Are you wondering about the interesting facts relating to Albanian ethnic groups? We got you covered! As you know, Albania is in an interesting geographical position on the Balkan peninsula. Since it has been incorporated into many different empires, there is a diverse selection of Albanian ethnic groups. The two most prominent are the Tosk and the Gheg. Today we’re going to cover what Albanians call themselves, a brief history of the Albanian peoples, and the current demographics of Albania.
And, of course, we’re going to tell you why the Ling App is crucial for your Albanian language learning practice.
What Do Albanians Call Themselves?
The interesting thing about Albania is that the people don’t call themselves Albanians, the same way as in Germany; the Germans call themselves the Deutsch. Albanians call themselves Shqiptarët.
The first thing to say about Albanian is a significant diaspora, similar to another troubled place- Ireland. Over the years, many Albanians have left the homeland for places as diverse as Kosovo, Greece, and the U.S.
Note: It’s interesting to look online at something like Albanian wedding traditions and see American-Albanian women looking for advice on having a more traditional Albanian wedding because they’ve lost touch with aspects of their culture.
Note 2: Many British and American celebrities have a heritage in Southern and Eastern Europe. The most famous are probably Kim Kardashian, who can trace her lineage back to Armenia, and Dua Lipa and Rita Ora, of Albanian descent. Interestingly, Dua’s name in Albanian means “love.”
A Brief History Of The Albanian People
The first time Albania was referenced in the history books was in the 11th century. However, the Albanian population has been referenced by many different names throughout history, including Albaniesi, Arvanites, Arnaut, Aromanian, and Arbines.
Before we go any further, it’s necessary to distinguish Gheg and Tosk. As well as being a dialect difference, it is also a cultural and geographical difference.
Typically speaking, Ghegs live in the north, spilling over into Kosovo and North Macedonia. Gheg is a more nasal dialect compared to Tosk. Tosks are found mainly in Southern Albania.
Rather handily, in terms of envisioning the split between the Tosks and the Gheg, is the river Shkumin, a natural barrier between the South and North. Ghegs are more traditional and conservative, and they live in the countryside. In contrast, the Tosks are city-dwellers and more liberal(a similar analogy could be drawn between America’s southern states and the Democratic coasts).
Perhaps the Tosks were less religious and less conservative because they were more absorbed by the Ottoman Empire and then later on the communist regime and now the current Albanian government.
Again, as you’d expect, the Tosks tend to be more wealthy because they are based around economically powerful cities such as Berat, Vlore, and the capital Tirana. In Athens, another powerful economic city in Greece, there are so many successful Tosks that they became known as the Arvanites. These make up the greek minority of Albanians.
Modern Demographics Of Albania
Although the country’s population is only 3 million, another 2 million Albanians are spread over the Balkan peninsula, with 1.8 million in Kosovo.
The war in Kosovo made international headlines in 1998. The problem started when minority groups of ethnic Albanians began to fight with ethnic Serbs. Although the conflict is too deep to go into now, it’s worth mentioning a few of the factors.
The Ethnic Serbs(orthodox Christian) felt aggrieved that ethnic Albanians(Muslim) had control of areas of the country sacred to them.
The international community condemned the Serbian Slobodan Milosevic’s treatment of the ethnic Albanians and began airstrikes on Serbian military targets. During the conflict, it is estimated that 1.5 million ethnic Albanians left the province.
Thankfully things are much better in the region now. The sense of Albanian nationalism and Serbian nationalism has died down. Although there were significant problems in 2004, in 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia and became its own country.
Learn Albanian With Ling
First, let’s start with a bit of preamble about why you should learn Albanian to begin with. Apart from the obvious mental benefits like increased neuroplasticity in later years that learning a language affords you. The main reason I’d say to learn Albanian is for the tourism opportunities it gives you.
Albania is a beautiful country to visit, especially for all you adventurers out there. The so-called ‘accursed mountains’ were made famous by JK Rowling in her Harry Potter books. It is desolate yet beautiful scenery that needs to be seen to be believed. Of course, you could visit Albania and see the melancholy magic of the mountains, but then speaking some of the languages really endears you to any locals that you’re likely to meet along the way.
Why Learn Albanian With Ling?
Put simply: Ling by Simya Solutions is the best language learning app for lesser spoken languages. And we have a lot of them–60+
We do the same thing as Babbel or Duolingo, but, in our opinion, with a bit more charm. We have excellent gamification elements and a leaderboard so you can compare yourself against other users. If you’re a long-time app language learner, you’ll find everything you’d expect of a world-class app plus a little extra. For example, we have spaced repetition flashcards for vocabulary practice.
Note: Our listening practice is brought you by native speakers, which in my experience is quite rare in an app and is valuable. We also have a chatbot that uses a sophisticated A.I system that allows you to practice your speaking.
And of course, keep following this blog where you can find articles on everything from love phrases in Albanian to Albanian rooms.
Keep up the excellent work, and we’ll see you next week.