January 15, 2011

Temko Popov - letter

Temko Popov (1855-1931), Macedonian Publicist

May 9, 1888 Salonika

My dear Despot,

In the introduction to this letter I will tell you in advance that I will take the trouble to write you, inasfar as it is possible, in our tongue, substituting for those words which I do not know with Bulgarian ones. What else can be done, Despot! This tongue of ours, which could have dictated to the other Slavic tongues, has remained the poorest, and, like a beggar, must stretch out its hand to the Bulgarian, or the Serbian or even the Russian tongue! I do not deny that all of the Slavic tongues are similar to each other and that it is natural that they should borrow from each other, but not to the state to which our miserable tongue has come, so that a man can not express his thoughts without using Bulgarian words, if he has lived in Bulgaria, Serbian - if in Serbia. It is true that our tongue, being most similar to Serbian, should gather from it those words which it does not have in its own dictionary, but where is our dictionary, where are our philologists, who might concern themselves with these important questions, i.e. the compilation of a grammar and other most urgently needed textbooks, at least for elementary schools? If we have no philologists, where are the Serbian ones, who might know our tongue and might write those elementary and necessary books with such impassionate scholarship as to use Serbian words as supplementary words only where they can not find Macedonian ones, and not to be led by blind patriotism and instead of writing Macedonian textbooks, writing purely Serbian ones. Don't fool yourself, Despot, the national spirit in Macedonia has attained such a state that Jesus Christ himself, if he were to descend from heaven, could not convince a Macedonian that he is a Bulgarian or a Serb, except for those Macedonians in whom Bulgarian propaganda has already taken root.

Fragment of a letter from Temko Popov to Despot Badzhovic, well-known Macedonian social worker. Published by K. Dzambazovski in "Nova Makedonija", Jan. 1-3, 1960

No comments: