Albanian is definitely an interesting language to learn, especially if you’ve been dying to visit Southern Europe! Unfortunately, seeing as the language is smaller than most other languages in Europe, it’s hard to find good, comprehensive in-person or online courses in Albanian. Even Duolingo, one of the top language apps today, doesn’t have Albanian lessons!
Since there is no Albanian on Duolingo, let’s talk about the possible reasons for that and some great alternatives! One good alternative app is Ling, which you can really enjoy mastering all of your language learning skills. From speaking, reading, listening, or writing, this app can be effective for your language fluency.
But before that, let’s take a closer look at the Albanian language, the Duolingo language learning app, and 2 amazing alternative apps to try if you still want to learn Albanian!
About The Albanian Language
Did you know that the nouns Albania and Albanian are actually exonyms? This means that they are the commonly used name for a specific place or group but are not necessarily what the locals use!
As a rule of thumb, remember that Shqiptar refers to the citizens of Albania, while Shqipëria is what they call their country. As for the language they use, the locals call it Shqip.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s dive into what the Albanian language is!
Where Is Albanian Spoken?
Despite being spoken by over 7.6 million people from the Balkan peninsula and the official language of Albania, you might be surprised to know that this language is actually not directly linked to any other languages! In other words, it has its very own linguistic branch, just like Germanic and Armenian.
Since the language does not share specific qualities with the other languages used in its neighboring countries, it might be best to learn Albanian independently since it has a rather complex syntactic structure.
Is It Difficult To Learn Albanian?
It’s seldom simple to pick up a new tongue from square one. But if you want to learn Albanian and put in the time and effort, you can simplify the process for yourself. According to the FSI, Albanian is a third-level language. You must spend at least 44 weeks immersed in the language to convey your ideas clearly and correctly. If you’re curious about how difficult it is to pick up Albanian, follow this link.
Do Locals Speak English In Albania?
The level of English proficiency among Albanians varies. English proficiency is higher among the younger population and city dwellers, especially in major cities like Tirana and Durres. Schools often provide English as second language classes, and other options exist for learning the language.
It’s worth noting, nevertheless, that people of a certain age and in some rural locations may have trouble communicating effectively in English. The average level of English proficiency in rural areas may be lower than in larger cities.
However, one of the good things is that some of the common words used by the locals are somewhat similar to English, such as:
|Sauce / Salsa||Salcë|
As you can see from the table above, these Albanian words are quite similar to their English counterparts. Interestingly, there are not only similarities between English and Albanian, but a great deal of lexical borrowing between Latin, Greek, Turkish, and Italian as well!
The Albanian language also has 2 major dialects: Gege (also known as Gheg and Geg in the north) and Tosk (in the south). The Gege is known for its marked subvarieties and nasal vowels, while Toske is the official dialect used in the country.
As for its alphabet, it has a total of 36 letters, 29 of which are consonants and 7 being vowels.
Why Is There No Albanian On Duolingo?
While we don’t know the exact reason why Albanian isn’t featured on Duolingo, we can do our best to speculate.
The difficulty of Albanian might be one reason why it’s not featured on Duolingo. To put the Albanian language into perspective, let’s take a look at the infamous FSI language ranking system, which ranks the difficulty of a language in terms of how long it takes English speakers to learn them. Of course, these intervals should be taken with a grain of salt since every language learner is different, but it’s still a rather accurate indication of how difficult languages are. So, let’s take a look!
- Category I: Languages that require approximately 24-30 weeks, or 600-750 class hours, to reach proficiency. This category contains languages like French and Spanish.
- Category II: Languages that require approximately 30 weeks to reach proficiency. This includes languages like German.
- Category III: Languages that require approximately 36 weeks, or 900 hours, to reach proficiency. This category includes languages like Indonesian and Swahili.
- Category IV: Languages that require approximately 44 weeks, or 1100 class hours, to reach proficiency. This is the largest category and contains languages such as Russian, Hindi, Thai, Vietnamese, and more.
- Category V: Languages that require approximately 88 weeks, or 2200 hours, to reach proficiency. These languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and more.
As you can see, there’s a category for each language. While Albanian might not be a category V language, since it still uses the Latin writing system rather than characters, it’s definitely not a category I language. Our best guess is that it’s somewhere between a Category III and Category IV language. Its written system is easier, making it lean more toward a category III language, but its pronunciation aligns more with Category IV languages. You’ll just have to learn Albanian and see which category it is for yourself!
Another reason why Albanian might not be featured on Duolingo is due to its relatively small number of speakers, especially when compared to other European countries. For instance, there are only 7.6 million Albanian speakers, while there are 463 million Spanish speakers and 275 million French speakers. Even its neighboring country of Greece has 12.2 million speakers. So, our best guess is that Duolingo might not be interested in featuring a lesser-known language when there are so many other more widely spoken languages.
What Are 2 Alternatives To Duolingo?
Alternative #1: The Ling app
No Albanian on Duolingo? The Ling app can help you learn Albanian the same way you would if you were actually in the country!
With its gamified lesson plans, the whole language learning process just became fun! You can even track your own progress every step of the way by taking quizzes. But, perhaps the best feature is the app’s interactive AI chatbot that can simulate real-life conversations to help you practice your language skills.
We know there are a lot of language apps out there, but what sets Ling apart is its focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you can use in everyday speech with locals!
Alternative #2: Simply Learn
Simply Learn offers Albanian in a more phrasebook form. What this means is that you can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Albanian speakers, while being able to see the Albanian and phonetic spellings of words.
Not to mention, the flashcards and spaced repetition learning technique really allow you to improve your skills, no matter the language you’re learning! If you need help with pronunciation or want to learn basic grammar rules, Simply Learn might just be the perfect language-learning app for you!
Other Alternatives To Note
There are quite a few different apps and websites available to help you learn Albanian. Ultimately, it all comes down to your personal preference and what kind of language learner you are.
No matter what language learning platform you use, it’s always a good idea to make a plan if you are serious about learning a new language. Having a plan will help keep you focused and on track toward reaching your goals. However, if you’re just looking for a more casual learning experience, there are plenty of language apps out there for you to try.
What Are The Chances Of Albanian Appearing In Duolingo?
While many people would still like to see Albanian featured in Duolingo, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead of focusing on Albanian not being on Duolingo, what you can do is look for alternatives and explore other apps! Who knows, you might even discover an app that you like better!
If you want to learn Albanian, go and try the Ling app! The app is even available for both iOS and Android devices, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least try it out! mësim i lumtur (happy learning in Albanian)!