Language of Village Chereshnitsa

Prior to 1913, the predominant language of the village was Macedonian, a dialect similar to the Bulgarian dialect spoken in Pirin Bulgaria. Many villagers call it Nashee (“our”).  In addition many Turkish and Greek words have crept into the local dialects. This dialect was taught because during Ottoman times, teachers and missionaries from that part of the Ottoman empire spread out over Aegean Macedonia to spread and preserve Christianity.  The Ottoman Empire did not object to that practice.  After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the annexation of Aegean Macedonia by Greece, the spread of the Greek language was on the ascendency and the Pirin dialect was on the descendency.  There are many theories about this subject, and many heated arguments still occur about this topic and the reason why it happened.  We will not delve into this subject ourselves but rather leave it to learned experts in this field to expound upon it.  During the 100 years since annexation by Greece, the Macedonian dialect has by and large died out and the predominant language currently being spoken in the village is Greek.  Older villagers speak Macedonian and Greek, while younger villagers speak only Greek.  This has happened because of the mass immigration from the village and the policies of the Greek government.

For a more personal outlook on the language question, please see the Epilogue section of the book “Nighttime Comes to a Village” on this site.

For those interested in the language that was spoken in the village prior to Greek hegemony, please see the book “Bulgarian Dialect Texts From Aegean Macedonia” written by Blagoy Shklifov and Ekaterina Shklifova.  The book was published in 2003. The authors have texts from many villages in Aegean Macedonia and Chereshnitsa is one of them.   Blagoy was a native Chereshnitchenats.  Unfortunately for English only speakers, it is written in Bulgarian.  Blagoy was a professor at the University of Sofia.

Click this link to download the book.