Macedonian is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia, and is a part of the Eastern group of South Slavic languages. It is also referred to by several alternative names, many formed with the word Slavic. Macedonian is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Standard Bulgarian. It also has some similarities with standard Serbian and the intermediate Torlakian and Shop dialects spoken mostly in southern Serbia and in western Bulgaria (and by speakers in the north and east of Macedonia).

The population of the Republic of Macedonia was 2,022,547 in 2002, with 1,344,815 speaking Macedonian as the native language. According to a 1964 estimate, the number of Macedonians living outside of the Republic of Macedonia numbers approximately 580,000, over 30% of the total population. The Macedonian spoken by communities outside the republic dates back to before the standardisation of the language and retains many dialectic though, overall, mutually intelligible variations.

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See also: Country Profile - Macedonia

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