Due to its strategic position on the Adriatic sea, Albania has played host to various cultures, nationalities, and empires over the course of its existence. In this section, we’re going to look into the range of various languages spoken in Albania.
Official Language Of Albania – Albanian
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language.
First attested in the 15th century, it is the last Indo-European branch to appear in written records. This is one of the reasons why it’s still-unknown origin has long been a matter of dispute among linguists and historians. Albanian is considered to be the descendant of one of the Paleo-Balkan languages of antiquity. For more historical and geographical reasons than specifically linguistic ones, there are various modern historians and linguists who believe that the Albanian language may have descended from a southern Illyrian dialect spoken in much the same region in classical times.
Alternative viewpoints say that Albanian may have descended from Thracian or Daco-Moesian, other ancient languages spoken farther east than Illyrian. However, not enough is known of these languages to completely prove or disprove the various hypotheses.
Minority Languages Of Albania
The two main minority languages spoken in Albania are Turkish and Romani.
Greek – The largest minority language spoken in Albania. The language of the Greek national minority is focused in southern Albania, however many Albanian nationals command the Greek language due to immigration.
Romani – Another widely spoken minority language in Albania is the Romani language. The language is spoken by the Romani people in the country who are descendants of the Romani nomadic migrants. These migrants arrived in Albania from Northern India via the Bosporus and Dardanelles towards the end of the 13th century. They also continued to arrive during the centuries of Ottoman occupation of the region.
Foreign Languages In Albania
Alongside native Albanian language, many Albanians speak Italian, Greek, French, German, English amongst other languages too, due to the high numbers of Albanian diaspora and Albanian communities throughout the Balkans.
Albania is one of the most polyglot nations in Europe. Many Albanians at home, in the region and around the world speak more than two languages. Italian is widely spoken throughout Albania. Nowadays, knowledge of English is growing very rapidly, especially among the youth. Various languages are spoken by ethnic minorities: Greek, Aromanian, Macedonian, etc.
English language in Albania
English proficiency among most Albanians is improving massively, especially compared to just a few years ago. In some places and situations, you can find many Albanians speaking impeccably fluent English.
The younger generation in Albania tends to speak a decent level of English due to a knowledge of English being associated with leading to better prospects, within Albania and the wider English speaking countries and educational institutions. This is especially true in big cities. As a rule, the bigger the city, the more you’ll find English speakers.
This is due to the work environment in many companies, especially in the tech and tourism industry, and more exposure to English-speaking tourists.
If you struggle with the language barrier in Albania when travelling outside the cities, then use only simple words that anyone can quickly grasp. Carry a small English – Albanian dictionary or even better, utilize google translator and its offline function.