"For a nation to preserve its own national language and to protect it as something sacred means that it remains loyal to the spirit of its ancestors and respectful for what they had created."
Krste Misirkov, On the Macedonian Affairs, 1903
The Macedonian Language
Macedonian is the native language of more than 1.5 million inhabitants of the Republic and the second language for Albanians and other minority inhabitants. Macedonian is also spoken by a minority in Greece. Together with the closely related Bulgarian language, Macedonian belongs to the south Slavic branch of the Slavic languages. Macedonian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, as do Russian, Bulgarian, and Serbian.
Standard Macedonian is characterised by a system of 31 phonemes and by a rather fixed accent that should fall upon the antepenultimate syllable. It has developed the analytic perfect with the auxiliary 'have.' It is also characterised by a system of three kinds of definite articles (as in the examples knigava, meaning "the book near me"; knigata, meaning "the book"; and knigana, meaning "the book over there"), which is one of the number of features that Macedonian and Bulgarian share and that are unique among the Slavic languages. Other features include the loss of cases, and a large variety of verb tenses. The verb also has witnessed and non-witnessed forms. Like Bulgarian and Serbian, Macedonian has a large number of borrowings from the Turkish language and a significant number from the Greek language.
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