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Abecedar
Abecedar (book) front cover.jpg
The first page of the Abecedar published in 2006 in Thessaloníki.
Country Greece
Language Lerin dialect (1925 edition)
Macedonian, Greek, English (2006 edition)
Publisher Batavia, Thessaloniki
Publication date
1925/2006
Media type Paperback
Pages 96 (1925 edition)
ISBN 960-89330-0-5 (2006 edition)
OCLC 317448359
Note: "Abecedar" is also the name of the primer (1st grade school book) in Romanian.

The Abecedar was a school book first published in Athens, Greece in 1925. The book became the subject of controversy with Bulgaria and Serbia when cited by Greece as proof it had fulfilled its international obligations towards its Slavic-speaking minority, because it had been printed in the Latin alphabet rather than the Cyrillic used by the Slavic languages of the southern Balkans. The book was initially published for the Slavic Macedonians in the Lerin dialect, and today it is published in Standard Macedonian, Standard Greek and Standard English.

Second and third editions

The Abecedar has been republished twice. A 1993 edition was published by the Macedonian Information Center in Perth, Western Australia. In 2006, an edition was published in Thessaloníki on the initiative of the ethnic Macedonian political party Rainbow. The latest edition contains the text in the Macedonian language together with translations in Greek and English. Material about reactions to the original book and its history was also published in the newest edition. In conformity with its political platform Rainbow argues that the Abecedar is one of a number of "official Greek documents which long before 1945 defined 'Macedonian' as something different from 'Greek.'"

Main characteristics of the Abecedar

The first edition Abecedar was based on the Bitola-Florina dialect, and the vocabulary is mainly extracted from that dialect. The main characteristic of the Abecedar is that the text uses the Latin alphabet, differing from the Macedonian alphabet which used the Cyrillic alphabet and was standardized nearly two decades later, with standardization being based on the same dialect.

The alphabet used in the Abecedar consists of 27 individual letters. Two of the letters are unique in that they correspond to phonemes not represented in the modern Macedonian alphabet: Îî (for the schwa - Bulgarian ъ) and Üü (indicating palatalization of the preceding consonant). The alphabet uses the digraphs gj, kj, nj, lj and dz to represent the sounds /ɟ/, /c/, /ɲ/, an /lj/ cluster, and /d͡z/, respectively, corresponding to the Macedonian letters Ѓ, Ќ, Њ, Љ and Ѕ.

The alphabet used in the Abecedar with IPA equivalents:

А
/a/
B
/b/
C
/t͡s/
Č
/t͡ʃ/
D
/d/
E
/ɛ/
F
/f/
G
/ɡ/
H
/x/
I
/i/
Î
/ə/
J
/j/
K
/k/
L
/l/
M
/m/
N
/n/
O
/ɔ/
P
/p/
R
/r/
S
/s/
Š
/ʃ/
T
/t/
U
/u/
Ü
/-ʲu/
V
/v/
Z
/z/
Ž
/ʒ/

The book also includes a section about grammar. All the material is supported by corresponding texts extracted and inspired by the daily life of the people for better understanding and learning. In the second edition of the book, besides the old version, the new version of the book used explanations and texts written in the Macedonian Cyrillic alphabet.

Examples from the second edition of the book

  • Našata kukja je visoka ("Our house is tall"; contemporary Macedonian: našata kuḱa e visoka, нашата куќа е висока);
  • Gjorče et edno arno dete ("Gjorče is one good child"; contemporary Macedonian: Ǵorče e edno arno dete, Ѓорче е едно арно дете);
  • Moite brakja set vo čusdžina [sic] ("My brothers are abroad"; contemporary Macedonian: moite braḱa se vo tuǵina, моите браќа се во туѓина).

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