The Albanian Language – Dialects, the grammar, and phrases!

by Argjenda Selmani

The Albanian Language is an isolated Indo-European language. It does not belong to any other branch within the group. More than 8 million people speak Albanian.

It’s the official language of the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Kosovo. Also, several Albanian communities speak this language. Like in western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia, southern Greece, Italy, Sicily, and Ukraine.

Toskë and  Gegë – Dialects of Albanian Language 

The Shkumbin River in Albania divides the country into two dialect areas. Two principal dialects of Albanian are mutually unintelligible due to significant linguistic differences between the two. 

Toskërishtja is spoken by around 3 million people south of the Shkumbin River. Standard Albanian is based on the Tosk dialect. Tosk has three varieties: Arbereshe spoken in Italy, Arvanitika in Greece, and Tosk in Albania.

Gegërishtja is spoken by 2.8 million people north of the Shkumbin River. It is also spoken in Serbia and Montenegro. Also, in the Republic of Macedonia (Ethnologue). The modern literary language (gjuha letrare), was agreed upon at the Orthography Congress on 20 to 25 November 1972. As a result, it’s a combination of the two dialect groups, though based about eighty percent on Tosk. It is now a widely accepted standard both in Albania and elsewhere. Though there have been increasing tendencies in recent years to revive literary Gheg.

The Grammar of Albanian Language

The Grammar of the Albanian Language shares some features with the grammar of other Balkan languages, such as Romanian and Greek. It is quite complex. There are three genders of Albanian nouns. Masculine, feminine, and neuter are two numbers: singular and plural, and 4 declensions.

There are 6 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative, and vocative. The vocative case occurs in only a few nouns.

On the other hand, the verb system of Albanian is extremely complex due to many moods, each of which has several tenses. Verbs agree with their subjects in person and number. The Albanian verb system has the following categories: Three persons, two numbers, ten tenses, two voices, and six moods. Unusual among the moods is the admirative e.g., bie shi “it’s raining,” rënka shi “why it’s raining!”

Greetings and Basic Phrases in Albanian 

If you ever visit Albania you must want to learn some basic phrases and greetings in Albanian! Moreover, knowing a few basic phrases and words in Albanian will get you a long way! Like a “hello” on the street or a “goodbye” when you leave the shops or restaurants. 

  • Hello – Përshëndetje! / Tungjatjeta
  • Good morning – Mirëmëngjes!
  • Good evening – Mirëmbrëma!
  • Bye – Mirupafshim!
  • Yes- Po!
  • No – Jo!
  • How are you? – Si je?
  • Sorry! – Më fal!
  • Thank you! – Faleminderit!
  • How much it is? – Sa kushton?
  • Left – Majtas

    The Most Famous Albanian Writers

    Albania is home to many writers, most of them known worldwide, like the famous Ismail Kadare, author of The Palace of Dreams, and some of the greatest masterpieces in the country. However, Kadare is not the only famous writer in Albania. This list reveals the most famous writers of the land of the eagles. Some of them are: Dritëro Agolli, Gjergj Fishta, Naim and Sami Frashëri, Pjetër Bogdani, Musine Kokalari, Petro Marko, Fan Noli, etc.