Macedonian Language for Beginners

by Eugenie Tiu Radevska
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Macedonian language books

Moving to a country that uses their own alphabet everywhere can be very intimidating. From supermarket signs to restaurant menus, it feels as if you can’t see anything because everything is just so different to what you are used to. That’s what I felt like when I first came to Macedonia.

Let’s face it though, It’s easier to adjust in a country if you know how to read and understand their main language.

In this post, I will share some of the most basic and most used expressions I’ve learned from my Macedonian language classes. I hope that this post can be useful to people who are learning the language and to those who want to learn the language.

English in Macedonia

Macedonians generally understand and speak English – but this is most especially true if you’re based in Skopje, the capital. For other cities like Bitola, many people have a good grasp of the language, but they won’t be using it unless it’s very necessary. Don’t take it badly though, they’re maybe just shy or aren’t comfortable enough to use it.

Alphabet in Macedonia

The Macedonian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Other countries that use this alphabet include Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

This doesn’t mean that if you were to visit one of these countries, you would be able to understand everything they say. The alphabet has similar features overall but words can vary semantically.

Common Greetings and Expressions in Macedonian Language

Macedonian CyrillicEnglish PronunciationMeaning
Добро утроDobro UtroGood morning
Добар денDobar DenGood afternoon
Добро вечерDobro VecerGood evening
ЗдравоZdravoHello
Како сиKako siHow are you
Фала многуFala MnoguThank you very much
извиниIzviniSorry
ЧаоCiaoBye
ДоброDobroOkay
ДаDaYes
НеNeNo
Среќен роденденSreken RodendenHappy Birthday

Food and Drinks phrases in Macedonian Language

Macedonian CyrillicEnglish PronunciationMeaning
МесоMesoMeat
ЈогуртYogurtYogurt
ЛебLebBread
ЗеленчукZelenchukVegetables
ОвошјеOvoshjeFruits
Телешко МесоTeleshko MesoBeef
Пилешко МесоPileshko MesoChicken
Свинско МесоSvinsko MesoPork
ПивоPivoBeer
ВодаVodaWater
СокSokJuice
ВиноVinoWine

Conversation Questions and Daily Expressions in Macedonian Language

Macedonian CyrillicEnglish PronunciationMeaning
Како си?Kako si?How are you?
Што правите?Shto pravite?What are you doing?
Каде?Kade?Where?
Зошто?Zoshto?Why?
Што јаде?Shto jade?What did you eat?
Како?Kako?How?
Разбирам.Razbiram.I understand.
Не Разбирам.Ne razbiram.I don’t understand.
Знам.Znam.I know.
Незнам.Neznam.I don’t know.
Гладна сум.Gladna sum.I’m hungry.
Ми се спие.Mi se spie.I’m sleepy.

The Macedonian language is gender-based

One of the most important and basic rules in the Macedonian language is that their entire grammatical system is based on the gender of nouns. Articles, pronouns, adjectives, and numbers are all dependent on the form of nouns – masculine, feminine, or neuter. Here are some examples:

  • Masculine nouns: мијалник (sink), стол (chair), нож (knife), камион (truck), капут (coat)
  • Feminine nouns: чаша (cup), перница (pillow),  кола (car), тетратка (notebook), болница (hospital)
  • Neuter nouns: растение (plant), ќебе (blanket), пенкало (pen), радио (radio), кино (cinema)

Remembering the gender of nouns will greatly help you form your Macedonian sentences grammatically sound – so keep that in mind when starting out.

Macedonian language books for foreigners

One book that helped me study the language on my own is a book by Christina E. Kramer and Liljana Mitkovska, “Macedonian.”

This book explains the grammatical system of the Macedonian language very clearly, provides a lot of exercises and examples as well. 

Some of the Macedonian language teachers I’ve met and I’ve studied with have also recommended the book called “Bozilak” (Божилак). You can find it in online books stores such as this one.

If you are looking for online dictionaries, a great online dictionary that can help you with your studies is Glosbe.com – aside from Google Translate.

What makes Glosbe.com unique is that it doesn’t only give you the translation, it also shows you the gender of the nouns and sometimes even pictures, and sample sentences that help explain the various definitions associated with the noun. 

There are other websites that can definitely aid you understand the language, but these are just some of the top ones I’d recommend. 

How to Find Macedonian Language Teachers

If you really want to advance your Macedonian language skills, the best way might be to make friends in Macedonia and to use it when speaking to your Macedonian friends. Your next best option is to enroll yourself in a language school though or find a community in social network platforms that has the same goal as you. 

Here are some relevant Facebook groups you can join who can help connect you to the right language school online:

For online lessons, here are some I found via research:

Wrapping Up

I hope you find this short guide useful. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot a message in the comments section below. 

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