Gheg (or Geg; Gheg Albanian: gegnisht, Standard Albanian: gegë or gegërisht) is one of the two major varieties of Albanian. The other is Tosk on which Standard Albanian is based. The geographic dividing line between the two varieties is the Shkumbin River, which winds its way through central Albania.
|Region||Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia|
|3.45 million to 3.47 (2000 – 2001 censuses)|
A map showing Gheg speakers in green
Gheg does not have any official status as a written language in any country. Publications in Kosovo and Macedonia are in Standard Albanian, which is based on Tosk. However, some authors continue to write in Gheg.
The Ghegs speak Gheg, one of the two main Albanian dialects. Before World War II, there was no official attempt at legislating a unified Albanian literary language; both literary Gheg and literary Tosk was used. The communist regime imposed a Tosk-based unified standard with basis in the Korçë speech, in all of Albania. The same standard was adopted by the Albanians in Yugoslavia, who had until then used the Gheg standard, in a process that began in 1968, with culmination in 1972 when the first unified Albanian orthographic handbook and dictionary was agreed upon in 1972.
The Albanian communist regime based Standard Albanian mostly on Tosk. That practice has been criticized, notably by Arshi Pipa, who claimed that this decision deprived Albanian of its richness at the expense of the Ghegs, and he referred to the literary Albanian language as a "monstrosity" produced by the Tosk communist leadership that conquered anti-communist northern Albania militarily and imposed its Tosk Albanian dialect on the Ghegs.
Although Albanian writers in former Yugoslavia were almost all Ghegs, they chose to write in Tosk for political reasons. The change of literary language has significant political and cultural consequences because the Albanian language is the main criterion for self-identification of the Albanians.
The Gheg dialect is divided by four sub-dialects: Central Gheg, Southern Gheg, Northwestern Gheg (or Western Gheg), and Northeastern Gheg (or Eastern Gheg).
A subdialect is Central Gheg, spoken in Tiranë (sometimes included), Krujë, Burrel. The transnational Dibra region speaks Central Gheg dialects as well, and there is one particularly divergent dialect in Upper Reka, the Upper Reka Albanian dialect. Additional included regions include Lura, Tetova, Gostivari, Skopje and Kumanova 
The dialect of parts of Mirdita is also sometimes classified as a subdialect of Southern Gheg.
Southern Gheg proper is said to include the prominent dialects of Durres, Elbasan and Tirana.
- Northeastern Gheg (Krasniqe, Nikaj-Mertur, Has, Gashi, Tropoja, Kačanik, Dragaš, Gjilan, Preševo, Bujanovac, Prishtina, Vushtrri, Mitrovica, Podujevo, Medveđa and the formerly Albanian-populated territories of Niš Sanjak (Niš, Vranje, Toplica District).
- Northwestern Gheg (Shkodër, Vermosh, Selcë, Vukël, Lëpushë, Nikç, Tamarë, Tuzi, Shestani-Kraja, Ulcinj, Bar, Plav, Gusinje, Pejë, Gjakovë, Prizren, Lezhe and the rest of Malësia)
The Northeastern Gheg dialectal area begins roughly down from the eastern Montenegrin-Albanian border, including the Albanian districts (Second-level administrative country subdivisions) of Tropojë, Pukë, Has, Mirditë and Kukës; the whole of Kosovo[a], and the municipalities of Bujanovac and Preševo in Serbia. The tribes in Albania speaking the dialect include Nikaj-Merturi, Puka, Gashi, and Tropoja.
Calques of Serbian origin are evident in the areas of syntax and morphology. The Northeastern Gheg slightly differs from Northwestern Gheg (spoken in Shkodër),, as the pronunciation is deeper and more prolonged. Northeastern Gheg is considered to be the autonomous branch of Gheg Albanian in turn, the Northeastern Gheg dialects themselves differ greatly among themselves.
The dialect is also split in a few other minority dialects, where the phoneme [y] of standard Albanian is pronounced as [i], i.e "ylberi" to "ilberi" (both meaning rainbow); "dy" to "di" (both meaning two). In Northeastern Gheg, the palatal stops of standard Albanian, such as [c] (as in qen, "dog") and [ɟ] (as in gjumë, "sleep"), are realised as palato-alveolar affricates, [t͡ʃ] and [d͡ʒ] respectively.
Northwestern Gheg, is a sub-dialect of Gheg Albanian spoken in Northwestern Albania, Southern Montenegro, and Western Kosovo. The inhabitants of the renowned region of Malësia are Northwestern Gheg speakers. The tribes that speak this dialect are the Malësor, Dukagjin and other highlander tribes which include (Malësia) : Hoti, Gruda, Triepshi, Kelmendi, Kastrati, Shkreli, Lohja, etc., (Dukagjin) : Shala, Shoshi, Shllaku, Dushmani, etc., etc..(Mirdita, Lezhë),...(see Tribes of Albania).
The main contrast between Northwestern Gheg and Northeastern Gheg is the slight difference in the tone and or pronunciation of the respective dialects. Northwestern Gheg does not have the more deeper sounding a's, e's, etc. and is considered by some to sound slightly more soft and clear in tone compared to Northeastern Gheg, yet still spoken with a rough Gheg undertone compared to the Southern Albanian dialects. Other differences include different vocabulary, and the use of words like "kon" (been), and "qysh" (how?) which are used in Northeastern Gheg, and not often used in Northwestern Gheg. Instead Northwestern Gheg speakers say "kjen or ken" (been), and use the adverb "si" to say (how?). For example in Northeastern Gheg to say "when I was young", you would say, "kur jam kon i ri", while in Northwestern Gheg you would say "kur kam kjen i ri."
Although there is a degree of variance, Northwestern Gheg and Northeastern Gheg are still very much similar, and speakers of both sub-dialects have no problem understanding and having a conversation with one another.
Differentiations between the Northwestern Gheg dialects themselves are minuscule, unlike the Northeastern Gheg dialects where there is more differentiation.
This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (October 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|[ə]||ë (nër: 'under')|
|[a]||a (mas: 'after')|
|[ɑ]||â (prâpë: 'back')|
|[ɒ]||ä (knäqët: 'having fun')|
|[e]||e (dere: 'door')|
|[ɛ]||ê (mênôj: 'I think')|
|[i]||i (dritë: 'light')|
|[o]||o (kos: 'yoghurt')|
|[u]||u (kur: 'when')|
|[y]||y (ylli: 'star')|
|[ɔ]||ô (dôrë: 'hand')|
|[ĩ]||ĩ (hĩna: 'I entered')|
|[ɛ̃]||ẽ (mrẽna: 'within')|
|[ɑ̃]||ã (hãna: 'moon')|
|[ɔ̃]||õ (fõ: 'satiated', some dialects)|
|[ỹ]||ỹ (gjỹs: 'half')|
|[ũ]||ũ (hũna: 'nose')|
|Standard||Tosk||Arberesh||South Gheg||Central Gheg||Northeastern Gheg||Northwestern Gheg||English|
|Një||Një||Një||Nji, njo||Ni||Ni, njo||Nja, nji||"One"|
|Është||Është or Ësht'||Isht or ë||Ôsht or ô||Ôsht or ô||Osht or o||Âsht or â||"Is"|
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South Serbia is home to 50,000 or so Albanians.
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Initially, the guerrillas' publicly acknowledged objective was to protect the local ethnic Albanian population of some 70,000 people from the repressive actions of the Serb security forces.
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The total population of the Valley is around 86,000 inhabitants of whom around 57,000 are Albanians and the rest are Serbs and Roma
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The Serbian peace proposal calls for integrating the Presevo valley's 70,000 ethnic Albanian residents into mainstream Serbian political and social life.
- Figure for Serbia appears to be taken from 2000 figure for Serbia and Montenegro.
Gheg Albanian at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
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The political-cultural relevance of the abolition of literary Gheg with literary Tosk.... Albanians identify themselves with language...
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- Pipa, p. 57: Northern Gheg is divided vertically. Later this proved to be appropriate chiefly for methodological reasons, seeing that Eastern Gheg is considered to be an autonomous branch.
- Van Coetsem, Frans (1980), Contributions to Historical Linguistics: Issues and Materials, Brill Archive, ISBN 9004061304. p. 274: "Northeastern Geg ... differed greatly among themselves"
- Pipa, p. 59
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