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Languages and dialects in Macedonia

The course is instrumental in providing insight into the historical importance of ancient Macedonia from the viewpoint of language use, which is a key component of the identity of any population group, ancient and modern alike.

In the former part, the syllabus focuses on key concepts like ethnicity, language, dialect (and their relation), and introduces the students to the understanding of fundamental terms and methods of historical-comparative and contact linguistics as well as of dialectology. Students will familiarize themselves with aspects of linguistic theory that may help us approach ancient linguistic varieties, which, as is the case with Macedonian too, are often poorly documented.

The latter part of the course consists primarily in a critical examination of the evidence for ancient Macedonian (incl. onomastics) as well as in a discussion of the long scholarly debate over it. The variegated makeup of ancient Macedonian and its relationship to / contacts with both certain Paleo-Balkan languages and the ancient Greek dialects, esp. of the neighboring areas, will be analyzed in detail before attempting to reach some final conclusions.