Languages of the Republic of Macedonia
|Languages of Macedonia|
|Minority language(s)||Albanian, Aromanian, Bosnian, Romani, Serbian and Turkish|
|Main foreign language(s)||Serbo-Croatian, English, Russian, French, German|
|Sign language(s)||Macedonian Sign Language|
The official, national and most widespread language in the Macedonia is Macedonian. The languages of Macedonia correspond with the various ethnic groups. Republic of Macedonia officially recognizes six national minority languages: Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, Romani, Bosnian and Vlach.
According to the last 2002 census, Macedonia had population of 2.022,547 citizens. 1,344,815 Macedonian citizens declared that they speak Macedonian, 507,989 citizens speak Albanian, 71,757 citizens speak Turkish, 38,528 citizens speak Roma, 6,884 citizens speak Aromanian, 24,773 citizens speak Serbian, 8.560 citizens speak Bosnian and 19,241 citizens speak other languages.
Some minority languages are co-official, along with Macedonian, in the municipalities (opštini) where they are spoken by at least 20% of the municipal population. Therefore, Albanian is co-official in Tetovo, Brvenica, Vrapčište and other municipalities. Turkish is co-official in Centar Župa and Plasnica. Romani in Šuto Orizari and Aromanian in Kruševo, even though it is spoken by ~10% of the municipal population. Serbian is also co-official in Čučer-Sandevo. Bosnian is the only recognized minority language that is not official on municipal level.
The language policy in Macedonia is regulated by the 7 Article of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and the Law of languages. According to the national constitution:
- The Macedonian language, written using its Cyrillic alphabet, is the official language in the Republic of Macedonia.
- In the units of local self-government where the majority of the inhabitants belong to a nationality, in addition to the Macedonian language and Cyrillic alphabet, their language and alphabet are also in official use, in a manner determined by law.
- In the units of local self-government where there is a considerable number of inhabitants belonging to a nationality, their language and alphabet are also in official use, in addition to the Macedonian language and Cyrillic alphabet, under conditions and in a manner determined by law.
Official and national language
Macedonian (македонски јазик, makedonski jazik) is a South Slavic language, spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia and the Macedonian diaspora. It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and an official minority language in parts of Albania, Romania and Serbia.
Standard Macedonian was implemented as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1945 and has since developed a thriving literary tradition. Most of the codification was formalized during the same period.
In Macedonia six languages are officially recognized as minority languages. In the municipalities where the minority languages are spoken by at least 20% of the municipal population, those languages are co-official along with Macedonian. Five of six minority languages are co-official in some of the municipalities, only Bosnian is not co-official anywhere.
Albanian (gjuha shqipe) is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.3 million people all over the world, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Republic of Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and Greece. Albanian is also spoken in centuries-old Albanian-based dialect speaking communities scattered in southern Greece, southern Italy,Sicily, Ukraine and the Albanian diaspora. Within Macedonia, Albanian is spoken in the North-Western and South-Western parts of the Republic.
Turkish (Türkçe)is the most populous of the Turkic languages, with over 70 million native speakers. Speakers are located predominantly in Turkey, with smaller groups in Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, and other parts of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Small Turkish-speaking communities can be found in several places in Macedonia, like Vrapčište, Skopje, Gostivar, etc.
Romani (Romani: romani ćhib) is any of several languages of the Romani people belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Many varieties of Romani are divergent and sometimes considered languages of their own. The largest of these are Vlax Romani (about 900,000 speakers), Balkan Romani (700,000), Carpathian Romani (500,000) and Sinti Romani (300,000). In Macedonia Balkan Romani is spoken. Šuto Orizari is the largest Romani-speaking settlement in the country.
Serbian (српски, srpski) is a standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language spoken by Serbs, mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Macedonia. It is official in Serbia and one of the official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the principal language of the Serbs. Serbian is mainly spoken in the municipalities of Čučer Sandevo (~20% of the population) and Staro Nagoričane (19%).
Bosnian (bosanski, босански) is a standardized register of the Serbo-Croatian language, a South Slavic language, spoken by Bosniaks. As a standardized form of the Shtokavian dialect, it is one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of the Bosnian-speaking Macedonian citizens live in Skopje and the Municipality of Veles.
Aromanian (Limba Armãneascã) or Vlach is an Eastern Romance language spoken in Southeastern Europe. Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs (which is an exonymin widespread use to define the communities in the Balkans). It shares many features with modern Romanian, having similar morphology and syntax, as well as a large common vocabulary inherited from Latin. An important source of dissimilarity between Romanian and Aromanian is the adstratumlanguages: while Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by the Slavic languages, Aromanian has been more influenced by the Greek language, with which it has been in close contact throughout its history. The largest Aromanian-speaking community in Macedonia can be found in the town of Kruševo(~10% of the municipal population). The language in Macedonia is known as 'Vlach' (влашки јазик, vlaški jazik).
The Macedonian sign language (Macedonian: македонски знаковен јазик / makedonski znakoven jazik or македонски гестовен јазик/ makedonski gestoven jazik) is a sign language of the deaf community in Macedonia. As all sign languages, the Macedonian sign language is also based on gestures and body movements, particularly movements with the hands. The precise number of signers in Macedonia is not known, but 6,000 people request signed news on Macedonian television. The learning and the usage of the language, as well as the rights of the deaf community in Macedonia are regulated by a national law.
Many people speak a foreign language. Most of the older population has knowledge of Serbo-Croatian and French or German. Russian is also well-known. Among the younger population, English is extremely common, along with knowledge of Serbo-Croatian and some German.
- Macedonian census, language and religion
- Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia
- "МИА - Македонска Информативна Агенцијa - НА ДЕНЕШЕН ДЕН". Mia.com.mk. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
- in contact linguistics, G. Gilbert, Glenn G. Gilbert, Janet M. Fuller, Linda L. Thornburg, Peter Lang, 2006, ISBN 0-8204-7934-9, ISBN 978-0-8204-7934-7,p. 213.
- Friedman, V. (1998) "The implementation of standard Macedonian: problems and results" in International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 131, pp. 31-57
- "Turkish Language Program", Syracuse University
- David Dalby, Linguasphere (1999/2000, Linguasphere Observatory), pg. 445, 53-AAA-g, "Srpski+Hrvatski, Serbo-Croatian".
- Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431, "Because of their mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
- Václav Blažek, "On the Internal Classification of Indo-European Languages: Survey" retrieved 20 Oct 2010, pp. 15-16.
- E.C. Hawkesworth, "Serbian-Croatian-Bosnian Linguistic Complex", also B Arsenijević, "Serbia and Montenegro: Language Situation". Both in the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd edition, 2006.
- Benjamin V. Fortson, IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (2010, Blackwell), pg. 431, "Because of their mutual intelligibility, Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian are usually thought of as constituting one language called Serbo-Croatian."
- See Art. 6 of the Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, available at the official website of Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Macedonian sign language
- Закон за употреба на знаковниот јазик, Службен весник на Република Македонија, број 105, 21 август 2009, Скопје
- Languages of Macedonia on Ethnologue.
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