Shqip

Introduction to the Albanian Language

Albanian Coat of Arms

  • Number of Speakers: 7,600,000
  • Official Language in: Albania
  • Recognized Language in: Italy, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia
  • Language Family: Indo-European
  • Writing System: Latin alphabet

Albanian is spoken by nearly 7.6 million people mainly in Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, Macedonia, Greece, and Italy. There are also communities in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. It is the official language of Albania and Kosovo. It is also official in municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro with ethnic Albanian populations.

Albanian is divided into three major dialects: Gheg, Tosk, and a transitional dialect zone between them. The Shkumbin river is roughly the dividing line, with Gheg spoken north of the Shkumbin and Tosk to the south. Standard Albanian is a revised form of the Tosk dialect.

Characteristics of Standard Albanian:

  • 7 vowels and 29 consonants
  • SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) word order
  • nouns are inflected by gender (masculine, feminine and neuter)
  • nouns are inflected by number (singular and plural)
  • 5 declensions with 6 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and vocative).