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Albanian Online

Lesson 1: Tosk

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

Since the completion of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkan Peninsula, the Albanian-speaking lands had been united under Ottoman rule. However, upon the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans in 1912, Albania and Kosovo were separated. Albania was given independence and, in the roughly eighty years that followed, went though Italian occupation, a brutal isolationist communist dictatorship, and since 1991 a transition to democracy. Kosovo, on the other hand, became part of Serbia, and after World War II it was a province of the Socialist Republic of Serbia within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. As communism fell and several former Yugoslav republics declared their independence in the early 1990s, Kosovo remained part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later to be known as "Serbia and Montenegro" and, later yet, as "Serbia"). After years of war and a period of UN intervention, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. While the independence of Kosovo has been recognized by several of the other Balkan nations, much of Western Europe, and the United States, more than half of the members of the United Nations have not recognized it and Serbia maintains that Kosovo is still a Serbian province. Due to the opposition to its independence, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, and a solution to the dispute remains to be reached.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The following text contains Articles 5, 6, and 7 of Kosovo's 2008 Constitution. It discusses the languages, symbols, and values of the Republic of Kosovo. Note that the use of this text here does not necessarily imply a stance on Kosovo's declaration of independence; rather, this is being treated as a historical document that, regardless of any final outcome for Kosovo, shows an important event in Albanian language history.

Despite the fact that the Albanian-speaking areas of Kosovo are completely in Geg territory (north of the Shkumbin river), the official variety of Albanian used in Kosovo is the same as that used in Albania; that is, it is overwhelmingly based on the Tosk dialect. As this is the official dialect of Kosovo, its constitution was written in this dialect.

Gjuhė zyrtare nė Republikėn e Kosovės janė Gjuha Shqipe dhe Gjuha Serbe.

  • gjuhė -- noun, feminine; nominative plural indefinite of <gjuhė> language -- languages
  • zyrtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • republikėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <republikė> republic -- the Republic
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovė> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • janė -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <jam> be -- are
  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhė> language -- the language
  • shqipe -- adjective; feminine singular of <shqip> Albanian -- Albanian
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhė> language -- the language
  • serbe -- adjective; feminine singular of <serb> Serbian -- Serbian

Gjuha Turke, Boshnjake dhe ajo Rome kanė statusin e gjuhėve zyrtare nė nivel komune ose do tė jenė nė pėrdorim zyrtar nė cilindo nivel nė pajtim me ligj.

  • gjuha -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <gjuhė> language -- the languages
  • turke -- adjective; feminine singular of <turk> Turkish -- Turkish
  • boshnjake -- adjective; feminine singular of <boshnjak> Bosnian -- Bosnian
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • ajo -- pronoun; feminine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • rome -- adjective; feminine singular of <rom> Romani -- Romani
  • kanė -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <kam> have -- have
  • statusin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <status> status -- the status
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • gjuhėve -- noun, feminine; genitive plural indefinite of <gjuhė> language -- of languages
  • zyrtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- at
  • nivel -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <nivel> level -- level
  • komune -- noun, feminine; ablative singular indefinite of <komunė> province -- municipal
  • ose -- conjunction; <ose> or -- or
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • -- conjunction; <> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • jenė -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active of <jam> be -- will be
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • pėrdorim -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <pėrdorim> use -- use
  • zyrtar -- adjective; masculine singular of <zyrtar> official -- official
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • cilindo -- adjective; masculine accusative singular of <cilido> whichever -- all
  • nivel -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <nivel> level -- levels
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • pajtim -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <pajtim> accordance -- accordance
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- with
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Flamuri, stema dhe himni janė simbolet shtetėrore tė Republikės sė Kosovės tė cilat pasqyrojnė karakterin shumetnik tė saj.

  • flamuri -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <flamur> flag -- the flag
  • stema -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <stemė> seal -- the seal
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • himni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <himn> anthem -- the anthem
  • janė -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <jam> be -- are
  • simbolet -- noun, ambigeneric; nominative plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- the symbols
  • shtetėrore -- adjective; feminine plural of <shtetėror> state -- state
  • -- particle; masculine nominative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Republikės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <republikė> republic -- of the Republic
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovė> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • cilat -- pronoun; nominative feminine plural of <cili, e> that, which -- which
  • pasqyrojnė -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative active of <pasqyroj> reflect -- reflect
  • karakterin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <karakter> character -- character
  • shumetnik -- adjective; masculine singular of <shumetnik> multiethnic -- multi-ethnic
  • -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • saj -- pronoun; feminine genitive of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- its

Pamja, mėnyra e pėrdorimit dhe mbrojtja e flamurit dhe tė simboleve tė tjera shtetėrore rregullohen me ligj.

  • pamja -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <pamje> appearance -- the appearance
  • mėnyra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mėnyrė> manner -- the manner
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pėrdorimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pėrdorim> use -- of use
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • mbrojtja -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • flamurit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <flamur> flag -- of the flag
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • simboleve -- noun, ambigeneric; genitive plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- symbols
  • -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjera -- adjective; feminine plural of <tjetėr, e> other -- other # The adjective tjetėr is unique in that it is treated as an unarticulated adjective in the singular (e.g., masc.sg. tjetėr, rather than e tjetėr, but as an articulated adjective in the plural (e.g., fem.pl. tė tjera)
  • shtetėrore -- adjective; feminine plural of <shtetėror> state -- state
  • rregullohen -- verb; 3rd person plural present indicative non-active of <rregullohem> be regulated -- are regulated
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Mėnyra e pėrdorimit dhe e mbrojtjes sė simboleve kombėtare rregullohet me ligj.

  • mėnyra -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <mėnyrė> manner -- the manner
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pėrdorimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pėrdorim> use -- of use
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • mbrojtjes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • simboleve -- noun, ambigeneric; genitive plural definite of <simbol> symbol -- of the symbols
  • kombėtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <kombėtar> national -- national
  • rregullohet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <rregullohem> be regulated -- are regulated
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- by
  • ligj -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <ligj> law -- law

Rendi kushtetues i Republikės sė Kosovės bazohet nė parimet e lirisė, paqes, demokracisė, barazisė, respektimit tė tė drejtave dhe lirive tė njeriut dhe sundimit tė ligjit, mosdiskriminimit, tė drejtės sė pronės, mbrojtjes e mjedisit, drejtėsisė sociale, pluralizmit, ndarjes sė pushtetit shtetėror dhe ekonomisė sė tregut.

  • rendi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <rend> order -- the order
  • kushtetues -- adjective, masculine singular of <kushtetues> constitutional -- constitutional
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • republikės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <republikė> republic -- of the Republic
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovė> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • bazohet -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative non-active of <bazohem> be based -- is based
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- on
  • parimet -- noun, masculine; accusative plural definite of <parim> principle -- the principles
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lirisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <liri> liberty, freedom -- of freedom
  • paqes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <paqe> peace -- peace # Note that when there are multiple nouns in the genitive case modifying a single noun, only the first in the sequence requires a nyje particle.
  • demokracisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <demokraci> democracy -- democracy
  • barazisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <barazi> equality -- equality
  • respektimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <respektim> respect -- respect
  • -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • drejtave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <drejtė, e> right -- for rights
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • lirive -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <liri> liberty, freedom -- freedoms
  • -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • njeriut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <njeri> human, person -- human
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • sundimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <sundim> rule -- the rule
  • -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ligjit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <ligj> law -- of law
  • mosdiskriminimit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <mosdiskriminim> nondiscrimination -- non-discrimination
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • drejtės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <drejtė, e> right -- the right
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pronės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <pronė> property -- to property
  • mbrojtjes -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <mbrojtje> defense, protection -- the protection
  • e -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ... # The use of e here is unusual if this is to mean 'of protection of the environment', as we would expect the NYJE to have the form . This could be e meaning 'and' but then the sense would not be appropriate ('of protection and of the environment'). Inasmuch as the Serbian version has a genitive with the meaning 'protection of the environment', we consider this most likely to simply be an error in the original Albanian.
  • mjedisit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <mjedis> environment -- of the environment
  • drejtėsisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <drejtėsi> justice -- justice
  • sociale -- adjective; feminine singular of <social> social -- social
  • pluralizmit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pluralizm> pluralism -- pluralism
  • ndarjes -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <ndarje> separation -- separation
  • -- particle; masculine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pushtetit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <pushtet> power -- of powers
  • shtetėror -- adjective; masculine singular of <shetėror> state -- state
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • ekonomisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <ekonomi> economy -- economy
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tregut -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <treg> market -- market

Republika e Kosovės siguron barazinė gjinore si vlerė themelore pėr zhvillimin demokratik tė shoqėrisė, mundėsi tė barabarta pėr pjesėmarrje tė femrave dhe meshkujve nė jetėn politike, ekonomike, sociale, kulturore dhe nė fushat tė tjera tė jetės shoqėrore.

  • republika -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <republikė> republic -- the Republic
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Kosovės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Kosovė> Kosovo -- of Kosovo
  • siguron -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <siguroj> ensure -- ensures
  • barazinė -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <barazi> equality -- equality
  • gjinore -- adjective; feminine singular of <gjinor> gender -- gender
  • si -- conjunction; <si> as -- as
  • vlerė -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <vlerė> value -- value
  • themelore -- adjective; feminine singular of <themelor> basic -- fundamental
  • pėr -- preposition, accusative; <pėr> for, about -- for
  • zhvillimin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <zhvillim> development -- the development
  • demokratik -- adjective; masculine singular of <demokratik> democratic -- democratic
  • -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • shoqėrisė -- noun feminine; genitive singular definite of <shoqėri> society -- of the society
  • mundėsi -- noun, feminine; accusative plural indefinite of <mundėsi> possibility -- opportunities
  • -- particle; feminine accusative plural indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • barabarta -- adjective; feminine plural of <barabartė, e> equal -- equal
  • pėr -- preposition, accusative; <pėr> for, about -- for
  • pjesėmarrje -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <pjesėmarrje> participation -- participation
  • -- particle; feminine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • femrave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <femėr> female -- female
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • meshkujve -- noun, masculine; genitive plural definite of <mashkull> male -- male
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • jetėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <jetė> life -- ...
  • politike -- adjective; feminine singular of <politik> political -- political
  • ekonomike -- adjective; feminine singular of <ekonomik> economic -- economic
  • sociale -- adjective; feminine singular of <social> social -- social
  • kulturore -- adjective; feminine singular of <kulturor> cultural -- cultural
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- ...
  • fushat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <fushė> field, area -- areas
  • -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjera -- adjective; feminine plural of <tjetėr, e> other -- other
  • -- particle; feminine accusative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • jetės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <jetė> life -- of life
  • shoqėrore -- adjective; feminine singular of <shoqėror> social -- societal

Lesson Text

Gjuhė zyrtare nė Republikėn e Kosovės janė Gjuha Shqipe dhe Gjuha Serbe. Gjuha Turke, Boshnjake dhe ajo Rome kanė statusin e gjuhėve zyrtare nė nivel komune ose do tė jenė nė pėrdorim zyrtar nė cilindo nivel nė pajtim me ligj. Flamuri, stema dhe himni janė simbolet shtetėrore tė Republikės sė Kosovės tė cilat pasqyrojnė karakterin shumetnik tė saj. Pamja, mėnyra e pėrdorimit dhe mbrojtja e flamurit dhe tė simboleve tė tjera shtetėrore rregullohen me ligj. Mėnyra e pėrdorimit dhe e mbrojtjes sė simboleve kombėtare rregullohet me ligj. Rendi kushtetues i Republikės sė Kosovės bazohet nė parimet e lirisė, paqes, demokracisė, barazisė, respektimit tė tė drejtave dhe lirive tė njeriut dhe sundimit tė ligjit, mosdiskriminimit, tė drejtės sė pronės, mbrojtjes e mjedisit, drejtėsisė sociale, pluralizmit, ndarjes sė pushtetit shtetėror dhe ekonomisė sė tregut. Republika e Kosovės siguron barazinė gjinore si vlerė themelore pėr zhvillimin demokratik tė shoqėrisė, mundėsi tė barabarta pėr pjesėmarrje tė femrave dhe meshkujve nė jetėn politike, ekonomike, sociale, kulturore dhe nė fushat tė tjera tė jetės shoqėrore.

Translation

The official languages in the Republic of Kosovo are the Albanian language and the Serbian language. The Turkish, Bosnian, and Romani languages have the status of official languages at the municipal level or will be in official use at all levels in accordance with the law. The flag, the seal and the anthem are the state symbols of the Republic of Kosovo, which reflect its multi-ethnic character. The appearance, the manner of use, and the protection of the flag and other state symbols are regulated by law. The manner of use and the protection of the national symbols are regulated by law. The constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo is based on the principles of freedom, peace, democracy, equality, respect for human rights and freedoms and the rule of law, non-discrimination, the right to property, the protection of environment, social justice, pluralism, separation of state powers, and a market economy. The Republic of Kosovo ensures gender equality as a fundamental value for the democratic development of the society, providing equal opportunities for both female and male participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and other areas of societal life.

Grammar

1. General Syntactic Concerns

Albanian word order is generally SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT, as illustrated by the Albanian for 'The girl saw the dog' --

    Vajza   pa   qenin
    the-girl   saw   the-dog

While this is the normal word order, there is some flexibility.

Adjectives normally follow the nouns that they modify. Consider the Albanian for 'The beautiful girl saw the white dog' --

    Vajza   e bukur   pa   qenin   e bardhė
    the-girl   beautiful   saw   the-dog   white

There are some instances where adjectives precede the noun they modify, but these are somewhat uncommon. Additional syntactic issues are given attention in later lessons.

2. The Albanian Noun
2.1. Grammatical Gender

Generally speaking, nouns in Modern Albanian are either masculine or feminine. There was a neuter gender in earlier stages of the language, but it has been almost completely eliminated (most of the earlier neuter nouns are now masculine nouns). A few nouns still show relics of being neuter; for more information on the status of the neuter gender in Modern Albanian, please see Newmark et al. (1982: 133-4).

The grammatical gender of nouns is somewhat predictable from the ending of the noun stem (i.e., the nominative/accusative singular indefinite form). Most nouns that end in , along with most other nouns that end in a vowel, are feminine (though there are exceptions in each category). Except for the set of nouns ending in -ėr, -ėl, -ur, and -ull (of which some are masculine and some are feminine), all nouns ending in consonants are masculine.

While nouns are generally considered 'masculine' or 'feminine', there exist nouns that are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural. In agreement, the singular takes masculine singular forms of adjectives, nyje particles, etc., while the feminine takes feminine plural forms of adjectives, nyje particles, etc. We refer to these as 'ambigeneric' nouns.

2.2. Inflectional Categories

Nouns in Albanian are inflected for number (singular, plural), case (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative), and definiteness. The dative and genitive forms are always identical (except for the genitive requiring a nyje particle, see below). Older stages of the language also had a locative case (this is discussed in Lesson 5). The uses of each of the cases are similar to those in other Indo-European languages. As mentioned in the series introduction, Albanian has a postposed definite article. As this can be treated as a suffix, it is discussed under noun inflection as well.

The most daunting aspect of declining Albanian nouns is that the singular and plural paradigms often have different stems (very common in masculine nouns, less common in feminine nouns). While the correspondences between the singular and plural stems of nouns are often predictable, there are many cases in which they are not. What follows is a sketch of the most common inflectional patterns in feminine and masculine nouns.

The citation form for Albanian nouns is the nominative/accusative singular indefinite form. Some nouns that are derived from adjectives are obligatorily preceded by a nyje particle (see below). These nouns are marked with an e in the citation form.

3. Noun Inflection
3.1. Feminine Noun Inflection

The following is the basic pattern of endings for feminine nouns. Note that singular endings are attached to the singular stem and plural endings are attached to the plural stem. Most feminine nouns have a nominative/accusative indefinite form in . This final vowel is lost when a vowel-initial suffix is added (e.g., nom.sg.def. -a, abl.sg.indef. -e, etc).

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   -   -a   -   -t
accusative   -   -n   -   -t
gen/dat   -e   -s   -ve   -ve
ablative   -e   -s   -sh   -ve

Many feminine nouns have the same stem in the singular and the plural, e.g., gjuhė 'language'.

Inflection of gjuhė 'language' (plural stem gjuhė):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   gjuhė   gjuh-a   gjuhė   gjuhė-t
accusative   gjuhė   gjuhė-n   gjuhė   gjuhė-t
gen/dat   gjuh-e   gjuhė-s   gjuhė-ve   gjuhė-ve
ablative   gjuh-e   gjuhė-s   gjuhė-sh   gjuhė-ve

A large group of feminine nouns in have a plural stem in -a. The inflectional suffixes seen above are the same, but the plural suffixes are added to a stem in -a, e.g., nenė 'mother'.

Inflection of nėnė 'mother' (plural stem nena):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   nėnė   nėn-a   nena   nena-t
accusative   nėnė   nėnė-n   nena   nena-t
gen/dat   nėn-e   nėnė-s   nena-ve   nena-ve
ablative   nėn-e   nėnė-s   nena-sh   nena-ve

Feminine nouns ending in -ėr or -ėl have a plural stem in -a. When these nouns are inflected with a vowel-initial suffix, the ė is lost, e.g., motėr 'sister'.

Inflection of motėr 'sister' (plural stem motra):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   motėr   motr-a   motra   motra-t
accusative   motėr   motrė-n   motra   motra-t
gen/dat   motr-e   motrė-s   motra-ve   motra-ve
ablative   motr-e   motrė-s   motra-sh   motra-ve

There are several other patterns that are followed by fewer nouns (or a single noun); e.g., the plural stem of natė 'night' is net, and the plural stem of grua 'woman' is gra.

3.2. Masculine Noun Inflection

As was the case with feminine nouns, the case endings for masculine nouns are consistent. What is not consistent are the correspondences between singular and plural stems (to which the endings in the chart below are attached).

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   -   -i   -   -t(ė)
accusative   -   -in   -   -t(ė)
gen/dat   -i   -it   -ve   -ve
ablative   -i   -it   -sh   -ve

When the final sound of the noun stem is a velar consonant (that is, k, g or h) or a vowel, all of the singular suffixes in -i are replaced with -u (e.g. zog 'bird', nom.sg.def. zogu, dat.sg.def. zogut, etc). The nominative/accusative plural definite ending is -tė when following a syllable with an unstressed vowel and -t when following a syllable with an unstressed vowel. If the noun ends in two consonants, an -i- is inserted between the stem and the ablative plural indefinite and nominative/accusative plural definite endings (e.g., peshq 'fish', abl.pl.indef. peshqish, nom./acc.pl.def. peshqit).

The most common correspondence between singular and plural stems is where a plural stem is formed by the suffixation of -e, e.g., qytet 'city'.

Inflection of qytet 'city' (plural stem qytete):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   qytet   qytet-i   qytete   qytete-t
accusative   qytet   qytet-in   qytete   qytete-t
gen/dat   qytet-i   qytet-it   qytete-ve   qytete-ve
ablative   qytet-i   qytet-it   qytete-sh   qytete-ve

There are also many nouns that form the plural stem via the suffixation of (e.g., anglez 'Englishman', anglezė 'Englishmen') or the suffixation of -a (e.g., derr 'pig', derra 'pigs'). Masculine nouns in -ėr usually form the plural stem by adding -a and deleting the ė. There are also plural stems that are formed by the suffixation of -nj, sometimes accompanied by a preceding vowel (e.g., gjarpėr 'snake', gjarpėrinj 'snakes') or -ėr (e.g., mbret 'king', mbretėr 'kings'). Some masculine nouns have the same stem in the singular and plural (e.g., qen 'dog', 'dogs'; tiranas 'person from Tirana', 'people from Tirana').

In addition to forming the plural stem via suffixation, there are some nouns that form the plural stem via a stem change. Most nouns that end in -g or -k have a plural stem in which these consonants are palatalized to -gj and -q respectively, e.g., mik 'friend'.

Inflection of mik 'friend' (plural stem miq):

    singular       plural    
    indefinite   definite   indefinite   definite
nominative   mik   mik-u   miq   miq-tė
accusative   mik   mik-un   miq   miq-tė
gen/dat   mik-u   mik-ut   miq-sh   miq-ve
ablative   mik-u   mik-ut   miq-ve   miq-ve

However, this case is not representative of all masculine nouns that end in -g or -k. Most of these nouns form a plural stem by the palatalization of the final consonant along with the suffixation of -e (e.g., dushk 'oak', dushqe 'oaks'). For some nouns the final consonant is not palatalized in the plural (e.g., flok 'hair', flokė 'hairs'). Similar variability is seen in nouns in -ll or -r, some of which are palatalized to form the plural stem (e.g., shekull 'century', shekuj 'centuries'), and some of which have palatalization and the addition of -e (e.g., pyll 'forest', pyje 'forests').

There are additional patterns seen in the correspondences between masculine singular and plural stems. Many of these patterns are followed by just a few nouns, and some are rather anomalous (e.g., vėlla 'brother', vėllezėr 'brothers'; ka 'ox', qe 'oxen').

4. "Nyje" Particles

As seen in the many instances of nouns in the genitive case in the text above, the Albanian genitive case obligatorily requires the presence of a particle. This particle is also required with some adjectives, as well as with some nouns that are derived from adjectives. In general, these particles are used to connect a noun and a modifier (be it an adjective or a noun in the genitive case). As there is no agreed upon name in English for these particles, we refer to them as "nyje" particles (short for the Albanian term nyje e pėrparme), following a suggestion by Jerry Morgan.

The nyje particle has four forms: e, i, , and . The form that is used depends on the gender, number, case, and definiteness of the noun being modified. The following rules (based on Newmark 1998) are a simple way to remember which form of the particle is used in each situation:

  • i : the referent is masculine, singular and in the nominative case
  • e.g., fillimi i vjeshtės 'the beginning of autumn': the nyje is i because the referent fillimi 'beginning' is the nominative, singular, definite form of the masculine noun fillim.
  • : the referent is feminine, singular and in the genitive/dative/ablative case
  • e.g., Republikės sė Kosovės 'of the Republic of Kosovo' : the nyje is because the referent Republikės 'of the Republic' is the genitive, singular, definite form of the feminine noun republikė.
  • e : the referent is feminine and in the nominative case OR the referent is singular, definite and in the accusative case OR the referent is plural, definite and in the nominative or accusative case
  • e.g., Republikėn e Kosovės 'the Republic (accusative) of Kosovo': the nyje is e because the referent Republikėn 'the Republic (accusative)' is the accusative, singular, definite form of the feminine noun republikė.
  • : elsewhere
  • e.g., sundimit tė ligjit: 'of the rule of law' : the nyje is because the referent sundimit 'of the rule' is the genitive, singular, definite form of the masculine noun sundim.
5. Adjectives

Albanian adjectives are inflected for gender and number, but never for case and rarely for definiteness. The only situations in which adjectives are marked for definiteness are in the rare instances where an adjective precedes the noun it modifies (which is apparently more common in Geg). Albanian adjectives can be divided into two groups, depending on whether they require a nyje particle (articulated adjectives) or not (unarticulated adjectives). The citation form used for adjectives is the masculine singular. Articulated adjectives (i.e., those which require the presence of a nyje particle) are marked with an e (the default form of the nyje particle) in the citation form.

5.1. Articulated Adjectives

Articulated adjectives always require a nyje particle. Note that, in the following examples, articulated forms of adjectives are marked by e preceding the noun. This is done for convenience and it must be remembered that the gender, number, case, and definiteness of the referent must be taken into consideration when choosing the correct form of the nyje particle.

With articulated adjectives, the masculine singular, feminine singular and masculine plural generally all have the same form. In adjectives in or in a consonant, the masculine/feminine singular and masculine plural forms are generally identical and the feminine plural has the suffix -a, e.g., bardhė, e 'white' --

    singular   plural
masculine   e bardhė   e bardhė
feminine   e bardhė   e bardha

While this is the most common pattern, there are several common adjectives that show other patterns. Some of them show different masculine and feminine singular forms (e.g., e kuq 'red-masc.sg.', e kuqe 'red-masc.pl.'). Some adjectives also show different masculine singular and plural forms (e.g., e lig 'evil-masc.sg.', e ligj 'evil-masc.pl.'). Some articulated adjectives show four distinct forms, e.g., zi, e 'black' --

    singular   plural
masculine   e zi   e zinj
feminine   e zezė   e zeza
5.2. Unarticulated Adjectives

Unarticulated adjectives do not require a nyje particle. In unarticulated adjectives, the feminine singular and feminine plural forms are derived via the suffixation of -e to the masculine singular form. The masculine plural is usually formed via the suffixation of to the masculine singular form, e.g., normal 'normal' --

    singular   plural
masculine   normal   normalė
feminine   normale   normale

There is actually a bit of variation to how the masculine plural forms of unarticulated adjectives are formed. The example above represents the most common case, but some masculine plural adjectives have the same form as the masculine singular, some are formed via the suffixation of -nj (Newmark et al., 1982, states that all adjectives of Turkish origin have this ending), and most adjectives derived from nouns have the same plural ending that the corresponding noun has.

6. Verb Basics: 'be' and 'have'

The following are the present indicative and subjunctive paradigms for the verbs jam 'be' and kam 'have'. In addition to fulfilling this function, these two verbs serve as the major auxiliary verbs in Albanian.

Present indicative paradigms of jam 'to be' and kam 'to have' --

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   jam   jemi       kam   kemi
2nd person   je   jeni       ke   keni
3rd person   ėshtė   janė       ka   kanė

Present subjunctive paradigms of jam 'to be' and kam 'to have' --

    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   tė jem   tė jemi       tė kem   tė kemi
2nd person   tė jesh   tė jeni       tė kesh   tė keni
3rd person   tė jetė   tė jenė       tė ketė   tė kenė

Notes:

  • The 2PL of jam and kam are jini and kini, respectively, in some dialects.
  • In Geg, the 3SG of jam is āsht. In older Geg texts (e.g., Meshari), this is written as anshtė.

As seen in the tables above, all subjunctive forms are preceded by the subordinator . All instances of the Albanian subjunctive are subordinated by (for more on subordination, see Lesson 4). In addition, in these examples, the differences in conjugation between indicative and subjunctive forms lie in all forms except the 1st and 2nd persons plural. In the following lessons this is shown to be rare, as the vast majority of present tense Albanian verbs only show difference between indicative and subjunctive in the present 2SG/3SG.

The Standard Albanian/Tosk future tense is an analytic formation composed of the invariant future marker do (originally from the verb dua 'want') and a conjugated present subjunctive form of a verb (including the subordinator ). Thus do tė jenė, seen in the text above, is the 3rd person plural future form of jam 'be'. For more details on the future tense (including dialectal differences), see Lesson 3.

While there is some variation as to what is used as the citation form for Albanian verbs, we use the 1st person singular present indicative here. In Geg, the citation form is traditionally the infinitive. However, in order to be consistent, we use the 1st person singular present indicative form as the citation form for Geg verbs as well (see Lessons 4 and 5).