The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) Greece Representative Eugenia Natsoulidou attended the Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) Steering Committee Seminar, which was held on October 17-18, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. Natsoulidou, as the representative of the Educative and Cultural Movement of Edessa, attended the Seminar in an effort to shed light on the dire state of the Macedonian language in Greece.
“The Macedonian language is almost extinct among the younger generation. The older generation, that usually speaks it with family, relatives and friends, usually avoids speaking it in public,” stated Natsoulidou in her report to the audience.
The NPLD is a cross European network working in the field of language policy and planning, with a goal to raise awareness of the importance of linguistic diversity. Given that the NPLD strongly believes linguistic diversity is an opportunity for intercultural dialogue between Europeans, Natsoulidou’s comments are timely and important as ever, since the Macedonian spoken and written language in Greece is on the verge of extinction.
“The Macedonian language is never used in a formal conversation, for example in shops, in public offices, etc., even when some Macedonian speaker knows that the person he/she addresses to, also speaks the language,” further noted Natsoulidou.
UMD is actively engaged in promoting the Macedonian language, especially in the countries where there is a sizeable Macedonian community. UMD urges the Greek authorities institute policies to preserve the Macedonian language of its native Macedonian community. UMD believes that the initial steps towards achieving this goal would be to enact laws for the protection of regional and/or minority languages like the ratification of the “European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.”
Given that Greece is a member of the European Union, and the EU promotes these principles, we hope the Greek government will take leadership on this issue since it will be assuming the EU Presidency come January 1, 2014.