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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). (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)