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Chapter 2 From Common Slavic to Macedonian 1. Two Periods Macedonian comprises a group of South Slavic dialects located in the southernmost part of the Slavic linguistic territory, which have been a part of a continuum with the Serbian and Bulgarian dialects for so long, that today it is not possible to draw distinct boundaries between them.1 1.1. In the past, the Macedonian dialects were in close contact with numerous Slavic dialects on the territory of contemporary Albania and Greece, which can now be analyzed only through toponyms. Several common innovations in the western Macedonian and Montenegrin dialects, which are known to have taken place during the Ottoman rule in the Balkans, demonstrate that there was direct contact between West Macedonian and Montenegrin, which was not broken until after the period of the Ottoman rule (cf. Koneski 2001: 177). 1.2. The history of Macedonian can most suitably be divided into two periods: the old and the modern periods,2 the dividing line being conventionally placed around the fifteenth century (cf. Koneski 2001: 178). 1.2.1. For several centuries after the Slavic invasion of the Balkans, the South Slavic dialects spoken in Macedonia belonged to the inherited Common Slavic type. In the Balkan environment, however, “Balkan” features penetrated into its structure. By the fifteenth century, these features had gained ascendancy to such an extent that one can speak of a new type of Macedonian. Most notable are the disintegration of the declensional system, the appearance of the article, and clitic doubling of objects. From the fifteenth century onwards, borrowings from Turkish were also frequent. 1.2.2. The first Slavic literary language—the one in which Cyril3 and Methodius, sons of a Byzantine imperial official, made the first Slavic translation of the Bible— 1 Macedonian is more closely related to Bulgarian, the most important old dialectal feature differentiating both Macedonian and Bulgarian from Serbian being the open (low) articulation of the vowel o±. In the course of time, however, Macedonian has undergone a significant number of changes due to its contact with Serbian (cf. Vidoeski 2005: 12). 2 With a transitional stage between them. 3 Cyril was originally named “Constantine”. He assumed the name “Cyril” (from which the name of the alphabet of the Russians, Serbs, Macedonians, and Bulgarians is derived) when, 12 A GRAMMAR OF MACEDONIAN was based on a Slavic dialect spoken in and around Thessaloniki. In the ninth century, the people of Moravia,4 where Cyril and Methodius were invited to preach, accepted this language as their own. Subsequently, different centers of learning added elements of local dialects. Thus, different versions or “recensions” of Old Church Slavonic arose—Bohemian, Moravian, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian. As pointed out by Koneski (2001: 182), close studies of Old Church Slavonic texts show that, already towards the end of the ninth and during the tenth century, certain linguistic features distinguished the Macedonian (the Ohrid school) recension not only from the Moravian recension, but also from the Bulgarian (the Preslav school) one. The Macedonian recension is characterized by greater archaism, i.e., by a more consistent continuation of the Cyrillo-Methodian tradition. In the texts of the Ohrid school, the voiced post-alveolar plosive is preserved and archaic morphological forms, such as the active past participle of the type moljь ‘pray.Act.Past.Part’ and the aorist of the type rěxъ, rěkoxъ, ‘say.1Sg.Aor’ are common. There were also some innovations which gradually became the norm in Macedonian territory, such as the change /ъ/ > /o/, /ь/ > /e/. These distinctions are, however, insignificant as compared to the ones which ensued after the coming of the Turks on the Balkans, i.e., in the modern period. 1.2.3. There are two significant texts written in Macedonia in the early modern period : the translation of the sermons of Damascene Studite, made by the Pelagonian bishop Grigorij, and a short dictionary of the Kostur dialect (300 words with Greek translations),5 both from the second half of the sixteenth century. The first printed book containing a Macedonian text is the tetraglosson of Daniil (an Aromanian from Moscopole, in southeastern Albania), first published in 1793 and republished in Venice in 1802.6 These texts exhibit most of the features by which present day Macedonian is distinguished not only from the West and East Slavic languages but also from the South Slavic ones. not long before his death (869 A.D.), he became a monk in Rome, where he and his brother...


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