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Albanian Online

Lesson 2: Tosk

Brian Joseph, Angelo Costanzo, and Jonathan Slocum

After being granted independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, Albania was under constant pressure from Italy to the west, Greece to the south, and what would become the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (later the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) to the east. The country began to stabilize under the rule of President (and then King) Zog, who attempted to ally the country with Italy. However, Italy began to colonize and dominate Albania and finally invaded in 1939, bringing the reign of Zog to a close.

Annexing Albania, along with much of the western Balkan peninsula, was part of Mussolini's plan to bring several territories that were once part of the Roman Empire under Italian rule. From their new Albanian territory, the Italian army attacked northern Greece, Montenegro and Kosovo, and brought them too under Italian control. However, after the fall of the fascist government and the surrender of Italy in 1943, the area soon fell under German control. Resistance to fascist rule in Albania was led by communist groups, the most powerful of which was headed by Enver Hoxha. The communists were successful in retaking the country, and thus began the forty year reign of Hoxha.

Reading and Textual Analysis

While the earliest Albanian literature only dates back several hundred years, Albania, Kosovo, and other Albanian-speaking territories have produced a number of notable authors. The Albanian author who has received the greatest worldwide recognition is Ismail Kadare. Kadare has published over twenty novels and has been the recipient of numerous awards.

Among Kadare's earliest novels is Gjenerali i ushtrisė sė vdekur (The General of the Dead Army). This novel tells the story of an Italian general who is sent to Albania to recover the remains of Italian soldiers who died there during the Second World War. The following text is the first paragraph of this novel.

Mbi tokėn e huaj binte shi dhe dėborė pėrzier bashkė.

  • mbi -- preposition, accusative; <mbi> on, onto -- on
  • tokėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <tokė> soil, land -- the soil
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • huaj -- adjective; feminine singular of <huaj, e> foreign -- foreign
  • binte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <bie> fall -- was falling
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • dėborė -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <dėborė> snow -- snow
  • pėrzier -- adjective; masculine plural participle of <pėrziej> mix -- mixed
  • bashkė -- adverb; <bashkė> together -- together

Sqota kishte qullur betonin e pistės sė aeroportit, ndėrtesat, rojat.

  • sqota -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <sqotė> sleet -- the sleet
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • qullur -- verb; participle of <qull> drench -- had drenched
  • betonin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <beton> concrete -- the concrete
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • pistės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <pistė> runway -- of the runway
  • -- particle; feminine genitive singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • aeroportit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <aeroport> airport -- of the airport
  • ndėrtesat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <ndėrsė> building -- the buildings
  • rojat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <rojė> garrison, guard -- the guards

Ajo lagte fushėn dhe brigjet dhe shkėlqente mbi asfaltin e zi tė xhadesė.

  • ajo -- pronoun; feminine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- it
  • lagte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <lag> make wet -- made wet
  • fushėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <fushė> field, area -- the field
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • brigjet -- noun, masculine; of nominative plural definite of <breg> bank, hill -- the hills
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shkėlqente -- verb, 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <shkėlqej> shine -- it was shining
  • mbi -- preposition, accusative; <mbi> on, onto -- from
  • asfaltin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <asfalt> asphalt -- the asphalt
  • e -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • zi -- adjective; masculine singular of <zi, e> black -- black
  • -- particle; masculine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • xhadesė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <xhade> highway -- of the highway

Sikur tė mos ishte fillimi i vjeshtės, ēdo njeriu tjetėr, pėrveē gjeneralit tė porsaardhur, do t'i dukej ky shi monoton njė koicidencė e trishtuar.

  • sikur -- conjunction; <sikur> as if, as though -- as though
  • -- conjunction; <> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • mos -- adverb; <mos> NEGATOR -- not
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- was
  • fillimi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <fillim> beginning -- the beginning
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vjeshtės -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <vjeshtė> autumn -- of autumn
  • ēdo -- determiner; <ēdo> every -- every
  • njeriu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <njeri> human, person -- person
  • tjetėr -- adjective; masculine singular of <tjetėr, e> other -- other # Recall that tjetėr is odd in that it is treated as an articulated adjective in the plural, but as an unarticulated adjective in the singular.
  • pėrveē -- preposition, ablative; <pėrveē> except -- except
  • gjeneralit -- noun, masculine; ablative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • -- particle; masculine ablative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • porsaardhur -- adjective; masculine singular of <porsaardhur, e> newly arrived -- newly-arrived
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dukej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperative subjunctive active of <dukem> look, seem -- would seem
  • ky -- determiner; masculine nominative of <ky, kjo> this -- this
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • monoton -- verb; nominative singular of <monoton> monotonous -- monotonous
  • njė -- determiner; <njė> a, one -- a
  • koicidencė -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <koicidencė> coincidence -- coincidence
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • trishtuar -- adjective; feminine singular of <trishtuar, e> sad -- sad

Ai po vinte nė Shqipėri nga njė shtet i huaj pėr tėrheqjen e eshtrave tė ushtarėve tė vrarė kėtu nė luftėn e fundit botėrore.

  • ai -- pronoun; masculine nominative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- he
  • po -- marker; <po> PROGRESSIVE -- ...
  • vinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <vij> come -- was coming
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- to
  • Shqipėri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipėri> Albania -- Albania
  • nga -- preposition, nominative; <nga> from, through -- from
  • njė -- determiner; <njė> a, one -- a
  • shtet -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shtet> state -- state
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • huaj -- adjective; masculine singular of <huaj, e> foreign -- foreign
  • pėr -- preposition, accusative; <pėr> for, about -- for
  • tėrheqjen -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <tėrheqje> pull, attraction, withdrawal -- the withdrawal
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • eshtrave -- noun, feminine; genitive plural definite of <eshtėr> bone -- of the bones
  • -- particle; feminine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • ushtarėve -- noun, masculine; genitive plural definite of <ushtar> soldier -- of the soldiers
  • -- particle; masculine genitive plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • vrarė -- adjective; masculine plural participle of <vras> kill -- killed
  • kėtu -- adverb; <kėtu> here -- ...
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • luftėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <luftė> war -- the war
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • fundit -- adjective; feminine singular of <fundit, e> last -- last
  • botėrore -- adjective; feminine singular of <botėror> world -- world

Bisedimet midis dy qeverive kishin filluar qė nė pranverė, por kontratat pėrfundimtare u nėnshkruan vetėm nė fund tė gushtit, taman nė kohėn kur filluan vranėsirat e para.

  • bisedimet -- noun, masculine; nominative plural definite of <bisedim> talk -- the talks
  • midis -- preposition, ablative; <midis> between, among -- between
  • dy -- determiner; <dy> two -- two
  • qeverive -- noun, feminine; ablative plural definite of <qeveri> government -- the governments
  • kishin -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • filluar -- verb participle of <filloj> start, begin -- had started
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> since, from, beyond -- ...
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • pranverė -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <pranvėre> spring -- spring
  • por -- conjunction; <por> but, however -- but
  • kontratat -- noun, feminine; accusative plural definite of <kontratė> contract -- the contracts
  • pėrfundimtare -- adjective; feminine plural of <pėrfundimtar> final -- final
  • u -- marker; <u> NON-ACTIVE -- ...
  • nėnshkruan -- verb; 3rd person plural past definite indicative active of <nėnshkruaj> sign -- were signed
  • vetėm -- adverb; <vetėm> alone, only -- only
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- at
  • fund -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <fund> end -- end
  • -- particle; masculine accusative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • gushtit -- noun, masculine; genitive singular definite of <gusht> August -- of August
  • taman -- adverb; <taman> precisely -- precisely
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- at
  • kohėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <kohė> time, weather -- the time
  • kur -- adverb; <kur> when -- when
  • filluan -- verb; 3rd person plural past definite indicative active of <filloj> start, begin -- began
  • vranėsirat -- noun, feminine; nominative plural definite of <vranėsirė> cloudy sky -- the cloudy skies
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • para -- adjective; feminine plural of <parė, e> first -- first

Pra ishte vjeshtė dhe shiu kishte kohėn e tij. Gjenerali e dinte kėtė.

  • pra -- conjunction; <pra> so, therefore -- therefore
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- it was
  • vjeshtė -- noun, feminine; nominative singular indefinite of <vjeshtė> autumn -- autumn
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shiu -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <shi> rain -- (of) rain
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- had (come)
  • kohėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <kohė> time, weather -- time
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tij -- determiner; masculine accusative singular of <tij, e> his, its -- the
  • gjenerali -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • e -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <di> know -- knew
  • kėtė -- pronoun; feminine accusative of <ky, kjo> this -- this

Para se tė nisej, kishte mėsuar midis tė tjerave edhe diēka pėr klimėn e Shqipėrisė.

  • para -- adverb; <para> before -- before
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- ...
  • -- conjunction; <> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • nisej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative non-active of <nisem> set out -- he set out
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • mėsuar -- verb; participle of <mėsoj> learn -- he had learned
  • midis -- preposition, ablative; <midis> between, among -- among
  • -- particle; masculine ablative plural definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tjerave -- noun, masculine; ablative plural definite of <tjetėr, e> other -- other things
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- ...
  • diēka -- pronoun; <diēka> something -- something
  • pėr -- preposition, accusative; <pėr> for, about -- about
  • klimėn -- noun, feminine; accusative singular definite of <klimė> climate -- the climate
  • e -- particle; feminine accusative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • Shqipėrisė -- noun, feminine; genitive singular definite of <Shqipėri> Albania -- of Albania

Gjenerali e dinte qė nė Shqipėri vjeshta ėshtė e lagėt dhe me shi.

  • gjenerali -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <gjeneral> general -- the general
  • e -- pronoun; accusative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dinte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <di> know -- knew
  • -- conjunction; <> that, which -- that
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • Shqipėri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipėri> Albania -- Albania
  • vjeshta -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <vjeshtė> autumn -- the autumn
  • ėshtė -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • lagėt -- adjective; feminine singular of <lagėt, e> rainy, humid -- humid
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- ...
  • shi -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rainy

Por, edhe sikur nė librin qė kishte lexuar tė shkruhej se nė Shqipėri vjeshta ėshtė me diell dhe e thatė, atij nuk do t'i dukej ky shi i papritur.

  • por -- conjunction; <por> but, however -- however
  • edhe -- adverb; <edhe> also, yet, still, even -- even
  • sikur -- conjunction; <sikur> as if, as though -- though
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • librin -- noun, masculine; accusative singular definite of <libėr> book -- the book
  • -- conjunction; <> that, which -- that
  • kishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <kam> have -- ...
  • lexuar -- verb; participle of <lexoj> read -- he had read
  • -- conjunction; <> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • shkruhej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative subjunctive non-active of <shkruhem> be written -- it was written
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • Shqipėri -- noun, feminine; accusative singular indefinite of <Shqipėri> Albania -- Albania
  • vjeshta -- noun, feminine; nominative singular definite of <vjeshtė> autumn -- autumn
  • ėshtė -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <jam> be -- is
  • me -- preposition, accusative; <me> with, by -- ...
  • diell -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <diell> sun -- sunny
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • e -- particle; feminine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • thatė -- adjective; feminine singular of <thatė, e> arid -- dry
  • atij -- pronoun; masculine dative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • nuk -- adverb; <nuk> NEGATOR -- not
  • do -- marker; <do> FUTURE/CONDITIONAL -- ...
  • t'i -- conjunction; contraction of <> SUBORDINATOR + pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • dukej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative non-active of <dukem> look, seem -- would have seemed
  • ky -- determiner; masculine nominative of <ky, kjo> this -- this
  • shi -- noun, masculine; nominative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular indefinite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • papritur -- adjective; masculine singular of <papritur, e> unexpected, sudden -- unexpected

Pėrkundrazi. Dhe shkaku ishte se atij i ishte dukur gjithmonė se misioni i tij mund tė kryhej vetėm nė shi.

  • pėrkundrazi -- adverb; <pėkundrazi> quite the opposite -- quite the opposite
  • dhe -- conjunction; <dhe> and -- and
  • shkaku -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <shkak> reason -- the reason
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative of <jam> be -- was
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • atij -- pronoun; dative of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- to him
  • i -- pronoun; dative weak of <ai, ajo> (s)he, it, that -- ...
  • ishte -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active of <jam> be -- ...
  • dukur -- verb; participle of <dukem> look, seem -- it had seemed
  • gjithmonė -- adverb; <gjithmonė> always -- always
  • se -- conjunction; <se> that, than, because -- that
  • misioni -- noun, masculine; nominative singular definite of <mision> mission -- mission
  • i -- particle; masculine nominative singular definite of <e> NYJE -- ...
  • tij -- determiner; masculine nominative singular of <tij, e> his, its -- his
  • mund -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative active of <mund> can, may -- could
  • -- conjunction; <> SUBORDINATOR -- ...
  • kryhej -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative non-active of <kryhem> be accomplished -- be accomplished
  • vetėm -- adverb; <vetėm> alone, only -- only
  • -- preposition, accusative; <> in, on, at -- in
  • shi -- noun, masculine; accusative singular indefinite of <shi> rain -- rain

Lesson Text

Mbi tokėn e huaj binte shi dhe dėborė pėrzier bashkė. Sqota kishte qullur betonin e pistės sė aeroportit, ndėrtesat, rojat. Ajo lagte fushėn dhe brigjet dhe shkėlqente mbi asfaltin e zi tė xhadesė. Sikur tė mos ishte fillimi i vjeshtės, ēdo njeriu tjetėr, pėrveē gjeneralit tė porsaardhur, do t'i dukej ky shi monoton njė koicidencė e trishtuar. Ai po vinte nė Shqipėri nga njė shtet i huaj pėr tėrheqjen e eshtrave tė ushtarėve tė vrarė kėtu nė luftėn e fundit botėrore. Bisedimet midis dy qeverive kishin filluar qė nė pranverė, por kontratat pėrfundimtare u nėnshkruan vetėm nė fund tė gushtit, taman nė kohėn kur filluan vranėsirat e para. Pra ishte vjeshtė dhe shiu kishte kohėn e tij. Gjenerali e dinte kėtė. Para se tė nisej, kishte mėsuar midis tė tjerave edhe diēka pėr klimėn e Shqipėrisė. Gjenerali e dinte qė nė Shqipėri vjeshta ėshtė e lagėt dhe me shi. Por, edhe sikur nė librin qė kishte lexuar tė shkruhej se nė Shqipėri vjeshta ėshtė me diell dhe e thatė, atij nuk do t'i dukej ky shi i papritur. Pėrkundrazi. Dhe shkaku ishte se atij i ishte dukur gjithmonė se misioni i tij mund tė kryhej vetėm nė shi.

Translation

Rain and snow mixed together was falling on the foreign soil. The sleet had drenched the concrete of the runway of the airport, the buildings, and the guards. It made the field and the hills wet and it was was shining from the black asphalt of the highway. As though it was not the beginning of autumn, to every other person except the newly-arrived general this monotonous rain would seem a sad coincidence. He was coming to Albania from a foreign state for the withdrawal of the bones of the soldiers killed in the last world war. The talks between the two governments had started in the spring, but the final contracts were only signed at the end of August, precisely at the time when the first cloudy skies began. Therefore it was autumn and the time of rain had come. The General knew this. Before he set out he had learned, among other things, something about the climate of Albania. The general knew that in Albania autumn is humid and rainy. However even though, in the book that he had read, it was written that in Albania autumn is sunny and dry, this rain would not have seemed unexpected. Quite the opposite. And the reason was that, to him, it had always seemed that his mission could only be accomplished in rain.

Grammar

7. Prepositions

Most of the common Albanian prepositions take an object in the accusative case, e.g.,

      'in, on, at'       me   'with, by'
    pa   'without'       pėr   'for'
    mbi   'on, over'       nėn   'under'

There are a few prepositions that take an object in the nominative case:

    nga   'from'       tek   'to', 'at'

The remaining prepositions have an object in the ablative case, including but not limited to the following:

    prej   'from, of, by'       brenda   'inside'
    gjatė   'during'       para   'before'
    midis   'between'       sipas   'according to'
8. The Albanian Verb

The Albanian verb has two main tense systems from which a considerable number of verbal forms can be generated. As in many Indo-European languages, most important are the present and aorist systems. The present system is the basis for the present and imperfect tense, as well as analytic structures using as a base the present (e.g., present subjunctive, future tense) or the imperfect (e.g., imperfect subjunctive, conditional mood). The aorist system is the basis for the past definite tense (the simple perfective past tense, see Lesson 4) and, in most instances, the optative mood (see Lesson 5). The formation of Albanian (past) participles overlaps greatly, but not completely, with the aorist stem (as in Latin and other Indo-European languages). Thus a third system could be proposed, which we call the "participial system," as the basis of the participle (see below) and the various tenses of the admirative mood (see Lesson 5).

9. The Present Tense
9.1. Use of the Present Tense

The present tense is used to describe actions that occur at the time of speaking. It can also be used to describe events that will occur in the future, if there is an accompanying adverb with future time reference. The present subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses after a predicate, as well as without another verb to express doubt, possibility, or obligation.

9.2. Present Tense Conjugation - Active voice

While there are actually numerous patterns of conjugation, most traditional accounts consider the Albanian verbal system to be broken up into two conjugational classes: one made up of verbs with a vowel-final stem (class 1), and another made up of verbs with a consonant-final stem (class 2). Each of the classes is then traditionally broken down into smaller classes depending on a variety of other factors (aorist formation, participle formation, small differences within the present conjugation, etc). Other accounts propose three (or many more) conjugational classes for Albanian.

Note the the present indicative and subjunctive differ only in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular. The rest of the paradigms are identical (except, of course, for the subjunctive requiring the subordinator ). The exceptions to this tendency, the verbs jam 'to be' and kam 'to have', are described in Lesson 1.

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for vowel-stem (class 1) verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -j   -jmė       -j   -jmė
2nd person   -n   -ni       -sh   -ni
3rd person   -n   -jnė       -jė   -jnė

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of laj 'wash':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   laj   lajmė       tė laj   tė lajmė
2nd person   lan   lani       tė lash   tė lani
3rd person   lan   lajnė       tė lajė   tė lajnė

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for consonant-stem (class 2) verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -   -im       -   -im
2nd person   -   -ni       -ėsh   -ni
3rd person   -   -in         -in

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of hap 'open':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   hap   hapim       tė hap   tė hapim
2nd person   hap   hapni       tė hapėsh   tė hapni
3rd person   hap   hapin       tė hapė   tė hapin

Many verbs show patterns of stem allomorphy within the present tense. Some of the more common patterns are as follows:

  • Some verbs with stem -e raise this vowel to -i in the 2nd person plural (e.g., fle 'sleep-1SG', flini 'sleep-2PL').
  • Some verbs with stem -a change this vowel to -e in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular (e.g., marr 'take-1SG', merr 'take-2/3SG').
  • Most verbs with stem-final -s change this to -t in the 2nd and 3rd persons singular (e.g., flas 'speak-1SG', flet 'speak-2/3SG').

There are additional verbs that show a higher degree of irregularity. The two most common irregular verbs, jam 'to be' and kam 'to have', are discussed in Lesson 1.

9.3. Present Tense Conjugation - Non-active voice

Albanian has an "active/non-active" voice distinction, also referred to as "active/middle" or "active/passive" or "active/mediopassive." While non-active voice is expressed differently in compound verbal forms and in the aorist system, it is expressed using with a synthetic verbal form in the present system. There is a distinct derivational process by which active verbs become non-active verbs; this is discussed in Lesson 4. Note that there is no difference between the indicative and subjunctive in the non-active present tense conjugation, other than the presence of in the subjunctive.

Basic present indicative and subjunctive endings for non-active verbs:

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   -m   -mi       -m   -mi
2nd person   -sh   -ni       -sh   -ni
3rd person   -t   -n       -t   -n

Present indicative and subjunctive paradigms of quhem 'to be called':

    indicative           subjunctive    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   quhem   quhemi       tė quhem   tė quhemi
2nd person   quhesh   quheni       tė quhesh   tė quheni
3rd person   quhet   quhen       tė quhet   tė quhen
10. The Imperfect Tense
10.1. Use of the Imperfect

The imperfect is the past tense of the present system, and is used to describe continuous or habitual events that occurred in the past. Note that the imperfect subjunctive is usual after a past tense main verb, and the present subjunctive after a present tense verb, e.g. dua tė shkosh 'I want (PRES.) that you go (PRES.SUBJ.)', but desha tė shkoje 'I wanted (IMPF.) that you-went (IMPF.SUBJ.)'.

10.2. Imperfect Tense Conjugation

Except for a few verbs that have a suppletive imperfect stem, Albanian verbs have the same stem in the imperfect as they do in the present. The imperfect indicative and subjunctive are identical, except for the fact that the subjunctive must be subordinated by .

    singular   plural
1st person   -ja   -nim
2nd person   -je   -nit
3rd person   -(n)te   -nin

Note that the 3rd person singular ending is -nte when the stem is vowel-final, and -te when consonant-final.

Imperfect paradigms of laj 'wash' and hap 'to open':

    laj           hap    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   laja   lanim       hapja   hapnim
2nd person   laje   lanit       hapje   hapnit
3rd person   lante   lanin       hapte   hapnin

The imperfect of jam 'be' and kam 'have' have suppletive imperfect stems. They also do not show the initial -j- of the 1st and 2nd person singular endings:

    jam           kam    
    singular   plural       singular   plural
1st person   isha   ishim       kisha   kishim
2nd person   ishe   ishit       kishe   kishit
3rd person   ishte   ishin       kishte   kishin
10.3. The Imperfect Tense in Geg

The Geg imperfect endings, while similar to those seen in Standard Albanian, show an additional segment -sh-. If the stem is vowel-final, -j- is inserted after the stem and before the endings.

Basic Geg imperfect tense endings (Hughes 2006):

    singular   plural
1st person   -sha   -shim
2nd person   -she   -shit
3rd person   -ke   -shin

Imperfect paradigm of Geg mźndoj 'to think':

    singular   plural
1st person   mźndojsha   mźndojshim
2nd person   mźndojshe   mźndojshit
3rd person   mźndojke   mźndojshin
11. Participles
11.1. Uses of the Participle

Albanian participles have a number of uses. In addition to being used as adjectives (always articulated, see Lesson 1), participles are used in the formation of several perfect tenses, which are composed of a conjugated auxiliary (in Standard Albanian, kam when active and jam when passive) plus the past participle. They are also used in the formation of infinitives (composed of pėr te + past participle in Tosk, me + participle in Geg), gerunds (composed of Tosk duke/Geg tue + past participle) and privative constructions (composed of pa + past participle). These functions are discussed in more detail in Lesson 4. Participles are also used as the basis for conjugation of the various tenses of the admirative mood (see Lesson 5).

11.2. Formation of the Past Participle

As discussed briefly above, the stem used in the formation of the past participle is usually the aorist stem (that used for the past definite, see Lesson 4). However, there are some cases where the participial stem is the same as the present stem, and there are other cases where it does not correspond to the present or aorist stem. In most cases the participle must simply be memorized.

In cases where the participial stem is identical to the present or aorist stem, the participle is formed by adding -r to vowel-final stems (e.g., the participle of shkruaj 'write' is shkrua-r) and -ur to consonant-final stems (e.g., the participle of flas 'speak' is fol-ur). Where the participial stem is not identical to the present or aorist stem, the following generalizations hold. In general, if the verb stem ends in a consonant, the participle is formed by adding the suffix -ur to the stem. If the verb stem ends in an unstressed vowel, the participle is formed by simply adding -r to the stem. If the verb stem ends in a stressed vowel, the suffix -rė is added to form the participle. There are additional participial formations in or -nė.

In the majority of cases, the participle is immediately recognizable from the present stem. However, particularly with verbs that have a suppletive aorist stem, this is not always the case. These include many of the "irregular" verbs already discussed (e.g., jam 'be' has a participle qenė, kam 'have' has a participle pasur) as well as other verbs (e.g., shoh 'see' has a participle parė, ha 'eat' has a participle ngrėnė, etc).

11.3. Participles in Geg

Unlike Tosk/Standard Albanian, Geg has two forms of participles depending on whether they are used as adjectives or not. If they are used as adjectives, Geg participles have an ending -un (cognate with the common Tosk participial ending -ur), or -uem. If they are used in a verbal construction, they lack these suffixes. Normally, to find the Geg equivalent of a Tosk participle in -ur, remove this ending and replace it with , e.g., Tosk pyetur, Geg pyetė 'ask'; Tosk djegur, Geg djegė 'burn'. Tosk participles in not preceded by r usually have the same ending in Geg. Some Tosk participles in -rė correspond to a Geg participle with no ending (e.g., Tosk vrarė, Geg vra 'kill'), and some correspond to a Geg participle ending in a nasal vowel (e.g., Tosk bėrė, Geg 'make'; Tosk hyre, Geg hy^ 'enter').

12. The Present Perfect Tense
12.1. Use of the Present Perfect Tense

The Albanian present perfect tense is used to describe events that took place and were completed in the past. This is similar to the use of the past definite (see Lesson 4), but the present perfect is prescriptively used to describe past events that have some connection with the present. As the uses of the present perfect and past definite are so similar, there is a general trend toward using the present perfect in situations where the past definite would be prescribed -- akin to the situation in French and Italian, where the compound past tense has taken over the domain of use of the simple past tense in the spoken language.

12.2. Formation of the Present Perfect

The present perfect tense is formed with a present indicative form of kam plus the past participle.

Present perfect paradigm of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   kam shkruar   kemi shkruar
2nd person   ke shkruar   keni shkruar
3rd person   ka shkruar   kanė shkruar

The present perfect subjunctive is formed in the same manner, except that a present subjunctive form of kam is used.

Present perfect subjunctive of shkruaj 'to write':

    singular   plural
1st person   tė kem shkruar   tė kemi shkruar
2nd person   tė kesh shkruar   tė keni shkruar
3rd person   tė ketė shkruar   tė kenė shkruar
12.3. The Present Perfect in Geg

In Standard Albanian, the auxiliary kam is always used in the present perfect if the verb is active. To form the non-active, the auxiliary jam is used (see Lesson 4). In Geg the pattern is slightly different, as kam is used for transitive verbs and jam is used for intransitive verbs (which can be linked to passives and reflexives as well). This again is akin to the compound past tense in French and Italian, where the auxiliary 'have' is used for transitive verbs and the auxiliary 'be' is used for intransitives, passives, reflexives, etc.

For example, the 1st person singular present perfect of shkoj 'to go' in Standard Albanian is kam shkuar, as kam is generalized as the auxiliary for all active verbs in Standard Albanian. The corresponding form in Geg is jam shkuė, where shkuė is the Geg participle of shkoj. The verb jam is used here as an auxiliary, because shkoj is an intransitive verb.