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Albanian Online

Series Introduction

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken mainly in the Balkan Peninsula by approximately five million people. It is the principal and official language of Albania, the principal and a co-official language of Kosovo (with Serbian), and the principal and co-official language of many western municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia (with Macedonian). Albanian is also spoken widely in some areas in Greece, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia, and in some towns in southern Italy and Sicily.

The terms Albania and Albanian are exonyms. The Albanians call themselves Shqiptar, their language shqip, and their country Shqipëria. These words are likely derived from the adverb shqip 'clearly' based on Latin excipere (whence shqipoj 'speak clearly'), though there are alternative explanations. In all other languages, a form from earlier *alban- or *arban- is used (the difference being most likely from a rhoticism process in Greek). In most other languages, a form with the same origin as Eng. Albanian is used (e.g., It. Albanese, Serb. Albanac, Germ. Albaner, etc). In Turkish, the Albanians are called Arnavut, derived in some way from arvan-. The terms Albania and Albanian are not to be confused with the area in the Caucasus referred to in ancient texts as Albania or the language spoken there referred to as Albanian (an ancestor of the modern Udi language spoken in Azerbaijan and a member of a language family with no confirmed connections to the Indo-European language family).

When compared with most of the other Indo-European languages, Albanian's first attestations are rather recent, with the first surviving fragment from the mid-15th century and the first major text from the mid-16th century. For this reason, these lessons cover Albanian from the modern standard language back to earlier attestations, starting with the modern variety to get a grounding in the language and working back to older material.

History
Albanian and Indo-European

Albanian forms a separate branch of Indo-European and cannot conclusively be closely connected with any other Indo-European language. There have been attempts to connect Albanian with some of the sparsely attested ancient languages of the Balkans, particularly Illyrian but also Dacian and Thracian. While this is plausible geographically, given that we know the Illyrians lived in an area that includes the modern Albanian-speaking area, there is no concrete linguistic evidence for any of these proposals. Some have proposed a connection between the ancestor of Albanian (without assigning a specific identity to this ancestor) and a Latinized variety of that ancestor that may have ultimately yielded Romanian, as there are several shared words not of Latin origin in both languages.

Albanians and Albanian in the Historical Record

Mention of the Albanian people and the Albanian language appears rather late in the historical record. The earliest uncontroversial mention of the Albanian people is in Michael Attaleiates's late 11th century history of the Byzantine Empire, where he refers to the Albanoi taking part in a revolt against Constantinople and the Arvanitai as subjects of the duke of Dyrrachium (modern Durrës, Albania's main port on the Adriatic).

The first mentions of the Albanian language predate its first attestation by several centuries. Elsie (1991) describes a 1285 text in which the investigation of a robbery in Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik, Croatia) refers to a witness who said Audivi unam vocem clamantem in monte in lingua albanesca 'I heard a voice crying in the mountains in the Albanian language'. In the 1308 Anonymi Descriptio Europae Orientalis 'Anonymous description of Eastern Europe', the author writes Habent enim Albani prefati linguam distinctam a Latinis, Grecis et Sclavis ita quod in nullo se inteligunt cum aliis nationibus 'The aformentioned Albanians have a language which is entirely distinct from that of the Latins, Greeks and Slavs such that in no way can they communicate with other peoples'.

Earliest Attestations of the Albanian Language

While the earliest attested Albanian texts are from over a century later, the existence of Albanian texts is mentioned in 1332 in Directorium ad passagium faciendum (by a French monk whose identity is uncertain): licet Albanenses aliam omnino linguam a latina habeant et diversam, tamen litteram latinam habent in uso et in omnibus suis libris 'The Albanians have a language different from Latin, although they use Latin letters in their books' (note that this could potentially be saying that Albanians just wrote in Latin).

The oldest unambiguous attested Albanian is a single line embedded in a Latin document from 1462. It is in a letter from Pal Engëlli, a bishop and associate of Skënderbeu, and is a translation of a baptismal formula (formula e pagëzimit) into Geg Albanian:

Vnte' paghesont premenit Atit et birit et spertit senit
'I baptize you in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit'
cf. Std. Alb. Unë të pagëzoj në emër të Atit, të Birit, e të Shpirtit të Shenjtë

Over the following century the attested Albanian "texts" are of similar size, including a single line in a Latin play from 1483 and a short list of Albanian words from 1496.

The first larger text is Meshari i Gjon Buzukut 'The Missal of Gjon Buzuku', written in 1555 (see Lesson 5). Again, like the earlier attestations of Albanian, Buzuku's 'Missal' is written in Geg. Most of the early documentation of Albanian is in Geg, as that area was more difficult for the Ottomans to subdue (and consequently discourage the use of Albanian). The earliest attestation of Tosk Albanian is the E mbsuame e krështerë 'Christian doctrine' of Lekë Matrënga from 1592, written in Hora e Arbëreshëvet, an Arbëresh settlement in northeastern Sicily.

Structure of Albanian
Some general characteristics of the Albanian language:
Variation in Albanian
Dialects

Albanian dialects are traditionally divided into two groups: Geg dialects in the north, and Tosk dialects in the south. The dividing line is traditionally considered to be the Shkumbin river, which runs east-west though central Albania (at approximately the 41st parallel north). Dialects spoken in Kosovo and Macedonia are Geg dialects, while those spoken in northwestern Greece are Tosk dialects. While they are technically Tosk dialects, Arvanitika (spoken in Greece, historically in Attica and Boeotia) and Arbëresh (spoken in southern Italy and Sicily) are also often considered major Albanian dialects; these dialects were brought to these areas after the Ottoman conquest of the western Balkans in the late 15th century, and they are maintained to this day.

Major differences between Geg and Tosk

Phonological variation:

Morphosyntactic variation:

Standard Albanian

Nearly all of the historical centers of Albanian culture (Durrës, Tiranë, Shkodër, Prishtinë, Tetovë, etc.) are located squarely in Geg-speaking territory. However, Standard Albanian is predominantly based on Tosk. The promotion of a Tosk-based variety as a standard is actually quite recent, and likely has much to do with the fact that Enver Hoxha, Albania's dictator from the 1940s until the 1980s, was from Gjirokastër (in southern Albania), and thus was a native speaker of a Tosk variety. Even though they are predominantly located in Geg-speaking areas, the standard variety used in Kosovo and Macedonia is the same one used in Albania (i.e., it is based on Tosk).

Standard Albanian, while predominantly based on Tosk, does also have some Geg features. For example, the Standard Albanian 1st person singular present verb ending -j is a Geg feature; most Tosk dialects, on the other hand, have the ending -nj.

Language Contact

As with the other languages of the Balkans, the development of Albanian has been drastically affected by contact with speakers of other languages.

Lexical Borrowing

While reports of over 90 percent of Albanian's lexicon being composed of foreign words are definitely overstated, lexical borrowing has had an enormous effect on Albanian. There are several strata of lexical borrowings.

The Balkan Sprachbund

As part of Balkan Sprachbund, Albanian shares a number of features with the other languages of the Balkans (e.g., Greek, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, Turkish, Romani, etc). The following are some of Albanian's more notable Balkan features:

The Albanian Alphabet & Pronunciation
The Albanian Alphabet

The earliest texts were written in various forms of the Latin alphabet, with additional characters borrowed from the Greek alphabet (as well as some additional characters of other origins). Up until the late 19th century, the script used to write Albanian appears to have been dependent on the religion of the scribe: Latin for Catholics, Greek for Orthodox Christians, and Perso-Arabic script for Muslims. In the late 19th century there were various attempts to create a standardized alphabet for Albanian; in 1908, the modern Albanian alphabet was codified at the Congress of Manastir.

The modern Albanian alphabet consists of 36 letters, several of which are digraphs.

                                                 
    A,a   B,b   C,c   Ç,ç   D,d   Dh,dh   E,e   Ë,ë   F,f   G,g   Gj,gj   H,h
    I,i   J,j   K,k   L,l   Ll,ll   M,m   N,n   Nj,nj   O,o   P,p   Q,q   R,r
    Rr,rr   S,s   Sh,sh   T,t   Th,th   U,u   V,v   X,x   Xh,xh   Y,y   Z,z   Zh,zh

As briefly discussed above, Geg has nasalized vowels. The normal convention is to write these vowels with a circumflex accent. All other issues with the alphabet are discussed in the relevant lessons.

Vowel Pronunciation

Standard Albanian, as well as most Tosk dialects, has a seven-vowel system:

        pronunciation
    i   similar to the vowel in Eng. meat
    e   similar to the vowel in Eng. met
    a   similar to the vowel in Eng. hot
    o   similar to the vowel in Eng. boat, but not diphthongal. More akin to the vowel in Spanish no.
    u   similar to the vowel in Eng. boot
    y   a high, front, rounded vowel; absent in English; similar to the vowel in French tu
      similar to the final vowel in Eng. sofa

In Standard Albanian (as well as in most Geg dialects), the vowel is typically not pronounced in final position (e.g., nëntë 'nine' is pronounced nënt), except for in monosyllabic words (e.g., një 'one', që 'that', etc). This sound is also commonly elided in other unstressed syllables. In some (mainly Tosk) dialects, this vowel is fully pronounced.

While Standard Albanian has a relatively simple seven-vowel system, most Geg varieties have a much more complex set of vowels. Any of the vowels above, with the exception of , can be nasalized. In addition, Geg has distinctive vowel length, so any of the vowels (except, again ) can be long or short. Camaj (1984) also claims that some Geg varieties have a distinction between short nasal vowels and long nasal vowels.

Consonant Pronunciation

As for consonants, though most of the letter-sound correspondences will be familiar, there are some exceptions:

        description   sounds like...
    c   voiceless dental affricate   ts in English cats, z in Italian zio, c in Russian cvet
      voiceless postalveolar affricate   ch in English choose, c in Italian cento
    dh   voiced dental fricative   th in English the
    gj   voiced palatal stop   similar to g in English gear
    ll   voiced velarized lateral   similar to ll in English ball; in Albanian, unlike in English, this sound can occur in any position in the word.
    nj   palatal nasal   gn in French agneau, similar to ni in Eng. onion
    q   voiceless palatal stop   similar to k in Eng. key
    rr   alveolar trill   rr in Spanish sierra
    th   voiceless dental fricative   th in English thing
    x   voiced dental affricate   ds in English needs, z in Italian zero
    xh   voiced postalveolar affricate   j in English judge, g in Italian giro
    zh   voiced postalveolar fricative   s in English pleasure, j in French jour
 
Brief bibliography

Albanian Online

Lesson 1: Tosk

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

Since the completion of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkan Peninsula, the Albanian-speaking lands had been united under Ottoman rule. However, upon the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans in 1912, Albania and Kosovo were separated. Albania was given independence and, in the roughly eighty years that followed, went though Italian occupation, a brutal isolationist communist dictatorship, and since 1991 a transition to democracy. Kosovo, on the other hand, became part of Serbia, and after World War II it was a province of the Socialist Republic of Serbia within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. As communism fell and several former Yugoslav republics declared their independence in the early 1990s, Kosovo remained part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later to be known as "Serbia and Montenegro" and, later yet, as "Serbia"). After years of war and a period of UN intervention, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. While the independence of Kosovo has been recognized by several of the other Balkan nations, much of Western Europe, and the United States, more than half of the members of the United Nations have not recognized it and Serbia maintains that Kosovo is still a Serbian province. Due to the opposition to its independence, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, and a solution to the dispute remains to be reached.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following text contains Articles 5, 6, and 7 of Kosovo's 2008 Constitution. It discusses the languages, symbols, and values of the Republic of Kosovo. Note that the use of this text here does not necessarily imply a stance on Kosovo's declaration of independence; rather, this is being treated as a historical document that, regardless of any final outcome for Kosovo, shows an important event in Albanian language history.

Despite the fact that the Albanian-speaking areas of Kosovo are completely in Geg territory (north of the Shkumbin river), the official variety of Albanian used in Kosovo is the same as that used in Albania; that is, it is overwhelmingly based on the Tosk dialect. As this is the official dialect of Kosovo, its constitution was written in this dialect.

Gjuhë zyrtare në Republikën e Kosovës janë Gjuha Shqipe dhe Gjuha Serbe.
  • gjuhë -- noun, feminine; nominative plural indefinite of <gjuhë> language -- languages
  • zyrtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • republikën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <republikë> republic -- the Republic
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovë> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • janë -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <jam> be -- are
  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhë> language -- the language
  • shqipe -- adjective; feminine singular of <shqip> Albanian -- Albanian
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhë> language -- the language
  • serbe -- adjective; feminine singular of <serb> Serbian -- Serbian

Gjuha Turke, Boshnjake dhe ajo Rome kanë statusin e gjuhëve zyrtare në nivel komune ose do të jenë në përdorim zyrtar në cilindo nivel në pajtim me ligj.
  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhë> language -- the languages
  • turke -- adjective; feminine singular of <turk> Turkish -- Turkish
  • boshnjake -- adjective; feminine singular of <boshnjak> Bosnian -- Bosnian
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • ajo -- pronoun; feminine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • rome -- adjective; feminine singular of <rom> Romani -- Romani
  • kanë -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <kam> have -- have
  • statusin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <status> status -- the status
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • gjuhëve -- noun, feminine; genitive plural indefinite of <gjuhë> language -- of languages
  • zyrtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- at
  • nivel -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <nivel> level -- level
  • komune -- noun, feminine; ablative singular indefinite of <komunë> province -- municipal
  • ose -- conjunction; <ose> or -- or
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • jenë -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active of <jam> be -- will be
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • përdorim -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <përdorim> use -- use
  • zyrtar -- adjective; masculine singular of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • cilindo -- adjective; masculine accusative singular of <cilido> whichever -- all
  • nivel -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <nivel> level -- levels
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • pajtim -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <pajtim> accordance -- accordance
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Flamuri, stema dhe himni janë simbolet shtetërore të Republikës së Kosovës të cilat pasqyrojnë karakterin shumetnik të saj.
  • flamuri -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <flamur> flag -- the flag
  • stema -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <stemë> seal -- the seal
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • himni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <himn> anthem -- the anthem
  • janë -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <jam> be -- are
  • simbolet -- noun, ambigeneric; nominative plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- the symbols
  • shtetërore -- adjective; feminine plural of <shtetëror> state -- state
  • të -- particle; masculine nominative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Republikës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <republikë> republic -- of the Republic
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovë> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • cilat -- pronoun; nominative feminine plural of <cili, e> that, which -- which
  • pasqyrojnë -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <pasqyroj> reflect -- reflect
  • karakterin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <karakter> character -- character
  • shumetnik -- adjective; masculine singular of <shumetnik> multiethnic -- multi-ethnic
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • saj -- pronoun; feminine genitive of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- its

Pamja, mënyra e përdorimit dhe mbrojtja e flamurit dhe të simboleve të tjera shtetërore rregullohen me ligj.
  • pamja -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <pamje> appearance -- the appearance
  • mënyra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mënyrë> manner -- the manner
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • përdorimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <përdorim> use -- of use
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • mbrojtja -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • flamurit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <flamur> flag -- of the flag
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • të -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • simboleve -- noun, ambigeneric; genitive plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- symbols
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjera -- adjective; feminine plural of <tjetër, e> other -- other # The adjective tjetër is unique in that it is treated as an unarticulated adjective in the singular (e.g., masc.sg. tjetër, rather than e tjetër, but as an articulated adjective in the plural (e.g., fem.pl. të tjera)
  • shtetërore -- adjective; feminine plural of <shtetëror> state -- state
  • rregullohen -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative non-active of <rregullohem> be regulated -- are regulated
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Mënyra e përdorimit dhe e mbrojtjes së simboleve kombëtare rregullohet me ligj.
  • mënyra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mënyrë> manner -- the manner
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • përdorimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <përdorim> use -- of use
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mbrojtjes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • simboleve -- noun, ambigeneric; genitive plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- of the symbols
  • kombëtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <kombëtar> national -- national
  • rregullohet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <rregullohem> be regulated -- are regulated
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Rendi kushtetues i Republikës së Kosovës bazohet në parimet e lirisë, paqes, demokracisë, barazisë, respektimit të të drejtave dhe lirive të njeriut dhe sundimit të ligjit, mosdiskriminimit, të drejtës së pronës, mbrojtjes e mjedisit, drejtësisë sociale, pluralizmit, ndarjes së pushtetit shtetëror dhe ekonomisë së tregut.
  • rendi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <rend> order -- the order
  • kushtetues -- adjective, masculine singular of; <kushtetues> constitutional -- constitutional
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • republikës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <republikë> republic -- of the Republic
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovë> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • bazohet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <bazohem> be based -- is based
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- on
  • parimet -- noun, masculine; accusative plural definite of <parim> principle -- the principles
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lirisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <liri> liberty, freedom -- of freedom
  • paqes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <paqe> peace -- peace # Note that when there are multiple nouns in the genitive case modifying a single noun, only the first in the sequence requires a nyje particle.
  • demokracisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <demokraci> democracy -- democracy
  • barazisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <barazi> equality -- equality
  • respektimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <respektim> respect -- respect
  • të -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • drejtave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <drejtë, e> right -- for rights
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • lirive -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <liri> liberty, freedom -- freedoms
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • njeriut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <njeri> human, person -- human
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • sundimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <sundim> rule -- the rule
  • të -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ligjit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <ligj> law -- of law
  • mosdiskriminimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <mosdiskriminim> nondiscrimination -- non-discrimination
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • drejtës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <drejtë, e> right -- the right
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pronës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <pronë> property -- to property
  • mbrojtjes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • e -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ... # The use of e here is unusual if this is to mean 'of protection of the environment', as we would expect the NYJE to have the form së. This could be e meaning 'and' but then the sense would not be appropriate ('of protection and of the environment'). Inasmuch as the Serbian version has a genitive with the meaning 'protection of the environment', we consider this most likely to simply be an error in the original Albanian.
  • mjedisit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <mjedis> environment -- of the environment
  • drejtësisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <drejtësi> justice -- justice
  • sociale -- adjective; feminine singular of <social> social -- social
  • pluralizmit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pluralizm> pluralism -- pluralism
  • ndarjes -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <ndarje> separation -- separation
  • së -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pushtetit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pushtet> power -- of powers
  • shtetëror -- adjective; masculine singular of <shetëror> state -- state
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • ekonomisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <ekonomi> economy -- economy
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tregut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <treg> market -- market

Republika e Kosovës siguron barazinë gjinore si vlerë themelore për zhvillimin demokratik të shoqërisë, mundësi të barabarta për pjesëmarrje të femrave dhe meshkujve në jetën politike, ekonomike, sociale, kulturore dhe në fushat të tjera të jetës shoqërore.
  • republika -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <republikë> republic -- the Republic
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovë> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • siguron -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <siguroj> ensure -- ensures
  • barazinë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <barazi> equality -- equality
  • gjinore -- adjective; feminine singular of <gjinor> gender -- gender
  • si -- conjunction; <si> as -- as
  • vlerë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <vlerë> value -- value
  • themelore -- adjective; feminine singular of <themelor> basic -- fundamental
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • zhvillimin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <zhvillim> development -- the development
  • demokratik -- adjective; masculine singular of <demokratik> democratic -- democratic
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shoqërisë -- noun feminine; genitive singular definite of <shoqëri> society -- of the society
  • mundësi -- noun, feminine; accusative plural indefinite of <mundësi> possibility -- opportunities
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • barabarta -- adjective; feminine plural of <barabartë, e> equal -- equal
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • pjesëmarrje -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <pjesëmarrje> participation -- participation
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • femrave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <femër> female -- female
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • meshkujve -- noun, masculine; genitive plural definite of <mashkull> male -- male
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • jetën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <jetë> life -- ...
  • politike -- adjective; feminine singular of <politik> political -- political
  • ekonomike -- adjective; feminine singular of <ekonomik> economic -- economic
  • sociale -- adjective; feminine singular of <social> social -- social
  • kulturore -- adjective; feminine singular of <kulturor> cultural -- cultural
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- ...
  • fushat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <fushë> field, area -- areas
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjera -- adjective; feminine plural of <tjetër, e> other -- other # The adjective tjetër is unique in that it is treated as an unarticulated adjective in the singular (e.g., masc.sg. tjetër, rather than e tjetër, but as an articulated adjective in the plural (e.g., fem.pl. të tjera)
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • jetës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <jetë> life -- of life
  • shoqërore -- adjective; feminine singular of <shoqëror> social -- societal

Lesson Text

Gjuhë zyrtare në Republikën e Kosovës janë Gjuha Shqipe dhe Gjuha Serbe. Gjuha Turke, Boshnjake dhe ajo Rome kanë statusin e gjuhëve zyrtare në nivel komune ose do të jenë në përdorim zyrtar në cilindo nivel në pajtim me ligj. Flamuri, stema dhe himni janë simbolet shtetërore të Republikës së Kosovës të cilat pasqyrojnë karakterin shumetnik të saj. Pamja, mënyra e përdorimit dhe mbrojtja e flamurit dhe të simboleve të tjera shtetërore rregullohen me ligj. Mënyra e përdorimit dhe e mbrojtjes së simboleve kombëtare rregullohet me ligj. Rendi kushtetues i Republikës së Kosovës bazohet në parimet e lirisë, paqes, demokracisë, barazisë, respektimit të të drejtave dhe lirive të njeriut dhe sundimit të ligjit, mosdiskriminimit, të drejtës së pronës, mbrojtjes e mjedisit, drejtësisë sociale, pluralizmit, ndarjes së pushtetit shtetëror dhe ekonomisë së tregut. Republika e Kosovës siguron barazinë gjinore si vlerë themelore për zhvillimin demokratik të shoqërisë, mundësi të barabarta për pjesëmarrje të femrave dhe meshkujve në jetën politike, ekonomike, sociale, kulturore dhe në fushat të tjera të jetës shoqërore.

Translation

The official languages in the Republic of Kosovo are the Albanian language and the Serbian language. The Turkish, Bosnian, and Romani languages have the status of official languages at the municipal level or will be in official use at all levels in accordance with the law. The flag, the seal and the anthem are the state symbols of the Republic of Kosovo, which reflect its multi-ethnic character. The appearance, the manner of use, and the protection of the flag and other state symbols are regulated by law. The manner of use and the protection of the national symbols are regulated by law. The constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo is based on the principles of freedom, peace, democracy, equality, respect for human rights and freedoms and the rule of law, non-discrimination, the right to property, the protection of environment, social justice, pluralism, separation of state powers, and a market economy. The Republic of Kosovo ensures gender equality as a fundamental value for the democratic development of the society, providing equal opportunities for both female and male participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and other areas of societal life.

Grammar

1 General Syntactic Concerns

Albanian word order is generally SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT, as illustrated by the Albanian for 'The girl saw the dog' --

    Vajza   pa   qenin
    the-girl   saw   the-dog

While this is the normal word order, there is some flexibility.

Adjectives normally follow the nouns that they modify. Consider the Albanian for 'The beautiful girl saw the white dog' --

    Vajza   e bukur   pa   qenin   e bardhë
    the-girl   beautiful   saw   the-dog   white

There are some instances where adjectives precede the noun they modify, but these are somewhat uncommon. Additional syntactic issues are given attention in later lessons.

2 The Albanian Noun
2.1 Grammatical Gender

Generally speaking, nouns in Modern Albanian are either masculine or feminine. There was a neuter gender in earlier stages of the language, but it has been almost completely eliminated (most of the earlier neuter nouns are now masculine nouns). A few nouns still show relics of being neuter; for more information on the status of the neuter gender in Modern Albanian, please see Newmark et al. (1982: 133-4).

The grammatical gender of nouns is somewhat predictable from the ending of the noun stem (i.e., the nominative/accusative singular indefinite form). Most nouns that end in -ë, along with most other nouns that end in a vowel, are feminine (though there are exceptions in each category). Except for the set of nouns ending in -ër, -ël, -ur, and -ull (of which some are masculine and some are feminine), all nouns ending in consonants are masculine.

While nouns are generally considered 'masculine' or 'feminine', there exist nouns that are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural. In agreement, the singular takes masculine singular forms of adjectives, nyje particles, etc., while the feminine takes feminine plural forms of adjectives, nyje particles, etc. We refer to these as 'ambigeneric' nouns.

2.2 Inflectional Categories

Nouns in Albanian are inflected for number (singular, plural), case (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative), and definiteness. The dative and genitive forms are always identical (except for the genitive requiring a nyje particle, see below). Older stages of the language also had a locative case (this is discussed in Lesson 5). The uses of each of the cases are similar to those in other Indo-European languages. As mentioned in the series introduction, Albanian has a postposed definite article. As this can be treated as a suffix, it is discussed under noun inflection as well.

The most daunting aspect of declining Albanian nouns is that the singular and plural paradigms often have different stems (very common in masculine nouns, less common in feminine nouns). While the correspondences between the singular and plural stems of nouns are often predictable, there are many cases in which they are not. What follows is a sketch of the most common inflectional patterns in feminine and masculine nouns.

The citation form for Albanian nouns is the nominative/accusative singular indefinite form. Some nouns that are derived from adjectives are obligatorily preceded by a nyje particle (see below). These nouns are marked with an e in the citation form.

3 Noun Inflection
3.1 Feminine Noun Inflection

The following is the basic pattern of endings for feminine nouns. Note that singular endings are attached to the singular stem and plural endings are attached to the plural stem. Most feminine nouns have a nominative/accusative indefinite form in -ë. This final vowel is lost when a vowel-initial suffix is added (e.g., nom.sg.def. -a, abl.sg.indef. -e, etc).

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   -   -a   -   -t
accusative   -   -n   -   -t
gen/dat   -e   -s   -ve   -ve
ablative   -e   -s   -sh   -ve

Many feminine nouns have the same stem in the singular and the plural, e.g., gjuhë 'language'.

Inflection of gjuhë 'language' (plural stem gjuhë):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   gjuhë   gjuh-a   gjuhë   gjuhë-t
accusative   gjuhë   gjuhë-n   gjuhë   gjuhë-t
gen/dat   gjuh-e   gjuhë-s   gjuhë-ve   gjuhë-ve
ablative   gjuh-e   gjuhë-s   gjuhë-sh   gjuhë-ve

A large group of feminine nouns in -ë have a plural stem in -a. The inflectional suffixes seen above are the same, but the plural suffixes are added to a stem in -a, e.g., nenë 'mother'.

Inflection of nënë 'mother' (plural stem nena):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   nënë   nën-a   nena   nena-t
accusative   nënë   nënë-n   nena   nena-t
gen/dat   nën-e   nënë-s   nena-ve   nena-ve
ablative   nën-e   nënë-s   nena-sh   nena-ve

Feminine nouns ending in -ër or -ël have a plural stem in -a. When these nouns are inflected with a vowel-initial suffix, the is lost, e.g., motër 'sister'.

Inflection of motër 'sister' (plural stem motra):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   motër   motr-a   motra   motra-t
accusative   motër   motrë-n   motra   motra-t
gen/dat   motr-e   motrë-s   motra-ve   motra-ve
ablative   motr-e   motrë-s   motra-sh   motra-ve

There are several other patterns that are followed by fewer nouns (or a single noun); e.g., the plural stem of natë 'night' is net, and the plural stem of grua 'woman' is gra.

3.2 Masculine Noun Inflection

As was the case with feminine nouns, the case endings for masculine nouns are consistent. What is not consistent are the correspondences between singular and plural stems (to which the endings in the chart below are attached).

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   -   -i   -   -t(ë)
accusative   -   -in   -   -t(ë)
gen/dat   -i   -it   -ve   -ve
ablative   -i   -it   -sh   -ve

When the final sound of the noun stem is a velar consonant (that is, k, g or h) or a vowel, all of the singular suffixes in -i are replaced with -u (e.g. zog 'bird', nom.sg.def. zogu, dat.sg.def. zogut, etc). The nominative/accusative plural definite ending is -të when following a syllable with an unstressed vowel and -t when following a syllable with an unstressed vowel. If the noun ends in two consonants, an -i- is inserted between the stem and the ablative plural indefinite and nominative/accusative plural definite endings (e.g., peshq 'fish', abl.pl.indef. peshqish, nom./acc.pl.def. peshqit).

The most common correspondence between singular and plural stems is where a plural stem is formed by the suffixation of -e, e.g., qytet 'city'.

Inflection of qytet 'city' (plural stem qytete):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   qytet   qytet-i   qytete   qytete-t
accusative   qytet   qytet-in   qytete   qytete-t
gen/dat   qytet-i   qytet-it   qytete-ve   qytete-ve
ablative   qytet-i   qytet-it   qytete-sh   qytete-ve

There are also many nouns that form the plural stem via the suffixation of -ë (e.g., anglez 'Englishman', anglezë 'Englishmen') or the suffixation of -a (e.g., derr 'pig', derra 'pigs'). Masculine nouns in -ër usually form the plural stem by adding -a and deleting the . There are also plural stems that are formed by the suffixation of -nj, sometimes accompanied by a preceding vowel (e.g., gjarpër 'snake', gjarpërinj 'snakes') or -ër (e.g., mbret 'king', mbretër 'kings'). Some masculine nouns have the same stem in the singular and plural (e.g., qen 'dog', 'dogs'; tiranas 'person from Tirana', 'people from Tirana').

In addition to forming the plural stem via suffixation, there are some nouns that form the plural stem via a stem change. Most nouns that end in -g or -k have a plural stem in which these consonants are palatalized to -gj and -q respectively, e.g., mik 'friend'.

Inflection of mik 'friend' (plural stem miq):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   mik   mik-u   miq   miq-të
accusative   mik   mik-un   miq   miq-të
gen/dat   mik-u   mik-ut   miq-sh   miq-ve
ablative   mik-u   mik-ut   miq-ve   miq-ve

However, this case is not representative of all masculine nouns that end in -g or -k. Most of these nouns form a plural stem by the palatalization of the final consonant along with the suffixation of -e (e.g., dushk 'oak', dushqe 'oaks'). For some nouns the final consonant is not palatalized in the plural (e.g., flok 'hair', flokë 'hairs'). Similar variability is seen in nouns in -ll or -r, some of which are palatalized to form the plural stem (e.g., shekull 'century', shekuj 'centuries'), and some of which have palatalization and the addition of -e (e.g., pyll 'forest', pyje 'forests').

There are additional patterns seen in the correspondences between masculine singular and plural stems. Many of these patterns are followed by just a few nouns, and some are rather anomalous (e.g., vëlla 'brother', vëllezër 'brothers'; ka 'ox', qe 'oxen').

4 "Nyje" Particles

As seen in the many instances of nouns in the genitive case in the text above, the Albanian genitive case obligatorily requires the presence of a particle. This particle is also required with some adjectives, as well as with some nouns that are derived from adjectives. In general, these particles are used to connect a noun and a modifier (be it an adjective or a noun in the genitive case). As there is no agreed upon name in English for these particles, we refer to them as "nyje" particles (short for the Albanian term nyje e përparme), following a suggestion by Jerry Morgan.

The nyje particle has four forms: e, i, të, and së. The form that is used depends on the gender, number, case, and definiteness of the noun being modified. The following rules (based on Newmark 1998) are a simple way to remember which form of the particle is used in each situation:

  • i : the referent is masculine, singular and in the nominative case
  • e.g., fillimi i vjeshtës 'the beginning of autumn': the nyje is i because the referent fillimi 'beginning' is the nominative, singular, definite form of the masculine noun fillim.
  • së : the referent is feminine, singular and in the genitive/dative/ablative case
  • e.g., Republikës së Kosovës 'of the Republic of Kosovo' : the nyje is së because the referent Republikës 'of the Republic' is the genitive, singular, definite form of the feminine noun republikë.
  • e : the referent is feminine and in the nominative case OR the referent is singular, definite and in the accusative case OR the referent is plural, definite and in the nominative or accusative case
  • e.g., Republikën e Kosovës 'the Republic (accusative) of Kosovo': the nyje is e because the referent Republikën 'the Republic (accusative)' is the accusative, singular, definite form of the feminine noun republikë.
  • të : elsewhere
  • e.g., sundimit të ligjit: 'of the rule of law' : the nyje is të because the referent sundimit 'of the rule' is the genitive, singular, definite form of the masculine noun sundim.
5 Adjectives

Albanian adjectives are inflected for gender and number, but never for case and rarely for definiteness. The only situations in which adjectives are marked for definiteness are in the rare instances where an adjective precedes the noun it modifies (which is apparently more common in Geg). Albanian adjectives can be divided into two groups, depending on whether they require a nyje particle (articulated adjectives) or not (unarticulated adjectives). The citation form used for adjectives is the masculine singular. Articulated adjectives (i.e., those which require the presence of a nyje particle) are marked with an e (the default form of the nyje particle) in the citation form.

5.1 Articulated Adjectives

Articulated adjectives always require a nyje particle. Note that, in the following examples, articulated forms of adjectives are marked by e preceding the noun. This is done for convenience and it must be remembered that the gender, number, case, and definiteness of the referent must be taken into consideration when choosing the correct form of the nyje particle.

With articulated adjectives, the masculine singular, feminine singular and masculine plural generally all have the same form. In adjectives in -ë or in a consonant, the masculine/feminine singular and masculine plural forms are generally identical and the feminine plural has the suffix -a, e.g., bardhë, e 'white' --

    singular   plural
masculine   e bardhë   e bardhë
feminine   e bardhë   e bardha

While this is the most common pattern, there are several common adjectives that show other patterns. Some of them show different masculine and feminine singular forms (e.g., e kuq 'red-masc.sg.', e kuqe 'red-masc.pl.'). Some adjectives also show different masculine singular and plural forms (e.g., e lig 'evil-masc.sg.', e ligj 'evil-masc.pl.'). Some articulated adjectives show four distinct forms, e.g., zi, e 'black' --

    singular   plural
masculine   e zi   e zinj
feminine   e zezë   e zeza
5.2 Unarticulated Adjectives

Unarticulated adjectives do not require a nyje particle. In unarticulated adjectives, the feminine singular and feminine plural forms are derived via the suffixation of -e to the masculine singular form. The masculine plural is usually formed via the suffixation of -ë to the masculine singular form, e.g., normal 'normal' --

    singular   plural
masculine   normal   normalë
feminine   normale   normale

There is actually a bit of variation to how the masculine plural forms of unarticulated adjectives are formed. The example above represents the most common case, but some masculine plural adjectives have the same form as the masculine singular, some are formed via the suffixation of -nj (Newmark et al., 1982, states that all adjectives of Turkish origin have this ending), and most adjectives derived from nouns have the same plural ending that the corresponding noun has.

6 Verb Basics: 'be' and 'have'

The following are the present indicative and subjunctive paradigms for the verbs jam 'be' and kam 'have'. In addition to fulfilling this function, these two verbs serve as the major auxiliary verbs in Albanian.

Present indicative paradigms of jam 'to be' and kam 'to have' --

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   jam   jemi       kam   kemi
2nd person   je   jeni       ke   keni
3rd person   është   janë       ka   kanë

Present subjunctive paradigms of jam 'to be' and kam 'to have' --

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   të jem   të jemi       të kem   të kemi
2nd person   të jesh   të jeni       të kesh   të keni
3rd person   të jetë   të jenë       të ketë   të kenë

Notes:

  • The 2PL of jam and kam are jini and kini, respectively, in some dialects.
  • In Geg, the 3SG of jam is âsht. In older Geg texts (e.g., Meshari), this is written as anshtë.

As seen in the tables above, all subjunctive forms are preceded by the subordinator të. All instances of the Albanian subjunctive are subordinated by të (for more on subordination, see Lesson 4). In addition, in these examples, the differences in conjugation between indicative and subjunctive forms lie in all forms except the 1st and 2nd persons plural. In the following lessons this is shown to be rare, as the vast majority of present tense Albanian verbs only show difference between indicative and subjunctive in the present 2SG/3SG.

The Standard Albanian/Tosk future tense is an analytic formation composed of the invariant future marker do (originally from the verb dua 'want') and a conjugated present subjunctive form of a verb (including the subordinator të). Thus do të jenë, seen in the text above, is the 3rd person plural future form of jam 'be'. For more details on the future tense (including dialectal differences), see Lesson 3.

While there is some variation as to what is used as the citation form for Albanian verbs, we use the 1st person singular present indicative here. In Geg, the citation form is traditionally the infinitive. However, in order to be consistent, we use the 1st person singular present indicative form as the citation form for Geg verbs as well (see Lessons 4 and 5).

Albanian Online

Lesson 2: Tosk

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

After being granted independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, Albania was under constant pressure from Italy to the west, Greece to the south, and what would become the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) to the east. The country began to stabilize under the rule of President (and then King) Zog, who attempted to ally the country with Italy. However, Italy began to colonize and dominate Albania and finally invaded in 1939, bringing the reign of Zog to a close.

Annexing Albania, along with much of the western Balkan peninsula, was part of Mussolini's plan to bring several territories that were once part of the Roman Empire under Italian rule. From their new Albanian territory, the Italian army attacked northern Greece, Montenegro and Kosovo, and brought them too under Italian control. However, after the fall of the fascist government and the surrender of Italy in 1943, the area soon fell under German control. Resistance to fascist rule in Albania was led by communist groups, the most powerful of which was headed by Enver Hoxha. The communists were successful in retaking the country, and thus began the forty year reign of Hoxha.

Reading and Textual Analysis

While the earliest Albanian literature only dates back several hundred years, Albania, Kosovo, and other Albanian-speaking territories have produced a number of notable authors. The Albanian author who has received the greatest worldwide recognition is Ismail Kadare. Kadare has published over twenty novels and has been the recipient of numerous awards.

Among Kadare's earliest novels is Gjenerali i ushtrisë së vdekur (The General of the Dead Army). This novel tells the story of an Italian general who is sent to Albania to recover the remains of Italian soldiers who died there during the Second World War. The following text is the first paragraph of this novel.

Mbi tokën e huaj binte shi dhe dëborë përzier bashkë.
  • mbi -- preposition, accusative; <mbi> on, onto -- on
  • tokën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <tokë> soil, land -- the soil
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • huaj -- adjective; feminine singular of <huaj, e> foreign -- foreign
  • binte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <bie> fall -- was falling
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • dëborë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <dëborë> snow -- snow
  • përzier -- adjective; masculine plural participle of <përziej> mix -- mixed
  • bashkë -- adverb; <bashkë> together -- together

Sqota kishte qullur betonin e pistës së aeroportit, ndërtesat, rojat.
  • sqota -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <sqotë> sleet -- the sleet
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • qullur -- verb; participle of <qull> drench -- had drenched
  • betonin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <beton> concrete -- the concrete
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pistës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <pistë> runway -- of the runway
  • së -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • aeroportit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <aeroport> airport -- of the airport
  • ndërtesat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <ndërsë> building -- the buildings
  • rojat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <rojë> garrison, guard -- the guards

Ajo lagte fushën dhe brigjet dhe shkëlqente mbi asfaltin e zi të xhadesë.
  • ajo -- pronoun; feminine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- it
  • lagte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <lag> make wet -- made wet
  • fushën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <fushë> field, area -- the field
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • brigjet -- noun, masculine; of nominative plural definite of <breg> bank, hill -- the hills
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shkëlqente -- verb, 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of; <shkëlqej> shine -- it was shining
  • mbi -- preposition, accusative; <mbi> on, onto -- from
  • asfaltin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <asfalt> asphalt -- the asphalt
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zi -- adjective; masculine singular of <zi, e> black -- black
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • xhadesë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <xhade> highway -- of the highway

Sikur të mos ishte fillimi i vjeshtës, çdo njeriu tjetër, përveç gjeneralit të porsaardhur, do t'i dukej ky shi monoton një koicidencë e trishtuar.
  • sikur -- conjunction; <sikur> as if, as though -- as though
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • mos -- adverb; <mos> NEGATOR -- not
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- was
  • fillimi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <fillim> beginning -- the beginning
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vjeshtës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <vjeshtë> autumn -- of autumn
  • çdo -- determiner; <çdo> every -- every
  • njeriu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <njeri> human, person -- person
  • tjetër -- adjective; masculine singular of <tjetër, e> other -- other # Recall that tjetër is odd in that it is treated as an articulated adjective in the plural, but as an unarticulated adjective in the singular.
  • përveç -- preposition, ablative; <përveç> except -- except
  • gjeneralit -- noun, masculine; ablative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • të -- particle; masculine ablative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • porsaardhur -- adjective; masculine singular of <porsaardhur, e> newly arrived -- newly-arrived
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dukej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive non-active of <dukem> look, seem -- would seem
  • ky -- determiner; masculine nominative of <ky, kjo> this -- this
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • monoton -- verb; nominative singular of <monoton> monotonous -- monotonous
  • një -- determiner; <një> a, one -- a
  • koicidencë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <koicidencë> coincidence -- coincidence
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • trishtuar -- adjective; feminine singular of <trishtuar, e> sad -- sad

Ai po vinte në Shqipëri nga një shtet i huaj për tërheqjen e eshtrave të ushtarëve të vrarë këtu në luftën e fundit botërore.
  • ai -- pronoun; masculine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- he
  • po -- marker; <po> PROGRESSIVE -- ...
  • vinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <vij> come -- was coming
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- to
  • Shqipëri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipëri> Albania -- Albania
  • nga -- preposition, nominative; <nga> from, through -- from
  • një -- determiner; <një> a, one -- a
  • shtet -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shtet> state -- state
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • huaj -- adjective; masculine singular of <huaj, e> foreign -- foreign
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • tërheqjen -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <tërheqje> pull, attraction, withdrawal -- the withdrawal
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • eshtrave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <eshtër> bone -- of the bones
  • të -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ushtarëve -- noun, masculine; genitive plural definite of <ushtar> soldier -- of the soldiers
  • të -- particle; masculine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vrarë -- adjective; masculine plural participle of <vras> kill -- killed
  • këtu -- adverb; <këtu> here -- ...
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • luftën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <luftë> war -- the war
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • fundit -- adjective; feminine singular of <fundit, e> last -- last
  • botërore -- adjective; feminine singular of <botëror> world -- world

Bisedimet midis dy qeverive kishin filluar që në pranverë, por kontratat përfundimtare u nënshkruan vetëm në fund të gushtit, taman në kohën kur filluan vranësirat e para.
  • bisedimet -- noun, masculine; nominative plural definite of <bisedim> talk -- the talks
  • midis -- preposition, ablative; <midis> between, among -- between
  • dy -- determiner; <dy> two -- two
  • qeverive -- noun, feminine; ablative plural definite of <qeveri> government -- the governments
  • kishin -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • filluar -- verb participle of; <filloj> start, begin -- had started
  • që -- preposition, accusative; <që> since, from, beyond -- ...
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • pranverë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <pranvëre> spring -- spring
  • por -- conjunction; <por> but, however -- but
  • kontratat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <kontratë> contract -- the contracts
  • përfundimtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <përfundimtar> final -- final
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • nënshkruan -- verb; 3rd person plural past definite indicative active of <nënshkruaj> sign -- were signed
  • vetëm -- adverb; <vetëm> alone, only -- only
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- at
  • fund -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <fund> end -- end
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • gushtit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <gusht> August -- of August
  • taman -- adverb; <taman> precisely -- precisely
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- at
  • kohën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <kohë> time, weather -- the time
  • kur -- adverb; <kur> when -- when
  • filluan -- verb; 3rd person plural past definite indicative active of <filloj> start, begin -- began
  • vranësirat -- noun, feminine; nominative plural definite of <vranësirë> cloudy sky -- the cloudy skies
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • para -- adjective; feminine plural of <parë, e> first -- first

Pra ishte vjeshtë dhe shiu kishte kohën e tij. Gjenerali e dinte këtë.
  • pra -- conjunction; <pra> so, therefore -- therefore
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- it was
  • vjeshtë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <vjeshtë> autumn -- autumn
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shiu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <shi> rain -- (of) rain
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- had (come)
  • kohën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <kohë> time, weather -- time
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tij -- determiner; masculine accusative singular of <tij, e> his, its -- the
  • gjenerali -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • e -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <di> know -- knew
  • këtë -- pronoun; feminine accusative of <ky, kjo> this -- this

Para se të nisej, kishte mësuar midis të tjerave edhe diçka për klimën e Shqipërisë.
  • para -- adverb; <para> before -- before
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- ...
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • nisej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative non-active of <nisem> set out -- he set out
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • mësuar -- verb; participle of <mësoj> learn -- he had learned
  • midis -- preposition, ablative; <midis> between, among -- among
  • të -- particle; masculine ablative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjerave -- noun, masculine; ablative plural definite of <tjetër, e> other -- other things
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- ...
  • diçka -- pronoun; <diçka> something -- something
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- about
  • klimën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <klimë> climate -- the climate
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Shqipërisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Shqipëri> Albania -- of Albania

Gjenerali e dinte që në Shqipëri vjeshta është e lagët dhe me shi.
  • gjenerali -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • e -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <di> know -- knew
  • që -- conjunction; <që> that, which -- that
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • Shqipëri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipëri> Albania -- Albania
  • vjeshta -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <vjeshtë> autumn -- the autumn
  • është -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lagët -- adjective; feminine singular of <lagët, e> rainy, humid -- humid
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- ...
  • shi -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rainy

Por, edhe sikur në librin që kishte lexuar të shkruhej se në Shqipëri vjeshta është me diell dhe e thatë, atij nuk do t'i dukej ky shi i papritur.
  • por -- conjunction; <por> but, however -- however
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- even
  • sikur -- conjunction; <sikur> as if, as though -- though
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • librin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <libër> book -- the book
  • që -- conjunction; <që> that, which -- that
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • lexuar -- verb; participle of <lexoj> read -- he had read
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • shkruhej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive non-active of <shkruhem> be written -- it was written
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • Shqipëri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipëri> Albania -- Albania
  • vjeshta -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <vjeshtë> autumn -- autumn
  • është -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- ...
  • diell -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <diell> sun -- sunny
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • thatë -- adjective; feminine singular of <thatë, e> arid -- dry
  • atij -- pronoun; masculine dative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • nuk -- adverb; <nuk> NEGATOR -- not
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dukej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive non-active of <dukem> look, seem -- would have seemed
  • ky -- determiner; masculine nominative of <ky, kjo> this -- this
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • papritur -- adjective; masculine singular of <papritur, e> unexpected, sudden -- unexpected

Përkundrazi. Dhe shkaku ishte se atij i ishte dukur gjithmonë se misioni i tij mund të kryhej vetëm në shi.
  • përkundrazi -- adverb; <pëkundrazi> quite the opposite -- quite the opposite
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shkaku -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <shkak> reason -- the reason
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative of <jam> be -- was
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • atij -- pronoun; dative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- to him
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- ...
  • dukur -- verb; participle of <dukem> look, seem -- it had seemed
  • gjithmonë -- adverb; <gjithmonë> always -- always
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • misioni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <mision> mission -- mission
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tij -- determiner; masculine nominative singular of <tij, e> his, its -- his
  • mund -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <mund> can, may -- could
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • kryhej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive non-active of <kryhem> be accomplished -- be accomplished
  • vetëm -- adverb; <vetëm> alone, only -- only
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • shi -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain

Lesson Text

Mbi tokën e huaj binte shi dhe dëborë përzier bashkë. Sqota kishte qullur betonin e pistës së aeroportit, ndërtesat, rojat. Ajo lagte fushën dhe brigjet dhe shkëlqente mbi asfaltin e zi të xhadesë. Sikur të mos ishte fillimi i vjeshtës, çdo njeriu tjetër, përveç gjeneralit të porsaardhur, do t'i dukej ky shi monoton një koicidencë e trishtuar. Ai po vinte në Shqipëri nga një shtet i huaj për tërheqjen e eshtrave të ushtarëve të vrarë këtu në luftën e fundit botërore. Bisedimet midis dy qeverive kishin filluar që në pranverë, por kontratat përfundimtare u nënshkruan vetëm në fund të gushtit, taman në kohën kur filluan vranësirat e para. Pra ishte vjeshtë dhe shiu kishte kohën e tij. Gjenerali e dinte këtë. Para se të nisej, kishte mësuar midis të tjerave edhe diçka për klimën e Shqipërisë. Gjenerali e dinte që në Shqipëri vjeshta është e lagët dhe me shi. Por, edhe sikur në librin që kishte lexuar të shkruhej se në Shqipëri vjeshta është me diell dhe e thatë, atij nuk do t'i dukej ky shi i papritur. Përkundrazi. Dhe shkaku ishte se atij i ishte dukur gjithmonë se misioni i tij mund të kryhej vetëm në shi.

Translation

Rain and snow mixed together was falling on the foreign soil. The sleet had drenched the concrete of the runway of the airport, the buildings, and the guards. It made the field and the hills wet and it was was shining from the black asphalt of the highway. As though it was not the beginning of autumn, to every other person except the newly-arrived general this monotonous rain would seem a sad coincidence. He was coming to Albania from a foreign state for the withdrawal of the bones of the soldiers killed in the last world war. The talks between the two governments had started in the spring, but the final contracts were only signed at the end of August, precisely at the time when the first cloudy skies began. Therefore it was autumn and the time of rain had come. The General knew this. Before he set out he had learned, among other things, something about the climate of Albania. The general knew that in Albania autumn is humid and rainy. However even though, in the book that he had read, it was written that in Albania autumn is sunny and dry, this rain would not have seemed unexpected. Quite the opposite. And the reason was that, to him, it had always seemed that his mission could only be accomplished in rain.

Grammar

7 Prepositions

Most of the common Albanian prepositions take an object in the accusative case, e.g.,

    në   'in, on, at'       me   'with, by'
    pa   'without'       për   'for'
    mbi   'on, over'       nën   'under'

There are a few prepositions that take an object in the nominative case:

    nga   'from'       tek   'to', 'at'

The remaining prepositions have an object in the ablative case, including but not limited to the following:

    prej   'from, of, by'       brenda   'inside'
    gjatë   'during'       para   'before'
    midis   'between'       sipas   'according to'
8 The Albanian Verb

The Albanian verb has two main tense systems from which a considerable number of verbal forms can be generated. As in many Indo-European languages, most important are the present and aorist systems. The present system is the basis for the present and imperfect tense, as well as analytic structures using as a base the present (e.g., present subjunctive, future tense) or the imperfect (e.g., imperfect subjunctive, conditional mood). The aorist system is the basis for the past definite tense (the simple perfective past tense, see Lesson 4) and, in most instances, the optative mood (see Lesson 5). The formation of Albanian (past) participles overlaps greatly, but not completely, with the aorist stem (as in Latin and other Indo-European languages). Thus a third system could be proposed, which we call the "participial system," as the basis of the participle (see below) and the various tenses of the admirative mood (see Lesson 5).

9 The Present Tense
9.1 Use of the Present Tense

The present tense is used to describe actions that occur at the time of speaking. It can also be used to describe events that will occur in the future, if there is an accompanying adverb with future time reference. The present subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses after a predicate, as well as without another verb to express doubt, possibility, or obligation.

9.2 Present Tense Conjugation - Active voice

While there are actually numerous patterns of conjugation, most traditional accounts consider the Albanian verbal system to be broken up into two conjugational classes: one made up of verbs with a vowel-final stem (class 1), and another made up of verbs with a consonant-final stem (class 2). Each of the classes is then traditionally broken down into smaller classes depending on a variety of other factors (aorist formation, participle formation, small differences within the present conjugation, etc). Other accounts propose three (or many more) conjugational classes for Albanian.

Note the the present indicative and subjunctive differ only in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular. The rest of the paradigms are identical (except, of course, for the subjunctive requiring the subordinator të). The exceptions to this tendency, the verbs jam 'to be' and kam 'to have', are described in Lesson 1.

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for vowel-stem (class 1) verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -j   -jmë       -j   -jmë
2nd person   -n   -ni       -sh   -ni
3rd person   -n   -jnë       -jë   -jnë

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of laj 'wash':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   laj   lajmë       të laj   të lajmë
2nd person   lan   lani       të lash   të lani
3rd person   lan   lajnë       të lajë   të lajnë

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for consonant-stem (class 2) verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -   -im       -   -im
2nd person   -   -ni       -ësh   -ni
3rd person   -   -in       -ë   -in

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of hap 'open':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   hap   hapim       të hap   të hapim
2nd person   hap   hapni       të hapësh   të hapni
3rd person   hap   hapin       të hapë   të hapin

Many verbs show patterns of stem allomorphy within the present tense. Some of the more common patterns are as follows:

  • Some verbs with stem -e raise this vowel to -i in the 2nd person plural (e.g., fle 'sleep-1SG', flini 'sleep-2PL').
  • Some verbs with stem -a change this vowel to -e in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular (e.g., marr 'take-1SG', merr 'take-2/3SG').
  • Most verbs with stem-final -s change this to -t in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular (e.g., flas 'speak-1SG', flet 'speak-2/3SG').

There are additional verbs that show a higher degree of irregularity. The two most common irregular verbs, jam 'to be' and kam 'to have', are discussed in Lesson 1.

9.3 Present Tense Conjugation - Non-active voice

Albanian has an "active/non-active" voice distinction, also referred to as "active/middle" or "active/passive" or "active/mediopassive." While non-active voice is expressed differently in compound verbal forms and in the aorist system, it is expressed using with a synthetic verbal form in the present system. There is a distinct derivational process by which active verbs become non-active verbs; this is discussed in Lesson 4. Note that there is no difference between the indicative and subjunctive in the non-active present tense conjugation, other than the presence of të in the subjunctive.

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for non-active verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -m   -mi       -m   -mi
2nd person   -sh   -ni       -sh   -ni
3rd person   -t   -n       -t   -n

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of quhem 'to be called':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   quhem   quhemi       të quhem   të quhemi
2nd person   quhesh   quheni       të quhesh   të quheni
3rd person   quhet   quhen       të quhet   të quhen
10 The Imperfect Tense
10.1 Use of the Imperfect

The imperfect is the past tense of the present system, and is used to describe continuous or habitual events that occurred in the past. Note that the imperfect subjunctive is usual after a past tense main verb, and the present subjunctive after a present tense verb, e.g. dua të shkosh 'I want (PRES.) that you go (PRES.SUBJ.)', but desha të shkoje 'I wanted (IMPF.) that you-went (IMPF.SUBJ.)'.

10.2 Imperfect Tense Conjugation

Except for a few verbs that have a suppletive imperfect stem, Albanian verbs have the same stem in the imperfect as they do in the present. The imperfect indicative and subjunctive are identical, except for the fact that the subjunctive must be subordinated by të.

    singular   plural
1st person   -ja   -nim
2nd person   -je   -nit
3rd person   -(n)te   -nin

Note that the 3rd person singular ending is -nte when the stem is vowel-final, and -te when consonant-final.

Imperfect paradigms of laj 'wash' and hap 'to open':

    laj           hap    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   laja   lanim       hapja   hapnim
2nd person   laje   lanit       hapje   hapnit
3rd person   lante   lanin       hapte   hapnin

The imperfect of jam 'be' and kam 'have' have suppletive imperfect stems. They also do not show the initial -j- of the 1st and 2nd person singular endings:

    jam           kam    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   isha   ishim       kisha   kishim
2nd person   ishe   ishit       kishe   kishit
3rd person   ishte   ishin       kishte   kishin
10.3 The Imperfect Tense in Geg

The Geg imperfect endings, while similar to those seen in Standard Albanian, show an additional segment -sh-. If the stem is vowel-final, -j- is inserted after the stem and before the endings.

Basic Geg imperfect tense endings (Hughes 2006):

    singular   plural
1st person   -sha   -shim
2nd person   -she   -shit
3rd person   -ke   -shin

Imperfect paradigm of Geg mêndoj 'to think':

    singular   plural
1st person   mêndojsha   mêndojshim
2nd person   mêndojshe   mêndojshit
3rd person   mêndojke   mêndojshin
11 Participles
11.1 Uses of the Participle

Albanian participles have a number of uses. In addition to being used as adjectives (always articulated, see Lesson 1), participles are used in the formation of several perfect tenses, which are composed of a conjugated auxiliary (in Standard Albanian, kam when active and jam when non-active) plus the past participle. They are also used in the formation of infinitives (composed of për te + past participle in Tosk, me + participle in Geg), gerunds (composed of Tosk duke/Geg tue + past participle) and privative constructions (composed of pa + past participle). These functions are discussed in more detail in Lesson 4. Participles are also used as the basis for conjugation of the various tenses of the admirative mood (see Lesson 5).

11.2 Formation of the Past Participle

As discussed briefly above, the stem used in the formation of the past participle is usually the aorist stem (that used for the past definite, see Lesson 4). However, there are some cases where the participial stem is the same as the present stem, and there are other cases where it does not correspond to the present or aorist stem. In most cases the participle must simply be memorized.

In cases where the participial stem is identical to the present or aorist stem, the participle is formed by adding -r to vowel-final stems (e.g., the participle of shkruaj 'write' is shkrua-r) and -ur to consonant-final stems (e.g., the participle of flas 'speak' is fol-ur). Where the participial stem is not identical to the present or aorist stem, the following generalizations hold. In general, if the verb stem ends in a consonant, the participle is formed by adding the suffix -ur to the stem. If the verb stem ends in an unstressed vowel, the participle is formed by simply adding -r to the stem. If the verb stem ends in a stressed vowel, the suffix -rë is added to form the participle. There are additional participial formations in -ë or -në.

In the majority of cases, the participle is immediately recognizable from the present stem. However, particularly with verbs that have a suppletive aorist stem, this is not always the case. These include many of the "irregular" verbs already discussed (e.g., jam 'be' has a participle qenë, kam 'have' has a participle pasur) as well as other verbs (e.g., shoh 'see' has a participle parë, ha 'eat' has a participle ngrënë, etc).

11.3 Participles in Geg

Unlike Tosk/Standard Albanian, Geg has two forms of participles depending on whether they are used as adjectives or not. If they are used as adjectives, Geg participles have an ending -un (cognate with the common Tosk participial ending -ur), or -uem. If they are used in a verbal construction, they lack these suffixes. Normally, to find the Geg equivalent of a Tosk participle in -ur, remove this ending and replace it with -ë, e.g., Tosk pyetur, Geg pyetë 'ask'; Tosk djegur, Geg djegë 'burn'. Tosk participles in -ë not preceded by r usually have the same ending in Geg. Some Tosk participles in -rë correspond to a Geg participle with no ending (e.g., Tosk vrarë, Geg vra 'kill'), and some correspond to a Geg participle ending in a nasal vowel (e.g., Tosk bërë, Geg bâ 'make'; Tosk hyre, Geg hŷ 'enter').

12 The Present Perfect Tense
12.1 Use of the Present Perfect Tense

The Albanian present perfect tense is used to describe events that took place and were completed in the past. This is similar to the use of the past definite (see Lesson 4), but the present perfect is prescriptively used to describe past events that have some connection with the present. As the uses of the present perfect and past definite are so similar, there is a general trend toward using the present perfect in situations where the past definite would be prescribed -- akin to the situation in French and Italian, where the compound past tense has taken over the domain of use of the simple past tense in the spoken language.

12.2 Formation of the Present Perfect

The present perfect tense is formed with a present indicative form of kam plus the past participle.

Present perfect paradigm of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   kam shkruar   kemi shkruar
2nd person   ke shkruar   keni shkruar
3rd person   ka shkruar   kanë shkruar

The present perfect subjunctive is formed in the same manner, except that a present subjunctive form of kam is used.

Present perfect subjunctive of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   të kem shkruar   të kemi shkruar
2nd person   të kesh shkruar   të keni shkruar
3rd person   të ketë shkruar   të kenë shkruar
12.3 The Present Perfect in Geg

In Standard Albanian, the auxiliary kam is always used in the present perfect if the verb is active. To form the non-active, the auxiliary jam is used (see Lesson 4). In Geg the pattern is slightly different, as kam is used for transitive verbs and jam is used for intransitive verbs (which can be linked to passives and reflexives as well). This again is akin to the compound past tense in French and Italian, where the auxiliary 'have' is used for transitive verbs and the auxiliary 'be' is used for intransitives, passives, reflexives, etc.

For example, the 1st person singular present perfect of shkoj 'to go' in Standard Albanian is kam shkuar, as kam is generalized as the auxiliary for all active verbs in Standard Albanian. The corresponding form in Geg is jam shkuë, where shkuë is the Geg participle of shkoj. The verb jam is used here as an auxiliary, because shkoj is an intransitive verb.

Albanian Online

Lesson 3: Tosk

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu (commonly known as "Skanderbeg") was born to a noble Albanian family in the early 15th century. As a child, he was forced to serve in the Ottoman Army. After great success as an Ottoman general, Skanderbeg left the army to lead the Albanians against the Ottoman forces. In 1444 he formed the League of Lezhë, an alliance of Albanian nobles who agreed to resist the Ottoman conquest of Albania. Skanderbeg fought the Ottomans in Albania and abroad until his death two decades later. Though the Ottoman advances were held off by Skanderbeg's efforts, all of modern Albania was under Ottoman control by the turn of the century.

While Albania and Kosovo remained under Ottoman rule until 1912, efforts were started to revive Albanian identity in the 19th century. Among other efforts, Skanderbeg was adopted as a national hero. Skanderbeg remains the most visible symbol of Albanian cultural identity, with his family's symbol (a double-headed eagle) on the flag of Albania and a prominent statue of Skanderbeg present in every major Albanian city's main square.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Marin Barleti, a native of Shkodër in northern Albania, near the modern Montenegrin border, lived through the loss of Albania to the Ottoman Empire in the late 15th century. He later went on to write a biography of Skanderbeg, which was first published in Latin as Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi epirotarum principis (The history of the life and deeds of Skanderbeg, prince of the Epirots).

The following text is from the 1964 Albanian translation of Barleti's biography of Skanderbeg. After abandoning the Ottoman army in 1443, Skanderbeg led Albanian forces to drive the invading Ottoman army out of what is now northern Albania. The final step of this process was to capture the last Ottoman stronghold in the area, the town of Svetigrad (now known as Kodzhadzhik, a town in what is now western Macedonia). Several years later, the Ottomans embarked on another attempt to take Albania, an early and essential part of which involved retaking Svetigrad, then under Albanian control. To motivate the troops, Skanderbeg arrived in Svetigrad and gave the following speech.

Ishte e pamundur, o sfetigradas, që Zoti i madh e i vërtetë t'ju jepte juve sot
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- it was
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pamundur -- adjective; feminine singular of <pamundur, e> impossible -- impossible
  • o -- interjection; <o> VOCATIVE -- O
  • sfetigradas -- noun, masculine; nominative plural indefinite of <svetigradas> inhabitant of Svetigrad -- men of Svetigrad
  • që -- conjunction; <që> that, which -- that
  • Zoti -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, god -- god
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • madh -- adjective; masculine singular of <madh, e> big, large, great -- great
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vërtetë -- adjective; masculine singular of <vërtetë> true -- true
  • t'ju -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ju> you (pl.) -- you all
  • jepte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive active of <jap> give -- would give
  • juve -- pronoun; dative of <ju> you (pl.) -- ...
  • sot -- adverb; <sot> today -- today

një rast më të mirë, të jepte për zëmrat e flakta dhe për ushtarët e zjarrtë
  • një -- determiner; <një> a, one -- a
  • rast -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <rast> case, opportunity -- opportunity
  • më -- adverb; <më> more -- ...
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mirë -- adjective; masculine singular of <mirë, e> good -- better
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- that
  • jepte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect subjunctive active of <jap> give -- he would give
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- to
  • zëmrat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <zëmër> heart -- hearts # Std. Alb. zemër
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • flakta -- adjective; feminine plural of <flaktë, e> burning, passionate -- burning
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- ...
  • ushtarët -- noun, masculine; accusative plural definite of <ushtar> soldier -- soldiers
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zjarrtë -- adjective; masculine plural of <zjarrtë, e> fiery, passionate -- passionate

një rast më të bukur se sa ky që me plot të drejtë ju ka dhënë,
  • një -- determiner; <një> a, one -- a
  • rast -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <rast> case, opportunity -- opportunity
  • më -- adverb; <më> more -- more
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • bukur -- adjective; masculine singular of <bukur, e> beautiful -- beautiful
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- than
  • sa -- adverb; <sa> as -- ...
  • ky -- pronoun; masculine nominative of <ky, kjo> this -- this
  • që -- conjunction; <që> that, which -- that
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- ...
  • plot -- adverb; <plot> fully, completely, quite -- fully
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • drejtë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <drejtë, e> right -- right
  • ju -- pronoun; dative weak of <ju> you (pl.) -- you all
  • ka -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • dhënë -- verb; past definite participle of <jap> give -- he has given

të rrëmbeni tani armët për ta lënë të vulosur për gjithëmonë
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • rrëmbeni -- verb; 2nd person plural present subjunctive active of <rrëmbej> grab, seize -- to seize
  • tani -- adverb; <tani> now -- ...
  • armët -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <armë> weapon -- your weapons
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- in order that
  • ta -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + contraction of accusative singular weak of; <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- it
  • lënë -- verb; participle of <lë> leave -- be # për të lënë is an example of the Tosk 'infinitive'.
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vulosur -- adjective; masculine singular participle of <vulos> seal, mark -- marked
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • gjithëmonë -- adverb; <gjithmonë> always -- ever

me shëmbëllën e lartë besnikërinë tuaj edhe kundrejt meje, edhe kundrejt mbarë Epirit.
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • shëmbëllën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <shëmbëllë> example -- the example # Std. Alb. shembull
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lartë -- adjective; feminine singular of <lart, e> high, loud -- high
  • besnikërinë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <besnikëri> fidelity, loyalty, honesty -- of loyalty
  • tuaj -- pronoun; accusative singular of <juaj> your (pl.) -- your
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- ...
  • kundrejt -- preposition, ablative; <kundrejt> opposite, towards -- towards
  • meje -- pronoun; ablative of <unë> I -- me
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- as well as
  • kundrejt -- preposition, ablative; <kundrejt> opposite, towards -- towards
  • mbarë -- determiner; <mbarë> all, the entire -- all (of)
  • Epirit -- noun, masculine; ablative singular definite of <Epir> Epirus -- Eprius

Gjer tani ne kemi luftuar për fitoren, për nderin e mbretërisë; tani ju duhet të luftoni për shpëtimin, për lirinë, për muret e atdheut.
  • gjer -- preposition, accusative; <gjer> up to, until -- up to
  • tani -- adverb; <tani> now -- now
  • ne -- pronoun; nominative of <ne> we -- we
  • kemi -- verb; 1st person plural present indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • luftuar -- verb; participle of <luftoj> fight -- have fought
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • fitoren -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <fitore> victory -- victory
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- ...
  • nderin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <nder> honor -- the honor
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mbretërisë -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <mbretëri> kingdom -- of the kingdom
  • tani -- adverb; <tani> now -- now
  • ju -- pronoun; nominative of <ju> you (pl.) -- you all
  • duhet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active impersonal of <duhem> must, should -- must
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • luftoni -- verb; 2nd person plural present indicative active of <luftoj> fight -- fight
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • shpëtimin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <shpëtim> rescue, salvation -- salvation
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • lirinë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <liri> liberty, freedom -- freedom
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about -- for
  • muret -- noun, masculine; accusative plural definite of <mur> wall -- the walls
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • atdheut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <atdhe> fatherland -- of the fatherland

Tani ju duhet të përpiqeni që lavdet, të cilat i kini merituar në sa e sa luftra të kryera me sukses nën udhëheqjen time
  • tani -- adverb; <tani> now -- now
  • ju -- pronoun; nominative of <ju> you (pl.) -- you
  • duhet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active impersonal of <duhem> must, should -- should # duhet is an impersonal form and is normally in the 3SG, regardless of the subject.
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • përpiqeni -- verb; 2nd person plural present subjunctive non-active of <përpiqem> try, strive -- strive
  • që -- preposition, accusative; <që> since, from, beyond -- beyond
  • lavdet -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <lavde> praise -- the praises
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • cilat -- pronoun; feminine plural of <cili, e> that, which -- that
  • i -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ata, ato> they, those -- ...
  • kini -- verb; 2nd person plural present indicative active of <kam> have -- have # As discussed in Lesson 1, kini is a variant of Standard keni.
  • merituar -- verb; participle of <meritoj> deserve -- you earned
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • sa -- conjunction; <sa> as many as, as soon as, as long as, so much -- many
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- ...
  • sa -- conjunction; <sa> as many as, as soon as, as long as, so much -- many
  • luftra -- noun, feminine; accusative plural indefinite of <luftë> war -- wars
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • kryera -- adjective; feminine plural participle of <kryej> carry out, perform -- carried out
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • sukses -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <sukses> success -- success
  • nën -- preposition, accusative; <nën> under -- under
  • udhëheqjen -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <udhëheqje> leadership -- leadership
  • time -- pronoun; feminine accusative singular of <im> my -- my

të mos i ktheni në turp të madh nga plogështia dhe në pjesën më të madhe fati i kësaj varet nga ju,
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • mos -- particle; <mos> NEGATOR -- lest
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • ktheni -- verb; 2nd person plural present subjunctive active of <kthen> turn, return, regain health -- you return
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • turp -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <turp> shame, disgrace -- shame
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • madh -- adjective; masculine singular of <madh, e> big, large, great -- great
  • nga -- preposition, nominative; <nga> from, through -- from
  • plogështia -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <plogështi> sloth, lethargy -- lethargy
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- in
  • pjesën -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <pjesë> part, section, share -- the part
  • më -- adverb; <më> more -- ...
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • madhe -- adjective; feminine singular of <madh, e> big, large, great -- larger
  • fati -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <fat> fate -- the fate
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • kësaj -- pronoun; feminine genitive of <ky, kjo> this -- of this
  • varet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <varem> hang, depend -- depends
  • nga -- preposition, nominative; <nga> from, through -- on
  • ju -- pronoun; nominative of <ju> you (pl.) -- you all

sepse nga ju do t'ia fillojë Murati hyrjes për në Epir.
  • sepse -- conjunction; <sepse> because -- because
  • nga -- preposition, nominative; <nga> from, through -- through
  • ju -- pronoun; nominative of <ju> you (pl.) -- you all
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'ia -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that + pronoun; contraction of accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- it
  • fillojë -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active of <filloj> start, begin -- will begin
  • Murati -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <Murat> Murad -- Murad
  • hyrjes -- noun, feminine; dative singular definite of <hyrje> entry -- (as far as) the entrance (is concerned) # This is an "ethical dative," and literally, this phrase could be translated as "Murat will begin it as far as the entrance is concerned."
  • për në -- preposition, accusative; <për në> into, towards -- into
  • Epir -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <Epir> Epirus -- Epirus

Lesson Text

Ishte e pamundur, o sfetigradas, që Zoti i madh e i vërtetë t'ju jepte juve sot një rast më të mirë, të jepte për zëmrat e flakta dhe për ushtarët e zjarrtë një rast më të bukur se sa ky që me plot të drejtë ju ka dhënë, të rrëmbeni tani armët për ta lënë të vulosur për gjithëmonë me shëmbëllën e lartë besnikërinë tuaj edhe kundrejt meje, edhe kundrejt mbarë Epirit. Gjer tani ne kemi luftuar për fitoren, për nderin e mbretërisë; tani ju duhet të luftoni për shpëtimin, për lirinë, për muret e atdheut. Tani ju duhet të përpiqeni që lavdet, të cilat i kini merituar në sa e sa luftra të kryera me sukses nën udhëheqjen time të mos i ktheni në turp të madh nga plogështia dhe në pjesën më të madhe fati i kësaj varet nga ju, sepse nga ju do t'ia fillojë Murati hyrjes për në Epir.

Translation

It was impossible, O men of Svetigrad, that the great and true God would give you all today a better opportunity, that he would give to burning hearts and passionate soldiers a more beautiful opportunity than this that he has rightfully given you all to seize your weapons in order that it be marked forever with the high example of your loyalty towards me, as well as towards all of Epirus. Up to now we have fought for victory and the honor of the kingdom. Now you all must fight for salvation, for freedom, for the walls of the fatherland. Now you should strive beyond the praises that you have earned with success in many many wars carried out under my leadership, lest you return in great shame from lethargy; and in the larger part, the fate of this depends on you all because, through you all, Murad will begin it as far as the entrance into Epirus is concerned.

Grammar

13 Negation

Like several other Indo-European languages, in particular Indo-Iranian, Armenian and Greek, Albanian has different negators depending on whether or not the verb is in the indicative mood. When the verb is in the indicative mood, either nuk or s' is used in negating the verb. Nuk and s' are synonymous, e.g. nuk ha = s'ha 'I do not eat'. The negator mos is used with subjunctives, imperatives, optatives, and any participial formation, e.g., mos ha! 'don't eat!', për të mos ngrënë 'in order not to eat', etc.

14 Subordination
14.1 Indicative Subordination

The most common subordinators in indicative clauses are se or që, which have the same meaning and function (both translate to 'that'). Camaj (1984) claims that se originally held this function, but që (originally used with subjunctives and as a relative pronoun) has become used under these conditions as well.

Consider the following examples from Lesson 2's text. The first, "...it was written that in Albania autumn is...," uses the subordinator se, while the second, "The general knew that in Albania autumn is...," uses the subordinator që.

    të shkruhej   SE   në   Shqipëri   vjeshta   është
    it-was-written   that   in   Albania   the-autumn   is
    Gjenerali   e   dinte   QË   në   Shqipëri   vjeshta   është
    the-general   it   knew   that   in   Albania   the-autumn   is
14.2 Subjunctive Subordination

As discussed in Lesson 1, the subjunctive always occurs preceded by the subordinator të. Clearly, të is the subordinator for subjunctive clauses. Recall that Tosk Albanian, like many of the other languages of the Balkan Sprachbund, does not have an infinitival form that can be the complement of a verb. For example, in a sentence like 'I want to learn Albanian," an infinitival form of "to learn" would be used in English, Russian, French and most other European languages (even Geg Albanian, see below). However, in Tosk/Standard Albanian, a structure would have to be used that would roughly translate to "I want that I learn Albanian," with the second verb in the subjunctive.

    Dua   TË mesoj   gjuhën   shqipe
    I-want   (that) I-learn   the-language   Albanian

In saying something like "It is not difficult to learn Albanian," a similar construction is used. Instead of an infinitive, a finite verb is used.

    nuk   është   e veshtirë   TË mesojë   gjuhën   shqipe
    not   it-is   difficult   that learn   the-language   Albanian

In some cases, a construction që + SUBJECT + të + VERB is used. This would be roughly equivalent to a construction like "for SUBJECT INFINITIVE" in English. For example, "It is not difficult for John to learn Albanian" would be expressed as the following:

    Nuk   është   e veshtirë   QË   Gjoni   TË mesojë   gjuhën   shqipe
    not   it-is   difficult   that   John   learns   the-language   Albanian

Note that the constructions above, while representative of Tosk and Standard Albanian, are rare in Geg. In these situations, an infinitival form would be used in Geg. For example, the Geg equivalent of Standard Albanian Dua të flas gjuhën shqipe. 'I want to speak Albanian' would be Due me folë gjuhën shqipe, where me folë is the infinitive of flas 'speak'. More information about the Geg infinitive (along with other participial constructions) is given in Lesson 4.

14.3 Relative Clauses

In Standard Albanian, the relative pronoun is declined. The following are the forms of the relative pronoun; the genitive forms must take an additional nyje particle.

    masculine           feminine    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
nominative   i cili   të cilët       e cila   të cilat
accusative   të cilin   të cilët       të cilën   të cilat
gen/dat.   të cilit   të cilëve       së cilës   të cilave
ablative   të cilit   të cilëve       së cilës   të cilave

The relative pronoun appears in first position in the relative clause, and has the case that is appropriate to its use in the relative clause, but with the gender and number determined by the head noun (the noun that is modified by the relative clause). For example, from the text in Lesson 1, "The flag, the seal, and the anthem are... symbols... that reflect..."

    Flamuri,   stema   dhe   himni   janë   simbolet,   të cilat   pasqyrojnë...
    the-flag   the-seal   and   the-anthem   are   symbols   that   reflect...

In this example the form of the relative pronoun is të cilat, and is feminine nominative plural. It modifies the noun simbolet, which is the nominative plural form of the ambigeneric noun simbol (which, being ambigeneric and plural, has feminine agreement).

Note that, in spoken Albanian, it is more common to use invariant që (Geg qi) instead of the relative pronoun cili, e. This is much more common in the texts presented in these lessons, for example in the following phrase from Lesson 2:

    në   librin   QË   kishte lexuar
    in   the-book   that   he-had read
15 Demonstrative Adjectives/Pronouns

When the object being described is not specified for gender, the default form of the pronouns is the feminine form. Thus, in an impersonal construction in which there is an adjective predicated of an understood (unexpressed) expletive subject along with a clausal complement (thus equivalent to English "extraposed" sentential subject), the adjective takes the feminine form, e.g. është e veshtirë të mesoni shqip '(it)-is difficult/FEM that you-learn Albanian' (that veshtirë is feminine is shown by the nyje e rather than masculine i -- see Lesson 1).

15.1 Distal Demonstratives

Forms of ai, ajo 'that' are used when the object being described is not near the speaker. These are also used as the third person personal pronouns.

    masculine           feminine    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
nominative   ai   ata       ajo   ato
accusative   atë   ata       atë   ato
gen/dat.   atij   atyre       asaj   atyre
ablative   atij   atyre       asaj   atyre
15.2 Proximal Demonstratives

When the object discussed is near the speaker, forms of ky, kjo 'this' are used.

    masculine           feminine    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
nominative   ky   këta       kjo   këto
accusative   këtë   këta       këtë   këto
gen/dat.   këtij   këtyre       kësaj   këtyre
ablative   këtij   këtyre       kësaj   këtyre
16 Personal Pronouns

As discussed above, the function of the 3rd person personal pronouns is filled by the distal demonstrative pronouns. Unlike 3rd person pronouns, the rest of the personal pronouns are not marked for gender.

    1st person           2nd person    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
nominative   unë   ne       ti   ju
accusative   mua   ne       ty   ju
gen/dat.   mua   neve       ty   juve
ablative   meje   nesh       teje   jesh
17 Weak Pronouns
17.1 Forms of Weak Pronouns

The following are the forms of the Albanian weak pronouns (also commonly called "clitic pronouns"):

    singular   plural
1st person   më   na
2nd person   të   ju
3rd person   e (acc.)   i (acc.)
    i (dat.)   u (dat.)
reflexive   u    
17.2 Position of weak pronouns

With the exception of imperatives (on which see below), weak pronouns always come before the verb, regardless of mood, tense, etc. For example, in the following examples meaning "I eat it" and "I have eaten it," the weak pronoun e comes directly before the verb.

    Unë   e   ha.               Unë   e   kam ngrënë.
    I   it   eat               I   it   have-eaten

When using a verb form obligatorily preceded by a particle of some sort, such as të in the subjunctive or do të in the future and conditional, the clitics still occur directly before the verb (i.e., between the particle and the verb). For example, in the sentence "I will eat it," the clitic e is positioned between the subordinator të and the verb ha. The combination of të and e actually gives a contraction ta (on such contractions, see below).

    Unë   do   ta   ha
    I   FUT   TË+it   eat

Weak pronoun placement is more complicated in the imperative, where there is some variability as to where they appear. In negative imperatives, weak pronouns still come directly before the verb (i.e., between the negator and the verb). In positive imperatives, weak pronouns can come either before or after the verb: if they come before the verb, they are written as separate words; if they come after the verb, the clitics are attached to the verb. If clitics come after a plural imperative, they are placed between the stem and the 2nd person plural imperative ending -ni. In the following examples meaning "Open the door for me!" from Newmark et al. (1982), where the weak pronouns are capitalized, the example on the left has the clitic combination ma (dative më plus accusative e) as a separate word placed before the verb, while the example on the right has the clitic combination ma attached to the end of the verb.

    MA   hap   derën       OR       hapMA   derën
    for me-it   open!   the-door               open!-for me-it   the-door

In the following examples meaning "Write to me!" the clitic either comes before the verb (as in the example on the left) or between the stem and the 2PL imperative ending -ni (as in the example on the right).

    MË   shkruani       OR       shkruaMËni
    to me   write!               write!-to me
17.3 Use of clitic pronouns

Direct object weak pronouns are not obligatory, but optional when the direct object is overtly expressed. For example, both of the following are acceptable for "I saw the dog."

    Unë   pashë   qenin       OR       Unë   e   pashë   qenin
    I   saw   the-dog               I   it   saw   the-dog

If the direct object is not overtly expressed, then the weak pronoun is obligatory. For example, if saying "I saw it" (where 'it' is 'the dog'), the clitic must be present.

    Unë   e   pashë
    I   it   saw

Indirect object weak pronouns are obligatory when there is an indirect object, even if it is overtly expressed. For example, in the sentence "I wrote to John," the indirect object weak pronoun is required.

    Unë   i   shkrova   Gjonit
    I   to-him   wrote   to-John

Where the indirect object is a pronoun, an overt form of the pronoun is optional but not obligatory. For example, in the sentence "I wrote to you all," both of the following are acceptable:

    Unë   ju   shkrova       OR       Unë   ju   shkrova   juve
    I   to-you (pl.)   wrote               I   to-you (pl.)   wrote   to-you (pl.)
17.4 Weak Pronoun Combinations, Combinations With të

When a dative and an accusative weak pronoun are used together, they often combine. The dative weak pronoun always comes before the accusative weak pronoun. The following chart shows the different possible combinations.

                Acc.    
            e   i   u
    Dat.                
    më       ma   m'i   m'u
    të       ta   t'i   t'u
    i       ia   ia   iu
    na       na e   na i   na u
    ju       jua   jua   ju
    u       ua   ua   ju

In addition to weak pronouns combining to give special forms, weak pronouns (or combinations thereof) can combine with the subordinator të:

  • të plus accusative e gives ta
  • If the weak pronoun (or the combination of pronouns) begins with a vowel or j, the vowel of the subordinator is lost and it becomes t', e.g. të + i gives t'i, të + jua gives t'jua, etc.
  • If the weak pronoun (or the combination of pronouns) begins with any other sound, there is no special combination, e.g., të + m'i gives të m'i, të + na gives të na
18 Possessive Pronouns
18.1 Forms of Possessive Pronouns

These forms are originally the combination of a nyje particle and a pronoun. In most instances they have combined to form a single word, but in others they have not. The following are the forms for the 1st and 2nd person possessive pronouns. Note that e preceding some forms signals that an appropriate nyje particle is required: in some instances it will actually be e, in others it will not.

            1SG   1PL   2SG   2PL
Masc.   Sg.   nom.   im   ynë   yt   juaj
        acc.   tim   tonë   tët   tuaj
        gen/dat/abl.   tim   tonë   tët   tuaj
    Pl.   nom.   e mi   tanë   e tu   tuaj
        acc.   e mi   tanë   e tu   tuaj
        gen/dat/abl.   e mi   tanë   e tu   tuaj
                         
Fem.   Sg.   nom.   mie   jonë   jote   juaj
        acc.   time   tonë   tënde   juaj
        gen/dat/abl.   sime   sonë   sate   suaj
    Pl.   nom.   e mia   tona   e tua   tuaja
        acc.   e mia   tona   e tua   tuaja
        gen/dat/abl.   e mia   tona   e tua   tuaja

The third person possessive adjectives tij, e 'his', saj, e 'her', tyre, e 'their' are treated like typical adjectives.

18.2 Placement of Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns nearly always follow the noun they modify, e.g. gjuha jonë 'our language', miku im 'my friend', etc. The only cases where the possessive pronouns can precede the noun they modify is with a small group of kinship terms (e.g., vella 'brother', motër 'sister', and several others). When the possessive pronoun follows the noun, the noun is always in the definite form (e.g., vëllai im 'my brother', motra jotë 'your (pl.) sister'). In the rare cases where it can precede the noun, the noun is in the indefinite form (e.g., im vëlla, jotë motër). The 3rd person possessive pronouns never precede the noun.

19 The Future Tense
19.1 Future

As briefly discussed in Lesson 1, the Albanian future tense is formed from the particle do followed by the subordinator të and a present subjunctive form of the verb.

Future paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   do të shkruaj   do të shkruajmë
2nd person   do të shkruash   do të shkruani
3rd person   do të shkruajë   do të shkruajnë
19.2 Future Perfect

The future perfect is formed with the invariant particle do followed by the subordinator të and a present perfect subjunctive form of the verb. The future perfect is used to describe events that will occur in the future before another specified point in the future. For example, it would be used in a phrase like ai do të ketë shkruar librin... "he will have written the book..."

Future perfect paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   do të kem shkruar   do të kemi shkruar
2nd person   do të kesh shkruar   do të keni shkruar
3rd person   do të ketë shkruar   do të kenë shkruar
19.3 The Future Tense in Geg

Note that there is substantial variation across Albanian dialects in the formation of the future tense. In other (non-standard) Tosk dialects, the subordinator të is often omitted, and even in the standard language it can be omitted in colloquial usage or fast speech. Constructions with the future marker do are seen in Geg dialects. They are used to show obligation, rather than future time reference (as seen in the texts presented in Lessons 4 and 5). Geg dialects have a completely different future tense construction, which is composed of a conjugated present tense form of kam 'have' followed by the infinitive, which is formed from the preposition me followed by the participle (note that the Geg infinitive is a distinct formation from the Tosk/Standard Albanian "infinitive," discussed in Lesson 4). The equivalent of do të jenë in Geg would be kanë me qenë, where kanë is the 3rd person plural present form of kam 'have' and me qenë is the infinitive of jam 'be'. The Geg future perfect is formed with a present perfect form of kam plus the infinitive.

20 The Conditional Mood
20.1 The Present Conditional

The conditional is formed in the same way as the future, except that an imperfect subjunctive form of the verb is used. The present conditional is also often referred to as the "Future Imperfect" due to the fact that its formation is similar to that of the future. The conditional is used to describe a potential or hypothetical event, and verbs in the conditional mood are often translated into English as 'would VERB', e.g. 'I would read the book' would be Do të lexuaja librin.

Present conditional paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   do të shkruaja   do të shkruanim
2nd person   do të shkruaje   do të shkruanit
3rd person   do të shkruante   do të shkruanin
20.2 The Past Conditional

The Albanian past conditional is formed with do plus the subordinator të plus a past perfect subjunctive verb form. The past conditional is translated into English as 'would have VERBed', e.g. 'I would have read the book' would be Do të kisha lexuar librin.

Past conditional paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   do të kisha shkruar   do të kishim shkruar
2nd person   do të kishe shkruar   do të kishit shkruar
3rd person   do të kishte shkruar   do të kishin shkruar
20.3 The Conditional Mood in Geg

Similar to the Geg future tense, the Geg conditional is formed from a conjugated imperfect form of kam plus the infinitive. For example, the Geg equivalent of do të lexoja librin 'I would read' would be kisha me lexuë librin (where me lexuë is the infinitive of lexoj).

Albanian Online

Lesson 4: Geg

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

In 1444, Skanderbeg formed an alliance between several northern Albanian noble families to ward off the Ottoman invasion of the area. Among these was the Dukagjini family, of whom Lekë Dukagjini became one of the most important figures in Albanian history. Skanderbeg's exploits and devotion to his people in the face of invasion earned him fame throughout Europe. While Lekë Dukagjini fought at Skanderbeg's side and led the resistance (with less success than his predecessor) upon Skanderbeg's death, his fame is due to something else entirely.

The Kanun is a set of laws that cover all aspects of life. The most famous and widespread was the Kanun i Lekë Dukagjinit. While it is usually attributed to Lekë Dukagjini himself, it is more likely that this was the set of rules held in his family's territory (around the modern Albania-Kosovo border). There were other Kanuns (e.g., Kanuni i Skënderbeut, etc.), but the territory in which the laws of the Kanun i Lekë Dukagjinit were followed expanded. Generally, the different sets of laws followed in northern Albania were rather similar. The age of the laws of the Kanun is yet to be determined. Many aspects that the Kanun shares with law codes followed by other Indo-European peoples point to this as potentially inherited from Proto-Indo-European.

The Kanun i Lekë Dukagjinit covers a wide range of topics in great detail, including rules regarding property (e.g., if your bees escape and go on someone else's property, you have the right to enter their property to retrieve them; however, if no one is pursuing the bees, whoever finds them can keep them), rules regarding marriage and the family (e.g., in addition to the required "wedding ox," a wedding feast is obliged to have certain amounts of coffee, cheese, raki, etc.), rules regarding damages (e.g., if your goat ruins someone else's vineyard, you are required to give them the amount of wine and raki that the destroyed vines would have produced), and various rules of hospitality (e.g., while the master of the house washes his hands before the guest and drinks the first glass of raki, the guest must take the first bite of food, violation of this rule being punishable by fine), as well as controversial rules regarding blood feuds.

The rules of the Kanun were transmitted orally, and were not written down until the 19th century (and then, only in fragments). In the late 19th century, Shtjefën Gjeçovi, a priest-folklorist from Kosovo, collected and organized the rules, and the collection was published in 1933 (several years after Gjeçovi's death). A bilingual edition was published in 1989, containing Gjeçovi's original version along with an English translation by Leonard Fox.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following excerpt from the Kanun i Lekë Dukagjinit contains thirteen laws that describe the process of welcoming guests into the home. This excerpt makes up part of the eighth book of Gjeçovi's edition, which discusses personal honor, social honor (including hospitality, violation of hospitality, and the consequences of a violation of hospitality), and rules for brotherhood and godparenthood.

Given that the Kanun i Lekë Dukagjinit originates from northern Albania, it is written in Geg. As the rules were collected by Gjeçovi long before the establishment of any type of standardized Geg (or any standard variety of Albanian), the text contains dialectal characteristics of the area from which the data were collected: the Mirditë district in modern north-central Albania.

"Shpija e Shqyptarit âsht e Zotit e e mikut."
  • shpija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <shpi> house -- the house # Std. Alb. shtëpi
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shqyptarit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <shqyptar> Albanian -- of the Albanian # Std. Alb. shqiptar
  • âsht -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Zotit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God -- of God
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mikut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- of the guest

Miku nuk mund të hîjë në shpí, pá bâ zâ n'oborr.
  • miku -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- the guest
  • nuk -- adverb; <nuk> NEGATOR -- not
  • mund -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <mund> can, be able -- can
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • hîjë -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active of <hîj> enter -- enter # Std. Alb. hyj
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- ...
  • shpí -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <shpi> house -- house
  • pá -- preposition, accusative; <pa> without -- without # Std. Alb. pa
  • bâ -- verb; participle of <bâj> do, make -- making # Std. Alb. bëj, participle bërë
  • zâ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <zâ> sound, voice -- noise # Std. Alb. zë
  • n'oborr -- preposition, accusative; contraction of <në> in, on, at + noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <oborr> courtyard -- in courtyard

Si të bâjë zâ miku, i zoti i shpís a kush i shpís i pergjegjet e i del perpara.
  • si -- adverb; <si> upon, when -- when
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • bâjë -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active of <bâj> do, make -- makes
  • zâ -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <zâ> sound, voice -- noise # Std. Alb. zë
  • miku -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- the guest
  • i -- pronoun; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zoti -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <zoti, e> owner, boss, master -- master # This is a nominalized form of the adjective zoti, e meaning 'able, capable'
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shpís -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <shpi> house -- of the house
  • a -- conjunction; <a> or -- or
  • kush -- pronoun; nominative of <kush> someone, anyone -- someone else
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shpís -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <shpi> house -- of the house
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- him
  • pergjegjet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <pergjegjem> answer -- answers # Std. Alb. përgjijem
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- to him
  • del -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <dal> leave, go out, rise, arrive -- goes
  • perpara -- preposition; <perpara> ahead, forward, forth -- out # Std. Alb. përpara

Falet me mik, armen i a mêrr, e i prîn në shpí.
  • falet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <falem> be greeted -- he is greeted
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • mik -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <mik> friend, guest -- guest
  • armen -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <armë> weapon -- weapon
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • a -- pronoun; contraction of accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- his # In Standard Albanian, ia is written as a single word. a here is a sandhi variant of e in this position.
  • mêrr -- verb, 3rd person singular present indicative active of; <mârr> take -- he takes # Std. Alb. marr
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- him
  • prîn -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <prîj> lead -- leads # Std. Alb. prij
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- into
  • shpí -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <shpi> house -- house

Armen i a varë në krrabë, edhè e çon në krye të vendit ke votra
  • armen -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <armë> weapon -- weapon
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • a -- pronoun; contraction of accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- his # In Standard Albanian, ia is written as a single word. a here is a sandhi variant of e in this position.
  • varë -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <var> hang -- he hangs # varë is actually what is expected for the 3SG present subjunctive, not indicative, form.
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- on
  • krrabë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <krrabë> hook -- a hook # Std. Alb. kërrabë
  • edhè -- conjunction; <edhe> and -- and
  • e -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- him
  • çon -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <çoj> lead -- leads
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- to
  • krye -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <krye> head, beginning -- head
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vendit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <vend> place, seat, country -- the place
  • ke -- preposition, nominative; <ke> at -- near
  • votra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <votër> hearth -- the hearth

Perpushet zjarmi, lypen edhè drû. "Miku don drû."
  • perpushet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <perpushem> scratch, twitch, stir -- is stirred
  • zjarmi -- noun, nominative singular definite of; <zjarm> fire -- the fire # Std. Alb. zjarr
  • lypen -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <lypej> ask for, request -- he requests
  • edhè -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- more
  • drû -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <drû> wood -- wood # Std. Alb. dru.
  • miku -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- the guest
  • don -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <due> want -- wants # Std. Alb. dua, 3SG pres. indic. do.
  • drû -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <drû> wood -- wood # Std. Alb. dru.

Mikut do t'i bâhet nderë: "Bukë e krypë e zêmer."
  • mikut -- noun, masculine; dative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- for the guest
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • bâhet -- 3rd person singular present subjunctive non-active of; <bâhem> become -- must be made # Std. Alb. bëhem. As discussed in Lesson 4, do të... constructions in Geg usually have more of a connotation of obligation rather than future time reference.
  • nderë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <nderë> honor -- honor # Std. Alb. nder
  • bukë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <bukë> bread, food -- bread
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • krypë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <krypë> salt -- salt # Std. Alb. kripë
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • zêmer -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <zêmer> heart -- heart # Std. Alb. zemër

Buka e krypa e zêmra, zjarmi e trungu e do firi per shtrojë do të gjindet gadi per mik në çdo kohë të natës e të ditës
  • buka -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <bukë> bread, food -- the bread
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- ...
  • krypa -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <krypë> salt -- the salt
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • zêmra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <zêmer> heart -- the heart
  • zjarmi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <zjarm> fire -- the fire
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • trungu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <trung> log -- the log
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • do -- determiner; <do> some -- some
  • firi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <fir> fern -- material # This probably is not specifically referring to ferns, but rather some sort of plant material that could be used as bedding.
  • per -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- for
  • shtrojë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <shtrojë> mattress, bed -- a bed
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • gjindet -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive non-active <gjindem> be located, be present, exist -- must be present
  • gadi -- adverb; <gadi> ready -- ready # Std. Alb. gati
  • per -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- for
  • mik -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <mik> friend, guest -- a guest
  • në -- preposition, accusative; <në> in, on, at -- at
  • çdo -- adverb; <çdo> every -- any
  • kohë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <kohë> time, weather -- time
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • natës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <natë> night -- of the night
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- or
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ditës -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <ditë> day -- of the day

Mikut të lodhun do t'i vîhet rreth me të pritun me nderë. Mikut i lahen kambët.
  • mikut -- noun, masculine; dative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- the guest
  • të -- particle; masculine dative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lodhun -- adjective; masculine singular of <lodhun, e> tired -- tired # Std. Alb. lodhur, e
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <të> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • vîhet -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive non-active of <vîhem> be placed -- should be # Std. Alb. vihem
  • rreth -- preposition, ablative; <rreth> surrounded -- surrounded
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pritun -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <pritun, e> hospitality -- hospitality # Std. Alb. pritur, e
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • nderë -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <nderë> honor -- honor
  • mikut -- noun, masculine; dative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- of the guest
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • lahen -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative non-active of <lahem> be washed -- are washed
  • kambët -- noun, feminine; nominative plural definite of <kambë> foot, leg -- the feet # Std. Alb. këmbë

Per çdo mik duhet buka si han vetë.
  • per -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- for
  • çdo -- determiner; <çdo> every -- every
  • mik -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <mik> friend, guest -- guest
  • duhet -- verb; present of <duhet> must, should, be necessary -- is needed # duhet is an impersonal verb. The form is duhet regardless of the subject. This is technically the 3.sg.pres.ind.nonact. of a putative verb duhem.
  • buka -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <bukë> bread, food -- the food
  • si -- adverb; <si> in the way that, such as -- that
  • han -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <ha> eat -- they eat
  • vetë -- adverb; <vëtë> themselves -- themselves

Per mik të mirë duhet kafija, rakija e buka e shtrueme me ndo'i send mâ teper.
  • per -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- for
  • mik -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <mik> friend, guest -- a friend
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mirë -- adjective; masculine singular of <mirë, e> good -- good
  • duhet -- verb; present of <duhet> must, should, be necessary -- are necessary
  • kafija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <kafe> coffee -- coffee
  • rakija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <raki> raki -- raki
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • buka -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <bukë> bread, food -- food
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shtrueme -- adjective, feminine singular participle of; <shtroj> lay -- laid out
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • ndo'i -- determiner; <ndo'i> some, any -- some # This is a shortened form of ndonji (Std. Alb. ndonjë)
  • send -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <send> thing, item -- thing
  • mâ -- adverb; <mâ> more -- more # Std. Alb. më
  • teper -- adverb; <teper> very, too, excessively -- as well # Std. Alb. tepër

Per mik zêmret duhet duhâni, kafija e ambel, rakija e bukë e mish.
  • per -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- for
  • mik -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <mik> friend, guest -- a friend
  • zêmret -- adjective; masculine singular of <zêmret> cherished -- cherished
  • duhet -- verb; present of <duhet> must, should, be necessary -- are necessary
  • duhâni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <duhân> tobacco -- tobacco # Std. Alb. duhan
  • kafija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <kafe> coffee -- coffee
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ambel -- adjective; feminine singular of <ambel, e> sweet -- sweet # Std. Alb. ëmbël, e
  • rakija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <raki> raki -- raki
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • bukë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <bukë> bread, food -- bread
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • mish -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <mish> meat -- meat

"Mikut të zêmres i lshohet shpija."
  • mikut -- noun, masculine; dative singular definite of <mik> friend, guest -- to the guest
  • të -- particle; masculine dative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zêmres -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <zêmer> heart -- of the heart
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • lshohet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <lshohem> be given freely -- is given freely # Std. Alb. lëshohem
  • shpija -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <shpi> house -- the house # Std. Alb. shtëpi

Lesson Text

"Shpija e Shqyptarit âsht e Zotit e e mikut." Miku nuk mund të hîjë në shpí, pá bâ zâ n'oborr. Si të bâjë zâ miku, i zoti i shpís a kush i shpís i pergjegjet e i del perpara. Falet me mik, armen i a mêrr, e i prîn në shpí. Armen i a varë në krrabë, edhè e çon në krye të vendit ke votra Perpushet zjarmi, lypen edhè drû. "Miku don drû." Mikut do t'i bâhet nderë: "Bukë e krypë e zêmer." Buka e krypa e zêmra, zjarmi e trungu e do firi per shtrojë do të gjindet gadi per mik në çdo kohë të natës e të ditës Mikut të lodhun do t'i vîhet rreth me të pritun me nderë. Mikut i lahen kambët. Per çdo mik duhet buka si han vetë. Per mik të mirë duhet kafija, rakija e buka e shtrueme me ndo'i send mâ teper. Per mik zêmret duhet duhâni, kafija e ambel, rakija e bukë e mish. "Mikut të zêmres i lshohet shpija."

Translation

"The house of the Albanian is of God and of the guest." The guest cannot enter the house without making noise in the courtyard. When the guest makes noise, the master of the house or someone else of the house answers him and goes out to him. He is greeted by the guest, he takes his weapon, and leads him into the house. He hangs his weapon on a hook, and leads him to the head place near the hearth. The fire is stirred; he requests more wood. "The guest sees to the fire." For the guest, honor must be made: "Bread and salt and the heart." The bread, the salt and the heart, the fire and the log and some material for a bed must be present, ready for a guest at any time of the day or of the night. The tired guest should be surrounded by hospitality, with honor. The feet of the guest are washed. For every guest, the food that they eat themselve is needed. For a good friend, coffee, raki and food laid out are necessary, with something more as well. For a cherished friend, tobacco, sweet coffee, raki and bread and meat are necessary. "To the guest of the heart, the house is given freely."

Grammar

21 The Past Definite Tense
21.1 Use of the Past Definite Tense

The Albanian past definite tense is the simple, perfective, past tense. It is used to describe completed events that occurred in the past. In modern Albanian, the past definite is losing ground to the present perfect, to which it is nearly identical semantically.

21.2 Formation of the Past Definite Tense

As discussed briefly in Lesson 2, the past definite is formed from the aorist stem. As in several other Indo-European languages, the difficulty in conjugating the simple perfect past tense in Albanian is knowing the correlation between the present stem and the aorist stem. The endings are consistent, and where there are different endings, the choice is phonologically predictable. As with all of the other verb formations besides the present, the past definite indicative and subjunctive are always identical. The following are the basic endings for the Albanian past definite tense.

    singular   plural
1st person   -a   -ëm/-më/-m
2nd person   -e   -ët/-të/-t
3rd person   -i/-u   -ën/-në/-n

Notes:

  • Vowel-stem verbs have -v- inserted before the 1st and 2nd person singular endings (e.g., puno-v-a 'I worked', puno-v-e 'you worked', but puno-i 's/he worked')
  • Similar to some of the noun endings seen earlier, the 3rd person singular ending is -u (e.g., la-u 's/he washed'), when immediately following a velar consonant or i, a, or e. Elsewhere, the 3rd person singular ending is -i
  • As shown in the chart above, there is some variation in the plural endings with regard to the presence of the vowel either preceding or following the consonantal ending. This is completely phonologically predictable. Vowel-stems have the plural endings -më,-të,-në. If the preceding syllable is unstressed, the final -ë is dropped. Consonant-stems have the endings -ëm,-ët,-ën.

In most verbs, the aorist stem (from which the past definite is formed) is identical to the present stem. The following are the past definite paradigms of the vowel-stem verb punoj 'work' and the consonant-stem verb hap 'open'

Past definite paradigms of punoj 'work' (aor.stem puno-) and hap 'open' (aor.stem hap-)

    punoj           hap    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   punova   punuam       hapa   hapëm
2nd person   punove   punuat       hape   hapët
3rd person   punoi   punuan       hapi   hapën

There are also many verbs that have some sort of stem change in the past definite. Similar to Latin, some of these stem changes are also seen in the participle (see Lesson 2). Some verbs have a stem extension in the aorist not seen in the present (e.g., bër- 'make-PERF' vs. bë- 'make-PRES'; dit- 'know-PERF' vs. di- 'know-PRES'). There are other verbs that have some sort of vowel change in the past (e.g., hoq- 'pull-PAST' vs. heq- 'pull-PRES'; dol- 'emerge-PAST', dal- 'emerge-PRES'). There are also some verbs that have a suppletive past tense, including the auxiliary verb kam (cf. PAST pat-), among others (e.g., hëngr- 'eat-PAST' vs. ha- 'eat-PRES). In all of these cases, the suffixes are the same as seen above.

Additionally, there is a small class of verbs that take an ending -shë in the 1SG past definite (often along with a suppletive stem). This class includes the irregular/auxiliary verb jam 'be' (1SG past qeshë), as well as bie 'fall' (1SG past ra-shë), shoh 'see' (1SG past pa-shë), lë 'let' (1SG past la-shë), and them 'say' (1SG past tha-shë).

Past definite paradigms of jam 'be' (aor. stem qe-) and kam 'have' (aor.stem pat-)

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   qeshë   qemë       pata   patëm
2nd person   qe   qetë       pate   patët
3rd person   qe   qenë       pati   patën
22 Pluperfect and Past Perfect Tenses
22.1 Use of the Pluperfect and the Past Perfect

According to Newmark et al. (1982), these two tenses are essentially identical, semantically. They both refer to an action that occurred in the past before a certain point in time. They also comment that the past perfect is used to a much greater extent than the pluperfect.

22.2 Formation of the Pluperfect and the Past Perfect

The pluperfect and past perfect tenses are formed in the same manner as the present perfect tense, discussed in Lesson 2. As in the present perfect, these tenses are formed using a conjugated form of the auxiliary kam plus the past participle. The only differences are that in the pluperfect, a past definite form of kam is used, and in the past perfect, an imperfect form of kam is used.

Pluperfect paradigm of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   pata shkruar   patëm shkruar
2nd person   pate shkruar   patët shkruar
3rd person   pati shkruar   patën shkruar

Past perfect paradigm of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   kisha shkruar   kishin shkruar
2nd person   kishe shkruar   kishit shkruar
3rd person   kishte shkruar   kishin shkruar
23 Voice

As discussed in lesson 2, Albanian has a distinction between active and non-active voice. The formation of a non-active verb form depends on the verb stem in question. If the form is based on the present stem (e.g., present, imperfect, etc.), the non-active is formed via a suffix and a distinct set of inflectional endings. If the form is any other synthetic formation (e.g., past definite, admirative, optative, etc.), the non-active is formed with a clitic. If it is a compound tense (e.g., present perfect, past perfect), this is done with a change of the auxiliary verb from kam to jam.

23.1 Present stem non-actives

The formation of the non-active present stem is accomplished by the suffixation of -he- to the verb stem (e.g., quaj 'call', stem qu-, non-active stem qu-he-). If the stem in question is consonant-final, this suffix has the form -e- (e.g., hap 'open', stem hap-, non-active stem hap-e-). The present tense of non-active verbs is formed with the stem described above plus the non-active present endings presented in Lesson 2.

Present non-active paradigms of quhem 'to be called' and hapem 'to be opened'

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   qu-he-m   qu-he-mi       hap-e-m   hap-e-mi
2nd person   qu-he-sh   qu-he-ni       hap-e-sh   hap-e-ni
3rd person   qu-he-t   qu-he-n       hap-e-t   hap-e-n

In the imperfect tense, the non-active stem is the same as above. The endings are the normal imperfect endings with -sh- preceding them. The 3SG form would then have an ending -shj- which is not permissible in Albanian, so either the -sh- (e.g., in Standard Albanian) or the -j- (in some non-standard varieties) is dropped.

Imperfect non-active paradigms of quhem 'to be called' and hapem 'to be opened'

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   qu-he-sha   qu-he-shim       hap-e-sha   hap-e-shim
2nd person   qu-he-she   qu-he-shit       hap-e-she   hap-e-shit
3rd person   qu-he-j   qu-he-shin       hap-e-j   hap-e-shin
    qu-he-sh           hap-e-sh    

There are no differences in conjugation between the present/imperfect indicative and the present/imperfect subjunctive in non-active verbs.

23.2 Aorist stem non-actives

In any synthetic verb formation that is not formed from the present tense (e.g., past definite, admirative, optative), the non-active form is simply formed by adding the clitic u before the verb. The only other change is in the 3rd person singular past definite, where the suffix -i (or -u) is lost.

Past definite non-active paradigm of hap 'to open':

    singular       plural
1st person   u hapa       u hapëm
2nd person   u hape       u hapët
3rd person   u hap       u hapën

In addition, some verbs that show allomorphy in the past definite, extend the plural stem allomorph into the 3SG in the non-active. For example, for the verb punoj work, the past definite stem is puno- in the singular and punua- in the plural. In the non active, the stem punua- is extended to the 3SG.

In any other verb forms built from the aorist stem (e.g., the admirative and optative, to be discussed in the following lesson), the non-active forms are formed the same way (though there is no issue in the 3SG).

23.3 Compound non-actives

In the preceding two sections we have seen several compound past tenses formed with the verb kam. To form the corresponding non-active forms, the auxiliary verb is simply changed to jam 'be'.

Present perfect non-active paradigms of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular       plural
1st person   jam shkruar       jemi shkruar
2nd person   je shkruar       jeni shkruar
3rd person   është shkruar       janë shkruar

Past perfect non-active paradigm of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular       plural
1st person   qeshë shkruar       qemë shkruar
2nd person   qe shkruar       qetë shkruar
3rd person   qe shkruar       qenë shkruar
24 Participial Formations
24.1 Infinitives in Tosk/Standard Albanian

While this formation in Tosk/Standard Albanian is commonly referred to as the "infinitive," it does not fulfill most typical infinitival properties (unlike the Geg infinitive, or the infinitive in most other Indo-European languages). The Tosk infinitive is mainly used for "in order to..." type statements (though they can also convey a sense of obligation).

The Tosk "infinitive" is built up of për + të + PARTICIPLE. See the following example (from the text in Lesson 3) meaning "in order to leave it marked for always" contains an Tosk infinitive.

    për ta lënë   të vulosur   për   gjithëmonë
    in-order-to-leave-it   marked   for   always

Note that in the above example, that ta is a contraction of the subordinator të with the weak accusative singular pronoun e. As in other participial constructions, the only elements that can immediately precede the main verb are weak pronouns and the negator mos.

24.2 Infinitives in Geg

The Geg infinitive is formed with me + PARTICIPLE. It has a much wider range of use than the Tosk "infinitive." It is commonly used after modal verbs such as mund 'can', dua 'want', etc. For example, the Geg translation of "We want to learn Albanian" would be:

    Duem   me folë   gjuhën   shqipe
    we-want   to-speak   the-langauge   Albanian

In this sentence, me folë is the infinitive of flas 'speak'. Recall that in Tosk, such a construction is not possible, and the infinitive is replaced by a conjugated form of the present subjunctive.

    Duam   të flasim   gjuhën   shqipe
    we-want   that we-speak   the-language   Albanian
24.3 Gerundives

The gerundive is used to express an action that is occurring simultaneously with the verb in the main clause. Though the gerundive has no tense marking (or any inflection of any sort), it can have present, future, or past-time reference, depending on the main verb. This is usually translated as "while VERBing" in English. The Tosk gerundive is formed with the particle duke plus the participle. The Geg gerundive is formed with the particle tue plus the participle. For example, the following phrase from Buzuku's Missal meaning "And our lord blessed them, (while he was) saying," where tue is the gerundive particle and thashunë is an old participle of them 'say' (the participle would be thënë in Std. Albanian).

    E   ata   bekoi   Zot'ynë   tue   thashunë
    and   them   blessed   lord-our   while   saying

As with the other participial constructions discussed above, the only elements that can come between the particle duke/tue is a weak pronoun and the negator mos (recall that mos, rather than nuk is used to negate participial constructions) as in the following example meaning "while not saying it to him"

    duke   mos   ia   thënë
    while   not   to him-it   saying
24.4 Privative

The privative is essentially a negative gerundive, and these constructions are normally translated into English as "without VERBing." The privative is formed with the particle pa (the preposition meaning 'without') plus the participle. For example, the following phrase from the text above meaning "without making a sound in the courtyard."

    ...pá   bâ   zâ   n'oborr
    without   making   sound   in-courtyard

Albanian Online

Lesson 5: Geg

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

While there are a few brief attestations (one sentence or less) of Albanian from the 15th century, the earliest major text that has been discovered is Meshari i Gjon Buzukut (The Missal of Gjon Buzuku), written in 1555. The missal contains various sections of the Bible translated into Albanian.

Elsie (2005) writes that not much is known about Gjon Buzuku, except for the information he provided in the postscript of the Missal. From the postscript we have his name, the dates of its composition, his reasons for composing the Missal (essentially because there was no translation of scriptures in Albanian), and a sincere apology for any mistakes he might have made in the translation. It is generally assumed that he probably lived outside of Albania where, particularly after the Ottoman conquest of the Western Balkans, he would be able to become a priest. It was originally believed that the Missal was first published in Venice, though Elsie believes that this is not necessarily the case, and it is just as likely that it was published in one of the major centers along the Dalmatian coast, e.g. Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik, Croatia). Given the dialectal features present in the Missal, it is believed that Buzuku was likely originally from the northwestern Geg-speaking area, north of Shkodër, probably in modern-day southern Montenegro.

As discussed in the series introduction, the alphabet used to write Albanian was heavily dependent on the religious affiliation of the scribe. As the north of Albania was predominantly Catholic and considerably more difficult for the Ottomans to conquer, like all of the other early attestations of Albanian, Buzuku's Missal was written in a modified version of the Latin alphabet. However, the alphabet used by Buzuku differs greatly from that used for Modern Albanian, and is quite different from the alphabets used for other early Albanian texts. Many of the letters used by Buzuku have several values (basically due to Albanian having a wider range of consonant sounds than Latin). For example, r is used for r and rr, c is used for c, and k, and s is used for s, sh and sometimes z and zh. As discussed earlier, the modern Albanian alphabet has avoided this issue via the extensive use of digraphs. In addition to several characters having multiple values, some non-Latin letters were used in the Missal as well, e.g., the Greek letter xi represents Albanian dh and th and the Cyrillic letter tshe represents Albanian q, gj and occasionally g. Long vowels are usually indicated by the doubling of a vowel character (e.g. aa = ), and nasal vowels are represented with a vowel + nasal sequence (e.g. anshtë = âsht).

The edition of Meshari used here is Namik Ressuli's 1958 Il "messale" di Giovanni Buzuku: riproduzione e trascrizione, the first modern edition of the entire text. Ressuli (1958) presents each page of the original text from 1455, along with a transcription into the (more or less) modern Albanian alphabet. For the sake of clarity we have chosen to use Ressuli's transliteration of the text, with one exception. Ressuli chose to leave the Cyrillic character uku (a vertical ligature of o and y with phonetic value [u]) as such; we have converted all of these instances to u. To see the original manuscript, please consult Ressuli (1958). To see a transliterated, but unmodified (with all original characters intact) version of the text, please visit the TITUS (Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien) project website, a link to which is available here.

Reading and Textual Analysis

As this text is substantially older than the texts presented in Lessons 1 through 4, there are features present in Buzuku's missal that have been lost or modified in modern Albanian. One of the more striking differences is the presence of neuter nouns in this text. As discussed in Lesson 1, the neuter gender has been nearly completely lost in the modern language; however, the neuter was alive and well in the 16th century. A number of nouns that appear in this lesson are neuter (e.g., firmuom, e 'vault', erët, e 'darkness, etc). Most nouns formed from adjectives were, in Old Albanian, neuter (and note that their adjectival origin explains why they require the nyje particle). The main difference in the inflection of neuter nouns is the singular definite ending -t/-të. In addition, Old Albanian shows the locative case, which has been mostly lost in modern Albanian (though it survives in some varieties of Arberisht). The locative endings seen in the Missal are -sh for singular nouns and and -shit for plural nouns. In addition, there is quite a bit of inconsistency throughout Buzuku's Missal. For example, for the plural of zog 'bird', Buzuku has alternate forms zogjtë and zojtë within a single paragraph. There are even instances of alternate forms within a single line, e.g. ishnë and ishnjinë as the 3rd person imperfect of 'be' (cf. Std. Alb. ishin), as seen in the excerpt below. We have not made any changes to the text; dealing with inconsistencies is an essential part of being able to interpret these texts.

The following text contains Buzuku's Albanian translation of Genesis 1:1-10. To see a picture of the corresponding text in the original manuscript, please click here. As discussed above, the Missal is written in Geg, and it specifically shows some features of dialects spoken north of Shkodër.

Ëndë e zanët të shekullit bani Zot'ynë qiellë e dhenë.
  • ëndë -- preposition, accusative; <ëndë> in -- in # Std. Alb. në
  • e -- particle; neuter accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zanët -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite of <zanë, e> beginning, start -- the beginning
  • të -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shekullit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <shekull> century, time -- of time
  • bani -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <bâj> do, make -- made # Std. Alb. bëj
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • qiellë -- noun, masculine; accusative plural indefinite of <qiell> sky, heaven -- heavens
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • dhenë -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <dhe> land, earth -- the earth

E dheu ish i pāfrujt e i shprazëtë, e t'erëtitë ish për-ënbī faqet të fondit ujit, e shpirti i t'inë Zot vëlizee për-ënbī ujënat.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • dheu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <dhe> land, earth -- the earth
  • ish -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- was # ish is a short variant of Standard ishte still seen in contemporary Albanian.
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pāfrujt -- adjective; masculine singular of <pāfrujt> fruitless, barren -- barren
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shprazëtë -- adjective; masculine singular of <shprazëtë, e> empty -- empty # Std. Alb. zbrazët, e
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • t'erëtitë -- particle; contraction of neuter nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE + noun, neuter; nominative singular definite of <erët, e> darkness -- the darkness # Std. Alb. errët, e
  • ish -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- was # ish is a short variant of Standard ishte still seen in contemporary Albanian.
  • për-ënbī -- preposition, ablative; <për-ënbī> on top of, over, about -- over # Std. Alb. përmbi
  • faqet -- noun, feminine; ablative singular definite of <faqe> page, face, surface -- the surface
  • të -- particle; feminine ablative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • fondit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <fond> pool, deep -- of the deep
  • ujit -- noun, ambigeneric; ablative singular definite of <ujë> water -- of the water
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • shpirti -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <shpirt> spirit -- the spirit
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • t'inë -- pronoun; genitive singular of <ynë> our -- of our # As discussed in Lesson 3, the possessive pronouns were originally a combination of a nyje particle and a pronoun. The standard Albanian form of this would be tone, but this form probably shows an earlier stage in the combination of nyje të and pronoun ynë.
  • Zot -- noun, masculine; genitive singular indefinite of <zot> master, lord, God -- Lord # Recall that in the rare cases where possessive pronouns precede the noun they modify, the noun can be unmarked (this information can be carried on the pronoun).
  • vëlizee -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <vëliz> move -- was moving # Std. Alb. lëviz
  • për-ënbī -- preposition, accusative; <për-ënbī> on top of, over, about -- over
  • ujënat -- noun, ambigeneric; accusative plural definite of <ujë> water -- the waters

E tha Zot'ynë: Kloftë bām drita. E u bā drita.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • tha -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <them> say, speak -- said
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our lord
  • kloftë -- verb; 3rd person singular present optative of <jam> be -- may... be
  • bām -- verb; participle of <bâj> do, make -- made
  • drita -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • bā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite of <bâj> do, make -- was made
  • drita -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light

E pā Zot'ynë se drita ish e mirë; e dau Zot'ynë dritënë ën s'erëtit.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • pā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <shoh> see -- saw
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that -- that
  • drita -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light
  • ish -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- was # ish is a short variant of Standard ishte still seen in contemporary Albanian.
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mirë -- adjective; feminine singular of <mirë, e> good -- good
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • dau -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <daj> separate -- separated # Std. Alb. ndaj
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • dritënë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light
  • ën -- preposition, ablative; <ën> from, by, with -- from
  • s'erëtit -- particle; contraction of neuter ablative singular definite of <e> NYJE + noun, neuter; ablative singular definite of <erët, e> darkness -- the darkness

E grishi Zot'ynë dritënë ditë, e t'erëtitë natë. E u bā natë, e duol drita.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • grishi -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <gërshas> call -- called
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • dritënë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light
  • ditë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <ditë> day -- day
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • t'erëtitë -- particle; contraction of neuter nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE + noun, neuter; nominative singular definite of <erët, e> darkness -- the darkness # Std. Alb. errët, e
  • natë -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <natë> night -- night
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • bā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative of <bâj> do, make -- was made
  • natë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <natë> night -- night
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • duol -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <dal> leave, go out, rise, arrive -- arrived
  • drita -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light

E tha Zot'ynë: Kloftë bām të firmuomitë për viedmis ujënavet, e ata të fërmuom të daë ujënatë ën ujënashit.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • tha -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <them> say, speak -- said
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • kloftë -- verb; 3rd person singular present optative of <jam> be -- may... be
  • bām -- verb; participle of <bâj> do, make -- made
  • të -- particle; neuter accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • firmuomitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite of <firmuom, e> vault -- vault
  • për -- preposition, ablative; <për> for, about, by, through -- in
  • viedmis -- noun, feminine; ablative singular definite of <viedmi> midst -- the midst
  • ujënavet -- noun, ambigeneric; of ablative plural definite of <ujë> water -- of the waters
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • ata -- pronoun; masculine accusative of <ata, ato> they, those -- ...
  • të -- particle; neuter nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • fërmuom -- noun, neuter; nominative singular indefinite of <firmuom, e> vault -- vault
  • të -- conjunction; <të> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • daë -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active of <daj> separate -- separate
  • ujënatë -- noun, ambigeneric; accusative plural definite of <ujë> water -- waters
  • ën -- preposition, ablative; <ën> from, by, with -- from
  • ujënashit -- noun, ambigeneric; ablative plural definite of <ujë> water -- waters # This is an alternative locative plural definite form of ujë that is formed by the suffixation of -t to the locative plural indefinite form. This is not necessarily uncommon in Old or Modern Albanian. There are some varieties that have generalized -t as a definite marker throughout the plural paradigm (e.g., dat.pl.indef. in -ve, dat.pl.def. in -ve-t), as opposed to Standard Albanian now with t-less -ve as dat.pl.def (as well as indef).

E bani Zot'ynë të firmuomitë e dau ujënatë qi ishnjinë për ëndënë të firmuomitë, e ato qi ishnë për-ënbī të firmuomitë. E ashtu u bā.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • bani -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <bâj> do, make -- made # Std. Alb. bëj
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • të -- particle; masculine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • firmuomitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite <firmuom, e> vault -- the vault
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • dau -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <daj> separate -- separated # Std. Alb. ndaj
  • ujënatë -- noun, ambigeneric; accusative plural definite of <ujë> water -- the waters
  • qi -- conjunction; <qi> that, which -- that # Std. Alb. që
  • ishnjinë -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- were
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- ...
  • ëndënë -- preposition, accusative /loc.; <ëndënë> under -- under # Std. Alb. nën, nëndë
  • të -- particle; neuter accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • firmuomitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite of <firmuom, e> vault -- the vault
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • ato -- pronoun; feminine accusative of <ata, ato> they, those -- those
  • qi -- conjunction; <qi> that, which -- that # Std. Alb. që
  • ishnë -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- were # ishnë, and ishnjinë (seen several lines above) are both variants of the 3.pl.imperf. of jam.
  • për-ënbī -- preposition, accusative; <për-ënbī> on top of, over, about -- over
  • të -- particle; neuter accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • firmuomitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite of <firmuom, e> vault -- the vault
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • ashtu -- adverb; <ashtu> so, thus -- so
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • bā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative of <bâj> do, make -- it was done

E grishi Zot'ynë të firmuomitë qiell. E u bā natë, e duol drita, qi anshtë e dyta ditë.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • grishi -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <gërshas> call -- called
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • të -- particle; accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • firmuomitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite of <firmuom, e> vault -- the vault
  • qiell -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <qiell> sky, heaven -- heaven
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • bā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative of <bâj> do, make -- was made
  • natë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <natë> night -- night
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • duol -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <dal> leave, go out, rise, arrive -- arrived
  • drita -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <dritë> light -- the light
  • qi -- conjunction; <qi> that, which -- which
  • anshtë -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • dyta -- adjective; feminine singular definite of of <dytë, e> second -- the second
  • ditë -- noun, feminine; nominative singular of <ditë> day -- day # The sequence e dyta ditë shows the somewhat rare case (briefly discussed in Lesson 2) of an adjective preceding the noun it modifies. Recall that if an adjective does precede the noun in modifies, the adjective is marked for definiteness (thus, dyta rather than dytë in this example).

E tha Zot'ynë: u ënbëliedhshinë ujënatë për ëndënë qiellt ënbë një vend, e u duktë thatë. E ashtu kle.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • tha -- verb; 3rd person singular perfect indicative active of <them> say, speak -- said
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • ënbëliedhshinë -- verb; 3rd person plural present optative of <ënbëledh> gather -- may... be gathered # Std. Alb. mbledh
  • ujënatë -- noun, masculine; nominative plural definite of <ujë> water -- the waters
  • për -- preposition, accusative; <për> for, about, by, through -- ...
  • ëndënë -- preposition, accusative /loc.; <ëndënë> under -- under # Std. Alb. nën, nëndë
  • qiellt -- noun, masculine; locative singular of <qiell> sky, heaven -- the sky
  • ënbë -- preposition, accusative; <ënbë> at -- at
  • një -- determiner; <një> a, one -- one
  • vend -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <vend> place, seat, country -- place
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • duktë -- verb; 3rd person singular present optative of <dukem> appear -- may...appear # Note that although this is a non-active form morphologically, it does not have a non-active meaning ('appear' rather than 'be appeared' or 'appear to oneself'); this is true for dukem in general.
  • thatë -- noun, neuter; nominative singular indefinite of <thatë, e> dry ground -- dry ground # Since this noun is derived from the adjective thatë, e, we would expect it to require a nyje particle (e.g., see the next section of the text where the acc.sg.def. of this noun is të thatëtë). However, for some reason the nyje particle has been omitted in this instance.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • ashtu -- adverb; <ashtu> so, thus -- so
  • kle -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <jam> be -- it was

E grishi Zot'ynë të thatëtë dhē, e të ënbëliedhunitë e ujënavet grishi dēt. E pā Zot'ynë se ish fort mirë.
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • grishi -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <gërshas> call -- called
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • të -- particle; accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • thatëtë -- noun, neuter; accusative plural definite of <thatë, e> dry ground -- the dry ground
  • dhē -- noun, masculine; accusative singular of <dhe> land, earth -- earth
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • të -- particle; neuter accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ënbëliedhunitë -- noun, neuter; accusative singular definite participle of <ënbëledh> gather -- the gathering
  • e -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ujënavet -- noun, ambigeneric; genitive plural definite of <ujë> water -- of waters
  • grishi -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <gërshas> call -- he called
  • dēt -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <det> sea -- sea
  • e -- conjunction; <e> and -- and
  • pā -- verb; 3rd person singular past definite indicative active of <shoh> see -- saw
  • Zot'ynë -- noun, masculine; contraction of nominative singular definite of <zot> master, lord, God + pronoun; masculine nominative of <ynë> our -- our Lord
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that -- that
  • ish -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- it was
  • fort -- adverb; <fort> very, loudly, strongly -- very
  • mirë -- adverb; masculine singular of <mirë> well -- good

Lesson Text

Ëndë e zanët të shekullit bani Zot'ynë qiellë e dhenë. E dheu ish i pāfrujt e i shprazëtë, e t'erëtitë ish për-ënbī faqet të fondit ujit, e shpirti i t'inë Zot vëlizee për-ënbī ujënat. E tha Zot'ynë: Kloftë bām drita. E u bā drita. E pā Zot'ynë se drita ish e mirë; e dau Zot'ynë dritënë ën s'erëtit. E grishi Zot'ynë dritënë ditë, e t'erëtitë natë. E u bā natë, e duol drita. E tha Zot'ynë: Kloftë bām të firmuomitë për viedmis ujënavet, e ata të fërmuom të daë ujënatë ën ujënashit. E bani Zot'ynë të firmuomitë e dau ujënatë qi ishnjinë për ëndënë të firmuomitë, e ato qi ishnë për-ënbī të firmuomitë. E ashtu u bā. E grishi Zot'ynë të firmuomitë qiell. E u bā natë, e duol drita, qi anshtë e dyta ditë. E tha Zot'ynë: u ënbëliedhshinë ujënatë për ëndënë qiellt ënbë një vend, e u duktë thatë. E ashtu kle. E grishi Zot'ynë të thatëtë dhē, e të ënbëliedhunitë e ujënavet grishi dēt. E pā Zot'ynë se ish fort mirë.

Translation

In the beginning of time our Lord made heavens and the earth. And the earth was barren and empty and the darkness was over the surface of the deep of the water and the spirit of our Lord was moving over the waters. And our Lord said: May the light be made. And the light was made. And our Lord saw that the light was good, and our Lord separated the light from the darkness. And our Lord called the light 'day' and the darkness 'night'. And night was made, and the light arrived. And our Lord said: May a vault be made in the midst of the waters and (may the) vault separate waters from waters. And our Lord made the vault and separated the waters that were under the vault and those that were over the vault. And so it was done. And our Lord called the vault 'heaven'. And night was made, and the light arrived, which is the second day. And our Lord said "May the waters under the sky be gathered at one place and may dry ground appear. And it was so. And our Lord called the dry ground 'earth' and the gathering of waters he called 'sea'. And our Lord saw that it was very good.

Grammar

25 Numerals
25.1 Cardinal Numbers
    1   një       6   gjashtë
    2   dy       7   shtatë
    3   tre/tri       8   tetë
    4   katër       9   nëntë
    5   pesë       10   dhjetë

The Albanian numbers 11 through 19 are formed following the pattern DIGIT - ON(mbë) - TEN(dhjetë). For example, the number '15' is FIVE(pesë) - ON(mbë) - TEN(dhjetë) > pesëmbëdhjetë. The word for '20' is njëzet and the word for '40' is dyzet. The rest of the multiples of ten are formed on the pattern DIGIT - TEN(dhjetë). For example, '50' is pesëdhjetë. The Albanian patterns used to form 11-19 and the multiples of ten are found in other Balkan languages as well (e.g., Mac. FIVE(pet) - ON(na) - TEN (deset) > petnaeset '15'; FIVE(pet) - TEN (deset) > pedeset '50')

'100' is njëqind, and to form other multiples of 100, replace një with another number, e.g., '500' is pesëqind. 'One thousand' is një mijë, and 'one million' is një milion.

25.2 Ordinal numbers
    1st   parë, e       6th   gjashtë, e
    2nd   dytë, e       7th   shtatë, e
    3rd   tretë, e       8th   tetë, e
    4th   katërt, e       9th   nëntë, e
    5th   pestë, e       10th   dhjetë, e

The word for 'first' is suppletive and not related to the cardinal number një. 'Second' through 'fifth' are formed via the suffixation of -të (sometimes with slight modification of the numerical root or the suffix). 'sixth' through 'tenth' have the identical forms to their corresponding cardinal numbers though, since they are articulated adjectives, a nyje particle is obligatory.

26 The Imperative Mood

The imperative mood is used for commands, requests, etc. Positive and negative imperatives are morphologically identical. The negator mos is used to form a negative imperative.

26.1 Formation of the Second Person Plural Imperative

The 2nd person plural imperative form is almost always identical to the 2nd person plural present indicative form. For example, the 2nd person plural present indicative of punoj work is punoni. Thus, this is also the plural imperative, punoni '(you all) work!' The only exceptions to this generalization are 'be' (jini 'be!' vs. jeni 'you (pl.) are', though jini 'you (pl.) are' occurs dialectally) and 'have' (kini 'have!' vs. keni 'you (pl.) have', though keni 'you (pl)' occurs for the indicative dialectally, as seen in Lesson 4).

26.2 Formation of the Second Person Singular Imperative

The formation of the singular imperative is not as consistent as that of the plural form. The general pattern for consonant stems is that the 2SG imperative is identical to the 2PL with -ni removed. However, in some cases, the 2SG imperative of consonant stems will be identical to the 2SG indicative (e.g., hap 's/he opens', hap! 'open!'). Vowel stems in -o or -e take no ending in the 2SG imperative (e.g., puno! 'work!'). Vowel stems in any other vowel have the 2SG imperative ending -j (e.g., shkruaj! 'write!'). There are also a number of more unpredictable cases.

27 The Optative Mood
27.1 Use of the Optative Mood

The optative mood is used to express wishes or desires. The function of the optative overlaps somewhat with the present subjunctive. Optatives are usually translated into English as "may SUBJECT VERB". For example, the text above has the phrase u ënbëliedhshinë ujënatë, where u is the non-active marker, ënbëliedhshinë is the 3PL present optative of the Old Albanian verb ënbëledh, and ujënatë is the nominative plural of 'water'. Thus, this translates to 'may the waters be gathered'.

27.2 Formation of the Present Optative

The optative stem is formed by attaching the suffix -fsh/-sh/-ç to the verbal stem. Newmark et al. (1982) describe the general pattern as that -fsh is used with vowel stems, -ç is used with consonant stems in n or sh, and -sh is used elsewhere. The verbal stem to which the suffix is attached is usually identical to the stem used in the past definite. The present optative endings are as follows:

    singular   plural
1st person   -a   -im
2nd person   -   -i
3rd person   -të   -in

In the 3rd person singular, the segment sh is lost when the optative ending is -fsh- or -sh-. If the ending is -ç-, it becomes s in the 3rd person singular. For example, the verb shkruaj 'write' has the verb stem shkro and the optative stem formation suffix -fsh-. Thus, the present optative paradigm of this verb is as follows:

Present optative paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   shkrofsha   shkrofshim
2nd person   shkrofsh   shkrofshi
3rd person   shkroftë   shkrofshin

Recall that the stem to which the optative suffix is attached is normally the past definite stem. For example, as discussed in Lesson 4, the past definite of jam 'be' has the stem qe (as in qeshë). The stem of the optative of 'be' is made from a modified form of this stem, qo-.

Present optative paradigm of jam 'be':

    singular   plural
1st person   qofsha   qofshim
2nd person   qofsh   qofshi
3rd person   qoftë   qofshin

Included here is the paradigm of kam 'have', which has an optative stem paç-, essential due to its use in the compound optative tense.

Present optative paradigm of kam 'have':

    singular   plural
1st person   paça   paçim
2nd person   paç   paçi
3rd person   pastë   paçin
27.3 Formation of the Present Perfect Optative

The present perfect optative is formed with the optative of kam 'have' (or jam 'be' if non-active), followed by the participle.

Present perfect optative paradigm of shkruaj 'write':

    singular   plural
1st person   paça shkruar   paçim shkruar
2nd person   paç shkruar   paçi shkruar
3rd person   pastë shkruar   paçin shkruar
28 The Admirative Mood
28.1 Use of the Admirative Mood

The admirative mood is used to express shock/surprise at an event. It can also be used to express doubt, or other strong emotions connected to a lack of confirmation of knowledge of an event.

28.2 Present Admirative

The present admirative is formed from the short form of the participle suffixed by a present tense form of kam 'have'. The final -ë of kanë is lost in the 3PL admirative. The example below gives the present admirative of the verb jam be. Recall that the past participle of jam is qenë, and thus the shortened form of the participle to which the forms of kam is attached is qen-.

    singular   plural
1st person   qenkam   qenkemi
2nd person   qenke   qenkeni
3rd person   qenka   qenkan
28.3 Imperfect Admirative

The imperfect admirative is formed as described above for the present admirative, except that an imperfect form of kam is suffixed to the participle.

Imperfect admirative paradigm of jam 'be':

    singular   plural
1st person   qenkësha   qenkëshim
2nd person   qenkëshe   qenkëshit
3rd person   qenkësh   qenkëshin
28.4 Compound Admirative Tenses

There are two compound admirative tenses: the present perfect and the past perfect. They are formed by the present admirative and imperfect admirative of kam (or jam if non-active), respectively, plus the participle.

Present perfect admirative paradigm of jam 'be':

    singular   plural
1st person   paskam qenë   paskemi qenë
2nd person   paske qenë   paskeni qenë
3rd person   paska qenë   paskan qenë

Past perfect admirative paradigm of jam 'be':

    singular   plural
1st person   paskësha qenë   paskëshim qenë
2nd person   paskëshe qenë   paskëshit qenë
3rd person   paskësh qenë   paskëshin qenë
29 Questions

Forming interrogative statements in Albanian is fairly straightforward. If a question is seeking information (rather than a yes/no answer), an interrogative pronoun is used. It is important to note that some of the interrogative pronouns have different case forms, e.g., Kush flet? 'Who is talking?" vs. Me kë flet? 'With whom are you talking?'.

To form a yes/no question, the interrogative marker a is required, e.g., A di shqip? 'Do you know/speak Albanian?'.