Citations from authors about the Macedonian LanguageThe Macedonian Language
Macedonian Language citations
Table of Contents
- Editor’s Commentary On the Language Of J. Hadzi Konstantinov – Dzinot
- Petko Rachev Slaveykov (1827-1895), Bulgarian Poet, Publicist and Politician
- Georgi Pulevski (1838-1894), Macedonian Revolutionary and Writer
- From the “Rules Of the Macedonian Revolutionary Committee”, 1878
- Memorandum Of the TMK (Secret Macedonian Committee) To the Diplomatic Representatives of the Great Powers in Istambul, June, 1887
- Stojan Nova Kovic (1842-1915), Serbian Historian, Philologist and Politician
- Temko Popov (1855-1931), Macedonian Publicist
- Petar Draganov (1857-1928), Russian Philologist, by birth a Bessarabian Bulgarian, Professor of the Bulgarian Gymnasium in Salonika from 1885 to 1887
- Karl Hron (1852 – ?), Austrian Publicist
- Krste Petkov Misirkov (1874-1926), Macedonian Slavicist, Publicist and Ideologist
- Aleksandar Teodorov Balan (1859-1959), Bulgarian Slavicist
- Andra Gavrilovic (1864-1929), Serbian Literary Historian and Writer
- Journal ” Makedonskij Golos”
- Rudolf A. Reiss (1876-1929), prominent Swiss Lawyer and Professor at the University in Lausanne
- Henri Barbusse (1873-1935), prominent French Writer
- Antoine Meillet (1866-1936), French Linguist, Indoeuropeanist
- Bistrishki: Why Are We Macedonians a Separate Nation (1934)
- Declaration of the regional Committee of the VMRO (United) under Bulgarian Rule
- Andre’ Vaillant (1890-1977), French Slavicist
- The Great Soviet Encycclopedia (1938)
- Kocho Racin (1908-1943), Macedonian Poet and Revolutionary
- Trajcho Kostov (1897-1949), Bulgarian Political Worker, Secretary of the CC BWP (C)
- Proclamation of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party: “On Freedon, Equality and Self-Government of Macedonia”
- Todor Pavlov (1890-1976), Bulgarian Philosopher and Social Worker, for many years President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Georgi Canev (1895), Bulgarian Literary Historian and Critic
- Stoyko Stoykov (1911-1969), Bulgarian Slavicist
- Ivan Lekov (1904-1978), Bulgarian Slavicist
- Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949), prominent Bulgarian Revolutionery, from 1935 to 1943 Secretary General of the Communist Internationale
As concerns the language of Mr. Jordan, anyone can see that it is so different from our written and spoken language, so that to a person reading it for the first time it will appear not only incomprehensible but completely different. And in truth his language, even though it appears to be Bulgarian, and its material, like that of our language, is also taken from the Church Slavic litei’ary language, has in its form, nevertheless, that is in the pronunciation of the words and in writing, so many properties and peculiarities that it can more easily be learned and spoken correctly by a foreigner, and not by a native Bulgarian. May the residents of Skopje forgive us, along with those who speak a similar language: since they also do not understand our language, nor can they speak it.
“Bolgarski” (Bulgarian) in “Carigradski vesfnik” (Istambul Herald), phototype-edition, No.55, October 6, 1851, p.19
Finally the Macedonian question has become public and has appeared in print. We say finally, because this question Is nothing new. At first we considered the words of those young patriots (as an expression) of our not very serious quarrels. So we thought until a year or two ago, when renewed discussions with certain Macedonians showed us that we were not dealing here with bare words alone, but with an idea that many would like to see carried out in real life. We listened to such words in sorrow and with pain, but we did not take it upon ourselves to discuss tliem in print, because the affair seemed to us rather delicate, especially considering the present circumstances. Today this question has already appeared in the marketplace, thanks to the lack of caution of one of our brethren, and we are forced, like it or not, to answer.
On the other hand, we would never have spoken about this matter if it had to do only with the separation of textbooks, because we see no harm in the fact that some people wish their children to study their father tongue; on the contrary we see in this an indication of coming to awareness. Elementary education is fruitful only when it is carried out in a language which the children understand. Their error is only that they do not choose such a path as will lead not to dialectal division but to unification, agreement.
But when other goals are taken into account, the goals of breaking up our not yet fully organized nation, then every man is duty-bound to oppose such an evil. It seems that such is the goal of certain of our Macedonian brothers, and that they are disguising this goal behind the veil of language and its dialects; therefore we will take the liberty of saying a few words about the Macedonian question.
We have heard many times from the Macedonists that they are not Bulgarians but Macedonians, descendants of the ancient Macedonians, and we are still waiting for some proof of this.
We have heard other arguments as well. Certain Macedonists consider themselves as separate from the Bulgarians for an other reason, for the reason that they are pure Slavs and the Bulgarians Tatars, and I don’t know what else…
In order to add strength to their unfounded argumentation, the Macedonists point out the difference between the Macedonian and upper Bulgarian dialects, of which they claim that the first is closer to the Slavic language, and the second mixed with Tatarisms, etc.
We are certain that the wishes of the Macedonists ought to have other bases, and that we have to do here with the slight inequality between the upper and Macedonian Bulgarians in number and progress. The Macedonists may think that the national affairs will always be under the control of the upper Bulgarians, who are more numerous and more conscious, and that the Macedonians will remain in second place. This is the significance of the Macedonists’ slogan: WE HAVE BEEN FREED FROM THE GREEKS? SHOULD WE SUBMIT TO OTHERS?
P.R. Slaveykov, “Makedonskij V’pros” (The Macedonian Question ), in “Makedonija” (Istambul), January 18, 1871
A nation is the term for people who are of one origin and who speak the same language, and who live and associate with each other and who have the same customs and songs and festivals, these people are called a nation and the place where they live is called the fatherland of this nation. Thus the Macedonians are a nation and their home is Macedonia.
Pulevski, “Rechnik od tri jezika” (Dictionary in Three Languages) (Belgrade, 1875), p.49
Participating in the revolution are people from Macedonia itself, who consider themselves Macedonians and hold dear the freedom of Macedonia (art. 2).
All who desire the wellbeing of the Macedonians from neighbouring and more distant lands may take part in the Macedonian uprising if they submit to the authority of the Macedonian Revolutionary Committee and if they sincerely pledge to support the liberation of Macedonia (art. 4).
The Macedonian Revolutionary Committee will inform the government of the Princedom of Bulgaria that the Macedonians will have nothing to do with the Princedom, except as concerns the brotherly aid of our Slavic brethren (art. 186).
The Macedonian Revolutionary Committee will be represented in the Princedom by our delegates, and the Princedom may send its delegates to the Committee (art. 187).
The Macedonian Revolutionary Committee will also acquaint the brotherly Princedom of Serbia with the goals of our revolution and will seek brotherly aid in the liberation of Macedonia. If the Serbian prince permits, we will send our delegates to the Princedom and the Committee will accept their delegates (art. 191):
The Macedonian Revolutionary Committee orders all Macedonians to carry out the decrees of this set of Regulations, or Constitution, unquestioningly until the liberation of Macedonia and until a peacetime constitution has been passed for autonomous Macedonia (art. 209).
Private library of the Bulgarian patriarch Kiril. Archive division. Item 2341. Archive unit 50, folio 30-61
Memorandum Of the TMK (Secret Macedonian Committee) To the Diplomatic Representatives of the Great Powers in Istambul, June, 1887
Such a situation can have no other consequences except that the general peace be kept in a state of constant agitation and that our fatherland suffer a catastrophe, — and to eradicate this situation, it is necessary to paralyze the illusions of the above-mentioned small states, and this can be accomplished only by the Macedonian population itself, which should announce to the world that it is A SEPARATE NATION WITH A SEPARATE HISTORY, CHARACTER AND CUSTOMS, and that it has nothing in common with the surrounding small states, – THEREFORE IT FOLLOWS THAT NO-ONE HAS ANY RIGHT TO LAY CLAIM TO MACEDONM AND IT BELONGS TO THE MACEDONIANS -but, in order to attain this, the Macedonian population must be enlightened, and to set out as soon as possible on that path, it would seem highly necessary to publish here in the capital a “Macedonian Newspaper” which newspaper we the undersigned have agreed to publish, and we have already handed in a petition to the Great Vizier in which we asked him in the interest of the Ottoman state and the general peace to allow us to publish the above-mentioned newspaper as soon as possible.
Dr. Kilme Dzambazovski “Neuspel obid za izdavanjeto na “Makedonski List” vo Carigrad 1887 godina” (An Unsuccessful Attempt to Publish a “Macedonian Newspaper” in Istambul in 1887), Sovremenost, XIV (1964), 10, p.1066
Finally there is one more phenomenon which can not be ignored. This is the aspiration of the Macedonians to remain by themselves, which they are trying to attain in all the above-mentioned ways. And this striving began to be aroused, especially as a result of the contrasts between the Bulgarian and the Macedonian tongues, and between the Bulgarian and the Macedonian characters, since the time when Bulgarian political action began too rashly and sharply to attack the Macedonian features in the name of Pan-Bulgarianism. Even among the salaried teachers of the Bulgarian secondary schools in Macedonia there are found people in whom these aspirations are being aroused in exactly the same way as one sies being done among the Ukrainians against Russian uniformity. One can not overlook or explain away by any sort of simple reasoning the well-known fact that, in the spring of 1885, after the Bulgarian public assemblies about Macedonia, there immediately followed public assemblies of Macedonians in Serbia, in which all Macedonians living in Serbia participated. More forceful movement will illuminate more sharply those tendencies which are now still displaying only the first signs of life.
St. Novakovic, “Bugarske skole po Makedoniji” (Bulgarian Schools in Macedonia), Otadzbina XIX, 1888, pp.78-95; reprinted in Balkanska pitanja (Balkan Questions), Beograd, 1906, cf. p.267
May 9, 1888 Salonika
My dear Despot,
In the introduction to this letter I will tell you in advance that I will take the trouble to write you, inasfar as it is possible, in our tongue, substituting for those words which I do not know with Bulgarian ones. What else can be done, Despot! This tongue of ours, which could have dictated to the other Slavic tongues, has remained the poorest, and, like a beggar, must stretch out its hand to the Bulgarian, or the Serbian or even the Russian tongue! I do not deny that all of the Slavic tongues are similar to each other and that it is natural that they should borrow from each other, but not to the state to which our miserable tongue has come, so that a man can not express his thoughts without using Bulgarian words, if he has lived in Bulgaria, Serbian – if in Serbia. It is true that our tongue, being most similar to Serbian, should gather from it those words which it does not have in its own dictionary, but where is our dictionary, where are our philologists, who might concern themselves with these important questions, i.e. the compilation of a grammar and other most urgently needed textbooks, at least for elementary schools? If we have no philologists, where are the Serbian ones, who might know our tongue and might write those elementary and necessary books with such impassionate scholarship as to use Serbian words as supplementary words only where they can not find Macedonian ones, and not to be led by blind patriotism and instead of writing Macedonian textbooks, writing purely Serbian ones. Don’t fool yourself, Despot, the national spirit in Macedonia has attained such a state that Jesus Christ himself, if he were to descend from heaven, could not convince a Macedonian that he is a Bulgarian or a Serb, except for those Macedonians in whom Bulgarian propaganda has already taken root.
Fragment of a letter from Temko Popov to Despot Badzhovic, well-known Macedonian social worker. Published by K. Dzambazovski in “Nova Makedonija”, Jan. 1-3, 1960
Petar Draganov (1857-1928), Russian Philologist, by birth a Bessarabian Bulgarian, Professor of the Bulgarian Gymnasium in Salonika from 1885 to 1887
Vostokov himself, concerning the question of the origin of the Old Church Slavonic language, was in favor of Macedonism, naming as its fatherland Macedonia, and therefore, said Vostokov, it could be called Macedonian. But Vostokov was never in favor of Bulgarism of this significant scholarly thesis in the narrow meaning of the word, as his opponents claimed; on the contrary, as concerns the Bulgarian tongue itself, it could have, according to Vostokov, differed from the former (Macedonian) in many important features since ancient times and we will note, on our own part, as it differs from it even now. One would expect that sooner or later Vostokov’s assertion will be confirmed by the investigation not only of historical linguistic documents but also of the contemporary structure of the Slavic tongues and especially of the Slavic dialects in the supposed fatherland of Cyril and Methodius’s Slavic language.
P.D. Draganov, “Nosovye glasnye zvuki v sovremennych makedonsko-slavjanskich i bolgarskich govorach” (Nasal Vowels in Contemporary Macedo-Slavic and Bulgarian Dialects), Russkij fiblogicheskij vestnik, vol. XIX, issue 10, Warsaw 1888, p.2 (reprint)
In any case it may be shown, from their history as well as from their language, that the Macedonians are neither Serbs nor Bulgarians, but rather a separate ethnic group, namely the direct descendants of those earliest Slavic immigrants, whohad settled the Balkan peninsula long before the Serbian or the Bulgarian invasion, and have not mixed with either of these two ethnic groups.
Karl Hron, Das Volkstum der Slaven Makedoniens (Vienna, 1890), p.31
With these few words I wished to explain to Macedonian readers the contents of this book about the questions most important for us. As a devotee of the idea of complete separation of our interests from the interests of the Balkan nations and of independent cultural national development, I have written it in the central Macedonian dialect, which will be for me from now on a literary Macedonian language.
K. P. Misirkov, Za makedonckite raboti (On Macedonian Matters) (Sofia, 1903) p. XI
Was it very long before the liberation of the Bulgarians that one could hear throughout Bulgaria Bulgarians answering to the question “What are you?” (in nationality) that they are “Christians” or “raya” (non-Moslem Turkish subjects – translator’s note)? And it is not so unusual even today to hear a Bulgarian answering in court to the question of his nationality that he is a “Christian”. For him the concept of nationality has not yet become a new acquisition of his reason. During the Turkish period the Bulgarian peasant termed Bulgarians from cities “Greeks”, and city clothing was for him “Greek clothing”. And since the Greeks called this peasant a “fat-headed Bulgarian”, his brother from the city loved to be called by the term “Hellene” in order to avoid the derision associated with his true national name. Is not this exactly the same as what Mr. Misirkov tells us about the names for the Macedonian Slavs? The name “Bulgarian” had in Bulgaria fallen to a level which brought it only the derision of foreigners. In the speech of the Bulgarian himself, this name had lost its national content to such an extent that it became a synonym for “Christian”, which name came to signify the entire ethnic content of the Bulgarian individual and social consciousness. Our peasant, in saying “we are Bulgarians”, thought “we are Christians”, i.e. orthodox. The Russian emperor was for him the “Bulgarian emperor” not by nationality but by orthodox Christianity.
A. T. BaIan, Edna makedonska teorija” (A Macedonian Theory), Periodichesko Spisanie LXV, 1904, p.818
This winter a Macedonian theater group, under the direction of Crnodrimski, gave guest performances in Belgrade and certain other cities of the Kingdom of Serbia. It presented original Macedonian dramas in the Macedonian language. In one word, we had attempts at a new spiritual-cultural literature and art – Macedonian. Let us not fool ourselves. What Crnodrimski presented was not jargon but a tryout of a foreign culture in another milieu, just as Chech actors give guest performances in our National Theater, or, still better, just as for example Salvini visited Belgrade with his group a few years ago. Let us leave aside for the moment the fact that Crnodrimski has two versions of his plays, that for Sofia and that for Belgrade, and realize that the very existence of his Macedonian productions tells us that we have before us the beginnings of a new, fourth, literature in the Slavic South. And we have applauded this fact!
A. Gavrilovic, “Pred chetvrtom knjizhevnoshchu (Before a Fourth Literature), Brankovo Kolo X 17, April 29, (May 12)1904, p.516
Remember, Macedonian nation, that the irreproducible Great Day in your life is approaching, that you will never again be able to ascend from national death, and decide your fate alone – decide yourself!
For a long, long time they used to repeat to you that your soul is not yours but that of your neighbour, that your countenance must be reflected in a foreign mirror and not in that of your own life. Whom of us, Macedonians, was not assured that we are now Bulgarians, now Serbs, now Greeks…
And we are none of that, but rather – a separate nation with its own name – Slavo-Macedonians.
From the article ” K makedonskomu narodu” (To the Macedonian Nation), whose author wrote under a pseudonym ,Upravda”, published in the journal .,Makedonskij gobs” – Organ storonnikov nezavisimoj Makedonii” (a Russian title which translates as “The Macedonian Voice – Organ of the Defenders of a Free Macedonia”), I, No.2, St. Peterburg, June 27, 1913, p.26
I have said that I would rather call your Bulgarophones Macedonians. You call these people Bulgarophones because of their language, which resembles Bulgarian. But, is this Bulgarian, is this the same language which is spoken in Sofia? No. Macedonian resembles Serbian as much as it does Bulgarian. I am not a linguist and I can not take the liberty of judging fdr myself, but the most concerned Balkanologists have assured me that Macedonian resembles Serbian more than Bulgarian. Perhaps there are linguists who assert the opposite. But the fact is that Macedonian is not spoken either in Sofia, or in Belgrade. It is a separate Slavic language, just as is the Romansh language, spoken in Switzerland in the Grisons areas separate from Italian.
In my opinion a Macedonian can not be called either a Bulgarian or a Serbian, but simply a Macedonian.
R. A. Reiss, Sur Ia situation des Macedoniens et des musulmans dans les nouvelles provinces Grecques (Paris, Plon-Nourrit, 1918), pp.6-7
One is truly speaking here of a nation. A nation which has its own original ethnic character, its traditions, its aspirations, its unique and specific personality.
This nation, on the very soil where it has developed and endured, where history has planted it, to which it is bound by its roots and its culture, is treated as a collection of slaves and evildoers.
La question macedonienne est-elIe si complexe que cela ?”Fe de ration Balcanique” No.51, Nov. 1, 1926, p.867
The Macedonians, who have their own separate language and indisputable ethnic originality, do not have the right to be called Macedonians.
Un peuple asservi, “Monde” No.108, June 28.1930, p.2
The dialects of Macedonia are a part of the South Slavic group; those who speak them may, according to the circumstances, take as their common language Serbian or Bulgarian. Their dialects, differing among themselves, are not truly Serbian nor truly Bulgarian, especially if one is thinking of written Bulgarian, which is based on dialects quite far removed from the Macedonian dialects. Without doubt the simplification of the nouns is the same in Macedonia as in Bulgaria, but this is the effect of a tendency which is manifested also in the Serb ian dialects of the Balkan region. Headmasters in the Bulgarian or Bulgarized schools have, in the last third of the 19th century, taken strong action in Macedonia; and it is this which has given the Bulgarians cause to claim the country for their common language; but there was no continuous action in a language of civilization: in the middle ages influences varied depending on the political situation; and, since the Turkish conquest, the literary tradition has ceased to play an appreciable role. Thus, while the politicians have claimed the dialects of Macedonia for such or such a group, disinterested linguists cannot but reserve their opinions.
In reality these dialects do not properly belong to either the one or the other of the two groups under dispute. And, even if the linguistic data had a neatness which they do not have, any particular resemblance to another group would not be at all decisive. It is puerile to call in linguistics in questions of borders of this sort. It is politics which will decide the linguistic future of Macedonia.
A. Meillet, Les langues dans l’Europe nouvelle (Paris, 1928), pp. 132-133
Fourth congress of the Macedonian National Association of America. Detroit, Mich., 1934, pp.42-45
The answer to this question is, more than all others, of great political Significance. It is well known how Bulgarian as well as Serbian and Greek imperialism deny the existence of the Macedonian nation. According to the first of these, the Macedonians are the “best part of the Bulgarian nation”. According to the second, the Macedonians are “pure Serbs”, and according to the third, the Macedonians are “Slavicized Greeks”. Thus, each of our enslavers “justifies” keeping its respective enslaved part of our enslaved fatherland under its yoke, and at the same time justifies its pretensions for controlling all of Macedonia.
Orde Ivanovski, “Znachajna studija od 1934 godina za nastanuvanjeto i razvitokot na makedonskata nacija” (An Important Study from the Year 1934 about the Rise and Development of the Macedonian Nation), Glasnik, XVIII (1974)1, pp.161-162
The report, a protest of the Macedonians under Greek rule, published in the Greek communist journal “Rizospastis” and others, is the result of the hidden desires and of the struggle of the entire Macedonian nation. The demand of the Macedonians under Greek rule to speak freely in their own native Macedonian language, to open their own Macedonian schools and to teach their children in their own native language is their holy right, which will be won by means of a relentless struggle of the Macedonian nation, against the imperialist captors, for the freedom and independence of Macedonia.
2. Since the Macedonians under Greek rule are neither “slavophones” nor “pure Greeks”, since the Macedonians under Serbian rule are not “true Serbs”, likewise the Macedonians under Bulgarian rule are not Bulgarians, nor do they wish to become so. The Macedonian nation has its own past, present and future, not as an appendix to imperialistic Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, but as an independent nation, which for decades has been struggling to win the right to self-determination, including the right to separation as an independent political state unit from the imperialistic states which are oppressing it.
(Published in the journal “Makedonsko delo”, XI, No.195 p.S, February 1935.In the introduction to the Declaration it is stated: “In connection with the protest of the group of Macedonians from Aegean Macedonia, a protest sent to the Greek press against denationalization and terrorism, the Regional Committee of the VMRO(UNITED) in Macedonia under Bulgarian rule, in the name of all Macedonians nationally oppressed by Bulgarian imperialism in the Petrich region and refugees to Bulgaria, is proclaiming this Declaration”).
The concept of “Macedonian Slavic” is confusing only for those who want it to be. Macedonian Slavic is to such an extent a reality that there existed in the nineteenth century a Macedonian literary language, the language of a quite limited scholarly literature but of a voluminous popular literature; and one is not dealing here with documents of folklore such as can be found anywhere: the Macedonian lyric poem, much appreciated in Serbia and in Bulgaria, represents an authentic literary genre, of real value. This literary language, based on dialects which naturally differ among themselves, had not had the time for unification. But its centres were Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid, Bitola (Manastir), Voden, etc.
A. VaIllant, “Le probleme du slave macedonien”, Bulletin de Ia Societe’ de Linguistique de Paris, vol.39, 2(No. 116), Paris, 1938, p.195
THE MACEDONIAN LANGUAGE…2) (In recent times) the language of the South SIavs living in the territory of present-day Macedonia. Regardless of the significant dialectal diversity, the Macedonian dialects are a unit and are noticeably distinct from the national dialects of Thrace, the Rhodope Mts., Mysia and the Balkan Mts. . . . . All of Macedonia can be divided into two dialect groups: the region to the west of the Vardar River and the southeast region of Macedonia. The second group includes also the dialects of Kostur (Castoria).
The western group is characterized by the following dialectal features: 1) three forms of the article, -ot (masc.), -ta (fem.), -to (neut.);
-ov, -va, -vo, -on, -na, -no; 2) third person singular present ending -t; 3) stress on the third syllable from the end; 4) the phraseological character of stress. The western Macedonian dialects are furhter divided into several dialect groups: Debar, Ohrid, central, Tikvesh-Mariovo, Veles-Skopje, Upper Polog and Lower Polog. Characteristic of the southeast dialects are: the pronouns on, ona, ono, oni; the preposition 505, etc.
The trying historical conditions experienced by the Macedonians have left their imprint on their culture. After the first imperialistic war (1914-1918) the greater part of Macedonia was joined to Yugoslavia. National oppression by the ruling Serbian bourgeoisie is exceptionally heavy. Serbian linguistic science, in the person of Belic, denies any right of self-determination to the Macedonian Slavs, claiming that the Macedonian Slavs are Serbs. On the other hand, Bulgarian linguistic science, which serves the purposes of Bulgarian imperialism, does not recognize the right of the Macedonians to independent national development. Southern Macedonia belongs to Greece, where there is also strong national oppression.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, vol.37, Moscow, 1938, pp.743-744
In the long, painful process of forming the consciousness of the nation of the Vardar region,* contemporary national literature is a significant phenomenon and a cultural attainment. Written in a language in which this nation thinks most intimately, feels most deeply and expresses its eternal sufferings and most noble human strivings, closely tied to popular life and its progressive tendencies, this literature could not be other than a faithful and living reflection of all of these sufferings, passions and national ideals, heart and consciousness and a national banner waving on high. The process of the arisal of this literature is the best indication that its beginning was fruitful – when it was inspired by the needs of the nation, when it embodied the eternal national ideal, and that the process went completely mad when this literature lost its ties with the people…
…The objective conditions under which the contemporary writer of the Vardar region must work and live are especially trying, very complicated and painfully subduing. He must bear not only the hundredfold greater strain in creating a new and progressive literature under the circumstances of a very narrowed cultural milieu, of a very poor or almost nonexistent literary inheritance, supported only by his fanatical will and the well-intentioned help of people with progressive ideas, – but he must bear also the combined attacks of his opponent, who claims the right to a historical possession of the heart and consciousness of his nation. If one realizes the degree to which all possible means of attack are used here, with not the least scruples, it will become clear what difficulties and what trials await a Macedonian writer, who frequently lives in some small backwater town, lonely, far from the necessary literary milieu and the handbooks necessary for literary activity, and in what danger is his uncompromising position, without which, of course, there is no true and national literature…
…But although the difficulties in the path of development of a contemporary literature in the Vardar region are many-sided and enormous, all true and consistent writers must overcome them, must bear their profession with dignity. Deeply devoted to the national ideals, firmly supported by their true, aware and unique friends from the most progressive section of their nation, they will be able to fulfill their task with success. The enormous and inexhaustible poetic wealth of the Vardar region – the ideological result of centuries of suffering, struggle and national ideals, will sooner or later find its true laborers, who will raise it to the level of a modern national literature. On these few self-driven people falls a great historical honor, along with a great social responsibility, to carry out their profession honorably. They must, without regard for their own personal and other problems, trials and personal crisies, earn honorably their true title – national writer of this brave and tormented nation. What was begun by Pejchnovik, the Miladinov brothers and Zhinzifov, dellected for a time onto another path by inavoidable historical events, will now return to its home and will find its true inheritors.
K. Racin, “Razvitak i znachaj jedne nove knjizevnosti’ (The Development and Significance of One of Our New Literatures), Radnichki tiednik I, No.23, pp.5-6
The debate as to whether the Macedonians are Bulgarians or Macedonian Slavs would under the present circumstances be in truth a doctrinaire tongue-wagging. But we must bear in mind the facts. And the facts say that a great part of the Macedonian population has more a Macedonian than a Macedo-Bulgarian consciousness. According to reliable facts, supplied by our competent comrades of Macedonia itself, the Macedonian consciousness has penetrated quite deeply, especially among the younger generation, which was not exposed to exarchistic propaganda. According to these comrades, who are fully acquainted with the situation in Macedonia, not less than 80% of the Slavic population in Macedonia considers itself as a Macedonian, and not a Bulgarian population (it does not understand the Bulgarian language). Our documents are translated into Macedonian and, these comrades tell us, it will be difficult for Bulgarian propaganda to destroy this Macedonian consciousness. The nation is not only not exhilarated by its “freedom”, you can not even force it to shout “Hurrah”, and it is deaf to patriotic chatter. It is clear that the process of formation of the Macedonian people as a nation made great progress. We can not help but have a favorable attitude towards this process and we can not help but aid it actively, since it best suits the interests, traditions and tasks of the Macedonian people.
From a letter by Trajcho Kostov, secretary of the Central Committee ofthe Bulgarian Workers’Party (Communists) of May, 1941, to Todor Pavlov, stating the attitude of the CC BWP (C) towards the Macedonian question, in answer to a letter by Todor Pavlov of May 15, 1941. Published in “Razgledi”, XIII, 4, 1971, pp.401-412
Proclamation of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party: “On Freedon, Equality and Self-Government of Macedonia”
…Today, as before, you have no political or cultural freedom. While the Serbian officials did not allow you to call yourselves Macedonians and persecuted those who disobeyed, now the Bulgarian fascists and chauvinists force you to call yourselves Macedonian Bulgarians, also persecuting those who say they are Macedonians. They represent your leaders and fighters from the past, such as Goce Delchev, Pere Tosev, Gorche Petrov, Jane Sandanski and Dimo H. Dimov, completely as Bulgarian chauvinists and fascists. In all proclamations of the government and of those Macedonians who have sold themselves to it Goce’s struggle for freedom, democracy, equality and self-determination for the Macedonian people is put on a par with the efforts of the Bulgarian fascists and Hitler to conquer and loot. What a disgusting desecration of the memory of your great apostles! What a tilthy distortion and falsification of the Macedonian struggle for freedom!
…If you dare to call yourselves Macedonians, they hunt you down and beat you, you cannot get a job, let alone a pass. You are not allowed to speak the Macedonian language in the institutions and any conversation in Macedonian is noted down as Serbophile. The whole history of the Macedonian people, its culture and struggles, are distorted by the Bulgarian fascists and chauvinists against the will and protests of the Bulgarian working people, in the same way as the chauvinist advocates of a Greater Serbia dealt with the subject until recently, against the wishes and protests of the Serbian working masses and of the highly educated, progressive elements among our Serbian brothers.
Arhiv na Komunistichkata partija na Jugoslavija (Archive of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia), Volume VII, Belgrade, 1951, p. 83-84
The publication “Makedonska Mis’I” (Macedonian Thought) will undoubtedly play a useful role, if its editors and collaborators never forget that the new Macedonian national consciousness has not fallen fully developed from heaven, but is the result of a whole series of events, struggles and efforts, some of which date back to before the liberation of Bulgaria. This is a complex process which should be studied from all sides, in its theoretical as well as its historical aspect, and only in this way will the publication make a positive contribution to the future consolidation and development of the new national culture of Macedonia as well as to the new free democratic federal republic of Macedonia.
Academician Todor Pavlov, regent of Bulgaria, on the publication “Makedonska Mis’l, 1, 1-2, Sofia, 1945, pp.2-3
By the way, we can not be unjust to the memory of the great Macedonian son and therefore, all the same, we must note precisely here that Goce* had written in one of his letters: “So is there no-one to write even one book in Macedonian?” This exclamation of Goce’s shows that if he had remained alive he would in no case have remained indifferent to the fact that today in Macedonia there is a volume of books, and not only poetic and publicistic ones, written in this very Macedonian language which has been formed to a significant degree and is continuously being improved upon and perfected exactly as a new Macedonian literary language.
T. Pavlov, “Goce Delchev”, Makedonska mis’l, II, 1-2, Sofia, 1946, p.7
The guest appearance of the Macedonian National Theater in Bulgaria is an event of historical character. It is the first cultural manifestation of the new Democratic Republic of Macedonia. Come to show us their art are people from the land which is not only classic in the history of Slavic culture but classic also in its sufferings. And this manifestation signifies above all that an end has finally come to the murky past when Macedonia was the object of attempts to conquer on the part of many lands. Today the fatherland of the Miladinov brothers is a free and equal member of Tito’s Federal Yugoslavia. The Macedonian nation is in confident control of its own fate, speaks and studies in the Macedonian language, is building up its own culture. It has already all the social, political and cultural conditions which Goce Delcev, Jane Sandanski, Dimo Hadz’i Di mov and many other sons of Macedonia dreamed of and fought for. The development of the National Liberation Struggle has put an end to egotistical and chauvinistic nationalism, history has declared its judgement upon all supporters of slavery and reaction and has affirmed the right of nations to decide for themselves their own fate.
The democratic fatherland-fronted Bulgaria joyfully awaited the first manifestations of the culture of its brother the Macedonian nation. Our progressive intelligence felt that culture as a part of an enormous common culture which the South Slavs are beginning to create, inspired by the idea of unity and the closest mitual relations. Therefore the first performance of the Macedonian National Theater took place in such a tense atmosphere, with such enthusiasm.
But what makes by far the strongest impression and what is especially important to emphasize is above all the language: the Macedonian stage language sounds wonderful. Its greatest beauty, that which attracts the audience, derives from its particular rythm and melodiousness.
The play “Chorbadzi Teodos” (Master Theodosius), by Vasil Iljoski, is a lovely addition to Macedonian literature. It reflects an older period, the period of Turkish slavery. To this fact is certainly due the presence of many Turcisms in the language.
G . Canev , P’rvoto predstavlenie na makedonskija Naroden teat’r” (The First Performance of the Macedonian National Theater), in “Otechestven front”, July 7, 1946
The texts in the chrestomathy are ordered according to the geographical position of the dialects, in this order: northeastern dialects, northwestern dialects, southwestern dialects, dialects outside the borders of Bulgaria (Banat and the Soviet Union) and at the end are given examples from the Macedonian dialects of the Pirin region.
St. Stojkov, Hristomatija po b’lgarska diaIektologija (A Chrestomathy of the Bulgarian Dialectology), (Sofia, 1950), p. VI
The following texts contain examples of the contemporary Slavic literary languages, namely: Russian, Ukrainian, White Russian, Polish, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene, Macedonian and Bulgarian. The individual languages are represented by texts of prominent writers, which may give some idea of the given language and its literature… We can not avoid emphasizing that this textbook marks the first appearance in Bulgaria of texts in the White Russian, Slovak, Slovene, Macedonian, Upper and Lower Sorbian languages… In order to make utilization of the texts easier for students, we found it necessary to append short dictionaries of each of the given languages.
Lekov, (ed.) SIavjanski tekstove s pojasnitelni belezhki i rechnici (Slavic Texts with Explanators Notes and Dictidnaries) (Sofia, 1958), pp.3-4
Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949), prominent Bulgarian Revolutionery, from 1935 to 1943 Secretary General of the Communist Internationale
CHAUVINISM. No plural. (Fr.) A reactionary bourgeois ideology and policy which preaches the superiority of one nation over another and stirs up national enmity and hatred between peoples; nationalism. “One of the most important roots of all national misfortunes and catastrophes… lies in the Great Bulgarian chauvinism, in the Great Bulgarian ideology and policy of hegemony in the Balkans and rule over the neighbouring peoples.” G. Dimitrov.
Definition taken from Rechnik na s’vremennija b’garski knjizhoven ezik (Dictionary of the Modern Bulgarian Literary Language), vol.3, (Sofia, 1959), p.655
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