Macedonian: Збогум!

Macedonian has been an unexpected delight. I’ve been listening to R&B songs in the language and I can’t help but wonder if they’re really speaking English, just very deeply and sort of quickly. But it’s time to move on. Other languages are waiting patiently in the queue.

Some cool words I learned:

здrabo (zdravo): hello
kako (kako): what
Aнгличани (Anglichani): English

SUMMARY: One of several languages spoken in the Balkan peninsula, the groundwork for Macedonian can be traced to Slavs, who settled in the area around the 600s. It is also heavily influenced by Bulgarian and its other neighbor, Serbian. Like several other Slavic languages, it uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which was developed in the region.

FINAL IMPRESSION: I still think that Macedonian still sounds like Russian. Maybe I could be accused of overgeneralizing the language (and the Slavic branch in general), but the lexical similarities would save me otherwise. Listening to Macedonian was much easier than listening to Romanian. I was able to recognize several words (albeit, cognates) and the words that were spoken didn’t blend together. I could actually get an idea of what people were saying, even if I didn’t understand what they were saying, if this makes sense.

Macedonian, to my dismay, uses formal and informal distinctions for words, which means there are suffix changes galore. But the most obvious challenge is becoming familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet and not resorting to reading Romanized translations. While many say it’s easy because the language only uses these sounds from the alphabet, it’s … still hard.

Here’s an example. This is a lyric from a song called, “Kupi Me” by a Macedonian R&B singer named Elvir Mekic:

Macedonian: Таа нсмевка ќе ме полуди …
Macedonian (Romanized): Ta Nsmevka kye me poludi …
English: That smile will make me go crazy …

Darn. But I love a good challenge. Here’s more of adorable Elvir by the way:


Intelligibility: 3
Complexity: 4
Resonance: 3
Continuation: 3

COMING UP: Spanish

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