Vocabulary and Linguistic Characteristics
The texts reveal distinctive local features that have tenaciously survived the ages, and are still present in a number of today’s spoken Macedonian dialects. This fact reveals the remarkable consistency of the Macedonian language despite the lack of state support or schooling until the 20th century. Below is a sample of words from the texts, along with linguistic characteristics peculiar to the language of the Macedonians.
- Mrave (Ants); Curvec (Worm), Sokol (Falcon), Vrapci (Birds), Golobi (Pigeons), Kokoshki (Chickens), Petel (Rooster), Ofci (Sheep), Kozi (Goats), Jagne (Lamb), Mechika (Bear), Elen (Deer), Lisica (Fox), Kon (Horse), Krusha (Pear), Meso (Meat), Sireni (Cheese), Jajca (Eggs), Vino (Wine), Sol (Salt), Zhito (Grain), Koska (Bone), Gas (Buttocks), Kuro (Penis), Made (Testicles).
Unique and Loan Words
- The word Galuhci (Mice) is used, which can also be said as Gluhci or Glufci, and Macedonians are the only people who use this word. The word Veligden (Easter) is used, pronounced with the ‘g’ in Macedonian only. Turkish loans are very rare, one example being Jorgano (Blanket).
Dialectal and Jat Features
- The Kostur region contains dialects that have retain several archaic characteristics, such as the word Ranka (Hand) rather than the more common Macedonian variant of Raka. An interesting trend is found in the use of multiple transitions of the Jat feature that is present in various Macedonian and Slavonic dialects. For example, the text employs the word Dedo (Grandfather) and not Djado, yet Hljap (Bread) and not Lep or Leb.
- The typical Macedonian postfixed definite article is exhibited in words such as Krushata (The Pear) and Dushata (The Soul). It is also noted in the word Patot (The Path) for ‘the path’ , although as the case of Jorgano (The Blanket) demonstrates, the ‘t’ at the end can also be dropped, as in several of today’s Macedonian dialects.
Words and Phrases, Unchanged for Centuries.
Containing a rich glossary and in excess of 300 words and phrases, the texts demonstrate the strength of the Macedonian language through preservation. Following is a comparison of sentences between the texts and the Macedonian dialect of Bitola as spoken today.
16th cent., Kostur dialect
21st cent., Bitola dialect
Gospodine, brate, da si zdrav, da si prost, ostavi ni da spime, ela da jame, i da pieme, dol da pojdime, da rabotime.
Gospodine, brate, da si zdrav, da si prost, ostai ne da spiame, ela da jaime, i da piame, dolu da pojdime, da rabotime.
Imate hljap-o da kupime, imate vino da kupime, ot koja strana da pojdime vo Bogasko.
Imate lep da kupime, imate vino da kupime, od koja strana da pojdime vo Bogatsko.
As can be clearly noticed, most of the vocabulary and grammar is identical.