Albanian is the mother tongue of around seven million people worldwide. The largest number lives in the Republic of Albania. In the Republic of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, the majority of the population also speaks Albanian.
In addition to these two countries, the language is also spoken by Albanian-speaking minorities in the states of former Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece and other Balkan states. However, the largest group of Albanians living abroad is found in Germany, where about half a million people speak Albanian as their mother tongue. Perhaps you also know someone in your neighbourhood, your circle of acquaintances or your company who speaks this language.
Albanian is the official language in Albania and the Republic of Kosovo. In Macedonia and Montenegro it also has an official status alongside the other official languages there.
Linguistically, Albanian is considered one of the Indo-European languages. The Albanian language, however, forms an independent branch in this language family and cannot be assigned to any of the large groups (e.g. the Romance or Slavic languages).
Today, the Latin alphabet is also used in Albanian, which has been extended by two special characters (ë and ç). Some letter combinations are also used to represent sounds that are not provided for by the Latin alphabet (e.g. th in English for the or xh, dsch in jungle). This Latin writing standard was only established at the beginning of the 20th century - older writings in Albanian can also be found in Cyrillic, Arabic and Greek writing.
Two main dialects can be distinguished in Albanian: The Tuscan dialect spoken in the south of Albania and the Gaelic dialect spoken in the north of the country. The dialectal border is formed by the Shkumbin River, which divides the country into the various language areas. The two dialects differ quite clearly from each other in spelling, pronunciation and grammar - but not so strongly that their speakers cannot communicate with each other.
The standard Albanian language, which was established under communist rule in Albania (and from the 1970s in Kosovo), is based primarily on Tuscan elements. For some years now, the Gaelic dialect has been experiencing a new heyday, and schools are once again strongly promoting it, especially in Kosovo.
In the Albanian courses of Sprachenlernen24 you will of course get to know the Albanian standard language. With this you will be able to communicate with all Albanian-speaking people - regardless of which dialects they speak.