Macedonian (/ˌmæsɪˈdoʊniən/; македонски јазик, translit. makedonski jazik, pronounced [maˈkɛdɔnski ˈjazik] ) is an Eastern South Slavic language. Spoken as a first language by around two million people, it serves as the official language of North Macedonia. Most speakers can be found in the country and its diaspora, with a smaller number of speakers throughout the transnational region of Macedonia. Macedonian is also a recognized minority language in parts of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and Serbia and spoken by emigrant communities predominantly in Australia, Canada and the United States.
Macedonian developed out of the western dialects of the East South Slavic dialect continuum, whose earliest recorded form is "Old Church Slavonic". During much of its history, this dialect continuum was called "Bulgarian", although in the 19th century, its western dialects came to be known separately as "Macedonian". Standard Macedonian was codified in 1945 and has developed modern literature since. As it is part of a dialect continuum with other South Slavic languages, Macedonian has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian.
Linguists distinguish 29 dialects of Macedonian, with linguistic differences separating Western and Eastern groups of dialects. Some features of Macedonian grammar are the use of a dynamic stress that falls on the ante-penultimate syllable, three suffixed deictic articles that indicate noun position in reference to the speaker and several simple and complex verb tenses. Macedonian orthography is phonemic with a correspondence of one grapheme per phoneme. It is written using an adapted 31-letter version of the Cyrillic script with several original letters. Macedonian syntax is of the subject-object-verb (SOV) type and has flexible word order.
Macedonian vocabulary has been historically influenced by Turkish and Russian. Somewhat less prominent vocabulary influences also came from neighbouring and prestige languages. Since Macedonian and Bulgarian are mutually intelligible, share many common linguistic features and are socio-historically related, some linguists are divided in their views of the two as separate languages or as a single pluricentric language.