Albanian 101

Albanian nouns are inflected by gender (masculine, feminine and neuter) and number (singular and plural). There are 5 declensions with 6 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and vocative), although the vocative only occurs with a limited number of words. The cases apply to both definite and indefinite nouns and there are numerous cases of syncretism. The equivalent of a genitive is formed by using the prepositions i/e/të/së with the dative.

The following shows the declension of the masculine noun mal (mountain):

Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative mal (mountain) male (mountains) mali (the mountain) malet (the mountains)
Accusative mal male malin malet
Genitive i/e/të/së mali i/e/të/së maleve i/e/të/së malit i/e/të/së maleve
Dative mali maleve malit maleve
Ablative mali maleve/malesh malit maleve

The following table shows the declension of the feminine noun vajzë (girl)

Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative vajzë (girl) vajza (girls) vajza (the girl) vajzat (the girls)
Accusative vajzë vajza vajzën vajzat
Genitive i/e/të/së vajze i/e/të/së vajzave i/e/të/së vajzës i/e/të/së vajzave
Dative vajze vajzave vajzës vajzave
Ablative vajze vajzave/vajzash vajzës vajzave

The definite article is placed after the noun as in many other Balkan languages, for example Romanian and Bulgarian.

  • The definite article can be in the form of noun suffixes, which vary with gender and case.
    • For example in singular nominative, masculine nouns add -i , or those ending in -g/-k, take -u (to avoid palatalization):
      • mal (mountain) / mali (the mountain);
      • libër (book) / libri (the book);
      • zog (bird) / zogu (the bird).
    • Feminine nouns take the suffix -(j)a :
      • veturë (car) / vetura (the car);
      • shtëpi (house) / shtëpia (the house);
      • lule (flower) / lulja (the flower).
  • Neuter nouns take -t .

Albanian has developed an analytical verbal structure in place of the earlier synthetic system, inherited from Proto-Indo-European. Its complex system of moods (6 types) and tenses (3 simple and 5 complex constructions) is distinctive among Balkan languages. There are two general types of conjugation. In Albanian the constituent order is subject verb object and negation is expressed by the particles nuk or s' in front of the verb, for example:

  • Toni nuk flet anglisht "Tony does not speak English" ;
  • Toni s'flet anglisht "Tony doesn't speak English" ;
  • Nuk e di "I do not know" ;
  • S'e di "I don't know".

In imperative sentences, the particle mos is used :

  • Mos harro "do not forget!".

However, with verbs in the non-active form ( forma joveprore ), the verb is often in sentence-initial position :

  • Parashikohet një ndërprerje "An interruption is anticipated".

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