Noted linguist, lexicographer and academic Giorgos Babiniotis on Tuesday presented here research detailing how the ancient Macedonians had shaped a Greek dialect based on the structure of the Doric dialect, best known as the form of Greek spoken by the Spartans, among others.
Prof. Babiniotis told an audience at the University of Melbourne that the ancient Macedonians used this dialect in spoken form, by ordinary people, while the Attic Greek dialect was used by the kingdom's royalty, such as King Philip II, in a bid to unify the rest of Greece, as proved by thousands of inscriptions unearthed over the decades by archaeologists.
According to research launched in the early 20th century by German and British linguists, there are roughly 250 words, mainly nouns, found in texts dating from Homer's and Herodotus' eras that were identified by commentators in antiquity as originating from the ancient spoken Macedonian dialect.
Babiniotis also emphasised that there was no "single ancient Greek language", but four main dialects, each used in the written literature of different eras. The Attic dialect replaced them after 480 BC.
Babiniotis also touched on a decidedly contemporary political difference, whose aspects have often included "antique" references, stressing that the Bulgarian-Serb language spoken in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), the landlocked ex-Yugoslav republic that mostly lies to the north of where historical and geographical Macedonia is located, stressing that “we respect the language, history and traditions of the people in the neighbouring country. However, it is obvious, based on what I have already said that the term ‘Macedonian’ they use to name their language causes confusion and is historically and culturally unacceptable.
"Based on the analysis already made it has absolutely no relation with the (ancient) dialect of the Macedonians.”
The lecture was given in English at the university's Wright Theatre.