Some info about ALBANIAN
Which family does it belong to?
Gjuha shqipe is an Indo-European language belonging, according to the traditional classification, to the satem type; its derivation is unclear, but it is now commonly considered as a continuation of the ancient Illyrian with a strong influence of the Thracians. In comparison to the other Balkan languages, Albanian still retains its character, which shows an evolution largely autonomous, although it has undergone some obvious influences (for example, the postposition of the definite article to the name); during various historical events, Albanian received considerable influences, especially in the lexicon, even from languages with which it has had very short contact, such as Latin (whose influence is especially strong in morphology), Greek, Slavic, Turkish and Venetic. Currently it is divided into two main dialect areas: Gheg (gegë) in the north, variously differentiated in local dialects; Tosk (toskë) in the South, more uniform and recently adopted as the national language. The major differences between the two types of dialects are: in Gheg the vowels of the ascending diphthongs of Tosk are reduced (Tosk ié, üé, uá<ué; Gheg i, ü, u); in Tosk the intervocalic rhotacism of n.
Where does it come from?
The first text was written in 1462 and is located in a code of the Laurentian Library. More earlier texts, religious in nature, date from the 16th century. The conditions of isolation, the diversity of dialects and the repressive policy of the Ottoman government deprived Albania of an autonomous cultural development for centuries. Some religious texts were written in Albanian by the groups of immigrants settled in Southern Italy and Sicily. These are e.g. The life of the Virgin Mary (1762, in modern Albanian: Gjella e Shën Mërisë së Virgjër, with Gjella meaning Life in English) by Jul Variboba; and the poems of Jeronim de Rada. Further religious works were translated into the local dialect during the 15th century in Shkodra, where the first Albanian dictionary was compiled, by Frangu i Bardhë,.
Albanian has been written using many different alphabets, such as the Greek, the Turkish and the Slavic. Since 1908 the Latin alphabet has become the rule.
Who speaks Albanian?
Albanian is spoken by approximately 7.6 million people: beside Albania, we find Albanian speakers in the neighboring areas of Greece, Kosovo, western Macedonia, Southern Montenegro, Southern Serbia, and in the Albanian centers of Southern Italy and Sicily.
What are the main linguistic features of Albanian?
Albanian has a complex inflection system with some very unique aspects as compared to other Indo-European languages (Latin, Russian, German, etc.). There are quite frequent cases of irregularities in both verbal, and nominal-adjectival inflections. There is no distinct form for Genitive and Dative. The genitival function is indicated by the use of the prepositional article, which agrees in case, number and gender with the noun it specifies. Ex: një shok i Markut = “Mark’s friend”; me shokun e Markut = “with Mark’s friend”. The noun to be specified, shok, passes from i to e, as in the first case it is an undetermined Nominative, while in the second case it is a determined Accusative, shokun.
- Enciclopedia Universale Rizzoli Larousse
- Enciclopedia Grolier