Macedonian: Foreign words

buntovnik

New Member
Bulgarian
Hello! I recently read an article on the Macedonian Wikipedia and noticed a lot of foreign words used for everyday expressions. Here are just a few of them:

дефинитивно
инсистирам
комплетно
конекција
реинкарнација
тестамент
хендикепиран

Тhen I read through random articles to see whether it's a common practice to use such words in the language. Turns out they are very common. I know that there are foreign words in virtually every language but in Macedonian they seem to have replaced even the native words used for everyday expressions. Can someone tell me if such words are used in the spoken language or are they used mainly in the literary language? And what percentage of the Macedonian vocabulary is made up of foreign (non-Slavic) words?
 
  • iezik

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    These words are also common in Serbian. From this computer and connection, Google points them to Serbian pages. So, this might well be a Serbian influence. If I recall correctly, Croatians wanted less foreign words. So, Croatian is more purified (against foreign words) than Serbian. In Serbian, I would expect these words to be used everywhere.

    but in Macedonian they seem to have replaced even the native words used for everyday expressions
    I don't know your expectations about the languages. The language that we're using now (English) did replace native (Germanic) words with foreign (Romance)


    And what percentage of the Macedonian vocabulary is made up of foreign (non-Slavic) words?
    It's hard to answer to such questions. Do you know it for your language, Bulgarian?

    The dictionary makers can count the entries. The thicker the dictionary, the more words are usually foreign. So, comparing between languages is only meaningful if using dictionaries with the same number of entries.

    Another way is to gather a sample of texts (e.g. the whole Macedonian Wikipedia), classify each word (every occurrence of the same word adds to the counting) and then calculate the ratio. But I don't see such ratios published for common languages.
     

    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hello! I recently read an article on the Macedonian Wikipedia and noticed a lot of foreign words used for everyday expressions. Here are just a few of them:

    дефинитивно
    инсистирам
    комплетно
    конекција
    реинкарнација
    тестамент
    хендикепиран

    Тhen I read through random articles to see whether it's a common practice to use such words in the language. Turns out they are very common. I know that there are foreign words in virtually every language but in Macedonian they seem to have replaced even the native words used for everyday expressions. Can someone tell me if such words are used in the spoken language or are they used mainly in the literary language? And what percentage of the Macedonian vocabulary is made up of foreign (non-Slavic) words?
    Hi, buntovniche.

    Things seems very natural.

    What do you think, which could be the "native" Slavo-Balkanic word for "дефинитивно"? It was АСЪЛ/АСЛЪ/ASIL/ASLI.

    A speaker of Slavo-Balkanic (Bulgarian+Macedonian) living in 1850, eg, i.e. some 165 years ago, would not understand neither of the words you listed (дефинитивно/инсистирам/комплетно/../реинкарнација/тестамент/хендикепиран) nor the corresponding loanwords from Russian being used in modern Bulgarian (определено/настоявам/напълно/../превъплъщение/свидетелство/инвалидизиран). At that time, it was one Slavo-Balkanic language usually called Bulgarian, and there was total intelligibility based on the common Slavic inheritance, the common Slavo-Balkanic grammar, and a huge amount of loanwords from Turkish (up to 8000).

    In Bulgarian, i.e. on the territory of the Bulgarian state, towards the end of the 19th century, most of the loanwords from Turkish were replaced by loanwords from Russian.

    In "Macedonia", i.e. on the territory of Serbia, called Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1992, most of the loanwords from Turkish were replaced by loanwords from Serbian.

    Thus, the common Slavo-Balkanic language which existed up to 1870, usually called Bulgarian at that time, split into two modern languages: the modern Bulgarian language which developed based on the russophilia on the territory of Bulgaria, and the modern Slavo-Macedonian language which developed based on the serbomania on the territory of Serbia.
     
    Yet I don't understand why an emerging new literary language wasn't able to build abstract words fom its own material. In Ukrainian, for example, this layer is intentionally made distinct from Russian, but this is done with fantasy and good taste, even if these words often sound funny for Russians.
     

    iezik

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    Yet I don't understand why an emerging new literary language wasn't able to build abstract words fom its own material.

    The area of current Macedonia (fyrom) was part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenes - this was the name from 1918 to 1929. I imagine only these three languages were possible for the ruling classes. Somebody from Macedonia can explain better to what extent it was forced from the state or lead by public enthusiasm for language from a technologically advanced area or for some other reason. I haven't managed to find any good description of that time yet. The Serbian description of this area in this time was "southern Serbia". After a common Serbian-Bulgarian war against Turkey in 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria were fighting from 1913 to 1918 against each other. Macedonia remained on the Serbian side that for sure wanted to emphasize differences versus Bulgarian.

    Let's wait for somebody from Serbia to explain why such words are common in Serbian, too.
     
    This just readdresses my question to the codifiers of the Serbian variant of Serbo-Croatian: why did a literary language proclaimed to be vernacular borrow these ugly latinisms? Sigurno sounds especially disgusting to me.

    Update. It turns out that sigurno is widespread throughout the entire South Slavic territory and is obviously a spoken Romance borrowing, so it doesn't belong to the topic we're discussing. Yet, a very unpleasant word to me.
     
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    iobyo

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Thus, the common Slavo-Balkanic language which existed up to 1870, usually called Bulgarian at that time, split into two modern languages: the modern Bulgarian language which developed based on the russophilia on the territory of Bulgaria, and the modern Slavo-Macedonian language which developed based on the serbomania on the territory of Serbia.

    There was no "common Slavo-Balkanic language" in the 19th century, only spoken dialects and emerging standard languages. Standard Bulgarian has the Eastern Bulgarian dialects as its base and Standard Macedonian has the Central Macedonian dialects as its base. Were someone to standardize any other South Slavic dialect not already covered by an existing one, it would be just as legitimate a standard language as any other South Slavic standard, albeit much younger and without quite as great a body of literature.

    Yet I don't understand why an emerging new literary language wasn't able to build abstract words fom its own material. In Ukrainian, for example, this layer is intentionally made distinct from Russian, but this is done with fantasy and good taste, even if these words often sound funny for Russians.

    In all likelihood, they—the codifiers, authors, poets, journalists—thought it unnecessary given that they themselves used Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian learned words in lieu of 'authentic Macedonian' ones. In some cases, however, a word was made to sound more Macedonian; for example, впечаток (Bg., Russ. впечатление) took the suffix -ок. Another example is the word влада. It was obviously the better choice (over Bg., Russ. правител(ь)ство) as pravi- does not mean "to govern" in South Slavic.

    I imagine only these three languages were possible for the ruling classes. Somebody from Macedonia can explain better to what extent it was forced from the state or lead by public enthusiasm for language from a technologically advanced area or for some other reason.

    Serbo-Croatian was the language of education and administration. The use of local dialects was tolerated in non-official contexts, such as in poetry, theater and, of course, everyday life.

    Update. It turns out that sigurno is widespread throughout the entire South Slavic territory and is obviously a spoken Romance borrowing, so it doesn't belong to the topic we're discussing. Yet, a very unpleasant word to me.

    That's right, although it probably spread from Greek.
     

    buntovnik

    New Member
    Bulgarian
    I don't know your expectations about the languages. The language that we're using now (English) did replace native (Germanic) words with foreign (Romance)

    Yes, but that is because of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. When William the Conqueror became King he imposed the feudal system in England. He himself and most of his vassals spoke a variant of French spoken in Normandy. Gradually the aristocratic Norman French and the Anglo-Saxon of the peasants fused together to form what we now know as English - a language with a Germanic core, but with a predominantly Romance (French) vocabulary. Hadn't all that happened, English today would have been radically different.

    But this is influence due to contact (the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons resided together). What we see in Macedonian is not of this type of influence.

    It's hard to answer to such questions. Do you know it for your language, Bulgarian?

    One study by the University of Plovdiv shows that about 30% of modern Bulgarian vocabulary is of foreign origin. But this includes words such as "iPhone" and "Android" which should be considered as names and not counted in the research.

    Hi, buntovniche.

    Things seems very natural.

    What do you think, which could be the "native" Slavo-Balkanic word for "дефинитивно"? It was АСЪЛ/АСЛЪ/ASIL/ASLI.

    A speaker of Slavo-Balkanic (Bulgarian+Macedonian) living in 1850, eg, i.e. some 165 years ago, would not understand neither of the words you listed (дефинитивно/инсистирам/комплетно/../реинкарнација/тестамент/хендикепиран) nor the corresponding loanwords from Russian being used in modern Bulgarian (определено/настоявам/напълно/../превъплъщение/свидетелство/инвалидизиран). At that time, it was one Slavo-Balkanic language usually called Bulgarian, and there was total intelligibility based on the common Slavic inheritance, the common Slavo-Balkanic grammar, and a huge amount of loanwords from Turkish (up to 8000).

    In Bulgarian, i.e. on the territory of the Bulgarian state, towards the end of the 19th century, most of the loanwords from Turkish were replaced by loanwords from Russian.

    In "Macedonia", i.e. on the territory of Serbia, called Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1992, most of the loanwords from Turkish were replaced by loanwords from Serbian.

    Thus, the common Slavo-Balkanic language which existed up to 1870, usually called Bulgarian at that time, split into two modern languages: the modern Bulgarian language which developed based on the russophilia on the territory of Bulgaria, and the modern Slavo-Macedonian language which developed based on the serbomania on the territory of Serbia.

    Здравей, адаш! Или по-скоро би трябвало да кажа "съименнико"! За съжаление трябва да обърна на английски, тъй като все пак сме пред международна публика.

    I'm assuming that by "Slavo-Balkanic" you mean the Bulgarian dialects spoken in the 19th century, which today have developed into the modern Bulgarian and Macedonian languages, the Serbo-Bulgarian transitional Torlakian dialect and the Bulgarian dialect of the Pomaks (I'm listing them here, because according to some sources the Pomaks are an ethnic group different of that of the Bulgarians). Mind you that most of the Russian words of Slavic origin which have entered the South Slavic languages actually come from Old Bulgarian (scientific name - Old Church Slavonic). This is due to the First Bulgarian Empire being the center of Slavic literacy and later, when Bulgaria was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, many Bulgarian scholars fled to Russia. So although these words are Russified, they are still Slavic by nature and origin and that's why I think that the replacement of Turkish words with Russian around the Liberation of Bulgaria could be considered a sort of a purification process or a "revival" if you will of Old Bulgarian words. Same goes for Macedonian borrowing from Serbian.

    An example is the common Russian word in Bulgarian "тоест" (Eng. i.e. - "That is"). In Old Bulgarian it is the same - то ѥсть (това е) akin to English "that is", Latin "id est" from where the abbreviation i.e. comes from.

    So in modern Bulgarian we have three words which can be used for "i.e, that is":

    the Russian (Old Bulgarian) one: тоест
    the Bulgarian one: сиреч
    and the Turkish one: демек (not recommended for use in the literate language)

    In Old Bulgarian there existed another form of "that is" which has disappeared in the modern language - рекше.

    Things seems very natural.

    I do not find intentional inclusion of unnecessary foreign non-Slavic words in a Slavic language (in Bulgarian "чуждици") as "natural". Only in the cases where there is no suitable native equivalent do I find them acceptable (in Bulgarian "заемки"). After all, terms could always be coined in any language. This is the reason why we have beautiful new words in Bulgarian, such as "прахосмукачка", "хладилник", "летище", and "самолет" among others.

    This just readdresses my question to the codifiers of the Serbian variant of Serbo-Croatian: why did a literary language proclaimed to be vernacular borrow these ugly latinisms? Sigurno sounds especially disgusting to me.

    Update. It turns out that sigurno is widespread throughout the entire South Slavic territory and is obviously a spoken Romance borrowing, so it doesn't belong to the topic we're discussing. Yet, a very unpleasant word to me.

    I agree. In Bulgarian for example there are many words which can be used and have been used in the past instead of сигурно - навярно, явно, вероятно, най-вероятно. I'm sure there are equivalents in the other Slavic languages of this word, which I believe is of Italian/Latin origin - Ita. sicuro, hence English "secure". Although I can't think of a replacement of the noun - сигурност - in Bulgarian.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I wonder if Macedonian speakers realize when the words are foreign. In Bulgarian, words of Latin, French, and Turkish origin (well, Persian and Arabic really) are instantly recognized. Not so much for Greek words, and I think Russian words are completely undetected as foreign since they are Slavic and sound natural. At least that's my view.
     

    iobyo

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    I wonder if Macedonian speakers realize when the words are foreign. In Bulgarian, words of Latin, French, and Turkish origin (well, Persian and Arabic really) are instantly recognized. Not so much for Greek words, and I think Russian words are completely undetected as foreign since they are Slavic and sound natural. At least that's my view.

    The average speaker of most languages would not unless a particular loanword sticks out in some way; i.e. it does not pattern native words. The word тазе, for example, will probably be recognized as a loanword by a native speaker because it is uninflecting (and native Macedonian adjectives inflect for gender, etc.). Someone might recognize a foreign word because they are familiar with the donor language in some way. Similarly, a university-educated speaker is likely to recognize loanwords from English and classical languages, and, to a lesser extent, loanwords from French and German.

    Would the average Bulgarian know whether коригирам was borrowed from French (corriger), German (korrigieren) or Latin (corrigere). Unlikely. Would they know that мерси comes from the French merci? That is much more likely.
     
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    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I wonder if Macedonian speakers realize when the words are foreign. In Bulgarian, words of Latin, French, and Turkish origin (well, Persian and Arabic really) are instantly recognized. Not so much for Greek words, and I think Russian words are completely undetected as foreign since they are Slavic and sound natural. At least that's my view.
    Yes, Bulgarian speakers usually do not recognize Rissian loanwords. In the same way, speakers of modern Slavo-Macedonian do not recognize Serbian loanwords as foreign. For instance, I could not understand if iobyo recognizes the word vlada as a Serbian loanword.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Would the average Bulgarian know whether коригирам was borrowed from French (corriger), German (korrigieren) or Latin (corrigere). .

    I think so. It sounds similar to корекция, which is as foreign as you can get. The non-foreign equivalents are поправям and поправка.
     

    Kartof

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian & English
    I think so. It sounds similar to корекция, which is as foreign as you can get. The non-foreign equivalents are поправям and поправка.

    What about късмет, the origin being Arabic through Turkish. For a lot of older loanwords, I think it would be almost impossible for the layperson to tell.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    ^^

    Are you going to go word by word now? Some words are very engrained, others aren't. Of course, Slavic languages being so lexically poor, are full of foreign words. But the tendency to replace native ones with new foreign ones is a sign of laziness and poor language skills. This is very evident in media when they translate word for word from English. A reasonably educated person should be able to make this distinction.
     

    Kartof

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian & English
    ^^

    Are you going to go word by word now? Some words are very engrained, others aren't. Of course, Slavic languages being so lexically poor, are full of foreign words. But the tendency to replace native ones with new foreign ones is a sign of laziness and poor language skills. This is very evident in media when they translate word for word from English. A reasonably educated person should be able to make this distinction.

    First of all, I just entered this discussion to give a counterexample to your "it sounds similar to this foreign word" counterexample. Second of all, I've noticed that many educated native speakers cannot tell apart some foreign words, especially well ingrained Turkish and Russian loanwords. And loanwords are inevitable in a language; maybe it's laziness but there's also no stopping language evolution.
     
    There is a difference between old borrowings that had entered the language naturally and the laissez-faire policy in a developed society. Most of the so called international words are as artificial in their source languages as they are in e. g. Macedonian: these are often monstruous creatures combined from Latin and Greek formal elements. For some reasons, I think because of some kind of cowardice, the people's mind doesn't see anything wrong in such a word-formation but finds it highly undesirable when similar attempts are being made on the local material.

    Most languages passed through a period when the new terminology was calqued instead of borrowed, e. g. Church Slavonic apparently calqued countless hundreds of Greek terms during the period of its existence, and did so very successfully, but then at some moment this brave period ends, and the new generations, not sure in themselves anymore, find it safer to borrow directly from the prestigious language. Good, when such a language is related, as it was with Bulgarian and Church Slavonic, or with Italian/Spanish/Portuguese and Latin, or with Modern Greek vs. its classical stage, or when a language is soo filled with foreign elements that they live their own life, like with Arabic borrowings in Persian etc., but in most languages this international terminology looks strikingly alien and from a purely esthetic viewpoint the result is eclectic in the worst sense.
     

    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Would the average Bulgarian know whether коригирам was borrowed from French (corriger), German (korrigieren) or Latin (corrigere). Unlikely.
    I think so. It sounds similar to корекция, which is as foreign as you can get. The non-foreign equivalents are поправям and поправка.
    The Bulgarian word коригирам is a loanword from Russian. Whether it was from French, German or Latin into Russian, this is a matter of the Russian etymology, not Bulgarian.

    What about късмет, the origin being Arabic through Turkish. For a lot of older loanwords, I think it would be almost impossible for the layperson to tell.
    The same applies: The The Bulgarian word късмет is a loanword from Turkish. Of course, the Turkish word kısmet could be a loanword from Arabic, but this is a matter of the Turkish language.
     
    The Bulgarian word коригирам is a loanword from Russian. Whether it was from French, German or Latin into Russian, this is a matter of the Russian etymology, not Bulgarian.
    I suspect it comes directly from korrigieren. Russian does have корригировать, which is a surprise to me since I have never ever met it before, but it is such an exotic word that it would be strange if Bulgarian borrowed it from this source. Anyway, this is another example of useless borrowings: Latin corrigere (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/corrigo) has no other meanings than the Slavic правити, исправити, поправити etc.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    The Bulgarian word коригирам is a loanword from Russian. Whether it was from French, German or Latin into Russian, this is a matter of the Russian etymology, not Bulgarian.
    The same applies: The The Bulgarian word късмет is a loanword from Turkish. Of course, the Turkish word kısmet could be a loanword from Arabic, but this is a matter of the Turkish language.

    Almost all of the so-called Turkish borrowings originate from Arabic or Persian (and for this reason so many words appear both in Bulgarian as in Hindi/Urdu) and none of those languages are related to Bulgarian.
    The case with Russian is not the same.
     

    Christo Tamarin

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Almost all of the so-called Turkish borrowings originate from Arabic or Persian (and for this reason so many words appear both in Bulgarian as in Hindi/Urdu) and none of those languages are related to Bulgarian.
    I would not say "Almost all". Many-many loanwords from Turkish into Bulgarian have Turkic etymology (демек, дере, гьол, гезме, кьорав, баир, дюшек, дюшеме, дибидюз, дюстабан, боклук, ..).

    The case with Russian is not the same.

    The cases with Turkish and Russian (and Greek) are the same: Greek, Turkish, and Russian (in this chronological order) have heavily influenced the Bulgarian language in the past. The other languages (Arabic, Persian, Hindi/Urdu) are not relevant in the discussion of Bulgarian.
     
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