Macedonian belongs to the South-Slavic language family. It is spoken mainly in Macedonia, its country of origin on the Balkans peninsula, and by native speakers in Europe, the USA, Australia, and Canada.
Apart from Standard Macedonian, there are many regional dialects within Macedonia but these dialects are used mainly in personal, unofficial spoken communication. There are three recognised varieties of the language: Northern Macedonian, South-eastern Macedonian and Western Macedonian.
Macedonian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which consists of 31 letters. The spelling is phonetic, meaning each letter corresponds to a sound.
When translating from Macedonian to English, the word count tends to decrease slightly. This is because English is less descriptive although this depends on the subject matter.
Macedonian culture is influenced by both local tradition and foreign influences. Ancient architecture neighbours modern buildings. Macedonians still enjoy folk music, while pop music is also popular. Wood carving has a long history in Macedonia and urn-makers still produce glazed terracotta utensils like urns, pitchers, cups and bowls, while the art of weaving colourful blankets and carpets is a tradition in Macedonian villages. Tourists can also enjoy beautiful frescoes that have been preserved from the Byzantine period. When it comes to food, Macedonian cuisine has Turkish, Bulgarian, Greek and Middle Eastern influences. The country’s warm climate is ideal for growing a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits.