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Glossotomy In Macedonia

“The split of a language into two is something which the greatest fantasts in the world have not dared do. Our scholars, however, did it for political, rather than linguistic considerations. ” Leonida Lari, Romanian writer from Moldova, (Literatura si arta a 18. 8. 1988) There are quite a few European languages spoken outside their “own” country: for instance German in Germany, but also in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Russia; Spanish in Spain, but also in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia etc.

But nowhere a necessity has come to being, neither an attempt has been made to father a new (official) language (Austrian, Liechtensteinian, Argentinian, Chilien etc. ) despite apparent differences emerging in the usage of the languages. Many minority languages have never had their own state, others have had – though for a short time. Nevertheless, they have kept their integrity in the course of centuries, and have patiently waited for their recognition. This holds good of Ladinian, Basque, Sardian, Catalan and others.

Quite to the contrary, there has never been a necessity for the creation of a new literary language to serve the Bulgarian-speaking Slavs residing outside Bulgaria (for example, in Vardar or Aegean Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Rumania, Ukraine). Similarly, there had never been a Macedonian linguistic community dreaming for centuries on end to be recognized for its linguistic uniqueness. As late as the XX c. the method of linguistic partition (glossotomy) would be repeatedly applied, motivated politically, rather than linguistically.

In the West (as was in the case of Slovenian Nindian) those attempts crashed and burned. In the East however, forcefully conceived languages under communism (Rumanian/Moldovan; Finnish/Karelian; Tatar/Bashkir; Turkish/Gagaouz) did survive to live a longer ‘life’ thanks to political coercion. Those who refused to accept language partition would be proclaimed nationalists and treated in the respective way. In politics, language partition was counted upon as a way to reinforce the new political borders, thus eliminating the feeling of one-time belonging to a certain community.

The strategies behind the fathering of such new languages in the communist regions would follow one and the same principles. One scholar (or a handful united in a group) would publish an orthography, grammar, dictionary, bilingual dictionaries (but, note, never from the old to the new language, that is, never Rumanian- Moldovan, but Moldovan-Russian for example, or others). Shortly, they would publish a historical grammar, a history of the language, as well as a history of the new nation.

Further, as “flank” initiatives, an Academy of Sciences, a National Theatre and a National Folk Ensemble would be established. In the meantime, a national literature would bound to shape up, and the first writer to venture in any genre, would be proclaimed a great playwright, novelist or lyrist on the new language. All that in its turn would call to life a literary history. The political accompaniment to the whole affair would be a most characteristic sentence in the communist countries: notably, that the (new) language is “a remarkable achievement serving the entire cultural complex”.

And, the direction to follow derived from the (unvoiced) formulation: “the worse the old language is treated, the better for the new one”, that is, the worse Roumanian is being spoken/spelled, the better for Moldovan, which would be more correctly spoken/spelled, This entailed a deepening of the artificial gap between the old and the new tongue (even by the use of force). All that holds good of the Macedonian literary language.

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