The definition “Macedonian” in the Bulgarian dictionaries at the time of the National Revival


In the first Bulgarian dictionaries, which were appeared in enslaved Bulgaria in the second and third quarter of XIXth century, the concept “Macedonian language” does not exist. In the first attempts for the compiling of dictionaries at the time of the Revival, attempts made by men of letters, who were native for the geographical region known as Macedonia, the mother tongue, from which words and phrases were translated into another was defined as Slavic Bulgarian, Bulgar or Bulgarian. 

In proof of this discovery comes the work of priest Teodosii Sinaitski from the town of Doyran in Macedonia – “Kniga za izuchenie trih yazikov slavyanobolgarskii I grecheskii I Karamanlickii”(Turkish)(Thessalonike, 1841).

The definition “Macedonian language” is unfamiliar for another Bulgarian man of letters – Konstantin Petkovich, born in the town of Veles (also in the geographical region of Macedonia). While he was a student in Slavic philology at the University of Petersburg, he compiled a hand-written “Slovar Bolgaro-Ruskii” (1848), where on the first page of the manuscript he explicitly emphasizes on his Bulgarian nationality: “Sostavlyaemoy Bolgarinom Konstantinom M. Petkovichem”.

 The manuscript of the dictionary is preserved until present days in the Research Archives at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Petersburg (stock 216, inv. 3, arch. 378). In the process of explaining Bulgarian words of ethnographic importance into Russian K. Petkovich outlines the nationality of those who speak that language – they are Bulgarian; therefore, the definition “Macedonian” is used by the author in geographical and not ethnical sense.

 In the same sense the attributive term “Macedonian” is used by yet another great man of letters of the XIXth century – the monk Neophyte of Rila, who was born on the town of Bansko. In his big “Slovar Bolgarko-Greckii” (which remained an unfinished manuscript), the author use with different words and phrases the abbreviations “maced.” and “macd.” to point out that they are regionally restricted in use to the Bulgarian spoken varieties in Macedonia, meaning that they have regional character as part of the word fund of the lexical fund of the Bulgarian language.

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