The above picture depicts the Macedonian language written in the Cyrillic script, together with the national symbol the "Sun" and the Macedonian national folkloric motive on a national dress.


The Macedonian language is the official language in the Republic of North Macedonia, located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula. It finds itself in the group of the South Slavic languages together with Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian and Bulgarian. Many historians and linguists link the language as a part or a sister language to the Bulgarian language, mainly for the similarity in grammar and words.




Through history the Macedonian people have used a non-standard language, for the everyday communication, literature, arts until the modification and standardisation of the language that happened after the end of the Second World War, during the creation of the first Macedonian Republic.


Today there are approximately 1.4–2.5 million native speakers, and most of them are within the borders of the country but also there are some minorities in the neighbouring countries and the overseas diasporas mainly in Australia, Canada, and the United States of America.


The official writing script that the language uses, is the Cyrillic script (Macedonian Alphabet) and also there is a version of Macedonian Braille. It is regulated by the Macedonian Language Institute "Krste Misirkov" at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje.


Nearly 30% of the total Macedonian population (by nationality) live outside of Macedonia, but the language has the status of official language only in the borders of the Republic of Macedonia. Nonetheless it is recognized as a minority and official language in parts of Albania (Pustec), Romania, and Serbia (Jabuka and Plandište), and because of the Macedonian communities in other countries the language is taught in some universities in Australia, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other.


The Macedonian Alphabet -Cyrillic


The Cyrillic Script is a writing system used for various alphabets across eastern Europe and north and central Asia. It is based on the early versions of the Cyrillic alphabet that is known as the Glagolitic Script (named after the verb "glagolati" that means "to speak"), created by Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius during the Middle Ages, in the years between 862-863. It was based on other writing systems (mainly the Greek), and it was accepted and adopted by most of the Slavic languages, during that time.


The Macedonian Cyrillic Alphabet, is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script, as well as language-specific conventions of spelling and punctuation. It was standardized in 1945 and brought the script more towards the Serbian Cyrillic Alphabet. It also added some modification by adding the letters  Ѓ, Ѕ, and Ќ, that are now unique only to the Macedonian Alphabet. The creation followed the works and ideas of Krste Misirkov, and Baže Koneski who objected the inclusion of the "Big Yer" (the Old Church Slavonic Ъ-schwa) into the alphabet, stating that the western regions and their dialects do not use it.


The writing system when done in a cursive script is significantly different from its neighbouring Slavic languages.


Another characteristic of the Macedonian alphabet is that it contains a number of phonemes, that cannot be found in the languages of the neighbouring countries. The committees which worked on the creation and standardisation of the Macedonian alphabet decided that the phonemic principle that is to be used will be a one-to-one parallel, between the letters and the distinctive sounds. The new "unique" letters and the other "borrowed" ones were added from examples used in the books of previous authors like Krste Misirkov, Temko Popov, Gjorgjija Pulevski, Marko Cepenkov and many others.





As every other language in the world, the Macedonian language is much more than its grammar and alphabet. It is a whole world constructed by the thought and idea of one nation and its people. It is a different way of looking at the actions and a different way of communication.


The language is connected and shares the history of the other Slavic and Indo-European languages. It shares the same difficulties and problems, but that doesn't make it more or less interesting or valuable. It is represented through its script, songs, poems and literature and every word and letter has a history and mining behind it. A story waiting to be told.


By choosing to learn Macedonian, you will be given the opportunity to discover a whole new country, culture and people, and knowing one Slavic language offers a open door to the rest.


Learn Macedonian with Jovan!




Hero Image by Gorjan Ivanovski on Unsplash