Albanian: Pacim!

So, real life had prevented me from making the concluding post about Albanian. In spite of the nearly week-long gap, I found Albanian to be quite a treat. I also found out about Albanian rap. Who knew?

SUMMARY: After being ruled by Greeks and and Romans, the home of the Illyrians under went a demographic change after the arrival of the Slavs and other neighboring tribes. This led to some borrowing for the Albanian language, more so than from the duration of its Greco-Roman influenced history.

In the 15h and 16th centuries, much of the groundwork for modern Albanian took place via printed books for liturgy. Albanian wouldn’t become an official language for a while, though. During Ottoman rule a Latin-Albanian dictionary was developed and in the 20th century, scholars settled on a standard Latin-based alphabet (Cyrillic and Arabic had been used prior). Albanian is spoken by roughly six million people around the world in Albania (where else),  Macedonia, Italy and neighboring countries.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that there are two main dialects of Albanian: Gheg and Tosk. Gheg, which is considered the standard form of Albanian, is spoken in the North while Tosk is more prevalent in Southern Albania. There are some differences, but speakers of each can understand each other.

Some details about Albanian:

-It is an SVO language, but like the other Balkan languages, inflection plays a role.

-There are masculine, feminine and neuter forms of nouns, but the neuter form isn’t common.

-The definite article is placed after nouns as a suffix.

-To negate a sentence, nuk or s’ is usually added before the verb.

FINAL IMPRESSION: How do you say, “interesting” in Albanian? When I listened to it, the words were easy to distinguish. There were lots of “uh” and “sh” sounds; the “uh” ones sort of reminded me of English. I can’t really compare Albanian to any other languages, however, because it seems to have bits and pieces of others. For example, my friend who is Albanian said she could understand some Bosnian (which would imply Slavic influences), but Albanian really doesn’t sound Slavic at all to me.

On the other hand, there are cognates in Albanian for the words yellow and green, i verdhë and i blertë or i gjelbër, which resemble Italian, Romanian and German words, despite meanings being inverted. See the example below (provided by this page):

Albanian: i verdhë / i gjelbër or i blertë
Romanian: galben / verde
Italian: giallo / verde
English: yellow / green

I wonder what happened to cause this? Could Albanian be considered a mashup of European languages? Even though Albanian has been classified as Indo-European (and it shows, above), scholars tend to differ on which branch it belongs to.

Whatever the reasoning is, I think it amounts to something cool.

Intelligibility: 4
Complexity: 4
Resonance: 3
Continuation: 4
COMING UP: Cambodian

One thought on “Albanian: Pacim!

  1. First of all….ha ha….your Albanian friend lied that she can understand Serbian -u said Bosnian which in practice doesnt exist …its Serbian or Croatian or like it was before 15 years Serbo-Croatian ….anyway Albanian langauge is TOTALY different from Serbian(Bosnian,Croatian) …here NO ONE can understand him…..its totaly oposite to ALL Slavic languages so theres no possibility that she could understand Serbian(Bosnian,Croatian)

    Secondly maybe she was living in Serbia,in SERBIAN AUTONOMOUS PROVINCE of Kosovo which have Albanian minority NOT a STATE as u said……its so huuuuuuuge insult on my national indentity

    p.s. Respect United Nations and their resoultion 1244!!

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