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3.5.3. Dates

The general formula for expressing dates in Macedonian is:

day (ordinal masculine) month year (ordinal feminine) година English
петти јануари илјада деветстотини деведесет и деветта година January 5th, 1999
седумнаесетти август две илјади и прва година August 17th, 2001

For dates that include the masculine of the ordinals 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 31st, an "и" is added at the end (like before adding the definite article ending). For example:

    • први март, илјада осумстотини четириесет и прва година "March 1st, 1841"
    • втори септември, илјада седумстотини педесет и шеста година "September 2nd, 1756"
    • трети ноември, две илјади и деветта година "November 3rd, 2009"
    • дваесет и први декември, две илјади и петнаесетта година "December 21st, 2015"

When thinking about the literary and conversational forms, it is important to think not in opposites (literary vs. conversational) but in shades of formality. The ordinals of the teens (единаести, дванаести, тринаести etc.) are pretty common in conversation, whereas the twenties, thirties, etc. (дваеспрви, дваесвтори, дваестрети, триеспрви etc.) may not be as common across all the Macedonian dialects. Here is a table comparing some of the literary and conversational ordinal forms:

Cardinal Number Literary (Ordinal) Conversational (Ordinal)
1-10 први-десетти no change
11 единаесетти единаести
12 дванаесетти дванаести
13 тринаесетти тринаести
14 четиринаесетти четиринаести
15 петнаесетти петнаести
16 шеснаесетти шеснаести
17 седумнаесетти седумнаести
18 осумнаесетти осумнаести
19 деветнаесетти деветнаести
20 дваесетти дваести
21 дваесет и први дваеспрви
22 дваесет и втори дваесвтори
23 дваесет и трети дваестрети
30 триесетти триести

As you can notice, some of the conversational forms are one syllable shorter than their literary counterparts, so the stress will be on a different syllable. For example, for 11-20 and for 30, the conversational form will be stressed on the "a" before "ести", whereas in the literary forms, it will be on the "e" before "сетти." For 21-29, 31-39 etc., the stress will be the same between the two forms, on the first syllable of the last digit.

What next?

    • Think you got it? Use your knowledge of dates to talk about the seasons (click here).
    • Want to hear the vocabulary of these tutorials in the context of a Macedonian holiday? Try this audiocast: Celebrating May 1st. When you're done, don't forget to come back to the Learn portion of the website.


Click on the Macedonian word to hear its pronunciation.