Friday - 21 February, 2020
Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Rainbow Party
» Introduction
» New Manifesto
» Old Manifesto
» Principles
» Founding Principles
» Organisation


Nova Zora




Newsletter of the Rainbow Party

Следете нè на:

Aκολουθήστε μας στο:

Follow us on:

ΕFA-Rainbow supports the right of the Catalan people to decide on their future and joins the EFA campaign "Catalonia decides"

Catalonia decides



Radio Macedonian Culture

A selection of Macedonian blogs in Greece

Aegean Macedonian Culture

Anti-macedonian policy during the elections for the European Parliament against Rainbow by the Greek state and the Greek mass media

A scandal by the Parliamentary committee

Greek TV stations sabotage EFA-Raibow

Ultra-nationalists want "borders with Serbia"!

"Hellenic Post" sabbotages EFA-Rainbow Campaign

Typical example of censorship of Rainbow

Attack of the Greek Neo-nazi party

A Greek - Macedonian dictionary by Vasko Karatza printed with the support of EFA - Rainbow
 Greek   Macedonian

D. Lithoxoou
"Extracts of Letters"

Τι έλεγε κάποτε το ΚΚΕ για τους Μακεδόνες

Denying Ethnic Identity:
The Macedonians of Greece, by Human Rights Watch

Linguistics and politics II:
Macedonian Language

Greece's stance towards
its Macedonian minority
and the neighbouring
Republic of Macedonia.

Lawed Arguments
and Omitted Truths

R. Nikovski: Memorandum to the European Parliament
Facts behind the Greek politics towards Macedonia

English  Macedonian

"Proposed disciplinary measures to stamp out the Macedonian minority in Greece by the National Security Service"

Center Maurits Coppieters
European Free Alliance
Federal Union of European Nationalities
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Greek Anti–Nationalistic Movement
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Human Rights of Australia
OMO Ilinden - PIRIN
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Macedonian Forum for politics and history
Promotion of the Greek – Macedonian Dictionary

Victor Friedman’s speech

2 June, 2009

Victor Friedman The publication in Greece of Vasko Karadzha's Modern Greek-Macedonian dictionary by the publishing house Zora is an important step in the normalization of Greek relations toward one of its own linguistic minorities, and also, we might hope, toward one of its neighboring states, the Republic of Macedonia. Please note that when I refer to the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name, the name under which it is recognized by the country of which I am a citizen, the United States of America, I am speaking as a private individual, but one whose views happen to coincide with United States foreign policy in this respect. In so doing, I am exercising the right to free speech that is expected of democratic nations. Unfortunately, in the past, my right to free speech in the Hellenic Republic has been questioned by Greek academics just for mentioning the Macedonian language, as happened at an international conference in Thessaloniki in 1994. Let us hope that such days of intolerance are past.

The fact that the promotion of a Modern Greek-Modern Macedonian dictionary is taking place here in Athens has a dual significance. On the one hand, as the capital of the Hellenic Republic, Athens is Greece's most important city. Thus, a promotion in the nation's capital can be presumed to have national significance. On the other hand, the fact that the promotion is taking place here and not in Thessaloniki, where the dictionary was published and which is, in addition to being Greece's second largest city, also the urban center closest to the districts where the majority of Greece's Macedonian-speakers live, means that speakers of Macedonian are less likely to be present. [COMMENT: I LATER LEARNED THAT AT THE 2006 PROMOTION OF THE MACEDONIAN ABECEDAR IN THESSALONIKI, THE VENUE HAD TO BE SURROUNDED BY RIOT POLICE TO PROTECT THE PROMOTERS]. One might even wonder if the City of Thessaloniki would permit such a promotion, since less than three years ago, on September 29, 2006, at the inauguration of Latvian collector Juris Cibuls' exhibition of primers in Thessaloniki, the Deputy Mayor for Culture and Youth of that city ordered the organizers to take the Macedonian primer out of the show case so that it could not be displayed. But perhaps times have changed. Let us hope so. The fact that recently Greece is reported to have attempted to ban the name of the Macedonian language from official EU communications, however, leaves me less than optimistic.

The story of this dictionary is a part of the story of Greece's Macedonian-speaking minority. It is a painful story, and one that the majority of Greek citizens are unaware of, owing to the semiotic process that anthropologists Susan Gal and Judith Irvine have identified with the term erasure. They define erasure as the elimination of differences and complexities for the purpose of some hegemonic process such as, for example, the formation of a nation-state or a standard language. When used in the formation of a standard language, itself often the vehicle of a nation-state, erasure applies to the complexities inherent in differing dialectal systems. When applied to the formation of a nation-state, erasure can refer to the elimination from public view of regional differences, but also, as is the case in the formation of the Greek nation-state, of linguistic minorities. Thus, for example, under the Metaksas dictatorship in Greece in the 1930s, and again in the 1950s after the Greek civil war, even the speaking of Macedonian was banned, and, as described by, among others, anthropologist Anastasia Karakasidou, villagers were made to swear they would no longer speak their native language. My co-promoter Prof. Van Boeschoeten has also documented this process in the form of bilingual jokes, in which word plays between Macedonian and Greek are set in the context of Macedonian being a forbidden language. Greek author Tasos Kostopoulos has documented precisely this phenomenon in his book I Apogogevmeni Glossa. This shameful history of the Hellenic Republic's treatment of its linguistic minorities should be acknowledged and repudiated rather than ignored and forgotten. Perhaps this dictionary will help bring such acknowledgment about.

This brings us to the memorial to Vasko Karadzha by the members of Vinozhito which precedes the foreword and the dictionary itself. Vasko Karadzha was born in the village of D'mbeni in 1923 in what was then the Greek state, and the village's name was translated into Greek and officially renamed Dendohorion in 1926. Mr. Karadzha left Greece in 1949 as a political emigrant and eventually settled in Skopje, in what was then the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Although some political emigrants with the same sort of background as Mr. Karadzha's were granted amnesty and allowed to return to Greece in 1982 according to law no. 1266 of that year, the law contained a clause limiting its effect to those who were Greek by genos (in Modern Macedonian rod). Thus, Mr. Karadzha and other Macedonians and other non-Greeks were forbidden to return to the state in which they were born simply because they were born of non-Greek parents on territory that had become part of the Greek state. In the United States and in the rest of the EU, such a clause is considered racist. The memorial closes with the statement that the dictionary is an answer to the stance of the Greek regime that Macedonian—supposedly—does not exist. Given that the Macedonian language does indeed exist, and that its speakers on what is now Greek territory are documented as referring to it as makedonski over a hundred years ago, it is bizarre indeed to meet otherwise well-educated people who cannot accept the existence of this language in Greece as well as beyond its borders.

But let us return for a moment to the process of erasure and how it contributes to the formation of standard languages. Both standard Macedonian and standard Greek, like standard Albanian, standard Bulgarian, standard French, standard English, and virtually all other standard languages, have eliminated or absorbed dialectal differences in order to create these unified standards. The creation of a standard, however, does not necessarily entail the elimination of dialects. Dialects are the repository of the culture and history of their speakers, and—especially in the case of marginal and isolated dialects — of precious information about earlier stages of a language or the possibilities of how a system can change over time. In 2003, the value of dialects was recognized by UNESCO in its Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which Greece ratified in 2007. At this point in time, the Macedonian dialects of Greece are moribund. Few fluent speakers are under the age of forty. Moreover, many speakers do not refer to their dialects as Macedonian, which is hardly surprising after so many decades of persecution. Sometimes it is claimed that these are not dialects of Macedonian but rather separate languages. On the one hand, we can note that dialects such as those of Florina and Edhessa in Greece are so close to those of neighboring Bitola and Gevgelija in neighboring Macedonia that calling them separate languages does not have a basis in the linguistic data. On the other hand, if we accept the argument that the Macedonian dialects of Greece are a separate language or separate languages, then their documentation is all the more urgent, since they are on the very brink of extinction. [THE THUGS FROM HRISI AVGI ENTERED. THE BEGINNING OF THE SCENE CAN BE WATCHED AT [AFTER THEY LEFT I RESUMED]. Either way, it is to be hoped that the Greek government will permit linguists to document these dialects before they disappear without the police harassment that, unfortunately, continues to instill fear in speakers and obstruct researchers.

Vasko Karadzha's Greek-Macedonian dictionary was a labor of love. Moreover, it was arguably the labor of a man who loved both the Greek and the Macedonian languages. In the memorial, Vinozhito writes that they are preparing a Macedonian-Greek version of the dictionary. Like the current volume, this will be an important step in creating mutual understanding among people who wish to learn one or the other standard language. At the same time, let us hope that the Macedonian dialects still spoken on the territory of the Hellenic Republic, some of which are closer to standard Macedonian than others, will also be able to receive the scholarly attention they deserve before they disappear.

Back to previous page Back to top
EFA-Rainbow Archives

Γιατί να ψηφίσω
την ΕΕΣ-Ουράνιο Τόξο

Click here
to read the Abecedar!

Promotion of the
Macedonian Language
Primer at the OSCE HDIM

English Greek Macedonian

Greek irredentism and expansionism officially sanctioned by the Greek Parliament
English Greek Macedonian

Letter to Carla del Ponte,
Chief Prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

English Greek Macedonian

The Yugoslavian Crisis
English Greek Macedonian

Document of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs

Related to the article - The obvious linguistic particularity - Eletherotypia, 18/11/2006

English   Greek

The ten Greek myths
on the “Macedonian issue”

By IOS team – Eletherotypia, 23/10/2005

Who says there are no
minority languages in Greece?

The "secret" census
in north Greece, in 1920

Map showing the Cultures and Languages in the E.U.

Council of Europe
Framework convention for the Protection of national minorities




Συνέντευξη: Ευάγγελος Κωφός, Έλληνας ιστορικός
Δημοκρατία της Μακεδονίας - Σκόπια είναι όνομα που εκφράζει την ταυτότητά σας

Greek   Macedonian

Ο Παύλος Φιλίποβ Βοσκόπουλος απαντά στον Ευάγγελο Κωφό.
«Το Μακεδονικό ζήτημα είναι η αχίλλειος πτέρνα του ελληνικού μύθου».

Greek   Macedonian
HomeAbout UsNewsReportsMediaLinksContact
© 1997-2015 EFA-Rainbow, All Rights Reserved.
This website is hosted and developed by: