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The Albanian Alphabet And Spelling

April 18, 2021

If you are planning to visit Albania or have a friend, partner, or relative who is natively from that interesting country, learning Albanian Alphabet is a good thing to do if you want to show you respect him or her. I hope this article will help you in that mission. 


About Albania And Albanian Language

The Republic of Albania is a country in Southeast Europe. It borders Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece, and extends to the Adriatic Sea. The capital of Albania is Tirana, and about 2.8 million people live in the country and they have one of the lowest birth rates in the world. In addition to Albanians, who are the majority population, Macedonians, Greeks, Serbs, Roma, and Montenegrins also live in Albania as national minorities. The official language of this country is Albanian, and about 2.7 million citizens have declared that Albanian is their mother tongue, and Greek, Macedonian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Romani are also spoken. Albanian has the status of an official minority language, mostly in Italy, Romania, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, and other Balkan countries.


Albanian Language - Dialects And Script

Albanian belongs to a separate branch of the Indo-European language group. It consists of two main dialects - gheg and tosk. Gheg is mostly spoken in the north, while longing is more widespread in the south of the country. Standard literary Albanian is based on the Tosk dialect. Originally, tosk was written in the Greek alphabet, while gheg was written in Latin. For a while, both were written in the Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet, in Cyrillic, and some "domestic" alphabets, most of which are now unknown to the Albanians themselves. It was later agreed to use Latin with the addition of two letters ë and ç. It is interesting that between 1750 and 1850 there was an era of enormous orthographic diversity when the Albanian language was written with as many as 10 different alphabets.



More About Albanian Alphabet

The modern Albanian alphabet is a Latin alphabet that consists of 36 letters (7 vowels and 29 consonants). It is one of the two variants approved in the Congress of Monastir held by Albanian intellectuals in November 1908.

Some people say the Albanian alphabet is hard to learn and others say that it's actually a relatively simple thing to do. I guess it depends on motivation, talent for language learning, level of dedication, and so on. 

When we are talking about Albanian Alphabet And Spelling, I have some bad and some good news. 

I will start with the bad ones first: 

-There are a few extra letters which the English language does not have

-There are compound letters that most languages do not have

-The place you put the stress in a word is different from English

And now the good news:

-You pronounce Albanian in the same way as you spell it

-Each Albanian letter stands for a single sound


Albanian Alphabet Compared To English Script

There is one letter in the English alphabet missing in Albanian:

1- (W - w)

There are two additional characters not found in English:

1- (Ç - ç) Ç => alt + 128; ç => alt + 135

2- (Ë - ë) Ë => alt 0203; ë => alt + 137 

There are nine compound letters not found in English:

1- (Dh - dh)

2- (Gj - gj)

3- (Ll - ll)

4- (Nj - nj)

5- (Rr - rr)

6- (Sh - sh)

7- (Th- th)

8- (Xh - xh

9- (Zh - zh)

Albanian Alphabet 

Letters Pronunciation Some other examples in Shqip
A, a 'a' as in 'father' anije (ship), ari (bear)
B, b 'b' as in 'band burrë (man), bukë (bread)
C, c 'ts' as in 'tsunami' cigare (cigarette), copë (piece)
Ç, ç 'ch' as in 'chin' çfarë (what), çek (check)
D, d 'd' as in 'done' dorë (hand), derë (door)
Dh, dh 'th' as in 'the' dhi (goat), dhe (and)
E, e 'e' as in 'end' enë (dish), erë (wind)
Ë, ë 'u' as in 'burn' enë (dish), erë (wind)
Ë, ë       'u' as in 'burn'   ëndërr (dream), është (is)
F, f 'f' as in 'fire' flutur (butterfly), fat (luck)
G, g 'g' as in 'gone' gisht (finger), gomë (tire)
Gj, gj 'dg' as in 'judge' gjak (blood), gjilpërë (needle)
H, h 'h' as in 'hello' hi (ash), hekur (iron)
I, i 'ee' as in 'agree' iriq (hedgehog), ibrik (kettle)
J, j 'y' as in year' jo (no), jashtë (outside)
K, k 'k' as in 'kitten' kalë (horse), kishë (church)
L, l 'l' as in 'live' lule (flower), libër (book)
Ll, ll 'll' as in 'kill' lloj (kind), llambë (lamb)
M, m 'm' as in ' man' mollë (apple), makinë (car)
N, n 'n' as in 'never' numër (number), nëntë (nine)
Nj, nj 'ni' as in 'opinion' një (one), asnjë (no one)
O, o 'o' as in 'over' orë (clock), oborr (yard)
P, p 'p' as in 'pick' punë (work), pulë (chicken)
Q, q 'ch' as in 'chair' qershi (cherry), qen (dog)
R, r 'r' as in 'river' rërë (sand), radio (radio)
Rr, rr 'rr' as in 'burro' rrënjë (root), rrugë (road)
S, s 's' as in 'sick' sapun (soap), sepse (because)
Sh, sh 'sh' as in 'ship' shkollë (school), shok (friend)
T, t 't' as in 'tell' triko (shirt), tregim (tale)
Th, th 'th' as in 'thick' thikë (knife), thes (sack)
U, u 'oo' as in 'noon' ujë (water), urë (bridge)
V, v 'v' as in 'van' varkë (boat), valë (wave)
X, x 'ds' as in 'aids' xixa (sparks), xixëllonjë (firefly)
Xh, xh 'j' as in 'jazz' xham (glass), xhaketë (jacket)
Y,y 'u' as in "avenue” yll (star), ylber (rainbow)
Z, z 'z' as in 'zoo' zero (zero), zinxhir (chain)
Zh, zh 'as' as in 'pleasure' zhapik (lizard), zhurmë (noise)


Final Thoughts 

If you are going to visit Albania or have a partner, relative, or friend who is natively from Albania, learning Albanian Alphabet can be a great thing to do if you want to show you respect for him or her.

In case you want to learn how to say some love words or to wish someone Happy Birthday in Albanian, you could try using Ling App and have fun along the way.  It offers an app and a desktop version to its users.

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