‘’Language is the clearest statement of a nation and its culture’’. Beginning with this quotation from Eqerem Çabej, an Albanian historical linguist, this article will trace the origin and look at the characteristics of the Albanian language.
The Albanian language is spoken by Albanians, who are descended from the ancient Illyrian tribes that occupied the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is often thought to be derived from the Illyrian language. Unfortunately, there are no written documents to prove this theory so the connection between the two languages is only indirectly supported through the names of people, places and historical studies.
In 1854, the philologist Franz Bopp demonstrated that the Albanian language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, but it does not have any direct similarities with other languages in the same family.
After the death of the great Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg, and the occupation of Albania by the Ottoman Empire, thousands of Albanians migrated to southern Italy and Sicily. Today, some 200,000 Albanians called Arbëresh remain there and speak a very old Albanian dialect.
Albanian is the official language in Albania and Kosovo and is recognized as a minority language in Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. Moreover, it is spoken by immigrant communities in many other countries such as Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In total, there are approximately 7.6 million Albanian speakers.
In the past, two main dialects were used: the northern dialect, Gege, and the southern dialect, Tosk. Both dialects were incorporated into one in 1972, during a language congress held in Tirana. Most of the Gege dialect was incorporated into the Tosk dialect, and this language [...]