The Albanian language belongs to the family of Indo-European Languages, along with Indo-Iranian languages, Greek language, Romance languages, Slavonic languages, Germanic languages, etc. It constitutes a separate branch in this family of languages and is not originally associated to any of the modern Indo-European languages. The Indo-European origin of the Albanian language and the place it occupies in the family of Indo-European languages was determined and proved in the middle of the 19th century, following studies in the comparative historical linguistics.
It was primarily the merit of one of the leading founders of this linguistic direction, the eminent German scholar Franz Bopp, who proved scientifically that the Albanian language belonged to the family of the Indo-European languages. Franz Bopp dedicated to this issue a special work entitled “Ueber das Albanesische in sinen verwandtschaft lichen Bezichungen”, published in 1854.
The Indo-European languages are divided into two groups: Eastern languages, or satem and Western languages, or centum. The Albanian language belongs to the eastern group (satem), along with the Indo-Iranian languages, Balto-Slavonic languages, and the Armenian language.
The origins of the Albanian language are one of the most debatable issues in linguistic science. Its roots are found in one of the ancient languages of the Balkan Peninsula, Illyrian or Thracian. Two main theories have circulated in the linguistic literature with regard to the Albanian language: its origin in the Illyrian language and the one in the Thracian language. The Illyrian theory has had a broader historical and linguistic support. It took shape in the 18th century among the historians of the time and is further elaborated and supported by linguists.
The first attempt at explaining the origins of the Albanians and the Albanian language was made by the Swedish historian Hans Erich Thunmann in his work “Undersuchunger liber di Geschichte der Östlichen europäischen Völker” Leipzig, 1774. Based on Latin and Byzantine historical sources as well as on linguistic and onomatopoeic documents, he came to the conclusion that the Albanians are autochthonous descendants of the ancient Illyrian population, who were not romanized, as was the case with the Thraco-Dacian population, the predecessors of the Romanians.
The theses of Illyrian origin theory of the Albanian people were defended by well known Austrian albanologue Johann Georges von Hahn in his work Albanesische Studien, published in 1854.
Since that time on, a number of eminent scholars, such as historians, archaeologists, and linguists have brought a number of historical and linguistic complementary arguments in support of the theory concerning the origin of Albanians and their language. The complete synthesis of overall studies on the Albanian Language was made by outstanding linguist Prof. Eqrem Ēabej, which brought in the ground full scientific arguments which verify the Illyrian thesis instead of the Thracian one Some of these arguments are as follows:
1. Albanians are currently living in some of the territories, which were inhabited by Illyrians in ancient times; on the other hand, historical sources do not speak of any Albanian migration from other territories to the present ones.
2. A number of linguistic elements such as names of things, tribes, people, etc., of Illyrian origin, are explained in the Albanian language.
3. The ancient toponymic forms of the Illyrian Albanian territories, as compared to the corresponding present-day forms, prove that they have evolved in conformity with the rules of the historical phonetics of the Albanian language.
4. Relationships between the Albanian language and the ancient Greek and Latin suggest that the Albanian language took shape and developed side by side with these two neighboring languages on the shores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas.
5. Both archaeological documents and documents belonging to the material and psychological heritage testify to the cultural continuity from the ancient Illyrians to the present-day Albanians.
In view of these arguments, presented in a concise way, it results that the theory of the Illyrian origin of the Albanian language is the most plausible theory, judging by historical and linguistic evidence.
The beginnings of the written Albanian language
Albanian is one of the ancient languages of the Balkans, but its written records, just like the Romanian language, date back only to the 15th century.
The first written record in the Albanian language is what is known as the “Formula of Baptism” of 1462 AD. It is a short sentence in Albanian “Unte paghesont premenit Atit et birit et spertit senit” (I bless you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), which is found in a circular (pamphlet) written in Latin by the Archbishop of Durrės, Pal Ėngjėlli, a close associate of Skanderbeg.
During a visit to Mat, Pal Ėngjelli noticed irregularities in the religious practice and following this he left some directions and recommendations with the Catholic priest, namely the aforementioned blessing, which could be used by parents in baptizing their children in case they could not do it in church or there was no priest available. The formula is written in the Latin alphabet in the northern dialect of the Ghegs (gegėrisht).
The “Formula of Baptism” was found in the Laurentiana Library of Milan by the well-known Romanian historian Nikolla Jorga and was published by him in 1915 in “Notes et extraits pour servir a lhistoire des croisades au XV siecle IV, 1915”. (Notes and extracts to the service the history of the crusades in the 15th century).
The French philologist, Mario Rogues, made a philological publication of this document and also its photographic reproduction in “Recherches sur les anciens textes albanais”, Paris 1932
The second document written in the Albanian language is a Glossary by Arnold von Harf of 1496. In autumn of 1496, the German traveller Arnold von Harf from the village of Cologne set out on a pilgrimage tour of the holy countries. The tour brought him along the coast, to our country as well, where he stopped at Ulqin, Durrės, and Sazan. In the course of the journey, for practical needs, he wrote down 26 words, 8 phrases and the numerals from 1 to 10 and from 100 to 1000, along with their equivalents in German. E. von Grote published this Glossary for the first time in Cologne in 1860.
Another text written in the Albanian language that dates back to the late 15th and early 16th centuries was found in a Greek manuscript of the 16th century in the Ambrosiana Library of Milan. It contains extracts translated from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, etc., and is written in the dialect of the South, in the Greek alphabet. This text written in Albanian is known in the Albanian literature by the name The Easter Testament.
These documents do not have any literary values, but arouse interest with regard to the history of the written Albanian language. From the early stages of its written form, Albanian language is proved to be written in two dialects, in the North dialect (gegėrisht) and in the South one (toskėrisht), and in two alphabets, the Latin and the Greek, which testifies that Albanian culture was under the influence of both Latin and Greek culture.
The first book known to date to be written in the Albanian language is the Missal (Meshari) (the Prayer Book) by Gjon Buzuku in AD 1555, which marks the beginning of the early Albanian literature. Only one copy of this book has survived and currently is in the Library of the Vatican. The book contains 220 pages and is written in two columns. “Missal” by Gjon Buzuku is the translation of the main parts of the catholic liturgy into Albanian; it contains the services of the main religious holidays of the year, comments from the book of prayers, parts from the Testament as well as parts from the ritual and catechism. Therefore, it includes the parts a preacher needs in his daily religious services. Obviously, it is an attempt by the author to introduce the Albanian language in the catholic religious services. Hence, the literary period of the Albanian language, as is the case with many other languages, has its beginnings in the translation of religious texts.
Gjon Buzuku’s “Missal”, the first book in the Albanian language, was discovered in Rome by one of the writers from the north of Albania, Gjon Nikollė Kazazi; but the book was lost and recovered again in 1909 by the bishop Pal Skeroi, researcher and explorer of antique texts. In 1930, the researcher Jystin Rrota from Shkodėr went to Rome, photocopied the book, and brought three copies of it to Albania. In 1968 the book was published as transliterated and transcribed and provided both with critical notes and an introductory study by the pre-eminent linguist, Prof. E.Ēabej. The linguist N.Resuli also transcribed Buzuku’s book.
The Missal by Gjon Buzuku is written in the northern dialect (gegėrisht), in the Latin alphabet, and is provided with some special letters. The book has a relatively rich vocabulary and its orthography and grammatical forms seem to be established, which is indicative of an earlier tradition in the writing of the Albanian language.
Prof. Eqrem Ēabej, who had made a thorough study of Gjon Buzuku’s book, has reached the conclusion that its language is not an uncultivated land. Looking at this text objectively he states and judging by the fluent language that permeates it from top to bottom and by the consistent style of writing, one is convinced that a literary tradition in liturgical writings had existed earlier in Albania, at least since the late Middle Ages. According to this author, the cultural level of Albania in the Middle Ages also supports this theory. The cultural level of the Albanian people at that time had not been much different from the neighbouring countries and from those along the Adriatic coast in particular.
There is also additional indirect evidence that speaks of a tradition in the writing of the Albanian language before the 15th century. The French priest Guillaume Adae (1270-1341), who for a long time served as Archbishop of Tivar (1270-1341) and came to know the Albanians well, in a report entitled “Directorium ad passagium faciendum ad terrom sanctam” sent to the king of France Philip VI, Valua, wrote among others: Although Albanians speak a different language from Latin, they use and write their books in the Latin alphabet. This author speaks of books in the Albanian language, thus testifying that Albanian had been written well before the 15th century.
In his work “De obsi dione scodrensi “(On the siege of Shkodėr), published in Venice in 1504, the renowned humanist Marin Barleti also speaks of excerpts written in vernacula lingua, i.e. in the language of the country, which deal with the reconstruction of the town of Shkodėr.
This evidence of G. Adae and M. Barleti, two connoisseurs of the Albanians and of their country, is in harmony with the historical data on this period, which suggest an advanced economic and cultural level of the Albanian territories in the 14th and early 15th centuries. In that period, many towns such as Durrės, Kruja, Berat, Vlora, flourished economically and became important trade and cultural centres.
This evidence makes more credible the existence of an earlier tradition in the writing of the Albanian language; nevertheless, as long as researches have not brought to light any other book, Meshari by Gjon Buzuku will remain the first book written in the Albanian language and the first work of the Albanian literature.
The literature in the Albanian language among the Arbėresh of Italy also has its beginnings in the 16th century. The first work of the Arbėresh literature in the Albanian language and the second earliest work, after that of Buzuku, is the one by the Arbėresh priest Lekė Matrenga E mbesuame e krishterė (“The Christian Faith”) published in 1592. It is a booklet of 28 pages, the translation of a catechism. The book is written in the southern dialect, in Latin alphabet, and is provided with some special letters representing the sounds of the Albanian language that are missing in Latin.
Pjetėr Budi, Frang Bardhi and Pjetėr Bogdani who not only translated but also wrote original works further explored the Albanian language in the 17th century. In 1635, Frang Bardhi produced the first dictionary, the Latin-Albanian Dictionary, which marks the beginning of the Albanian linguistic science. The exploration and progress of the Albanian language entered a new stage in the 19th century, during the National Renaissance, under new historical circumstances. In this period serious attempts were made to build up a national literary language which would become standard in the 20th century.
Dialects of the Albanian language
The Albanian language has two dialects, the northern dialect or “gegėrisht” and the southern dialect or “toskėrisht”. The natural boundary that separates these dialects is the river Shkumbin that runs through Elbasan, in central Albania. To the right of Shkumbin lies the northern dialect (gegėrisht) and to the left lies the southern dialect (toskėrisht).
There are no great differences between Albanian dialects and people can understand each other without difficulty. Nevertheless, there are some differences in the phonetic system and in the grammatical structure and lexicon, of which the most important are: the northern dialect has mouth and nasal vowels, whereas the southern dialect has only mouth vowels; the diphthong ua in toskėrisht has the equivalent ue in gegėrisht (grua ~ grue); the initial cluster va in toskėrisht has the equivalent vo in gegėrisht (vatėr ~ votėr); the distinct nasal ā in gegėrisht has the distinct equivalent ė in toskėrisht (nānė ~ nėnė).
The southern dialect is characterized by rhotacism (the changing of n to r (ranė ~ rėrė), which in gegėrisht is missing; in toskėrisht the consonant clusters mb, nd, etc. are retained whereas in gegėrisht are assimilated in m, n, (mbush ~ mush, vend ~ ven). In the morphological system, the northern dialect has the infinitive form of the type me pun, whereas toskėrisht has instead the infinitive form of the type tė punoj. The past participle in toskėrisht ends in a consonant, whereas in gegėrisht ends in a vowel (kapur ~ kapė), etc.The south dialect has the future forms: do te punoj dhe kam per te punuar, whereas the norther dialect apart from the above forms has the form kam me punue
The formation of the unified national literary language (standard language), as the most elaborated variant of the Albanian language, has gone through a long process, which began in the 16th and 17th centuries, but this process entered a new stage in the 19th century, during the National Renaissance.
In 1824 Naum Veqilharxhi started the work to produce Albanian Alphabet and the Evetar was published in 1844 and 1845. Veqilharxhi is the first one who drafted the targets of Albania National Renaissance through his tractat, his introduction of the first “Evetar” and many other papers.
By this time priority was given to the learning and exploration of the mother tongue, its enrichment and clearance of unnecessary foreign words. A wide literary, cultural, and linguistic activity took place during this period.
“The Society of Printing Albanian Letters”, which was created in 1879, gave a new impetus to this activity. The first grammar books were produced and steps were taken for the production of a national dictionary of the Albanian language. The Dictionary of Albanian language by Kostandin Kristoforidhi was published posthumously in 1904.
During the period of National Renaissance, two literary variants of the Albanian language developed, which are the southern literary variant and the northern literary variant. Attempts were made to bring the two variants together and unify the literary language. An issue that required immediate solution was the unification of the alphabet. Up to that time Albanian was written in several alphabets: Latin, Greek, Turkish-Arabic and other special alphabets. This issue was resolved at the Congress of Manastir, held in November 14-22, 1908, in the town of Manastir, which is currently situated in Macedonia. The Congress decided on the introduction of a new alphabet based entirely on the Latin alphabet and provided with nine digraphs (dh, gj, ll, nj, rr, sh, th, xh, zh), and two letters with diacritic signs (ē, ė). This alphabet is still in use in the Albanian language. Though the Congress decided the Istanbul alphabet to be free for use, with the passage of time it was replaced by the new alphabet endorsed by the Congress of Manastir, i.e. the current alphabet.
Another step towards the unification of the Albanian literary language was taken by the Albanian Literary Committee, which met in Shkodėr in 1916. The committee emphasised as a priority the exploration of the Albanian literary language and the development of the Albanian literature. This committee of linguists and writers, set up to help create a common literary (standard) language by bringing together the two literary variants already in use, decided on the median literary variant, which would serve as a bridge between “toskėrisht” and “gegėrisht” and set rules for its orthography, which contributed to the unification of the written language.
The decisions of the Albanian Literary Committee on the standard language and its orthography were later endorsed at the Education Congress of Lushnje (1920) and continued to be applied until the Second World War.
After the Second World War, work on the unification of the national literary language (standard language) and its orthography was organised by the Institute of Sciences. Ad hoc committees were set up to design orthography drafts. Thus, some drafts were designed in 1948, 1951, 1953 and 1956. Two conferences were held in 1952 on the issue of the standard language.
In 1967, the Institute of History and Linguistics published the new draft on Orthography Rules of the Albanian Language. This draft was applied in all the Albanian territories, the Republic of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. Meanwhile, efforts were also made in Kosovo for the unification of the literary language and its orthography.
In 1968, a linguistic conference was held in Prishtina, Kosova, guided by the principle one nation-one literary language. It decided that once the orthography draft was approved and took official form, it would be applied in Kosovo as well. The decisions taken in this conference were of great significance for the unification of the national literary language.
Following a public debate, the draft on Orthography Rules of the Albanian Language of 1967 was submitted for discussion to the Congress on orthography of the Albanian language held in Tirana in 1972. It has gone down in the history of the Albanian language and culture as the Congress of the unification of the national literary language.
Delegates attended the Congress on orthography of the Albanian language from all of the regions of Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Arberėsh from Italy. The Congress adopted a resolution which, among others, stated that “the Albanian people now have a unified literary (standard) language.
The unified national literary language (standard language) was mostly based on the literary variant of the south, especially with regard to the phonetic system, but it also encompasses elements from the literary variant of the north.
After the Congress of Orthography, a number of important works were published which codified the norms of a standard language, such as The Orthography of the Albanian Language (1973), The Dictionary of Current Albanian (1980), The Dictionary of Present-day Albanian (1984), An Orthographic Dictionary of the Albanian Language (1976), A Grammar of Current Albanian, I Morphology (1995), II Syntax (1997).
Typological features of present-day standard Albanian
Albanian language is structurally an analytical-synthetic language, with a dominance of synthetic elements tending towards being analytical. Part of its phonetic and grammatical features date back from the ancient Indo-European period, others have developed later.
Albanian language has its own phonological system, which comprises 7 vowel phonemes and 29 consonant phonemes. It is written in the Latin alphabet decided upon in 1908 at the Congress of Manastir.
The Albanian language alphabet has 36 letters, 25 of which are simple (a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, x, y, z), 9 are digraphs (dh, gj, ll, nj, rr, sh, th, xh, zh) and 2 diacritic letters (ė, ē).
Albanian language has a generally fixed stress during inflection. In most cases, especially in the noun system, the stress falls on the penultimate syllable.
The Albanian language has an elaborated system of grammatical forms, a binary declension system: definite and indefinite, it retains the case forms (it has five cases), three genders (masculine, feminine and neutral); the latter is going out of use and is used only with a certain category of verbal nouns like tė shkruarit, tė menduarit, etc.
The noun system has definite and indefinite forms, hence, definite and indefinite declensions; the definite article takes end position like the Romanian and Bulgarian languages; but the article can be pre-positioned with nouns in the possessive case, (i, e malit), articled adjectives (i mirė, i vogėl, etc), neutral nouns of the type tė folurit, etc. and this article (i,e) (is nominated prepositive article. Apart from inflection with specific endings, Albanian has also an inner inflection (dash ~ desh, marr ~ merr); it has two types of adjectives, articled adjectives (i madh, i ndershėm) and unarticled adjectives (trim, besnik). Numerals are mainly used according to the decimal system (dhjetė, tridhjetė, pesėdhjetė), but vigesimal system is also retained (njėzet, dyzet); compound numerals from 11 through 19 are formed by placing digits first, then the preposition mbė and finally the decimals (njėmbėdhjetė, dymbėdhjetė, etc) like the Romanian and Slavonic languages.
The verb system is varied. Albanian language has a rich system of mood and time forms, part of which dates from an early period, with the rest being evolved during the long historical evolution. Verbs have six moods: indicative, subjunctive, conditional, imperative, “admirative” (expressing a surprise) and “desiderative” (expressing a wish) and three non-finite forms (past participle, infinitive and gerund). The future tense is formed analytically in two ways: with do (form of the verb dua-want) + conjunctive (here, infinitive) – tė punoj = do tė punoj (I shall work), and with auxiliary verb kam (have) + infinitive pėr tė punuar = kam pėr tė punuar (I have to work).
Word order is generally free but the most common form is subject + verb + object.
The vocabulary of the Albanian language consists of certain layers. Native words date back from an ancient Indo-European period (ditto, Nat, dimmer, motor, Janna, etc.), or are formed in a later period out of Albanian words (ditor, dimėror, i pėrnatshėm).
Another layer consists of words borrowed from other languages as a result of the contacts the Albanian people have had with other nations over the centuries. Words have been borrowed from Greek, both ancient and modern, from Latin and Romance languages, from Slavonic and Turkish.
Despite the numerous borrowings, Albanian language has retained its originality as a separate Indo-European language.
The spread of the Albanian language
Albanian is currently spoken by over six million people in the Republic of Albania, in Kosovo, by the Albanians of Macedonia, Montenegro, and south Serbia as well as in the territory of Ēamėri in Greece. Albanian is also spoken in the Albanian settlements in Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Albanians who have migrated to various parts of the world before the Second World War and over the last decade.
The Albanian language is being taught and studied in several universities and Albanological centers abroad, as in Paris, Rome, Naples, Cosenza, Palermo, Petersburg, Peking, Mϋnchen, Bucharest, Salonika, Sophia, etc.
Studies on the Albanian Language
The Albanian language and culture, their ancientness and original character have attracted the attention of foreign and Albanian scholars as early as the 18th century and even before. The language, history and culture of Albanians drew, in particular, the attention of Germanic world. A great philosopher such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, who worked one century before the emergence of comparative linguistics, was also concerned with it. He held that the comparative study of languages was essential for building a universal history of the world, for understanding and explaining it. In some letters that he wrote to a librarian of the Berlin’s Royal Library at the beginning of the 18th century, he pronounced on the nature and origin of Albanian as well, and after some hesitations, he came to the conclusion that Albanian was the language of ancient Illyrians.
The studies on the Albanian language, however, like on many other languages, began by the mid-19th century, after the emergence of the historical-comparative linguistics. One of the founders of this linguistics, the German scholar Franz Bopp, came to prove, as early as 1854, that Albanian language shared the family of Indo-European languages and occupied a special place in this family. After him, other scholars such as G. Meyer, H. Pederson, N. Jokli, explored various aspects of the lexicon and grammatical structure of Albanian. As early as 1891, G. Meyer embarked on the work of compiling an etymological dictionary of the Albanian language (Etymologisches Wörterbuch der albanesischen Sprache, Strasbourg, 1891), the first dictionary of this type for Albanian. In addition, numerous foreign linguists such as F. Miclosich, G. Weigand, C.Tagliavini, St. Man, E. Hamp, A. Desnickaja, H. Ölberg, H. Mihaescu, W. Fredler, O. Bucholtz, M. Huld, G.B. Pellegrini, etc., have made invaluable contributions to the studying of history of the Albanian language, the problems related to its origin, etymology, phonetics and historical grammar, and, in addition, to the studying of the current state of Albanian.
In the meantime, along with the studies on Albanian by foreign linguists, the Albanian linguistics was born and developed. Its beginnings date from the 17th century AD, when Frang Bardhi published the first dictionary of Albanian language “Dictionarium Latino-Epiroticum” (1653). During the National Renaissance, several Albanian grammars were published. So, Dhimitėr Kamarda, one of Italy’s Arbėresh, published in 1864 his work “Saggio della grammatica comparata sulla lingua albanese”, Livorno, 1864, and two years later its 2d vol., “L’Appendice al saggio della grammatica comparata sulla lingua albanese”, Prato, 1866. In 1882, Kostandin Kristoforidhi published “The Grammar of the Albanian Language” and in 1886 Sami Frashėri published “The Grammar of the Albanian Language”, two important 19th-century linguistic works on the grammatology of Albanian language. At the end of the 19th century, Kostandin Kristoforidhi prepared another “Dictionary of the Albanian Language”, which was published in 1904 and is considered to be the most important work in Albanian lexicography published before the Second World War. In 1909, the association “Bashkimi” published its own dictionary.
After the proclamation of Independence, a series of grammar books and dictionaries were published to meet the needs of schools and national culture. In the field of grammar studies, the most distinguished figure became Prof. Dr. Aleksandėr Xhuvani.
Aleksandėr Xhuvani (1880-1961)
He received higher education at the University of Athens. During the period of National Renaissance he started his activity in the study of Albanian language and national education. He performed a great work for providing our schools with textbooks of Albanian language, literature, teaching and psychology. He directed and took part in the work for drafting spelling guides during the years 1949, 1951, 1954 and 1956.He carried out a lot of activity in the field of the purity and enrichment of Albanian language and also published his work “On the Purity of the Albanian Language” (1956). He collaborated with Professor Eqerem Ēabej for writing such works as “Prefixes” (1956) and “Suffixes of the Albanian Language” (1962), which are fundamental treatises in the field of word-formation in the Albanian Language. He also published a series of monographic works on the participle, infinitive and prepositions of the Albanian Language.He was a good connoisseur and a passionate collector of lexical thesaurus of the folk speech. The words and expressions collected by him were partly published posthumously in the form of a vocabulary. He prepared a second edition of Kristoforidhi’s “The Dictionary of the Albanian Language” (1961).His complete works, extending to several volumes, have not yet been published. The first volume was published in 1980.
A greater development Albanian linguistics saw during the second half of the 20th century, when specialised institutions were established, such as the University of Tirana, the University of Prishtina, the Academy of Sciences, the University of Shkodėr and later on other universities in Elbasan, Gjirokastėr, Vlorė, Tetovė, etc. During this period, a series of generalising works were created in various fields of linguistics. In the areas of lexicology and lexicography, in addition to lexicological studies, a series of both Albanian and bilingual dictionaries were written, most important being: “The Dictionary of Albanian” (1954), “The Dictionary of Current Albanian Language” (1980), “The Dictionary of Present-day Albanian” (1984), “The Spelling Dictionary of the Albanian Language” (1976), etc. Recently “An Idiomatic Dictionary of Albanian Language” and a “Balkan Idiomatic Dictionary” (1999) have appeared.
In the field of dialectology, the description and study of all Albanian speeches has been carried out and “The Dialectological Atlas of Albanian Language” has been written, which is a monumental work that is soon to come out.
Also, a survey of phonetics and grammatical structures of Albanian through individual studies and various grammar treatises and levels has been carried out, of which “The Albanian Language Grammar” comprised of Morphology I (1995), and Syntax II (1997), drawn up in co-operation with the Academy of Sciences and the Tirana University, with Mahir Domi as editor-in-chief, is the most complete.
In the linguistic studies during the past half-century much space was given to the problems of the history of Albanian language, the ethno-genesis of Albanian people and their language, the historical phonetics and grammar, etc. Some of the basic works in these areas are the following: “Etymological Studies in the Albanian Field” in 7 volumes by E. Ēabej; “The Missal” by Gjon Buzuku (E. Ēabej); “A Historical Grammar of the Albanian Language” (Sh. Demiraj); “The Historical Phonology of the Albanian Language” (Sh. Demiraj); “Balkan Linguistics” (Sh. Demiraj), etc.
Eqrem Ēabej (1908-1980). The most distinguished scholar of the history of Albanian Language and one of the most renowned personalities of Albanian culture. After finishing the elementary and secondary studies in his hometown (Gjirokastėr), he went to Austria where he received higher education in the field of comparative Indo-European linguistics. After graduation, he turned home and in 1930s of the 20th century, he began his scholarly and academic activity by working in these fields for about fifty years, leaving behind himself a rich scholarly heritage.
Eqrem Ēabej brought to and carried out in Albanian linguistics the approaches and achievements of European linguistics by making a great contribution to the raising of the scientific level in Albanian linguistic studies. Eqerem Ēabej worked in several branches of science , but he distinguished himself in the field of the history of language, the exploration of the origins of Albanian Language, the autochthony of Albanian people as well as the etymology and philology of old manuscripts. His fundamental works are as follows: “Etymological Studies in the Albanian Field” in seven volumes, I “Introduction to the History of the Albanian Language”, II “The Historical Phonetics” (1958), “The Missal by Gjon Buzuku” (1968), “The Albanians between the West and the East” (1944). He also is a co-author of a series of works in the area of current Albanian, such as “The Dictionary of Current Albanian” (1954), “The Spelling Rules of the Albanian Language (1972), Apart from the above works, he has published numerous papers in scholarly magazines at home and abroad and has held dozens of papers and reports at national and international congresses and conferences, which have made known the achievements of the Albanian philology abroad, and so raising its prestige. The works by Prof. Eqerem Ēabej have been published in eight volumes in Prishtina under the title “Linguistic Studies”.With his high-level and versatile scholarly activity, Eqrem Ēabej highlighted many problems of both the Albanian Language and Albanian culture by demonstrating its ancientness and its Illyrian origin, its vitality through the centuries and its relationships with languages and cultures of other peoples.
During this period, Albanian linguistics also resolved the problem of the uniform national literary Albanian language, with theoretical problems of which Prof. Androkli Kostallari has dealt.
In the framework of labour carried out in the field of normative linguistics and the culture of language, a great number of terminological dictionaries on various areas of science and technology have also been compiled.
In addition to numerous works published in the field of linguistics, the activity of linguistic researches by Albanian scholars is reflected in the publication of several research magazines, of which the following are the main one’s today: “Philological Studies” (Tiranė); “Albanian Language” (Prishtinė), Albanological tracing works Prishtine “Studia Albanica” (Tiranė), “Jehona” (Skopje); “Gjuha Jone” Tirane etc.
Important studies on the Albanian language are carried out by linguists in Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro where there are published a considerable number of works on the history of Albanian Language, phonetic, grammar, onomastics, lexique etc. Prof Idriz Ajeti of Kosova distinguished himself for outstanding contribution.
Important activities for the Albanian Language are developed in the Albanian settlements in Italy known as Arberesh of Italy.
Some of the most eminent figures in Albanian Linguistics during the past two centuries are Dhimitėr Kamarda (an Arbėresh of Italy), Kostandin Kristoforidhi, Sami Frashėri, Aleksandėr Xhuvani, Eqrem Ēabej, Selman Riza, Kostaq Cipo, Mahir Domi, Shaban Demiraj, Androkli Kostallari, Idriz Ajeti, etc.
Prof. Seit Mansaku
E. Ēabej Introduction to the history of Albanian Language, historic phonetics 1960
Ethimoilogical studies in the field of Albanian Language 1982
Missal of Gjon Buzuku 1982
Sh. Demiraj History of Albanian grammar 1986, History of Albanian Language 1986
A. Kostallari Albanian Language and some fundamental issues . 1973
M. Mahir Domi The first book of Albanian Language and the beginning of Albanian LIterature
I . Ajeti History of Albanian Language (morphology-history) 1969
Dh. Shuteriqi Albanian writings of the period 1332 1850 published 1976