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Macedonia & Its Questions

Origins, Margins, Ruptures & Continuity


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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3. Macedonian at the Margins: The Dialects of Kostur (Καστοριά)

3.Macedonian at the Margins: The Dialects of Kostur (Καστοριά)


Victor A. Friedman

University of Chicago, La Trobe University

In this article I wish to address a phenomenon in a dialect of Modern Macedonian that is spoken in Greece and its implications for the history of Macedonian and of multilingualism on territory that is now part of the Greek nation-state. Given the current debates surrounding the presence of Macedonian in Greece and even the right of the speakers of this language to call it Macedonian, a very brief introduction will set this article in its broader context. Although the dialectological details are somewhat technical, I have tried to make them accessible to the non-specialist without sacrificing accuracy. As of this writing (February 2018), the Greek state continues to dispute the right of Macedonian speakers to call their language Macedonian (a claim that has no legal or rational basis and which has been ruled a human rights violation in Australia),1 and it continues to deny the presence of ethnolinguistic minorities on its territory (by claiming that all citizens of Greece are Greek and by defining minority solely in terms of religion).2 The current disputes have their origins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when all of what had come to be called Macedonia – basically the districts making up the vilayets of Monastir (Bitola) and Selânik (Solun, Θεσσαλονικη) and the Sancak of Üsküp (Skopje) in the vilayet of Kosova in the Ottoman Empire during the late 19th century – was...

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