This is a relatively small number of places when we take into consideration the fact that, according to the data of the Bulgarian, A. Ofeikoff (a pseudonym), there are 3,289 places in today's Macedonia. And for the insignificant collection of S.I. Verkovich (Narodne pesme makedonskih Bugara - Folk Songs of the Macedonian Bulgarians), we find in it new examples for only (the village of) Krushevo (Mrvachko), the Razlog region, and primarily the Serres region. In 1885, there appeared the first part of an anthology conceived as a comprehensive work by K. Shapkarev from Ohrid; in it there are excellent examples of little-known Macedonian prose, but again, they are not of significant interest for the study of the Macedonian dialects, because they come from the aforementioned regions of Ohrid, Prilep, Kukush, with the addition of the region of Gevgelija.
Information about the Debar subdialect has been substantially enriched
by I.S. Jastrebov with the publication of his collection of songs and customs
of the Serbs from the Kosovo vilayet. Prior to Mr Jastrebov's work, two
or three examples from that area were published by M.S. Drinov (in Periodichesko
spisanie -Periodic Journal in Braila). This, however, is not
adequate. To which branch should this Debar subdialect be linked -- to
the Serbian or the Bulgarian -- or is there no need to link it to either
of them? The poorly edited, often inaccurate examples in the biased collections
of M. Milojevich (Pesme i Obichaji Ukupnog Naroda Sprskoh -- Songs and
Customs of the Whole Serbian People) and S. Verkovich (Slav Vedas),
certainly cannot be taken as reliable sources. A. Dozon's collection is
no better, although this collector, being a foreigner, can be forgiven
his errors. This seems the place to say that the late Bulgarian critic
and writer, Luben Karavelov, in his book Znanie (Knowledge) (1876),
was correct in his sharp judgement of these Macedonian forgers -- both
Bulgarophiles and Serbophiles (Verkovich, Dozon, Vezenkovich, Milojevich
and others). Finally, to this we should perhaps add the numerous and useful
ethnographic notes and examples of the so-called Macedonian dialect, scattered
throughout a multitude of Bulgarian periodicals published at various times
and in various cities of South-Eastern Europe and even in the Middle East.
Not a third of this number of journals is to be found in the Sofia or Plovdiv
National Libraries. And a Slavist could find even fewer of these editions
in his study room. He would have to dig through newspaper morgues in order
to find two or three details of interest to him. So we see that in spite
of all our persistent studies, we managed to find very few, and then not
always satisfactorily edited, examples. And these are solely from the following
In addition there is the South Pomak dialect: in Bulgarian Iljustracija (Illustration) of 1882, by H. Konstantinov; in N. Shishkov's collection of 1886 (Plovdiv); by P. Slaveikov, Nauka 1882/83; by the Russian ethnographist, A. A. Bashmakow, also published in Nauka and finally by the Czech Bulgarist, K. Irechek, in book 8 of Periodichesko spisanie. Considering all of these, we have at our disposal material primarily from the part of Macedonia which borders on Albania.
We have a few accidentally and consequently not always well edited examples of some dialects spoken on the left side of the River Vardar. We have no examples whatsoever from South-Western, South-Eastern, and most important, Northern Macedonia. The latter represents a bone of contention between the Serbian and Bulgarian patriots, and even between some philologists. That is, we have not a line of specially published dialectological and ethnographical material from the following regions: Salonica, Enidzhe-Vardar, Doiran (Polin), Voden (Edhessa), Meglen, Kichevo, Resen, Lerin (Florina), Petrich, Drama, and regrettably not from Skopje, Kumanovo, Kriva Palanka, Kochani and Gostivar. Now if one does not want to believe the honest word of the Bulgrarians or the Serbs, who persistently claim that the whole Slav population of modern Macedonia speaks the dearest, one and inseparable literary Bulgarian, or respectively, literary Serbian language, one must state that it is necessary to investigate and prove such claims. In spite of the fact that the Macedonian Collection (Collection Macedonienne) is being published by the Bulgarian Exarchate and edited by Mr Ofeikoff with clear propagandist aims, i.e. to defend the Greater-Bulgarian idea of Macedonia from the corresponding Serbian idea, it will contribute a great deal to the treasury of Macedonistics.
According to the now available data, this collection will comprise 1,500 examples from all the regions of the Macedonian Slav province, recorded by Macedonians themselves and sent to the Bulgarian Exarchate by its activists and teachers in Macedonia. The title of the collection has also been aptly chosen: they do not use the Bulgarian but the neutral Macedonian Slav name (Macedoine Slave). This demonstrates the aim of the collection to be objective in the future study of the philological issue, thereby once and for all deciding whose examples these are - Serbian or Bulgarian. Do they belong to the aspirants partially or entirely? Are there some examples that should belong neither to the Serbs nor Bulgarians, but entirely to the Macedonians? It is regrettable that this eagerly awaited collection (and its texts) have not yet been seen by the world, with the exception of the article mentioned above, by the Bulgarian scholar, Mr Ofeikoff, representing profession de foi (a confession, editor's note) of the Great Bulgarian idea, and Mr. A. P. Sirku's article on Macedonian philology, which comprise the first part.
The historical articles of professor M. S. Drinov and Mr V. V. Kachanovski should appear later. Articles of the well-known historian of Bulgaria, K. Irechek, and two other Slavists should have been included in the collection, however they refused to participate. It has become imperative that these articles, written partly in Bulgarian and partly in Russian, should be translated into French, since their special purpose was to present them to the Western European education experts. And above all, the translation is necessary to reach the political and diplomatic circles who, the publishers hope, will identify themselves with the collection's central idea, in the practical resolvement of the Macedonian Question. Concerning this, we must note here that the diplomats, accustomed as they are to the preciseness of the French language, its exactness and clarity of expression, will be probably horrified by the French into which these articles have been translated. They may also be hororified by the printing and grammatical errors in the French introduction and especially in Ofeikoff's article. It is obvious that Mr Ofeikoff's lengthy introduction is an adaptation of his article which appeared last year in that mouthpiece of the future European Afghanistan and that of the future close "confederation" of all the Peoples of the Balkan under the protection of Austria, Revue de l'Orient. The latter is published in Budapest by the Hebrew, W. Weltner, the Pole, DePulski, and the Hungarian, Attila Semera. The Revue maintains a permanent staff of investigators and correspondents at large -- Bulgarian, Serbian, Wallachian (Romanian) Macedonian, Greek, even Turkish -- who are allowed to freely indulge in the scholarly polemics of the Macedonian subject.
Ofeikoff"s article is nothing but an elaborate polemic with the prominent Serbian writer, Matija Ban. Mr Ban has continued up to present day to dispute his Bulgarian opponents on the subject of whether the Ohrid Exarchate (i.e. Archbishopric, editor's note), the former Prima Justiniana, the centres of which were Skopje and Kustendil, was Bulgarian or Serbian church. Mr Ofeikoff quotes Ubicini, I.Miiller, Grisebach, Kolb, Bart, Hilferding, N. N. Obruchev, Mackenzie, Irby and others, who have allegedly long ago on an academic level resolved the Macedonian language question in favor of the Bulgarian patriots, and draws the conclusion that "all those well-known authors, ethnographers and travelling writers bear witness to the fact that Macedonia is populated by Bulgarians only" (Cf. Revue de I'Orient, 1887, No. 27). He also claims this in his new work, the only difference being that the latter is even more embellished with vain assumptions. For example, Mr Ofeikoff here mentions the following authors: Y. Venelin, P. J. Safarik, I. Muller, V. I. Grigorovich, Ami Boue, Cruz, Grisebach, Peterman, A. F. Hilferding, Lejean, Dumas, Dozon, Stein, Kolb, Reklyu, Bush, A. S. Budilovich, N. S. Obruchev, and A. F. Ritih, V. S. Teplov, V. V. Kachanovski, Mackenzie, Irby, Lavelle, plus such historians as Paisii Samokovski (the author of Tsarstvenik (Lives of Kings) and L. Dobrov (the author of Turki i Slavjane (Turks and Slavs)), and derives this conclusion: "None of these scholars has traveled through European Turkey aiming to reveal the Bulgarians. All of these writers and ethnographers declare that Macedonia is populated with Bulgarian Slavs"(p. 7).
But such a dogmatic solution to the Macedonian Question does not correspond by any means with the exceptionally complex scientific difficulties this question represents. As far as A. P. Sirku's article on Macedonian phonology is concerned, albeit unsystematic and verbose, it represents a complete exposition of all that has been shown up to now in the few published examples of Macedonian dialectology. The new thing here is that the author presents his own classification of the dialects in the Bulgarian language. He mentions four dialects: Thraco-Mysian, Shopic, Rhodopic or Rupalan (Rupis) and Macedonian. Another unique thing is that he writes in detail about the Rhodopic dialect partly from the material published by V. Cholakov, P. Slaveikov and N. Shishkov, as well as on the basis of S. Verkovich's Vedas. Furthermore, Sirku writes about the Debar dialect, disputing the well-known assertions of I. S. Jastrebov concerning this dialect. And he exhausts the scientific literature available on the nasalisms )|( and A in modern Macedonian Slav dialects, which are related to the East Bulgarians nasalisms. Doubtlessly he did not know that there is also nasalism or rineism in the Voden, Meglen, Resen and Demir Hisar dialects, and that the triple postpositive article in Macedonia is not only characteristic of the Rhodopic Pomaks, Tikvesh and Debar areas, but also of all the Brzaks (Brsyaks) from Prilep, Veles, Bitola and other regions. Therefore, it is understandable that Mr Sirku, starting from the known published literature on the Macedonian vernacular, has looked more extensively into the Rhodopic than the Macedonian dialect. However, the Western Rhodpic dialects on the border between Thrace and Macedonia are not so important to the academic solution of the Serbo- Bulgarian language issue, as are the dialects in South-Western, and especially, North-Western Macedonia. These apparently are completely unknown to Mr Sirku, so that what was unknown before remains so.
To expect others to believe from him what the Bulgarian experts themselves do not know is, to put it kindly, difficult. It is therefore with impatience that we await the publication of the Bulgarian Exarchate Macedonian Collection with its 1,500 examples of "folk songs, collected from peasants from all Slav Macedonia." Nor would it be inappropriate for the Serbian Academy of Sciences (the former Serbian Scientific Society), from its side, to edit and publish a Macedonian collection. Certainly, though, it should not be like the collections of M. Milojevich and Vuk Karadzhich, but compiled Sine studio et sine ira. Perhaps this is the place, too, to mention that currently the Serbs have their own consulates in Macedonia, lead by Mr S(tojan) Novakovich, a Serbian (diplomatic) delegate to Constantinople, who is also a respected philologist and has paid great service to Bulgarian literary history. In addition, if I succeed in publishing the Macedonian collection I have compiled, comprising about thousand texts from 105 populated areas in Macedonia, we can assume that with these combined materials the major problems of Macedonian dialectology can be solved. Having all this at our disposal, the Slav philological science should be able to solve, once and for all, the Macedonian language issue and to decide impartially what in these three Macedonian Slav collections belongs to the Bulgarian vernacular and what to the Serbian, and what then naturally, because it belongs neither to the Serbian nor Bulgarian, is the property only of the separate and independent Macedonian vernacular.
(Journal of the National Education Ministry), St Petersburg, Book CCLV, April 1888.
 P. D. Draganov (1857-1928) was a versatile Russian Slavist of Bulgarian origin. He was graduated in 1884 from St Petersburg University, Faculty of History and Philology. He was granted the title of Candidate of historical and philological sciences at the same university. He was a professor in the Bulgarian Exarchate grammar-school in Salonica for three years (1885-1887). He wrote several works on Macedonistics. In this article he makes an analysis of A. Ofeikoff's work (a pseudonym for Atanas Shopov, secretary of the Bulgarian Exarch in Constantnople) entitled La Macedoine au point du vue ethnographique, historique et philologique Philopopoli, 1887.