South Slavic language spoken by about nine million people in Bulgaria and enclaves in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Turkey. Closely related is Macedonian, spoken by two to three million people in Macedonia, adjacent parts of Albania and Greece, and enclaves elsewhere. Both languages differ from other major Slavic languages in several features. Both are direct descendants of Old Church Slavonic. Under Ottoman rule, literary production was solely in Church Slavonic. The Bulgarian vernacular became a literary language only in the mid-19th century; it was codified on the basis of northeastern Bulgarian dialects in 1899. Though efforts to create a literary Macedonian were underway before the Balkan Wars (1912–13), it was not formally recognized as a distinct language until the declaration of a Macedonian Republic within nascent communist Yugoslavia (1944).
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