Albanian

History

An Indo-European language, the Albanian language was formed heavily by Doric Greek and Latin influences. Texts have been found from the fifteenth century indicating that Albanian was in written use at this time, though going back a couple of centuries, the Albanian language was still written about, even if no direct texts exist any more from this time.

It is uncertain where this language originated specifically, as there are a number of regions that the language could have formed from. However, it is believed that it began to form as the language that is understood today in the mountains rather than in the fields or along the coast. This is, fascinatingly, because various words that have connections with mountainous areas are original singular words to Albanian, while words in connection with the sea or farmland are borrowed from other vocabularies and languages.

Standard or modern Albanian is a revised modern form of the southern dialect of Albania, referred to as Tosk. This is what is used in the Albanian dictionary today.

Popularity

Albanian is the national language of Albania, where it is primarily spoken. However, it is also spoken in Kosovo, where it is also the official language, and other areas of the Balkans. It is also recognized as a minority language in Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, countries which have significant communities of Albanian speakers.

Today, 7.6 million people are estimated to speak Albanian. There are three main dialects of the Albanian language: Gheg, Tosk, and the intermediate dialect area between the two of these. The Shkumbin river is interestingly the defining point for linguistic change, with Gheg being the dialect north of the river and Tosk south of the river. It may not be a language that has spread across the world, but it is certainly one that has thrived in its locality.

Language

The Albanian language is similar to English in its sentence construction, which follows a very typical Subject – Verb – Object construction. Nouns in the Albanian language can take on a male, female, or neutral form, as well as coming in either a singular or plural form. As with many Balkan languages, in the common sentence structure, the definite article is placed after the noun.

The verbs of the Albanian language are fascinating, in the sense that you can express much more emotion than you can with many other languages. With the right verb, you can express either an indicative or an admirative position on what is being discussed. For example, “flet” versus “fliske”. Both words mean “speak”, but the former indicates a simple statement such as “You speak Albanian”, which the latter translates as something equivalent to “I see that you speak Albanian”.

Why Learn The Albanian Language?

While there are relatively fewer people in the world who will speak this language compared to many others, by learning a language that does not draw a lot of people to learn it, you could very well be in demand for such a specific skill. Free market reforms have recently opened the country up to investment from foreign businesses, particularly towards the energy development and transport markets. It is a great time to explore business opportunities in Albania.

The Albanian language, and those that speak it, have not strayed very far from Albania itself; this country and the surrounding areas in Southeastern Europe are where you will primarily find Albanian speakers. If you are looking to move to this area for work, then the Albanian language is certainly going to be a useful one to pick up.

Finally, on another positive note, Albania was chosen as the best country to visit by Lonely Planet’s in 2011. It was chosen as such not only for the beautiful beaches and buildings, but also for the excellent cuisine and booming nightlife. If ever there were a time to explore Albania and the Albanian language, then that time is surely now.


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