About Albanian

The Albanian Language

Albanian language

Albanian is spoken by about 7.6 million native speakers worldwide.
The majority live in the Republic of Albania.
Albanian is also spoken by the majority of people in the Republic of Kosovo which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
As well as in these two countries, Albanian is also spoken by Albanian minorities in the states of the former Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece and other Balkan states.
Albanian is the official language of Albania and Kosovo.
It also has official status in Macedonia and Montenegro.

Albanian – an Indo-European language

Albanian is classified as an Indo-European language by Linguists.
However within this language family Albanian is a language on its own and cannot be classified in any of the larger language families such as the Romance or Slavic languages.

The Albanian alphabet

Today the Albanian language uses the Roman alphabet with two additional letters.
A few additional letter combinations are used, to represent sounds that the Roman alphabet does not represent (e.g. dh like the English th in the or xh pronounced [dsh]).
The Roman alphabet was first standardised at the beginning of the 20th century, older texts in the Albanian language are to be found in Cyrillic, Arabic and Greek script.

Albanian alphabet

About dialects in Albanian

There are two main dialects in Albanian.
The Tosk is spoken in the south of Albania and in the north the Gheg dialect.
The boundary between the two dialects is the River Shkumbin, which divides the land into different areas of dialect.
The two Dialects are distinct in written form, Pronunciation and Grammar, but not so different that their speakers can not understand each other.

Standard Albanian

The standard Albanian language, that was defined during the period of communist rule in Albania (and in the seventies onwards in Kosovo) is largely based on Tosk.
In the last few years the Gheg dialect has enjoyed a resurgence, particularly in the schools in Kosovo.
In the Albanian courses from 17 Minute Languages you will of course learn standard Albanian.
With this you will be able to speak with all Albanian people whatever dialect they speak.

You would like to learn Albanian?

We have a small collection of interesting links for you: