Where is Albanian spoken? English | The Albanian language (shqip) is spoken by more than six million people in the southwest of the Balkan Peninsula, especially in the Republic of Albania and the neighboring countries that were part of the former Yugoslav state (Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). In Albania itself, the language is used by the entire population of 3,087,159 inhabitants (as of April 2001), including some bilingual ethnic minorities. In Kosovo, where there are currently no reliable statistics, Albanian is used by almost the entire population of approx two million people, including some bilingual minorities: Bosniaks, Gorans, Turks, Croats, Roma and Ashkali. Many of Kosova's ethnic Serbs (currently around five percent of the population) have traditionally refused to learn and speak Albanian. This attitude is likely to change as soon as traditional hostility and ethnic tensions are overcome. It is estimated that over half a million Albanian speakers live in the Republic of Macedonia, or 25% of the total population of the republic. Again, the demographic numbers are not entirely reliable. The Albanian-speaking population can be found in and around Skopje (Alb. Shkup), where they represent a not insignificant minority, as well as in Kumanova (Maced. Kumanovo) and especially in the western part of the republic of Tetova (Maced. Tetovo), Gostivar and Dibra (Maced. Debar) and south to Struga, where it forms the majority. A minority of around 50,000 Albanians is also in Montenegro, especially along the Albanian border (Ulqin / Ulcinj, Tuz, Gucia / Gusinje). There are also at least 70,000 to 100,000 Albanians in southern Serbia, especially in the Presheva Valley near the borders with Macedonia and Kosova, while in northwestern Greece (Epiros) there are old settlements of speakers of the Czech dialect around Parga and Igumenica. Despite border shifts and forced resettlement to Albania, there are likely to be up to 100,000 Albanians here, but most of them have been assimilated. In central Greece, the Albanian language - here called Arbërisht in Albanian and Arvanitika in Greek - lives on in around 320 villages, primarily in Boeotia (especially around Levadhia), southern Evia, Attica, Corinth and northern Andros. These speakers are descendants of Albanian immigrant groups who settled in central and southern Greece in the late Middle Ages. There are no statistics on their current numbers. Unfortunately, this archaic form of Albanian is threatened with extinction. In southern Italy there is a small but well-established Albanian minority, the so-called Arberesch or Italo-Albanians. They are the descendants of refugees who left Albania after the death of Skanderbeg in 1468. It is a group of around 90,000 speakers, the majority of whom live in the mountain villages of Kosenza in Calabria and near Palermo in Sicily. The Arberesch speak an archaic dialect of Albanian that differs significantly from the standard language in the Balkans. Therefore, communication with the Arberesch is difficult if they do not speak the standard language. Old traditional settlements of Albanians are sporadically also in other parts of the Balkan Peninsula: in Arbanasi, a suburb of Zadar on the Dalmatian coast, in some villages in Sanjak in Serbia , and in the Bulgarian-Greek-Turkish border area, especially in the Bulgarian village of Mandrica. Some speakers are also in Ukraine, especially in the Melitopol ’and Odessa regions. Little has remained of the then numerous Albanian colonies in the Ottoman Empire. The large Albanian minority in Egypt has disintegrated, although there are still considerable numbers of Albanians in Turkey (Istanbul, Bursa and elsewhere) and, albeit less numerous, in Syria, especially Damascus, since the late 1980s in Kosova and since the opening of Albania in 1990-1991, many Albanians have emigrated from their traditional settlement areas, mainly to Greece and Italy. There are currently also numerous Albanian emigrants in Western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, London) and North America (New York, Boston, Detroit, Toronto).
Origin and Development of AlbanianAlbanian is an Indo-European language and is therefore related to most of the languages of Europe. The German linguist Franz Bopp (1791-1867) established that Albanian belonged to the Indo-Germanic language family as early as 1854. At the same time it must be added that Albanian has no closer genetic relationship with other languages of the Indo-European family. It is therefore a branch of the language in itself. Despite its geographical proximity to Greece, Albanian has only sporadic contacts with ancient Greek. Roman trading settlements on the Illyrian coast and the subsequent colonization of Albania by the Romans, on the other hand, left strong traces. Borrowings from Latin over the centuries were so massive that they themselves interfered with the structure of the language. Cultural contacts with the Slavs (Bulgarians and Serbs) as well as with the Turks and Italians have also left clear traces in the Albanian language. Albanian has a lot in common with the other Balkan languages not only in vocabulary but also in morphology and syntax, both due to the effect of extinct substrate languages in the Balkans (Illyrian, Thracian, Dacish, etc.) as well as through centuries of parallel development. Among these common language features are: the following definite article, coalescence of the genitive and dative endings, formation of the number designations 11-19 with the form “one on ten,” etc., the absence of the infinitive, and the formation of the future form with the Verb “to want.” Whether Albanian is the immediate successor of Old Illyrian, as is widely assumed nowadays, is difficult to prove due to the rarity of Illyrian linguistic monuments.
Brief description of the Albanian languageThe Albanian language can be divided into two main dialect groups: Gegish in the north and Tuskish in the south. The approximate border between the two dialect groups is formed by the central Albanian river Shkumbin, which flows through Elbasan into the Adriatic. There is an approx. ten to twenty kilometers wide transition zone. The Gegische is characterized by the presence of nasal vowels, the preservation of an old n for Tuscan r (e.g., venë “Wein” for Tuscan. Verë; Shqypnia “Albania” for Tuscan. Shqipëria) as well as some morphological features. It can be further broken down into a north-western (Shkodra and environs), a north-eastern (north-eastern Bania and Kosova), a central (area between the rivers Ishëm and Mat and east to Macedonia, including Dibra and Tetova) and a southern (Durrës, Tirana) form structure. Tuscan is generally more homogeneous, but can be divided into a northern (from Fier to Vlora on the coast and all of southern Albania north of the Vjosa), a Labian (south of the Vjosa to Saranda) and a Chamian (southern tip from Albania to northwestern Greece). The current literary language (gjuha letrare), which will be used during the Orthography Congress of Tirana on 20-25. November 1972 was brought into being, includes both dialects, however to about 80% Tuskish. It is now largely adopted as the standard language in Albania, Kosova and elsewhere, although in recent years there have been increasing efforts to revive Gégish as a literary language. In its structure, Albanian is a synthetic language. Nouns are identified by gender, number, certainty and case. The vast majority of nouns are masculine or feminine. Factual (neutral) nouns that increasingly function as masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural have become rare. As in most European languages, Albanian nouns are singular and plural. There are around 100 types of plural formation, including suffixes, umlaut, final consonant changes and combinations thereof. The nominal system has five cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablative. The genitive and dative endings are always the same. Attributive-genitive are connected to the preceding nouns by connecting particles: i, e, të and së, which often reflect the ending of the preceding word, for example: bulevardi i qytetit “the boulevard of the city,” bukuria e bulevardit të qytetit “the beauty of City boulevards. " Certainness in nouns is characterized by the presence of the article after it. The nominal declension therefore has two series of endings: definite and indefinite. Most adjectives are followed by nouns, either directly or with the help of a connecting particle, e.g. djali nervoz “the excited boy,” but djali i vogël “the little boy.” The Albanian verbal system has the following categories: three persons, two numbers, ten Tempi, two geni and six modes. Unusual among the modes is the admirative, which is used to express admiration, for example: bie shi “it's raining,” rënka shi “it's raining!” Robert Elsie