Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken by about three million people. There are some two million speakers in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and perhaps another million or so in other countries, especially in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, the USA, Australia and Canada. Macedonian is recognised as a minority language in Albania, Romania and Serbia, and is taught at university in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Russia, Serbia, the USA and the UK.

Macedonian has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Bulgarian, and to a lesser extent with Serbian.

The varieties of southern Slavic spoken in what is now the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) (Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија (ПЈРМ)) were codified as Macedonian in 1940 and became the official language of Socialist Republic of Macedonia (Социјалистичка Република Македонија) in 1945.

A modern standard written version of Macedonian appeared in 1945. Since then many literary works have been published in Macedonian. Literary Macedonian is based on the dialects of the West Central region.