Albanian 101

Albanian Peace Corps Course

Albanian Peace Corps CoursePërshëndetje! This Albanian course was developed by the U.S. Peace Corps for its volunteers going to Albania. It can be useful as a primer for learning the basics of the Albanian language. You can listen and follow along to each lesson or download the whole course directly.

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The Albanian language belongs to the family of Indo-European languages. It is one of the oldest languages, yet different from the others. Albanian language seems to have kept its own features from very ancient times. The earliest text in Albanian known so far is the "Baptizing Formula", written in 1462. Historically, unified national literary Albanian can be traced to 1908, when the decision was made to accept the Latin alphabet. Since 1972, the unified literary language remains the only one used in Albania and Yugoslavia.

Albanian language is spelled more or less phonetically. Each letter has a specific sound that doesn't change in the context, making its reading and writing rather easy. As a rule, Albanian spelling corresponds to the pronunciation of words quite directly. The alphabet has 36  letters, 29 consonants and 7 vowels. There are two main dialects, the Geg dialect in the North of Albania and the Tosk dialect in the South. In spite of the differences of the two main dialects, both spoken and written Albanian are understood by all Albanians. Education and mass media have facilitated this process. Today Albanian is spoken by about 10 million people around the world, 3.5 million in Albania, 3 million in Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Macedonian, Serb and Montenegro), over 1 million in Turkey, as well as large groups of Albanians in South Italy (known as Arbereshe), Greece, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

· Albanian is an inflected language, which means that grammatical endings play an indispensable role in the language grammatical system.

· Nouns can have either a feminine or masculine gender (the neutral gender isn’t very common)

· Depending on their role in the sentence (such as subject or object, nouns change their endings. The different roles they play are called cases. Albanian has five cases: Nominative (subject), Accusative (direct object), Dative (indirect object), Genitive (possession) and Ablative (nouns following prepositions).

· Nouns can be either definite or indefinite. This is marked by their ending rather than an article like the English the. Even names of people and places can be definite. The capital Tirana could then be literally translated as the Tiranë.

· Adjectives change depending on the gender, number, definiteness and case of the noun they follow.

· Instead of the pronouns (I work, you work, he she/it works, we work, you work, they work), verbs use endings (punoj, punon, punon, punojmë, punoni, punojnë). The pronouns exist (unë, ti, ai/ajo, ne, ju, ata/ato) but are used only for emphasis.

· Compared to the English 14, Albanian only has 8 tenses whose use is very similar to their English equivalents.

· Another prominent feature or Albanian is its clitics e/i and their forms which have many different functions. One of the language’s functions is the direct object pronoun: Unë e shoh. (I see it.) What may be confusing is that it is used even when the full object is there: Unë e shoh librin. (I see [it] the book.)

Lesson 1 – Albanian Alphabet and Sounds

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Albanian language has 36 letters, each presenting a different sound from the other. Nine letters are digraphs, which means they are written as a combination of two consonants but are considered to be a single letter. Sh, th, and others and are considered letters. Words beginning with them are listed separately in the dictionary.
Letter Sound Similar English sound Example Meaning
A a a father anije ship
B b b boy babai father
C c ts cats copë piece
Ç ç t∫ charm çantë bag
D d d door derë door
DH dh ð they dhomë room
E e ε estuary era wind
Ë ë ə around hëna moon
F f ƒ foot flamur flag
G g g ground goca girl
GJ gj ——– mëngjes morning
H h h hotel hotel hotel
I i i interest interesi interest
J j j yesterday jeta life
K k k come këmba foot, leg
L l l little lule flower
LL ll L fall, call llampa lamp
M m m morning motër sister
N n n noon nëna mother
NJ nj η new një one
O o o all, or ora hour
P p p party punë work
Q q c ——- qeni dog
R r r remember radio radio
RR rr R ——– kurrë never
S s s sister seminari seminar
SH sh shall shumë many
T t t table tavolina table
TH th θ thank you thoni speak
U u u cook, foot ura bridge
V v v very vera wine
X x dz ——– xixë spark
XH xh d joke xhaxha uncle
Y y y ——- ylli star
Z z z zoo, zero zogu bird
ZH zh pleasure zhurmë noise

Lesson 2 – Difficult Sounds in Albanian

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These pairs of sounds are particularly difficult and often wrongly interchangeably when used:
Letter Example Meaning
r kur when
rr kurrë never
xh xhaxha uncle
gj gjellë soup
l pula hen
LL ll pulla stamp
q qen dog
ç çelës key

Syllables and Word Stress

According to the number of vowels, Albanian words may consist of one, two, three or more syllables. In the Albanian language the position of the word stress is not fixed. In some words the stress falls on the first syllable: Ti=you. In others, it falls on the last syllable: Parti- a = party. There are words with the stress falling on the middle syllable: Punë-a = work. It is advisable to pay attention to the stress when memorizing Albanian words. Word stress in Albanian is more emphatic than in English; the stressed syllable is articulated with much greater force than the unstressed one, therefore lengthened

In general, in Albanian the main stress falls on the last word of a phrase, on the last stem of a compound word, and on the last syllable of a polysyllabic word. Although this holds for the vast majority of words in Albanian, some of them do not obey this general principle.

Lesson 3 – Greetings

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Greetings Përshendetje
Welcome! Mirë se vini!
Hello! Përshëndetje
Good morning! Mirëmëngjes!
Good afternoon! Mirëdita!
Good evening! Mirëmbrëma!
Good bye! Mirupafshim!
Please! Ju lutem!
Excuse me. Më falni
Thank you (very much)! Faleminderit (shumë)!
Yes Po
No Jo

Lesson 4 – Useful Phrases

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Useful phrases Shprehje të përdorshme
Where are you from? Nga jeni ju?
I am from the United States. Unë jam nga Amerika.
I am American. Unë jam amerikan.
Where do you live? Ku banoni ju?
I live in … Unë banoj në…
How are you? Si jeni ju?
Fine, thanks! Mirë, faleminderit!
What do you do? Cfarë pune bëni ju?
I am a volunteer. Unë jam vullnetar.
I speak only English. Unë flas vetëm anglisht.
I don’t speak Albanian. Unë nuk flas shqip.
What time is it? Sa është ora?
Please, speak more slowly. Flisni më ngadalë, ju lutem,
Please, speak more loudly. Flisni me zë më të lartë,ju lutem.
I understand… Unë kuptoj…
I don’t understand. Unë nuk kuptoj…
Repeat it, please. Përsëriteni, ju lutem.
Write it down, please. Shkruajeni, ju lutem.

Lesson 5 – Phrases with Adjectives

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Phrases containing adjectives Shprehje mbiemrore
I am… Unë jam…
hungry i/e uritur
full i/e ngopur
thirsty i/e etur
busy i/e zënë
free i/e lirë
tired i/e lodhur
sick i/e sëmurë
thirsty i/e etur
happy i/e lumtur
sad i/e trishtuar
glad i/e gëzuar,
angry i/e zemëruar
The prefix i is used when the speaker is a man and e is used for women.

Lesson 6 – More Phrases

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Other phrases Shprehje të tjera
I need help. (Unë) Dua ndihmë.
Look out! Kujdes!
Listen! Dëgjoni!
Can you help me? Mund të më ndihmoni?
Can you tell me? Mund të më tregoni?
I am looking for… Po kërkoj…
I want to go… Unë dua të shkoj…
I know (Unë) E di.
I don’t know (Unë) Nuk e di.
I think so. (Unë) Mendoj kështu.
I don’t think so. (Unë) Nuk mendoj kështu.
I believe, yes. (Unë) Besoj se po.
I don’t believe. (Unë) Nuk besoj.

Lesson 7 – Phrases Used in a Restaurant

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Phrases used in a restaurant Shprehje të përdorura në restorant
I want a coffee (Unë) Dua një kafe.
I don’t want … (Unë) Nuk dua…
I want to eat. (Unë) Dua të ha.
I want to drink (Unë) Dua të pi.
I don’t want to eat/drink (Unë) Nuk dua të ha/pi.
I like it. Më pëlqen.
I don’t like it. Nuk më pëlqen.
This is good. Ky/kjo është e mirë.
This is not good. Ky/kjo nuk është e mirë.
How much is this? Sa kushton kjo?

Lesson 8 – Directions

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Directions Drejtime
Where is the…? Ku është…?
On the left Në të majtë
On the right Në të djathë
Straight-ahead Drejt
Near by Këtu afër
Not far from here Jo larg nga këtu
Above Sipër
Down the village Poshtë fshatit
Behind Prapa

Lesson 9 – Drinks

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Drinks Pije
water ujë
coffee kafe
tea çaj
milk qumësht
juice, lemonade limonatë
mineral water ujë mineral
wine verë
beer birrë
raki raki

Lesson 10 – Food

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Food Ushqim
sugar sheqer
salt kripë
bread bukë
salad sallatë
meat mish
cheese djathë
butter gjalpë
egg vezë

Lesson 11 – Fruits

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Fruits Fruta
grape rrush
fig fik
watermelon shalqi
melon pjepër
peach pjeshkë
pear dardhë

Lesson 12 – Home Items

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Home Items Artikuj Shtëpiak
glass gotë
cup filxhan
spoon lugë
fork pirun
knife thikë
plate pjatë
table tavolinë
chair karrige
door derë
window dritare
bed krevat
bed sheet çarçaf
blanket batanije
pillow jastëk
home shtëpi
hotel hotel
floor kat
room dhomë
bathroom banjë
toilet banjë
toilet paper letër higjenike
soap sapun
towel peshqir
shampoo shampo
kitchen guzhinë
bedroom dhomë gjumi
dining room / sitting room dhomë ngrënje / dhomë ndenje

Lesson 13 – Clothing

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Clothing Veshje
pants pantallona
blouse bluzë
shirt këmishë
dress fustan
skirt fund
shoes këpucë
sandals sandale
slippers shapka
boots çizme
jacket xhaketë
coat pallto

Lesson 14 – Colors

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Colors Ngjyra
red i/e kuqe
white i/e bardhë
black i/e zezë
yellow i/e verdhë
green i/e gjelbër
dark blue blu
sky blue i/e kaltër
grey gri
brown kafe

Lesson 15 – Places

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Places Vende
village fshat
town qytet
shop dyqan
street rrugë
building ndërtesë
flat pallat
library biblotekë
restaurant restorant
school shkollë
student nxënës
cultural palace pallati i kulturës
municipality bashki
commune komunë
office zyrë

Lesson 16 – Family

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Family Relations Lidhjet Familjare
mother nënë
father baba
sister motër
brother vëlla
daughter e bija
son i biri
grandmother gjyshja
grandfather gjyshi
niece mbesa
nephew nipi
mother-in-law vjehrra
father-in-law vjehrri
sister-in-law kunata
brother-in-law kunati

Lesson 17 – Numbers 1 to 20

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Numbers 1 – 20 Numrat 1-20
0 zero
1 një
2 dy
3 tre
4 katër
5 pesë
6 gjashtë
7 shtatë
8 tetë
9 nëntë
10 dhjetë
11 njëmbëdhjetë
12 dymbëdhjetë
13 trembëdhjetë
14 katërmbëdhjetë
15 pesëmbëdhjetë
16 gjashtëmbëdhjetë
17 shtatëmbëdhjetë
18 tetëmbëdhjetë
19 nëntëmbëdhjetë
20 njëzetë

Lesson 18 – Numbers 10 to 1,000,000

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10 – million 10 – million
10 dhjetë
20 njëzetë
30 tridhjetë
40 dyzetë
50 pesëdhjetë
60 gjashtdhjetë
70 shtatëdhjetë
80 tetëdjetë
90 nëntëdhjetë
100 një qind
1000 një mijë
1,000,000 milion
Learning how to count in thousands is especially important because most people still give prices in the so called 'old Lekë' by adding one extra zero.

Lesson 19 – Months

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Months Muajt
January Janar
February Shkurt
March Mars
April Prill
May Maj
June Qershor
July Korrik
August Gusht
September Shtator
October Tetor
November Nëntor
December Dhjetor

Original Course Text

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