How To Learn The Albanian Language (+ Resources)
- Written byAshley Woods
- Read time3 mins
Want to learn Albanian?
The Albanian language (Shqip) is pretty cool and in my opinion, quite logical.
It’s got a unique feature of placing an [i] or an [e] between the noun and adjective to show masculinity or femininity. For example you can see the difference in these sentences: “një pemë e lartë”, “a high tree” and “një libër i vjetër”, “an old book”. Albanian is not spoken in the same way as English and very few phrases translate literally so it makes for learning some very interesting proverbs.
I have become completely obsessed with the Albanian people, culture and history.
What I found in my search uncovered the tip of a huge iceberg:
Albania is the most mysterious land I have ever studied.
Its people embrace foreigners with the warmth that was reserved for travelers in medieval times, yet they quarrel violently among themselves. They tolerate more than three major religions in the country, but feuds between neighbors in the same town are not uncommon. Albanians are secretive by nature, for their own protection and survival, but they are open and loving friends.
It is only by the sheer stubbornness and ferocity of the Albanian people that they even have a country to call their own today.
The country they have does not even encompass all ethnic Albanians, as many live in Kosovo, Montenegro, Greece, and Macedonia. The Albanian language is one of the oldest and closest surviving relatives to Proto-Indo European.
Most importantly, the Albanian experience has been traditionally passed on orally.
A standard script using Latin letters (as opposed to Greek or Cyrillic) has been in use since 1908, so any writings before that time are not standardized and therefore difficult to read.
The stories of the Albanian people need to be preserved and little is being done in the way of story-collection.
Since a lot of Albania and the Albanian language are so unknown to most English speakers, I’ve started to put together this guide for learning Albanian.
Maybe some people like isolating themselves when learning a language. Maybe it’s a private process for that person, but it is not that way for me.
It is a community process.
I realized that fact about the Albanian language (probably one of the most random things that has ever happened to me). Now I have the courage express the voices of the people who changed my life. The important thing is that I learned which part of the language learning process fuels my soul.
In order to make myself happy, I had stop studying languages and start living them.
Best courses, books and resources to learn Albanian
There isn’t a whole lot for learning Albanian online, unfortunately.
But there are several quality resources that every serious Albanian student should have access to:
- Pimsleur Albanian: Without doubt, the highest quality and most useful Albanian course currently available.
- 17 Minute Languages: A fairly decent Albanian course for absolute beginners.
- Cudoo: Another decent Albanian starter course (mostly foundational content but very inexpensive so worth it, in my opinion).
- Discovering Albanian by Linda Mëniku: Hands down, one of the best books ever written for learning Albanian.
Finding an online teacher or tutor for Albanian
To learn Albanian, you need regular practice.
Finding people to speak Albanian with online is a lot easier now than it used to be, thankfully.
For this, I highly recommend using italki.
There’s an active Albanian community on there and some great Albanian teachers/tutors at very affordable rates.