I'm trying to learn Macedonian and one if the resources out there was paraphrased as saying the following about the Macedonian language:

Belamaric-Wilsey says that the majority of Macedonian-language learners using the center’s resources are English native speakers. The most challenging features of the Macedonian language for them are the doubling of the object, the verb aspect (perfective vs. imperfective), and the perfect tense. Still, she says, if you are motivated enough, you will make progress, especially if you are visiting Macedonia.

What does this mean?

  • Doubling of the Object
  • Verb aspect (Perfective vs. Imperfective)
  • Perfect tense

And, how does Macedonian's handling of the concepts differ from English's?

  • 2
    Perfective and imperfective are standard names for two commonly occurring aspects, and perfect tense for a commonly occurring tense; you can read what all three are on Wikipedia. What Macedonian does with them that makes them challenging is more on-topic; unfortunately I don’t know the answer. Doubling the object usually refers to using both a pronoun and a noun for the object (“I saw him my brother”); Spanish does it a lot for indirect object (“Le di un libro a mi hermano” = “I gave him my brother a book”). I don’t know if it refers to something else in Macedonian. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


Take the following sentence as an example that includes all your points:

Јаc сум ја прочитал книгата.
Jas sum ja pro=čita-l kniga-ta.
I1 am2 3-sing-fem-acc-clitic3 perf=read-past4 book-the5
'I read the book."

It exhibits:

  1. Clitic doubling: the presence of both the direct object книгата and the direct object pronoun ја.

  2. Verbal aspect: the perfective form прочитал 'pročital' is used indicating the action of reading the book was completed. If the reading of the book wasn't complete, the form would be читал 'čital'.

  3. The perfect tense: In English we use "to have" + past participle of verb to indicate the perfect. In Macedonian, there are two forms of the present perfect each for perfective verbs and imperfective verbs (total of 4 present perfect complex tenses):

    • one each formed with сум 'to be' + L-form of the verb (прочитал / читал)
    • one each formed with имам 'to have' + neuter adjective form of verb (прочитано / читано)

So in addition to the form above "Јаc сум ја прочитал книгата.", one could also say "Јас ја имам прочитано книгата." for "I read the book". I don't know enough about Macedonian to say what the difference in meaning might be between the sum-perfect and the imam-perfect. There is also a past perfect and a future perfect in Macedonian as well, so it does take a bit of work learning.

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