Albanian language

Albanian language

Overview
Albanian is an Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 but also in other areas of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, southern Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and northwestern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Albanian is also spoken in centuries-old Albanian colonies in southern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and in southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. Additionally, speakers of Albanian can be found elsewhere throughout the latter two countries resulting from a modern diaspora, originating from the Balkans, that also includes Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

The Albanian language is a distinct Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 that does not belong to any other existing branch.
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Encyclopedia
Albanian is an Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 but also in other areas of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, southern Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and northwestern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. Albanian is also spoken in centuries-old Albanian colonies in southern Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and in southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. Additionally, speakers of Albanian can be found elsewhere throughout the latter two countries resulting from a modern diaspora, originating from the Balkans, that also includes Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Linguistic affinities


The Albanian language is a distinct Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 that does not belong to any other existing branch. Sharing lexical isogloss
Isogloss
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss —is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature...

es with Greek, Balto-Slavic
Balto-Slavic languages
The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

, and Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

, the word stock of Albanian is quite distinct. Once hastily grouped with Germanic and Balto-Slavic by the merger of PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 *ǒ and *ǎ into *ǎ in a supposed "northern group", Albanian has proven to be distinct from these two, as this vowel shift is only part of a larger push chain that affected all long vowels. Albanian does share with Balto-Slavic two features: (1) a lengthening of syllabic consonants before voiced obstruents and (2) a distinct treatment of long syllables ending in a sonorant. Conservative features of Albanian include the retention of the distinction between active and middle voice, present tense and aorist
Aorist
Aorist is a philological term originally from Indo-European studies, referring to verb forms of various languages that are not necessarily related or similar in meaning...

.

Albanian is considered to have evolved from an extinct Paleo-Balkan language, usually taken to be either Illyrian
Illyrian languages
The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulanti...

 or Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

. See also Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian refers to a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund, or as a shorthand way of saying that it is not...

 and Messapian language
Messapian language
Messapian is an extinct Indo-European language of South-eastern Italy, once spoken in the region of Apulia. It was spoken by the three Iapygian tribes of the region: the Messapians, the Dauni and the Peucetii....

.

Linguistic influences


The earliest loanwords attested in Albanian are from Doric Greek
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

 while the heaviest influence was that of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

. The period during which Proto-Albanian and Latin interacted was protracted and drawn out roughly from 2nd century BC to 5th century AD. This is born out into roughly three layers of borrowings, the largest number belonging to the second layer. The first, with the fewest borrowings, was a time of less important interaction. The final period, probably preceding the Slavic or Germanic invasions, also has a notably smaller amount of borrowings. Each layer is characterized by a different treatment of most vowels, the first layer having several that follow the evolution of Early Proto-Albanian into Albanian; later layers reflect vowel changes endemic to Late Latin and presumably Proto-Romance. Other formative changes include the syncretism of several noun case endings, especially in the plural, as well as a large scale palatalization.

A brief period followed, between 7th c. AD and 9th c. AD, that was marked by heavy borrowings from Southern Slavic, some of which predate the "o-a" shift common to the modern forms of this language group. Starting in the latter 9th c. AD, there was a period characterized by protracted contact with the Proto-Romanians, or Vlachs, though lexical borrowing seems to have been mostly one sided—from Albanian into Romanian. Such borrowing indicates that the Romanians migrated from an area where the majority was Slavic (i.e. Middle Bulgarian) to an area with a majority of Albanian speakers, i.e. Dardania, where Vlachs are recorded in the 10th c. AD. Their movement is probably related to the expansion of the Bulgarian empire into Albania around that time. This fact places the Albanians in the western or central Balkans at a rather early date.

According to the central hypothesis of a project undertaken by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Old Albanian had a significant influence on the development of many Balkan languages. Intensive research now aims to confirm this theory. Albanian is being researched using all available texts before a comparison with other Balkan languages is carried out. The outcome of this work will include the compilation of a lexicon providing an overview of all Old Albanian verbs.

Latin element of the Albanian language


Jernej Kopitar
Jernej Kopitar
Jernej Bartol Kopitar was a Slovene linguist and philologist working in Vienna. He also worked as the Imperial censor for Slovene literature in Vienna...

 (1829) was the first to note Latin's influence on Albanian and claimed "the Latin loanwords in the Albanian language had the pronunciation of the time of Emperor Augustus". Kopitar gave examples such as Albanian "qiqer" from Latin cicer, "qytet" from civitas, "peshk" from piscis, and "shëngjetë" from sagitta. The hard pronunciations of Latin ⟨c⟩ and ⟨g⟩ are retained as palatal and velar stops in the Albanian loanwords. Gustav Meyer (1888) and Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke
Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke
Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke was a Swiss philologist of the Neogrammarian school of linguistics.Born in Dübendorf, he performed several comparative studies of the Romance languages...

 (1914) later corroborated this.

Eqrem Çabej
Eqrem Çabej
Eqrem Çabej was an Albanian historical linguist and scholar who, through the publication of numerous studies gained a reputation as a key expert in the research into Albanian-language, literature, ethnology and linguistics....

 also noticed, among other things, the archaic Latin elements in Albanian:
  1. Latin /au/ becomes Albanian /a/ in the earliest borrowings: aurum → "ar", gaudium → "gas", laurus → "lar". But Latin /au/ is retained in later borrowings: causa → "kafshë", laud → "lavd".
  2. Latin /ō/ becomes Albanian /e/ in the oldest Latin borrowings: pōmum → "pemë", hōra → "herë". An analogous mutation occurred from Proto-Indo-European to Albanian; PIE *nōs became Albanian "ne", PIE *ōkt- became Albanian "tetë" etc.
  3. Latin unstressed internal syllables become lost in Albanian: cubitus → "kut", medicus → "mjek", padul → "pyll". An analogous mutation occurred from Proto-Indo-European to Albanian. In contrast, in later Latin borrowings, the internal syllable is retained: paganus → "i pëganë"/"i pëgërë", plaga → "plagë" etc.
  4. Latin /tj/, /dj/, /kj/ palatalized to Albanian /s/, /z/, /c/: vitius → "ves", ratio → "(a)rësye", radius → "rreze", facies → "faqe", socius → "shoq" etc.


Haralambie Mihăescu demonstrated that
  • some 85 Latin words have survived in Albanian but not in any Romance language. A few examples include bubulcus → bujk, hibernalia → mërrajë, sarcinarius → shelqëror , trifurcus → tërfurk, accipiter → qift, *musconea → mushkonjë, chersydrus → kulshedër, spleneticum → shpnetkë/shpretkë, solanum → shullг/shullë.
  • 151 Albanian words of Latin origin cannot be found in Romanian. A few examples include Albanian mik from Latin amicus, anmik or armik from inimicus, bekoj from benedicere, qelq from calix (calicis), kështjellë from castellum, qind from centum, gjel from gallus, gjymtyrë from iunctЇra, mjek from medicus, rjetë or rrjetë from rete, shërbej from servire, shpërej or shpresoj from sperare, vullnet from voluntas (voluntatis).
  • some Albanian church terminology have phonetic features which demonstrate their very early borrowing from Latin. A few examples include Albanian lterll from Latin altare, engjëll from angelus, bekoj from benedicere, i krishtenë or i krishterë from christianus, kryq from crux (crucis), klishë or kishë from ecclesia, ipeshkv from episcopus, ungjill from evangelium, mallkoj from maledicere, meshë from missa, munëg or murg from monacus, i pëganë or i pëgërë from paganus.


Other authors have detected Latin loanwords in Albanian with an ancient sound pattern from the first century B.C., for example, Albanian qingëlë from Latin cingula and Albanian vjetër from Latin vetus/veteris. The Romance languages inherited these words from Vulgar Latin: Vulgar *cingla became N. Romanian chinga meaning 'belly band, saddle girth' and Vulgar veteran became N. Romanian batrân meaning 'old'.


Historical presence and location



The origin of the Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 has been for some time a matter of dispute among historians. Most of them conclude that they are descendants of populations of the prehistoric Balkans
Prehistoric Balkans
The prehistory of Southeastern Europe , defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkans peninsula covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the...

, such as the Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

, Dacians
Dacians
The Dacians were an Indo-European people, very close or part of the Thracians. Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of Dacia...

 or Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

. Little is known about these peoples, and they blended into one another in Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian refers to a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund, or as a shorthand way of saying that it is not...

 and Daco-Thracian contact zones even in antiquity.

The place where the Albanian language was formed is uncertain, but analysis has suggested that it was in a mountainous region, rather than in a plain or seacoast: while the words for plants and animals characteristic of mountainous regions are entirely original, the names for fish and for agricultural activities (such as plough
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

ing) are borrowed from other languages.

Historical considerations


The center of Albanian settlement remained the Mat River
Mat River
The Mat is a river in northern Albania. Its source is near Martanesh, in the Bulqizë District. It flows west towards the Mat District, which takes it name from the river, and northwest through the towns Klos and Burrel. About downstream from Burrel it flows into a large reservoir...

. In 1079 AD they are recorded farther south in the valley of the Shkumbin
Shkumbin
Shkumbin is a river in central Albania, flowing into the Adriatic Sea. It is considered the dividing line for the two dialects of the Albanian language: Tosk and Gheg ....

 river. The Shkumbin, a seasonal stream that lay near the old Via Egnatia
Via Egnatia
The Via Egnatia was a road constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. It crossed the Roman provinces of Illyricum, Macedonia, and Thrace, running through territory that is now part of modern Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, and European Turkey.Starting at Dyrrachium on the...

, is approximately the boundary of the primary dialect division for Albanian, Tosk-Gheg. The characteristics of Tosk and Geg in the treatment of the native and loanwords from other languages are evidence that the dialectal split preceded the Slavic migration to the Balkans which means that in that period (5th to 6th century AD) Albanians were occupying pretty much the same area around Shkumbin river, which straddled the Jirecek line.

References to the existence of Albanian as a distinct language survive from the 14th century, but they failed to cite specific words. The oldest surviving documents written in Albanian are the "Formula e Pagëzimit" (Baptismal formula), "Un'te paghesont' pr'emenit t'Atit e t'Birit e t'Spertit Senit." (I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit) recorded by Pal Engjelli, Bishop of Durrës in 1462 in the Gheg dialect, and some New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 verses from that period.

The oldest known Albanian printed book, Meshari
Meshari
Meshari is the first book written and published in Albanian. The book was written by Gjon Buzuku, a Catholic cleric in 1555. The book contains 188 pages and is written in two columns. Meshari is the translation of the main parts of the Catholic Liturgy into Albanian...

 or missal, was written in 1555 by Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku was an Albanian Catholic clergyman who wrote the first known printed book in Albanian.Gjon Buzuku was born in the village of Ljare in the Bar district, close to Northern Albania , then Ottoman Empire. He probably lived in or near Venice, Italy...

, a Roman Catholic cleric. In 1635, Frang Bardhi
Frang Bardhi
Frang Bardhi was an Albanian bishop and author of the early eras of Albanian literature.-Life:He was born in Kallmet or Nënshat in the northern Albanian Zadrima region near Lezhë...

 wrote the first Latin-Albanian dictionary. The first Albanian school is believed to have been opened by Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s in 1638 in Pdhanë.

Script


The Albanian language has been written using many different alphabets since the earliest records from the 15th century. The history of Albanian language orthography is closely related to the cultural orientation and knowledge of certain foreign languages among Albanian writers. The earliest written Albanian records come from the Gheg area in makeshift spellings based on Italian or Greek and sometimes in Turko-Arabic characters. Originally, the Tosk dialect was written in the Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 and the Gheg dialect was written in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

. Both dialects had also been written in the Ottoman Turkish
Ottoman Turkish language
The Ottoman Turkish language or Ottoman language is the variety of the Turkish language that was used for administrative and literary purposes in the Ottoman Empire. It borrows extensively from Arabic and Persian, and was written in a variant of the Perso-Arabic script...

 version of the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

, the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

, and some local alphabets. More specifically, the writers from Northern Albania and under the influence of the Catholic Church used Latin letters, those in southern Albania and under the influence of the Greek Orthodox church used Greek letters, while others throughout Albania and under the influence of Islam used Arabic letters. There were initial attempts to create an original Albanian alphabet during the 1750-1850 period. These attempts intensified after the League of Prizren
League of Prizren
The League for the Defense of the Rights of the Albanian Nation commonly known as the League of Prizren was an Albanian political organization founded on 10 June 1878 in Prizren, in the Kosovo province of the Ottoman Empire....

 and culminated with the Congress of Monastir held by Albanian intellectuals from 14 to 22 November 1908, in Monastir (present day Bitola
Bitola
Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is an administrative, cultural, industrial, commercial, and educational centre. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba and Nidže mountains, 14 km north of the...

), which decided the alphabet and standardized spelling for standard Albanian down to the present. The alphabet is the Latin alphabet with the addition of the letters ë, ç, and nine digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

s.

Literary tradition


A 1332 document written in Latin by a monk, variously identified as either Guillaume Adam
Guillaume Adam
Bishop Guillaume Adam, O.P. was a missionary, writer and French Catholic archbishop.-Life:Adam served as the Papal missionary in Persia from 1314 to 1317, one of six Dominicans sent by Pope John XXII to Persia...

 (Archbishop
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Montenegro. It is centred in the city of Bar . It was erected as a diocese in the 9th century and elevated to an archdiocese in 1089...

 of Antivari
Bar, Montenegro
Bar is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has a population of 17,727...

 in the Principality of Serbia from 1324 to 1341), or Brocardus Monacus (Frère Brochard), testifies to the existence of written Albanian prior to the earliest records so far discovered.

Earliest undisputed texts


The earliest known texts in Albanian:
  • the "Formula e pagëzimit
    Formula e pagëzimit
    The Formula e pagëzimit is the first written document in Albanian retrieved. The sentence in Albanian is Un'te paghesont' pr'emenit t'Atit e t'Birit e t'Spirit Senit. and was contained in a pastoral letter written in Latin by Pal Engjëlli...

    " (baptismal formula), which dates back to 1462 and was authored by Pal Engjëlli
    Pal Engjëlli
    Pal Engjëlli was an Albanian Catholic clergyman, Archbishop of Durrës and Cardinal of Albania who in 1462 wrote the first known sentence retrieved so far in Albanian. Pal Engjëlli is reported to have been a friend, co-worker and close counselor of Skanderbeg. As his envoy, he frequently traveled...

     (or Paulus Angelus) (ca. 1417–1470), Archbishop of Durrës
    Durrës
    Durrës is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically important cities of Albania. Durres is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari...

    . Engjëlli was a close friend and counselor of Skanderbeg
    Skanderbeg
    George Kastrioti Skanderbeg or Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu , widely known as Skanderbeg , was a 15th-century Albanian lord. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440...

    . It was written in a pastoral letter for a synod at the Holy Trinity in Mat and read in Latin characters as follows, Unte paghesont premenit Atit et birit et spertit senit ("I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost"). It was discovered and published in 1915 by Nicolae Iorga
    Nicolae Iorga
    Nicolae Iorga was a Romanian historian, politician, literary critic, memoirist, poet and playwright. Co-founder of the Democratic Nationalist Party , he served as a member of Parliament, President of the Deputies' Assembly and Senate, cabinet minister and briefly as Prime Minister...

    .
  • the Fjalori i Arnold von Harfit (Arnold Ritter von Harff's lexicon
    Arnold Ritter von Harff's lexicon
    The Arnold Ritter von Harff's lexicon is the second most ancient Albanian language document ever retrieved after the Formula e pagëzimi. The lexicon was written by Arnold Ritter von Harff, a German traveler, who in 1496 was spending some hours in the port of Durrës and transcribed some words of the...

    ), which dates 1496.
  • a song recorded on a piece of paper in the Greek alphabet which was retrieved from an old Codex
    Codex
    A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

     that was written in Greek. The document is also called , (The song of the Easter Gospel, or The song of the Saint Matthew's Gospel). Although the codex is dated during the 14th century, the song, written in Albanian by an anonymous writer, seems to be a 16th-century writing. The document was found by Arbëreshë
    Arbëreshë
    The Arbëreshë are a linguistic and ethnic Albanian minority community living in southern Italy, especially the regions of Apulia, Basilicata, Molise, Calabria and Sicily...

     people who had emigrated to Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

     in the 15th century.


The first book in Albanian is the Meshari
Meshari
Meshari is the first book written and published in Albanian. The book was written by Gjon Buzuku, a Catholic cleric in 1555. The book contains 188 pages and is written in two columns. Meshari is the translation of the main parts of the Catholic Liturgy into Albanian...

 (The Missal), written by Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku was an Albanian Catholic clergyman who wrote the first known printed book in Albanian.Gjon Buzuku was born in the village of Ljare in the Bar district, close to Northern Albania , then Ottoman Empire. He probably lived in or near Venice, Italy...

 between 20 March 1554 to 5 January 1555. The book was written in the Gheg dialect in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 with some Slavic letters adapted for Albanian vowels. The book was discovered in 1740 by Gjon Nikollë Kazazi, the Albanian archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 of Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

. It contains the liturgies of the main holiday
Holiday
A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observance is warranted. It is generally an official or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations...

s. There are also texts of prayers and rituals and catechetical
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 texts. The grammar and the vocabulary are more archaic than those in the Gheg texts from the 17th century. The 188 pages of the book comprise about 154,000 words with a total vocabulary of ca. 1,500 different words. The text is archaic yet easily interpreted because it is mainly a translation of known texts, in particular portions of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. The book also contains passages from the Psalms, the Book of Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

, the Book of Jeremiah
Book of Jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve....

, the Letters to the Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

, and many illustrations. The uniformity of spelling seems to indicate an earlier tradition of writing. The only known copy of the Meshari is held by the Apostolic Library
Vatican Library
The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from...

. In 1968 the book was published with transliterations and comments by linguists.

Disputed earlier text


In 1967 two scholars claimed to have found a brief text in Albanian inserted into the Bellifortis
Bellifortis
Bellifortis is the first fully illustrated manual of military technology, dating from the start of the 15th century...

 text, a book written in Latin dating to 1402-1405.
Dr. Robert Elsie
Robert Elsie
Robert Elsie is a scholar who specializes in Albanian literature and folklore.- Life :Born on June 29, 1950 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Elsie studied at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1972 with a diploma in Classical Studies and Linguistics...

, a specialist in Albanian studies, considers that "The Todericiu/Polena Romanian translation of the non-Latin lines, although it may offer some clues if the text is indeed Albanian, is fanciful and based, among other things, on a false reading of the manuscript, including the exclusion of a whole line

Ottoman period


In 1635 Frang Bardhi
Frang Bardhi
Frang Bardhi was an Albanian bishop and author of the early eras of Albanian literature.-Life:He was born in Kallmet or Nënshat in the northern Albanian Zadrima region near Lezhë...

 (1606–1643) published in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 his Dictionarum latinum-epiroticum, the first known Latin-Albanian dictionary. Other scholars who studied the language during the 17th century include Andrea Bogdani
Andrea Bogdani
Andrea Bogdani also known as Ndre Bogdani was an Albanian scholar and prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.Andrea Bogdani was born in the beginning of the 17th century near Prizren, Kosovo. From 1656 to 1677, when he resigned he served as Archbishop of Skopje, while from 1675 to 1677 he also...

 (1600–1685), author of the first Latin-Albanian grammar book, Nilo Katalanos (1637–1694) and others.

Standard Albanian


Standard Albanian is based on the Tosk
Tosk Albanian
Tosk is the southern dialect of the Albanian language. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.- Tosks :...

 dialect. Prior to World War II, dictionaries consulted by developers of the standard have included Lexikon tis Alvanikis glossis (Albanian: Fjalori i Gjuhës Shqipe (Kostandin Kristoforidhi
Kostandin Kristoforidhi
-Additional readings:*])]*])]*])]*. In: Besa. Nr. 193, Jg. 2007. S. 2–7....

, 1904), Fjalori i Bashkimit (1908), Gazulli (1941). After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 standardization was directed by the Institute of Albanian Language and Literature of the Academy of Sciences of Albania
Academy of Sciences of Albania
The Academy of Sciences of Albania , founded in 1972, is the most important scientific institution in Albania. The institution includes the most distinguished scientists, also called "academics", that are involved in research centers and other organisms inside and outside Albania...

. Two dictionaries were published in 1954, an Albanian language dictionary and a Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

–Albanian dictionary. New orthography rules were eventually published in 1967 and 1973 (Drejtshkrimi i gjuhës shqipe (Orthography of the Albanian Language). More recent dictionaries from the Albanian government are Fjalori drejtshkrimor i gjuhës shqipe (1976) (Orthographic Dictionary of the Albanian Language) and Dictionary of Today's Albanian language (1980) (Albanian: Fjalori i sotëm i gjuhës shqipe).

Classification


Albanian was demonstrated to be an Indo-European language in 1854 by the philologist
Comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness....

 Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp
Franz Bopp was a German linguist known for extensive comparative work on Indo-European languages.-Biography:...

. The Albanian language constitutes its own branch of the Indo-European language family.

Albanian was formerly compared by some Indo-Europeanists with Balto-Slavic and Germanic, both of which share a number of isogloss
Isogloss
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss —is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature...

es with Albanian. Moreover, Albanian has undergone a vowel shift in which stressed, long o has fallen to a, much like in the former and opposite the latter. Likewise, Albanian has taken the old relative jos and innovatively used it exclusively to qualify adjectives, much in the way Balto-Slavic has used this word to provide the definite ending of adjectives. Other linguists link Albanian with Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

, while placing Germanic and Balto-Slavic in another branch of Indo-European. Nakhleh, Ringe, and Warnow argued that Albanian can be placed at a variety of points within the Indo-European tree with equally good fit; determining its correct placement is hampered by the loss of much of its former diagnostic inflectional morphology and vocabulary.

Origin


Albanian is often seen as the descendant of Illyrian, although this hypothesis has been challenged by some linguists, who maintain that it derives from Dacian
Dacian language
The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...

 or Thracian
Thracian language
The Thracian language was the Indo-European language spoken in ancient times in Southeastern Europe by the Thracians, the northern neighbors of the Ancient Greeks. The Thracian language exhibits satemization: it either belonged to the Satem group of Indo-European languages or it was strongly...

. (Illyrian, Dacian, and Thracian, however, may have formed a subgroup or a sprachbund
Sprachbund
A Sprachbund – also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related...

; see Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian
Thraco-Illyrian refers to a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund, or as a shorthand way of saying that it is not...

).

(Old) Albanian


According to the central hypothesis of a project undertaken by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Old Albanian had a significant influence on the development of many Balkan languages. Intensive research now aims to confirm this theory. This little-known language is being researched using all available texts before a comparison with other Balkan languages is carried out. The outcome of this work will include the compilation of a lexicon providing an overview of all Old Albanian verbs.

Proto-IE features


The demonstrative pronoun *ko is ancestral to Albanian ky/kjo and English he.
Albanian and other Indo-European languages
Albanian muaj ri nënë motër natë hundë tre zi kuq gjelbërt verdhë ujk
Other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 
month new mother sister night nose three black red green yellow wolf
Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

 
mėnesis naujas motina sesuo naktis nosis trys juodas raudonas žalias geltonas vilkas
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 
měsęcь novъ mati sestra noštь nosъ tri(je) črъnъ črъvenъ zelenъ žьltъ vlьkъ
Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 
měsíc nový matka sestra noc nos tři černý červený zelený žlutý vlk
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 
μήν
mḗn
νέος
néos
μήτηρ
mḗter
ἀδελφή
adelphḗ
νύξ
nýks
ῥίς
rhís
τρεῖς
treîs
μέλας
mélas
ἐρυθρός
erythrós
χλωρός
khlōrós
ξανθός
ksanthós
λύκος
lýkos
Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 
ամիս
amis
նոր
nor
մայր
mayr
քույր
k'uyr
գիշեր
gišer
քիթ
k'it
երեք
yerek'
սեւ
sev
կարմիր
karmir
կանաչ
kanač
դեղին
deġin
գայլ
gayl
Latin  mēnsis novus māter soror nox nāsus trēs āter, ruber viridis flāvus lupus
Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 
nuadh máthair siúr oidhche srón trí dubh ruadh glas buidhe faolchú
Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 
māsa nava mātṛ svasṛ nakta/nish nasa tri kāla rudhira hari pīta vṛka

Albanian-PIE phonological correspondences


Phonologically Albanian is not so conservative. Like many IE stocks it has merged the two series of voiced stops (e.g. both *d and *dh became d). In addition the voiced stops tend to disappear when between vowels. There is almost complete loss of final syllables and very widespread loss of other unstressed syllables (e.g. mik "friend" from Lat. amicus). PIE *a and *o appear as a (further e if a high front vowel *i follows) while *ē and *ā become o, and PIE *ō appears as e. The palatals, velars and labiovelars all remain distinct before front vowels, a conservation found otherwise in Luvian and related Anatolian languages. Thus PIE *ḱ, *k and *kʷ become th, q and s respectively (before back vowels *ḱ becomes th while *k and *kʷ merge as k). Another remarkable retention is the preservation of initial *h4 as Alb. h (all other laryngeals disappear completely).
Proto-Indo-European Labial Stops in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*p p *pékʷe/o—"cook" pjek "to cook, roast, bake"
*b b *sorbéi̯e/o—"drink, slurp" gjerb "to drink"
*bh b *bhaḱeha—"bean" bathë "bean"

Proto-Indo-European Coronal Stops in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*t t *tuhx—"thou" ti "you (singular)"
*d d *dihxtis—"light" ditë "day"
dhBetween vowels or after r *pérde/o—"fart" pjerdh "to fart"
g *dlh1gho—"long" gjatë "long" (Tosk dial. glatë)
*dh d *dhégʷhe/o—"burn" djeg "to burn"
dh *ghórdhos—"enclosure" gardh "fence"



Proto-Indo-European Palatal Stops in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*ḱ th *ḱéh1mi—"I say" thom "I say"
sBefore u̯/u or i̯/i *ḱuk—"horn" sutë "doe"
kBefore sonorant
Sonorant
In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract; fricatives and plosives are not sonorants. Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like and . Other consonants, like or , restrict the airflow enough to cause turbulence, and...

*ḱreh2u—"limb" krah "arm"
ç/cArchaic relic *ḱentro—"to stick" çandër "prop"
dh *ǵómbhos—"tooth, peg" dhëmb "tooth"
dSyllable-initial and followed by sibilant *ǵēusnō—"to enjoy" dua "to love, want"
*ǵh dh *ĝhedi̯e/o—"to defecate" dhjes "to defecate"
d *ĝhr̥sdhi—"grain, barley" drithë "grain"



Proto-Indo-European Velar Stops in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*k k *kághmi—"I catch, grasp" kam "I have"
q *klau-ei̯e/o—"to weep" qaj "to weep, cry" (Gheg qanj, Salamis kla)
*g g *h3lígos—"sick" ligë "bad"
gj *h1reug—"to retch" regj "to tan hides"
*gh g *ghórdhos—"enclosure" gardh "fence"
gj *ghédni̯e/o—"get" gjej "to find" (Gheg gjêj)

Proto-Indo-European Labialized Velar Stops in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*kʷ k *kʷehasleha—"cough" kollë "cough"
s *kʷéle/o—"turn" sjell "to fetch, bring"
q *kʷṓd—"that" që "that"
*gʷ g *gʷr̥—"stone" gur "stone"
z *gʷērhxu—"heaviness" zor "heaviness; trouble"
*gʷh g *dhégʷhe/o—"to burn" djeg "to burn"
z *h1en-dhogʷhéi̯e/o—"to ignite" ndez "to kindle, turn on"

Proto-Indo-European *s in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*s gjInitial *séḱstis—"six" gjashtë "six"
hBetween vowels *nosōm—"us" (gen.) nahe "us" (dat.)
shBetween vowels and after u̯/i̯/r/k (ruki
Ruki sound law
Ruki refers to a sound change in Balto-Slavic, Albanian, Armenian, and Indo-Iranian, wherein an original phoneme changed into after the consonants , , and the semi-vowels , , or:...

 law)
*bhreusinos—"break" breshër "hail"
thCluster -sd- *gʷésdos—"leaf" gjeth "leaf"
hCluster -sḱ- *sḱi-eh2—"shadow" hije "shadow"
fCluster -sp- *spélnom—"speech" fjalë "word"
shtCluster -st- *h2osti "bone" asht "bone"
thDissimilation with following vowel *suh1s—"swine" thi "boar"
*h1ésmi—"am" jam "to be"



Proto-Indo-European Sonorant Consonants in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*i̯ gjBefore i, e, a *i̯ése/o—"to ferment" gjesh "to knead"
jBefore back vowels *i̯uhxs—"you" (nom.) ju "you (plural)"
After front vowels *bhéri̯ō—"bear, carry" bie(r) "to bring"
hAfter all other vowels *strehai̯eha—"straw" strohë "kennel"
*u̯ v *u̯oséi̯e/o—"to dress" vesh "to wear, dress"
*m m *mehatr-eha—"maternal" motër "sister"
*n n *nos—"we" ne "we"
nj *eni-h₁ói-no—"that one" një "one" (Gheg njâ, njo)
*pénkʷe—"five" pesë, Gheg pês "five"
r *ǵheimen—"winter" dimër "winter" (Gheg dimën)
*l l *h3lígos—"sick" ligë "bad"
ll *kʷéle/o—"turn" sjell "to fetch, bring"
*r r *repe/o—"take" rjep "peel"
rr *u̯rēn—"sheep" rrunzë "female lamb"
*n̥ e *h1n̥men—"name" emër "name"
*m̥ e *u̯iḱm̥ti—"twenty" (një)zet "twenty"
*l̥ uj *u̯l̥kʷos—"wolf" ujk "wolf" (Chamian ulk)
*r̥ ri, ir *ǵhr̥sdom—"grain, barley" drithë "grain"



Proto-Indo-European Laryngeals in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*h1 *h1ésmi—"am" jam "to be"
*h2 *h2r̥tḱos—"bear" ari "bear"
*h3 *h3ónr̥—"dream" ëndërr "dream"
*h4 h *h4órǵhii̯eha—"testicle" herdhe "testicle"

Proto-Indo-European Vowels in Albanian
PIE Albanian PIE Albanian
*i i *sinos—"bosom" gji "bosom, breast"
e *du̯igheha—"twig" degë "branch"
i *dīhxtis—"light" ditë "day"
*e e *pénkʷe—"five" pesë "five" (Gheg pês)
je *u̯étos—"year" (loc.) vjet "last year"
o *ǵhēsr—"hand" dorë "hand"
*a a *bhaḱeha- "bean" bathë "bean"
e *haélbhit—"barley" elb "barley"
*o a *ghórdhos—"enclosure" gardh "fence"
e *h2oḱtōtis—"eight" tetë "eight"
*u u *supnos—"sleep" gjumë "sleep"
y *suhxsos—"grandfather" gjysh "grandfather"
i *mūs—"mouse" mi "mouse"

Geographic distribution


Albanian is spoken by nearly 7.6 million people mainly in Albania
Demographics of Albania
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Albania, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.-Ethnic groups:...

, Kosovo
Albanians in Kosovo
Albanians are the largest ethnic group in Kosovo . According to the 1991 Serbian census, boycotted by Albanians, there were 1,596,072 ethnic Albanians in Kosovo or 81.6% of population...

, Turkey, the Republic of Macedonia
Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia
Albanians are the largest ethnic minority in the Republic of Macedonia. Of the 2,022,547 citizens of Macedonia, 509,083, or 25%, are Albanian according to the latest national census in 2002. The Albanian minority lives mostly in the north-western part of the country...

, Greece
Albanian communities in Greece
Albanians in Greece are divided into distinct communities as a result of different waves of migration. Albanians first migrated into Greece during late Middle Ages . The descendants of populations of Albanian origin who settled in Greece during the Middle Ages are the Arvanites, who have been fully...

 and Italy (Arbereshe
Arbëreshë
The Arbëreshë are a linguistic and ethnic Albanian minority community living in southern Italy, especially the regions of Apulia, Basilicata, Molise, Calabria and Sicily...

); and by immigrant communities
Albanian diaspora
The Albanian diaspora encompasses Albanians outside of Albania and Kosovo.The greatest concentrations are found in Turkey, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy...

 in many other countries, notably the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Standard


Standard Albanian, based on the Tosk
Tosk Albanian
Tosk is the southern dialect of the Albanian language. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.- Tosks :...

 dialect of southern Albania, is the official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 and Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

; and is also official in municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia where ethnic Albanians form more than 20% of the municipal population. It is also an official language of Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

, where it is spoken in the municipalities with ethnic Albanian populations.

Dialects


Albanian is divided into three major dialects: Gheg, Tosk, and a transitional dialect zone between them.
The Shkumbin
Shkumbin
Shkumbin is a river in central Albania, flowing into the Adriatic Sea. It is considered the dividing line for the two dialects of the Albanian language: Tosk and Gheg ....

 river is roughly the dividing line, with Gheg spoken north of the Shkumbin and Tosk south of it.

Phonology


Standard Albanian has 7 vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s and 29 consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

s. Gheg
Gheg Albanian
Gheg is one of the two major varieties of Albanian. The other one is Tosk, on which standard Albanian is based. The dividing line between these two varieties is the Shkumbin River, which winds its way through central Albania....

 uses long and nasal vowel
Nasal vowel
A nasal vowel is a vowel that is produced with a lowering of the velum so that air escapes both through nose as well as the mouth. By contrast, oral vowels are ordinary vowels without this nasalisation...

s which are absent in Tosk
Tosk Albanian
Tosk is the southern dialect of the Albanian language. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.- Tosks :...

, and the mid-central vowel ë is lost at the end of the word. The stress is fixed mainly on the penultimate syllable. Gheg n (femën: compare English feminine) changes to r by rhotacism in Tosk (femër).

Consonants

  Bilabial
Bilabial consonant
In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Labio-
dental
Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Dental
Interdental consonant
Interdental consonants are produced by placing the blade of the tongue against the upper incisors...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Post-
alveolar
Postalveolar consonant
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

m     n   ɲ ŋ  
Plosive p  b     t  d   c  ɟ k  ɡ  
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

      ts  dz tʃ  dʒ      
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

  f  v θ  ð s  z ʃ  ʒ     h
Trill
Trill consonant
In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation. Standard Spanish <rr> as in perro is an alveolar trill, while in Parisian French it is almost always uvular....

      r        
Flap
Flap consonant
In phonetics, a flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, which is produced with a single contraction of the muscles so that one articulator is thrown against another.-Contrast with stops and trills:...

      ɾ        
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

      l  ɫ   j    

IPA  Description Written as Pronounced as in
p Voiceless bilabial plosive
Voiceless bilabial plosive
The voiceless bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p...

 
p en
b Voiced bilabial plosive
Voiced bilabial plosive
The voiced bilabial plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is b. The voiced bilabial plosive occurs in English, and it is the sound denoted by the...

 
b at
t Voiceless alveolar plosive
Voiceless alveolar plosive
The voiceless alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiceless dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is t...

 
t an
d Voiced alveolar plosive
Voiced alveolar plosive
The voiced alveolar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar plosives is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is d.-Features:Features of the voiced...

 
d ebt
c Voiceless palatal plosive
Voiceless palatal plosive
The voiceless palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is c....

 
q ute
ɟ Voiced palatal plosive
Voiced palatal plosive
The voiced palatal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨⟩, a barred dotless ⟨j⟩ , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J\.The sound does not exist as a phoneme in English, but is...

 
gj leume
k Voiceless velar plosive
Voiceless velar plosive
The voiceless velar stop or voiceless velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is k....

 
k ar
ɡ Voiced velar plosive
Voiced velar plosive
The voiced velar plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is g. Strictly, the IPA symbol is the so-called "opentail G" , though the "looptail G" is...

 
g o
ts Voiceless alveolar affricate
Voiceless alveolar affricate
The voiceless alveolar affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The sound is transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩ . The voiceless alveolar affricate occurs in such languages as German, Cantonese, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Mandarin...

 
c ha
dz Voiced alveolar affricate
Voiced alveolar affricate
The voiced alveolar affricate is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The sound is transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩ , and the equivalent X-SAMPA representation is ⟨dz⟩.-Features:...

 
x goo
Voiceless postalveolar affricate
Voiceless postalveolar affricate
The voiceless palato-alveolar affricate or domed postalveolar affricate is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The sound is transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨⟩ or ⟨⟩...

 
ç in
Voiced postalveolar affricate
Voiced postalveolar affricate
The voiced palato-alveolar affricate, also described as voiced domed postalveolar affricate, is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The sound is transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet with ⟨⟩ , and the equivalent X-SAMPA representation is ⟨dZ⟩...

 
xh et
θ Voiceless dental fricative
Voiceless dental fricative
The voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. It is familiar to English speakers as the 'th' in thing. Though rather rare as a phoneme in the world's inventory of languages, it is encountered in some of the most widespread and influential...

 
th in
ð Voiced dental fricative
Voiced dental fricative
The voiced dental non-sibilant fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound, eth, is . The symbol was taken from the Old English letter eth, which could stand for either a voiced or unvoiced...

 
dh en
f Voiceless labiodental fricative
Voiceless labiodental fricative
The voiceless labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is .-Features:Features of the voiceless labiodental fricative:...

 
f ar
v Voiced labiodental fricative
Voiced labiodental fricative
The voiced labiodental fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is v....

 
v an
s Voiceless alveolar fricative
Voiceless alveolar fricative
The voiceless alveolar sibilant is a common consonant sound in spoken languages. It is the sound in English words such as sea and pass, and is represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet as . It has a characteristic high-pitched, highly perceptible hissing sound...

 
s on
z Voiced alveolar fricative
Voiced alveolar fricative
The voiced alveolar fricatives are consonantal sounds. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents these sounds depends on whether a sibilant or non-sibilant fricative is being described....

 
z ip
ʃ Voiceless postalveolar fricative
Voiceless postalveolar fricative
The voiceless palato-alveolar fricative or voiceless domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages, including English...

 
sh ow
ʒ Voiced postalveolar fricative
Voiced postalveolar fricative
The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some...

 
zh viion
h Voiceless glottal fricative
Voiceless glottal fricative
The voiceless glottal transition, commonly called a "fricative", is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant...

 
h at
m Bilabial nasal
Bilabial nasal
The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m...

 
m an
n Alveolar nasal
Alveolar nasal
The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in numerous spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar nasals is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n....

 
n ot
ɲ Palatal nasal
Palatal nasal
The palatal nasal is a type of consonant, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , a lowercase letter n with a leftward-pointing tail protruding from the bottom of the left stem of the letter. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is J...

 
nj oon
ŋ Velar nasal
Velar nasal
The velar nasal is the sound of ng in English sing. It is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is N....

 
ng ba
j Palatal approximant
Palatal approximant
The palatal approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is '...

 
j es
l Alveolar lateral approximant
Alveolar lateral approximant
The alveolar lateral approximant, also known as clear l, is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.As a...

 
l ean
ɫ Velarized alveolar lateral approximant
Velarized alveolar lateral approximant
-See also:* Lateral consonant* Velarization* l-vocalization* Ł...

 
ll ba
r Alveolar trill
Alveolar trill
The alveolar trill is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar trills is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r. It is commonly called the rolled R, rolling R, or trilled R...

 
rr Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 peo
ɾ Alveolar tap
Alveolar tap
The alveolar flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar flaps is .-Definition:...

 
r Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 peo


Notes:
  • The palatal stops /c/ and /ɟ/ occur in English as allophones of /k/ and /ɡ/ before front vowels.
  • The palatal nasal /ɲ/ corresponds to the Spanish ñ and the French and Italian gn. It is pronounced as one sound, not a nasal plus a glide.
  • The ll sound is a velarised lateral, close to English dark L.
  • The contrast between flapped r and trilled rr is the same as in Spanish.
  • The letter ç is sometimes written ch due to technical limitations because of its use in English sound and its analogy to the other digraph
    Digraph (orthography)
    A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

    s xh, sh, and zh. Usually it is written simply c or more rarely q with context resolving any ambiguities.

Vowels

IPA  Description Written as Pronounced as in
i Close front unrounded vowel
Close front unrounded vowel
The close front unrounded vowel, or high front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ....

 
i sd
ɛ Open-mid front unrounded vowel  e bd
a Open front unrounded vowel  a fther, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 csa
ə Schwa
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

 
ë bout, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 d
ɔ Open-mid back rounded vowel  o l, tss
y Close front rounded vowel
Close front rounded vowel
The close front rounded vowel, or high front rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is y...

 
y French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 t, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 ber
u Close back rounded vowel
Close back rounded vowel
The close back rounded vowel, or high back rounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is u....

 
u bt

Schwa


Although the Indo-European schwa (*ə or *-h2-) was preserved in Albanian, in some cases it was lost possibly when a stressed syllable preceded it. Until the standardization of the modern Albanian alphabet
Albanian alphabet
The modern Albanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and consists of 36 letters:Note: The vowels are shown in bold. to the pronunciation of the letters.-History:...

, in which the schwa is spelled as <ë> as in the work of Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku
Gjon Buzuku was an Albanian Catholic clergyman who wrote the first known printed book in Albanian.Gjon Buzuku was born in the village of Ljare in the Bar district, close to Northern Albania , then Ottoman Empire. He probably lived in or near Venice, Italy...

 in the 16th century, various vowels and gliding vowels were employed including by Lekë Matrënga
Lekë Matrënga
Luca Matranga was an Arbëresh writer and priest from Sicily. He is regarded as one of the authors of the era of early Albanian literature.-Works:...

 and <é> by Pjetër Bogdani
Pjetër Bogdani
Pjetër Bogdani , known in Italian as Pietro Bogdano, is the most original writer of early literature in Albania. He is author of the Cuneus Prophetarum , 1685, the first prose work of substance written originally in Albanian Pjetër Bogdani (ca. 1630 - 1689), known in Italian as Pietro Bogdano, is...

 in the late 16th and early 17th century. The schwa in Albanian has a great degree of variability from extreme back to extreme front articulation. Within the borders of Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

 the phoneme is pronounced about the same in in both the Tosk and the Gheg dialect due to the influence of standard Albanian. But in the Gheg dialects spoken in the neighbouring Albanian-speaking areas of Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, the phoneme is still pronounced as back and rounded.

Grammar


Albanian has a canonical word order of SVO (subject–verb–object) like English and many other Indo-European languages. Albanian noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

s are inflected
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

 by gender
Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender is defined linguistically as a system of classes of nouns which trigger specific types of inflections in associated words, such as adjectives, verbs and others. For a system of noun classes to be a gender system, every noun must belong to one of the classes and there should be...

 (masculine, feminine and neuter) and number
Grammatical number
In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions ....

 (singular and plural). There are five declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

s with six cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative
Dative case
The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given, as in "George gave Jamie a drink"....

, ablative and vocative), although the vocative only occurs with a limited number of words. Some dialects also retain a locative case which is not in standard Albanian. The cases apply to both definite and indefinite nouns and there are numerous cases of syncretism
Syncretism (linguistics)
In linguistics, syncretism is the identity of form of distinct morphological forms of a word. This phenomenon is typical of fusional languages....

. The equivalent of a genitive is formed by using the prepositions i/e/të/së with the dative.

The following shows the declension of the masculine noun mal (mountain), a masculine noun which ends with "i":
Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative  një mal (a mountain) male (mountains) (the mountain) malet (the mountains)
Accusative  një mal male n malet
Genitive  i/e/të/së një i/e/të/së maleve i/e/të/së t i/e/të/së maleve
Dative  një maleve t maleve
Ablative  (prej) një (prej) malesh (prej) t (prej) maleve


The following shows the declension of the masculine noun zog (bird), a masculine noun which ends with "u":
Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative  një zog (a bird) zogj (birds) (the bird) zogjtë (the birds)
Accusative  një zog zogj n zogjtë
Genitive  një i/e/të/së i/e/të/së zogjve i/e/të/së t i/e/të/së zogjve
Dative  një zogjve t zogjve
Ablative  (prej) një (prej) zogjsh (prej) t (prej) zogjve


The following table shows the declension of the feminine noun vajzë (girl):
Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative  një vajzë (a girl) vajza (girls) vajza (the girl) vajzat (the girls)
Accusative  një vajzë vajza vajzën vajzat
Genitive  i/e/të/së një vajze i/e/të/së vajzave i/e/të/së vajzës i/e/të/së vajzave
Dative  një vajze vajzave vajzës vajzave
Ablative  (prej) një vajze (prej) vajzash (prej) vajzës (prej) vajzave


The definite article is placed after the noun as in many other Balkan languages
Balkan languages
This is a list of languages spoken in regions ruled by Balkan countries. With the exception of several Turkic languages, Hungarian, and Circassian, all of them belong to the Indo-European family...

, for example Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 and Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

.
  • The definite article can be in the form of noun suffixes, which vary with gender and case.
    • For example in singular nominative, masculine nouns add -i, or those ending in -g/-k/-h, take -u (to avoid palatalization):
      • mal (mountain) / (the mountain);
      • libër (book) / libri (the book);
      • zog (bird) / zogu (the bird).
    • Feminine nouns take the suffix -(j)a:
      • veturë (car) / vetura (the car);
      • shtëpi (house) / shtëpia (the house);
      • lule (flower) / lulja (the flower).
  • Neuter nouns take -t.


Albanian has developed an analytical verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

al structure in place of the earlier synthetic system, inherited from Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

. Its complex system of mood
Grammatical mood
In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying...

s (6 types) and tense
Grammatical tense
A tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:...

s (3 simple and 5 complex constructions) is distinctive among Balkan languages
Balkan languages
This is a list of languages spoken in regions ruled by Balkan countries. With the exception of several Turkic languages, Hungarian, and Circassian, all of them belong to the Indo-European family...

. There are two general types of conjugation
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

.

Albanian word order


In Albanian the constituent order is subject–verb–object and negation is expressed by the particles nuk or s in front of the verb, for example:
  • Toni nuk flet anglisht "Tony does not speak English" ;
  • Toni s'flet anglisht "Tony doesn't speak English" ;
  • Nuk e di "I do not know" ;
  • S'e di "I don't know".


However, the verb can optionally occur in sentence-initial position, especially with verbs in the non-active form (forma joveprore):
  • Parashikohet një ndërprerje "An interruption is anticipated".


In imperative sentences, the particle mos is used :
  • Mos harro "do not forget!".

  • SVO : Agimi i hëngri të gjithë portokallët.
  • SOV: Agimi të gjithë portokallët i hëngri.
  • OVS: Të gjithë portokallët i hëngri Agimi.
  • OSV: Të gjithë portokallët Agimi i hëngri.
  • VSO: I hëngri Agimi të gjithë portokallët.


Albanian verbs, like those of other Balkan languages, have an "admirative" mood (Albanian: mënyra habitore) which is used to indicate surprise on the part of the speaker, or to imply that an event is known to the speaker by report and not by direct observation. In some contexts, this mood can be translated by English "apparently".
  • Ti flet shqip. "You speak Albanian." (indicative)
  • Ti fliske shqip! "You (surprisingly) speak Albanian!" (admirative)
  • Rruga është e mbyllur. "The street is closed." (indicative)
  • Rruga qenka e mbyllur. "(Apparently,) The street is closed." (admirative)

Numerals

një—one dy—two
tre—three katër—four
pesë—five gjashtë—six
shtatë—seven tetë—eight
nëntë—nine dhjetë—ten
njëmbëdhjetë–eleven dymbëdhjetë—twelve
trembëdhjetë—thirteen katërmbëdhjetë—fourteen
pesëmbëdhjetë—fifteen gjashtëmbëdhjetë—sixteen
shtatëmbëdhjetë—seventeen tetëmbëdhjetë—eighteen
nëntëmbëdhjetë—nineteen njëzet—twenty
njëzetenjë–twenty-one njëzetedy—twenty-two
tridhjetë—thirty dyzet—forty
pesëdhjetë—fifty gjashtëdhjetë—sixty
shtatëdhjetë—seventy tetëdhjetë—eighty
nëntëdhjetë—ninety njëqind—one hundred
pesëqind—five hundred njëmijë—one thousand
një milion—one million një miliard—one billion

Cognates with Illyrian


  • mal, "mountain"; cf. Alb mal
  • bardi, "white"; cf. Alb bardhë
  • drenis, "deer"; cf. Alb dre, dreni
  • delme (sheep); cf. Alb dele (sheep)
  • dard, "pear"; cf. Alb dardhë
  • sīca, "dagger"; cf. Alb thikë or thika "knife"
  • delme (sheep); cf. Alb dele (sheep)
  • Ulc-, "wolf" (pln. Ulcinium); cf. Alb ujk "wolf":
  • brisa, "husk of grapes"; cf. Alb bërsí "lees, dregs; mash" (< PA *brutiā)
  • loúgeon, "pool"; cf. Alb lag, legen "to wet, soak, bathe, wash" (< PA *lauga), lëgatë "pool" (< PA *leugatâ), lakshte "dew" (< PA laugista)
  • mantía "bramblebush"; Old and dial. Alb mandë "berry, mulberry" (mod. Alb mën, man)
  • rhinos, "fog, mist"; cf. OAlb ren "cloud" (mod. Alb re, rê) (< PA *rina)

Early Greek loans


There are some 30 ancient-Greek loanwords in Albanian, of which some relate to north-western Doric Greek
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

, which point to contacts with Doric colonies in Albanian coast and inland. Early Greek loanwords borrowed into Albanian mainly denoted commodity items and trade goods.
  • mokër "millstone" < Doric Greek mākhaná "device, instrument"
  • mollë "apple" < Doric Greek mālon "device, instrument"
  • drapër "sickle" < Doric Greek drápanon
  • kumbull "plum" < Doric Greek kokkúmelon
  • brukë "Tamariske" < Doric Greek murikh
  • trumzë "thyme" < Doric Greek thýmbrā, thrýmbrē
  • lakër "cabbage, green vegetables" < Gk lákhanon "green; vegetable"
  • presh "leek" < Gk práson
  • bagëm "oil for anointment" < Gk báptisma "anointment"
  • lëpjetë "orach, dock" < Gk lápathon
  • bletë "hive; bee" < Greco-Latin < Gk (Attic) mélitta "honey-bee" (vs. Gk (Ionic) mélissa).
  • çiklamin "purple" < Ancient Greek
    Ancient Greek
    Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

     

Gothic loans


Some Gothic
Gothic language
Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a 6th-century copy of a 4th-century Bible translation, and is the only East Germanic language with a sizable Text corpus...

 loanwords were borrowed through Late Latin
Late Latin
Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of Late Antiquity. The English dictionary definition of Late Latin dates this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD extending in Spain to the 7th. This somewhat ambiguously defined period fits between Classical Latin and Medieval Latin...

, while others came from the Ostrogothic expansion into parts of Praevalitana around Nakšić and the Gulf of Kotor in Montenegro.
  • fat "groom, husband" < Goth brūþfaþs "bridegroom"
  • gomar "donkey, ass" < *margë < Goth *marh "horse"
  • horr "scoundrel", horrë "hussy, whore" < Goth hors "adulterer", *hora "whore"
  • petkë, petëk "clothes, garment", petk "herder's coat" < Goth paida; cf. OHG pfeit, OE pād
  • shkulkë "boundary marker for pastures made of branches" < Late Latin sculca < Goth skulka "guardian"
  • shkumë "foam" < Late Latin < Goth skūma
  • tirq "trousers" < Late Latin tubrucus < Goth *þiobrok "knee-britches"; cf. OHG dioh-bruoh, Eng thigh, breeches


The earliest accepted document in the Albanian language is from the 15th century AD.
The earliest reference to a Lingua Albanesca is from a 1285 document of Ragusa
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

. This is a time when Albanian Principalities start to be mentioned and expand inside and outside the Byzantine Empire. It is assumed that Greek and Balkan Latin (which was the ancestor of Romanian and other Balkan Romance languages), would exert a great influence on Albanian. Examples of words borrowed from Latin: qytet < civitas (city), qiell < caelum (sky), mik < amicus (friend).

After the Slavs arrived in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, the Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 became an additional source of loanwords. The rise of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 meant an influx of Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 words; this also entailed the borrowing of Persian and Arabic words through Turkish. Surprisingly the Persian words seem to have been absorbed the most. Some loanwords from Modern Greek also exist especially in the south of Albania. A lot of the borrowed words have been resubstituted from Albanian rooted words or modern Latinized (international) words.

See also

  • Arbëresh language
    Arbëresh language
    Arbëreshë, also known as Arbërisht, is an ethnolect spoken by the Arbëreshë, the group of Albanian-speaking minorities in Italy.-Classification:...

  • Arvanitika
    Arvanitika
    Arvanitika also known Arvanitic is the variety of Albanian traditionally spoken by the Arvanites, a population group in Greece...

  • Gheg Albanian
    Gheg Albanian
    Gheg is one of the two major varieties of Albanian. The other one is Tosk, on which standard Albanian is based. The dividing line between these two varieties is the Shkumbin River, which winds its way through central Albania....

  • Tosk Albanian
    Tosk Albanian
    Tosk is the southern dialect of the Albanian language. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.- Tosks :...

  • Illyrian languages
    Illyrian languages
    The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by groups identified as Illyrians: Ardiaei, Delmatae, Pannonii, Autariates, Taulanti...

  • Thraco-Illyrian
    Thraco-Illyrian
    Thraco-Illyrian refers to a hypothesis that the Thraco-Dacian and Illyrian languages comprise a distinct branch of Indo-European. Thraco-Illyrian is also used as a term merely implying a Thracian-Illyrian interference, mixture or sprachbund, or as a shorthand way of saying that it is not...

  • List of Romanian words of possible Dacian origin - occasional correspondence in Albanian
  • Dacian language
    Dacian language
    The extinct Dacian language may have developed from proto-Indo-European in the Carpathian region around 2,500 BC and probably died out by AD 600. In the 1st century AD, it was the predominant language of the ancient regions of Dacia and Moesia and, possibly, of some surrounding regions.It belonged...


External links



Samples of various Albanian dialects

Dictionaries
Keyboard layouts
  • Prektora 1 ISO-8859-1 standardized layout for Windows XP (Albanian language)