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Macedonia & Its Questions

Origins, Margins, Ruptures & Continuity

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Edited By Victor A Friedman, Goran Janev and George Vlahov

Macedonia and its Questions: Origins, Margins, Ruptures and Continuity is a multi-disciplinary book of 11 chapters, containing contributions that span the fields of linguistics, political science, sociology, history and law. The title of the book purposefully references but simultaneously interrogates and challenges the idea that certain nation-states and certain ethnicities can in some way constitute a "question" while others do not. The "Macedonian Question" generally has the status of a problem that involves questioning the very existence of Macedonians and one of the aims of this volume is to reframe the nature of the discussion.

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2. The Name Dispute between Greece and Macedonia: Macedonian Identity via the Prism of Greek Policy in Relation to the Macedonian Language in Ottoman Macedonia

2.The Name Dispute between Greece and Macedonia: Macedonian Identity via the Prism of Greek Policy in Relation to the Macedonian Language in Ottoman Macedonia*

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Dimitar Ljorovski Vamvakovski & Donche Tasev

Institute of National History, Skopje & University of Ljubljana

dljorovski@yahoo.com & donce_tasev@yahoo.com

The ‘separateness’ of the Macedonian language is a regular topic of academic and political discussion in two of the countries neighbouring the Republic of Macedonia (Bulgaria and Greece). The use of out of date and inappropriate terms in referencing the Macedonian language is a common practice in those countries and among their sympathizers elsewhere. The aim of such activity is to disqualify a language which has been codified as the language of the Macedonian nation.1 This uneasiness in accepting the Macedonian language as a fact is linked to the nationalistic and political ambitions of the abovementioned neighbouring nation-states. Among the most commonly used terms in reference to the Macedonian language are: “dialect,” “patois,” “idiom” or a “muddled mix of different languages.” These tendentious impositions are designed to negate Macedonian national identity, as the Macedonian language serves as an important marker of the nation’s contours. In this chapter we demonstrate that before Greek nationalistic discourse was consolidated there were inconsistencies that allowed for outright acknowledgment and recognition of the Macedonian language as a distinct and separate language.

Over the years Greek social scientists and politicians developed two theories in relation to the Macedonian language, which, to a large extent, coincide. Namely, in the first instance, the linguistic foundations of the ←33 | 34→Macedonian language, i.e. the very existence of it as a...

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