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June Books 9) The New Macedonian Question

9) The New Macedonian Question, ed. James Pettifer

A collection of essays on Macedonia, first published in 1999 though this is a 2001 reprint, whose relevance was therefore immediately superseded by the conflict that took place in the latter year. Many of the essays had been published elsewhere before, including one as early as 1950. As well as a number of dull articles by Macedonian writers explaining how wonderful their policies are, I found some really good pieces. In the first section, I found the analyses of the competing claims to Macedonian identity by Kyril Drezov, and Stefan Troebst's essay on Macedonian nationalism, particularly lucid, and there's a lovely piece on the Vlach minority by Tom Winnifrith. Particularly revealing also is a piece by Evangelos Kofos on Greece's approach to the name issue, in which he exposes the domestic political machinations behind this particularly counter-productive policy, yet remarkably without really challenging the foolish assumptions on which the policy was based. Pettifer includes two pieces by himself, which combine his almost unmatched ability to penetrate and explain what is going on with the Albanians with his unfortunate tendency to perceive geopolitical conspiracy behind the motivations of most other actors. Sophia Clement finishes with a decent but too brief description of the international community's approach. Not really a classic collection - apart from anything else, the separate essays simply don't cohere particularly well - but useful to have on the shelf.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
I may have asked this before - to what extent are Bulgarian, Macedonian (if it exists), and Serbo-Croat all the same language? I have picked up stuff about how at some point in the past the Bulgarians encouraged Macedonian separatism (versus Serbia or whoever) as a tool for the establishment of a greater Bulgaria, and they still only acknowlege Macedonia as a state rather than a people (this distinction is of course a bit vague). So, can speakers of Bulgarian and Serbo-Croat understand each other? - ian (http://www.blogger.com/profile/13283419)
Jun. 20th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
It really grinds my nads how hard LiveJournal makes things for non-Live Journal users.
Jun. 21st, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
...on the other hand it is not so difficult to sign up with an ID used only for commenting on other people's livejournals.

Anyway, to answer your question, Bulgarian and Macedonian are very similar to each other, though they have slightly different alphabets and big differences of vocabulary. I get the sense that they are less closely related than Danish and Norwegian, but more closely related than either Danish or Norwegian is to Swedish, if that's any help.

Serbo-Croat, on the other hand, is a distinct language - it does nasty things to it nouns, whereas Macedonian and Bulgarian don't decline them at all (except for the vocative case). Serbo-Croat also has no word for "the", whereas Macedonian and Bulgarian (and, oddly, the otherwise unrelated Albanian and Romanian languages) have a suffix to nounse for the definite article.

However speakers of any of those languages normally have little difficulty understanding each other. I was once at a lunch table at a conference where all the others were either Bulgarians or Slovenes (and Slovenian is a bit more different from Serbo-Croat in the other direction, ie the grammar is even more complex) and they appeared to have little difficulty communicating in their respective native languages.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
...on the other hand it is not so difficult to sign up with an ID used only for commenting on other people's livejournals.

why would I want to do that? I can comment away anonymously, it's only backlinks to MY AMAZING BLOG that concern me; every other blogging website seems to make this easy, but LiveJournal only seems to facilitate backlinks to LJ blogs.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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