1999, p. 298-302] After 1958 when the pressure from Moskow decreased, Sofia turned back to the view that the Macedonian language did not exist and that the Macedonians in Blagoevgrad province (Pirin Macedonia) were actually Bulgarians. All Macedonian language print stopped and the language was no longer taught in Bulgaria.

The existence of a Macedonian language and Macedonian ethos is highly disputed in Bulgaria. Many Bulgarians do not recognise the Macedonian language as a separate language. They asserts that it is an "other variant of Bulgarian lnguage". There are two dialects in Bulgaria which are considered Macedonian by nationalists are the Maleševo-Pirin (widely spoken in most of Blagoevgrad Province in Bulgaria and Delčevo region in the Republic of Macedonia) and the Ser-Drama-Lagadin-Nevrokop ones. Some linguists consider these dialects to be transitional between modern Bulgarian and Macedonian.Fact|date=August 2008


The Macedonian language is spoken in the Greek region of Macedonia. In Greece the language is often called "Slav-Macedonian", "Macedonian Slavic" or "Slavic". An estimated 180,000 [ [ ethnologue] ] - 250,000 [cite book
title= The Real Macedonians
last= Shea
first= John
year= 1992
publisher= Newcastle
isbn= 0646105043
pages= 148
, >cite book
title= Who are the Macedonians?
last= Poulton
first= Hugh
year= 1995
publisher= C. Hurst & Co. Publishers
isbn= 1850652384
pages= 167
] people speak the Macedonian language in Greece.

The Macedonian language is most widespread in the Florina, Kastoria, Edessa, Serres and Kilkis regions. [] Approximately 77 villages speak the Maceodnian language in the Kastoria area, and 70-72 in the Florina prefecture. [] however, these villages are of medium to small sizes, and some of them are deserted due to immigration or the civil war. The actual speakers of all these villages in Kastoria and Florina prefecture together are hardly more than 10,000 people. The same can be said for the other regions in Greece, so the estimation today is that the actual speakers are less than 80 thousand people, compared to the up to 250 thousand before the war. The stunning differences are partly the result of immigration to USA or Australia and other countries, but also of the outcome of the last war, were the majority of the Slav-Macedonians were members of the side, that eventually lost the civil war.

There are many dialects native to the Greek region of Macedonia. They are the Lerin Dialect, Lower Prespa dialect, Maleševo-Pirin dialect, Nestram-Kostenar dialect, Kostur dialect, Korča dialect, Solun-Voden dialect and the Ser-Drama-Lagadin-Nevrokop dialect.

Rest of the Balkans

An estimated 20,000 speakers of the Macedonian language live throughout the rest of the Balkans. Many are recent immigrants to the region.



The Macedonian language is used widely in many parts of Italy. 2007 figures indicate that there are 74,162 Macedonians Citizens in Italy.


In Switzerland there are approximately 61,000 Macedonians in Switzerland.

Rest of Europe

United States

The Macedonian language is widely spoken throughout the United States. Official sources in the Republic of Macedonia estimate up to 200,000 have knowledge of the language. [] The largest concentrations of Macedonian speakers in the United States are in the states of Michigan (mostly in Detroit), northern New Jersey and southern New York, and Ohio.


Macedonian is the fifth most used language in Canada,Fact|date=May 2008 with approx. 150,000 native speakers. []


The Macedonian language has had a long history in Australia. From the "pečalbari"/seasonal workers to the mass migrations of ethnic Macedonians from Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.

The 1976 census reported that 16691 people spoke the Macedonian language at home. By 1986 this number had risen significantly to 45,610. The 1991 census reported 64,428 people speaking the language at home. The language continued to increase in use with 71,371 speakers in 1996 and 71,994 speakers in 2001 [ [,%202001,%202006%20Census%20Years)&producttype=Census%20Tables&method=Place%20of%20Usual%20Residence&topic=Language& 2006 Census Table : Australia ] ] . The first actual decline in language usage occurred in 2006 when only 67,831 people declared they spoke the Macedonian language at home. In 2001 it was the 9th most spoken language at home in Australia other than English.

In 2001 the largest concentration of speakers were in Melbourne:30,831, Sydney:19,980, Wollongong:7,420, Perth:5,772 and Newcastle:2,095. Other concentrations include Geelong, Queanbeyan, Shepparton, Richmond and Brisbane.

It is possible to choose the Macedonian language as a study option in the New South WalesHSC [ [ HSC Syllabuses - M - Board of Studies NSW ] ] and the Victorian VCE [ [ Macedonian Index - Studies - VCE - VCAA ] ] . The language is also offered at Macquarie University [ [ Macquarie University 2008 Handbook: European Languages ] ] .

Rest of the World


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