Dr. Jonida Xhyra-Entorf: übersetzen, Dolmetschen und Sprachunterricht

The Albanian language

Spread of Albanian

The Albanian language, within Albania called "shqip", belongs to the Indo-European family of languages wherein she forms its own independent branch. The Albanian language is not related to any other spoken language.

Albanian is the mother tong of about 6 million people living in the Republic of Albania, Kosova, the north-western and western parts of the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, the south-western part of Serbia, the south-eastern part of Montenegro and the Area of Çamëria in the north-western part of Greece.

In addition, Albanian is spoken in these regions in Greece and south Italy which were populated during the late Byzantine and Ottoman times. But the Albanian language in these areas is archaic and therefore heavily influenced by the Greek and Italian language.

Albanian can be divided into two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk. The Shkumbin river is roughly the dividing line between them. North of the divide, in the northern parts of Albania and in Kosova, Gheg is spoken while south of the Shkumbin river as well as in Greece and in southern Italy Tosk is the ruling dialect. The dialects differ phonologically as well as lexically. Each dialect consists of several sub dialects.

The unification into the Albanian language was decided at the orthographical congress in 1972. It is a compromise of both dialects and is still valid by today. The phonetics and grammar of the Albanian language consists mainly of Tosk elements while the Gheg dialect has been brought in with lexical elements and vocabulary.