Blaže Koneski

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Blaže Koneski in 1968

Blaže Koneski (Macedonian: Блаже Конески) (Nebregovo, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, December 19, 1921 – Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, December 7, 1993) was one of the most distinguished Macedonian poets, writers, literary translators, and linguistic scholars. His major contribution was to the codification of standard Macedonian. However Koneski has been accused of serbianizing the Macedonian standard language.[1][2][3]


Koneski was born into a distinguished family with pro-Serbian sentiments;[4][5] and his maternal uncle was a famous Serbian Chetnik voivode Gligor Sokolović.[6] He received a Royal Serbian scholarship to study in the Kragujevac gymnasium or high school. Later, he studied medicine at the University of Belgrade, and then changed to Serbian language and literature. In 1941, after the defeat of Yugoslavia in Aufmarsch 25, he enrolled in the Law Faculty of Sofia University, but did not graduate. However, in 1945 at the age of 23 he became one of the most important contributor in standardization of the Macedonian language. He worked as a lector in the Macedonian National Theater, and in 1946, he joined the faculty at the Philosophy Department of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, where he worked until his retirement.

He became a member of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1967, and was elected its president in 1967 through 1975. Koneski was also a member of the Zagreb (Croatia), Belgrade (Serbia), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Łódź (Poland) Academies of Sciences and Arts, and an honorary doctor of the Universities of Chicago, United States, and Kraków in Poland.[7] The American Slavist Victor Friedman would mention Koneski as one of his mentors.[8]

Blaže Koneski died in Skopje on December 7, 1993. He received a state funeral for his distinguished literary career, and for his contributions to the codification of standard Macedonian.

Literary works[edit]

Koneski wrote poetry and prose. His most famous collections of poetry are: Mostot, Pesni, Zemjata i ljubovta, Vezilka, Zapisi, Cesmite, Stari i novi pesni, Seizmograf, among others. His collection of short stories Vineyard Macedonian: Lozje is also famous.[9]

Koneski was a distinguished translator of poetry from German, Russian, Slovenian, Serbian and Polish; he translated the works of Njegos, Preshern, Heine, Blok, Neruda, and others.[10]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Blaze Koneski won a number of literary prizes such as: the AVNOJ prize, the Njegoš prize, the Golden Wreath ("Zlaten Venec") of the Struga Poetry Evenings, the Award of the Writer’s Union of the USSR, Herder Prize and others.[11]

The Faculty of Philology at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje is named after Blaze Koneski.

Work on standard Macedonian[edit]

Koneski is remembered for his work on codifying the Macedonian standard language. He is the author of On Standard Macedonian (Macedonian: За македонскиот литературен јазик), Grammar of Standard Macedonian (Macedonian: Граматика на македонскиот литературен јазик), History of Macedonian (Macedonian: Историја на македонскиот јазик), among other works.

He was one of the editors of Macedonian Dictionary (Macedonian: Речник на македонскиот јазик).


Bulgarian linguists such as Iliya Talev, in his History of the Macedonian Language,[12] have accused Koneski of plagiarizing Kiril Mirchev's Historical Grammar of the Bulgarian Language because both authors analyzed the same corpus of texts.[13] In Bulgaria, he has also been accused of manipulating historical facts for political goals.[14] There has been also claimed the Macedonian standard was Serbianized with the help of Koneski.[15] According to Christian Voss the turning point in the Serbianization of Macedonian took place in the late 1950s, that coincided with the preparation period for the dictionary of Koneski published between 1961 and 1966.[16] Voss argues that it contains a consistent pro-Serbian bias.[17] Today Historical revisionists in the Republic of Macedonia, who questioned the narrative established in Communist Yugoslavia,[18] have described the process of codifying the Macedonian language, to which Koneski was an important contributor, as 'Serbianization'.[19] Macedonian nationalists have also accused Koneski and the communist elite of Serbianizing the Macedonian standard language.[20] Similarly, Venko Markovski, who was one of the codifiers of the Macedonian standard, openly accused Koneski of Serbianizing the Macedonian language.[21]


Poetry and prose[edit]

  • Land and Love (poetry, 1948)
  • Poems (1953)
  • The Embroideress (poetry, 1955)
  • The Vineyard (short stories, 1955)
  • Poems (1963)
  • Sterna (poetry, 1966), Hand - Shaking (narrative poem, 1969)
  • Notes (poetry, 1974)
  • Poems Old and New (poetry, 1979)
  • Places and Moments (poetry, 1981)
  • The Fountains (poetry, 1984)
  • The Epistle (poetry, 1987)
  • Meeting in Heaven (poetry, 1988)
  • The Church (poetry 1988)
  • A Diary after Many Years (prose, 1988)
  • Golden Peak (poetry, 1989)
  • Seismograph (poetry, 1989)
  • The Heavenly River (poems and translations, 1991)
  • The Black Ram (poetry, 1993)

Academic and other works[edit]

  • Normative Guide with a Dictionary of Standard Macedonian with Krum Tošev (1950)
  • Grammar of Standard Macedonian (volume 1, 1952)
  • Standard Macedonian (1959)
  • A Grammar of Standard Macedonian (volume 2, 1954)
  • Macedonian Dictionary (1961)
  • A History of Macedonian (1965)
  • Macedonian Dictionary (volume 2, edited, 1965)
  • Macedonian Dictionary (volume 3, 1966)
  • The Language of the Macedonian Folk Poetry (1971)
  • Speeches and Essays (1972)
  • Macedonian Textbooks of 19th Century: Linguistic, Literary, Historical Texts (1986)
  • Images and Themes (essays, 1987)
  • The Tikveš Anthology (study, 1987)
  • Poetry (Konstantin Miladinov), the Way Blaze Koneski Reads It (1989)
  • Macedonian Locations and Topics (essays, 1991)
  • The World of the Legend and the Song (essays, 1993)


  1. ^ When Blaze Koneski, the founder of the Macedonian standard language, as a young boy, returned to his Macedonian native village from the Serbian town where he went to school, he was ridiculed for his Serbianized language.Cornelis H. van Schooneveld, Linguarum: Series maior, Issue 20, Mouton., 1966, p. 295.
  2. ^ ...However this was not at all the case, as Koneski himself testifies. The use of the schwa is one of the most important points of dispute not only between Bulgarians and Macedonians, but also between Macedonians themselves – there are circles in Macedonia who in the beginning of the 1990s denounced its exclusion from the standard language as a hostile act of violent serbianization... For more see: Alexandra Ioannidou (Athens, Jena) Koneski, his successors and the peculiar narrative of a “late standardization” in the Balkans. in Romanica et Balcanica: Wolfgang Dahmen zum 65. Geburtstag, Volume 7 of Jenaer Beiträge zur Romanistik with Thede Kahl, Johannes Kramer and Elton Prifti as ed., Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft München AVM, 2015, ISBN 3954770369, pp. 367-375.
  3. ^ Kronsteiner, Otto, Zerfall Jugoslawiens und die Zukunft der makedonischen Literatursprache : Der späte Fall von Glottotomie? in: Die slawischen Sprachen (1992) 29, 142-171.
  4. ^ Andreevski, C. (1991). Razgovori so Koneski (in Macedonian). Skopje: Kultura. p. 76. Нашето село и некои други околни села инклинираа кон српската пропаганда. За тој пресврт е заслужен еден братучед на мојот татко, војводата Глигор Соколовиќ. Тој е познат како раководител на српска чета.
  5. ^ Chris, Kostov (2010). Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996. Peter Lang. p. 12. ISBN 3034301960. In fact Blaze Koneski, born in Vardar Macedonia to a family with a long tradition of serving in the Serbian army and Serbian guerrillas, known as chetniks, considered Serbian to be his native language.
  6. ^ Bečev, Dimitar (2009). Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia. Scarecrow Press. p. 219. ISBN 0810862956.
  7. ^ Blesok:Blaze Koneski[better source needed] Archived December 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Victor Friedman, "Diferencijacija na makedonskiot i bugarskiot jazik vo balkanskiot kontekst" (The differentiation of Macedonian and Bulgarian in a Balkan context), in Jazicite na počvata na Makedonija. Skopje: Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1996. pp. 75-82. (in Macedonian)
  9. ^ Blesok:Blaže Koneski[better source needed] "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 3, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  10. ^ Kujundžiski, Žarko (March–April 2003). "Blaže Koneski kako tekstoven preveduvač i zaveduvač" [Blaže Koneski as a textual translator and seducer]. 31 (in Macedonian). Kulturna ustanova "Blesok". p. 1/8. ISSN 1409-6900. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  11. ^ Diversity: Blazhe Koneski Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Slavistische Beiträge, Volumes 67–69, Talev, Iliya, Publisher: Sagner, 1973, pp. 154-159.
  13. ^ Marinov, Tchavdar (2013). "In Defense of the Native Tongue: The Standardization of the Macedonian Language and the Bulgarian-Macedonian Linguistic Controversies". In Daskalov, Roumen; Marinov, Tchavdar (eds.). Entangled Histories of the Balkans. One: National Ideologies and Language Policies. Leiden: Brill. pp. 419–488. ISBN 900425076X. They [Bulgarian linguists] regarded, for instance, Koneski’s History of the Macedonian Language as a plagiarism and “falsification” of the Historical Grammar of the Bulgarian Language written by Kiril Mircheva Bulgarian scholar originating from Bitola (p. 462).
  14. ^ This is eloquently formulated in May 1945 in a statement of Blaže Koneski who is later proclaimed in Yugoslavia as the “creator” of the Macedonian language – “The future is ours. And this means that the past is ours also.” Political power exercised by the communist state ensures the power over the future which guarantees also the monopoly over history. Remembrance in time, Transilvania University Press, ISBN 978-606-19-0134-0, Bulgaria and the Bulgarians in the ideology of Yugoslav communists, Milen Mihov, p. 272. Archived May 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ The Implementation of Standard Macedonian: Problems and Results Victor A. Friedman University of Chicago Published in: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Vol. 131, 1998. 31-57.
  16. ^ Voss C., The Macedonian Standard Language: Tito—Yugoslav Experiment or Symbol of ‘Great Macedonian’ Ethnic Inclusion? in C. Mar-Molinero, P. Stevenson as ed. Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices: Language and the Future of Europe, Springer, 2016, ISBN 0230523889, p. 126.
  17. ^ De Gruyter as contributor. The Slavic Languages. Volume 32 of Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science (HSK), Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 2014, p. 1472. ISBN 3110215470.
  18. ^ Group of Macedonian historians whose work has stirred controversy in the 1990s and 2000s. Famous representatives include Zoran Todorovski, the head of the State Archive in Skopje, Stojan Kiselinovski, Violeta Ackoska, and Stojan Risteski. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 189.
  19. ^ Sociétés politiques comparées, #25, mai 2010, Tchavdar Marinov, Historiographical Revisionism and Re-Articulation of Memory in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia p. 7. Archived 2011-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Lerner W. Goetingen, Formation of the standard language - Macedonian in the Slavic languages, Volume 32, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, 2014, ISBN 3110393689, chapter 109.
  21. ^ Chris, Kostov (2010). Contested Ethnic Identity: The Case of Macedonian Immigrants in Toronto, 1900-1996. Peter Lang. p. 88. ISBN 3034301960. [V]enko Markovski [...] dared to oppose Koneski's ideas on the Serbianization of the Macedonian language.

Further reading[edit]