The Albanian language is an Indo-European language spoken primarly in South-Eastern Europe and diaspora. It is called Shqip in Albanian (pronounced [ʃcip]). There are two main dialects: Geg, Tosk, and an intermediary dialect between them. Furthermore, the dialects are also divided in numerous sub-dialects, with Geg being noticeably more diverse. Shkumbin river is used as the dividing point of the two dialects. Tosk is spoken south of the river, also in some villages in Italy and Greece, while Geg is spoken north of Shkumbin River, which includes Central Albania, Northern Albania, as well as Albanians living in Kosova (Kosovo) and Macedonia. There is a dialect continuum between the two. This tutorial will cover the unified version of the language called Standard Albanian, taught in Albania after WWII (which was also taught in Yugoslavia from about 1960 onward). Standard Albanian uses aspects of Tosk, since it was the dialect spoken by the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, despite not being the most commonly spoken dialect, but it has been enriched with Geg features over time. Albanian literature used Geg dialect for most of its history. From 1974 nearly all written texts in Albanian are in Standard, which as mentioned, is largely based on Tosk dialect.
It's also important to note that Albanian is not closely related to any other Indo-European language, making a branch of its own. Over time it has accumulated a number of loanwords from the several influences in the region, with Latin making up the largest corpus of loanwords, due to the millennial rule of the Roman, and later Byzantine Empire in the area. The grammar, word formation and sentence structure resembles other Indo-European languages to some extent, like for example having a default SVO word order; however it can also differ, such as when the word order is flexible in cases of emphasis.
- Loan words for English speakers