Gheg Albanian (also spelled Geg Albanian; 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, North 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 (Kosovan language), 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.
After the Tito-Stalin rift in 1948, the relations between Stalinist Albania and Yugoslavia were also broken. Language policy was of utmost importance in communist Yugoslavia, which after World War II was reorganized as a federation of ethnolinguistically defined nations, in emulation of the interwar Soviet nationalities policy. For instance, in 1944, the Macedonian language was proclaimed for the sake of distancing former 'southern Serbia', which was incorporated into wartime Bulgaria, from Bulgarian language and culture. Likewise, in postwar Yugoslavia's Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo, the local Albanian language was distanced from Albania's standard steeped in Tosk, by basing it on the Kosovan dialect of Gheg. As a result, a standard Kosovan language was formed. However, after the rapprochement between Albania and Yugoslavia at the turn of the 1970s, Belgrade adopted Albania's Tosk-based standard of the Albanian language, which ended the brief flourishing of the Gheg-based Kosovan language.
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[clarification needed]. 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 ken i ri, kur jam ken 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||Nji, njo||Ni||Ni, njo/nja||Nja, nji||"One"|
|Bëj||Bunj||Bôj||Bâj, boj||Bâj||"I do"|
|Është||Është or Ësht'||Isht or ë||Ôsht or ô||Osht or o/Âsht or â||Âsht or â||"Is"|
- "South Serbia Albanians Seek Community of Municipalities". Retrieved 17 July 2013.
South Serbia is home to 50,000 or so Albanians.
- "Presevo valley tension". BBC. 2 February 2001. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
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.
- "The Presevo Valley of Southern Serbia alongside Kosovo The Case for Decentralisation and Minority Protection" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2013.
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
- "Yugoslavia: Serbia Offers Peace Plan For Presevo Valley". Retrieved 24 October 2013.
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)
- Gheg Albanian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gheg Albanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Brown and Ogilvie (2008), p. 23. The river Shkumbin in central Albania historically forms the boundary between those two dialects, with the population on the north speaking varieties of Geg and the population on the south varieties of Tosk.
- Joseph 2003, When Languages Collide: Perspectives on Language Conflict, Language Competition, and Language Coexistence, p. 266: "Northeastern Geg"
- Tomasz Kamusella. 2016. The idea of a Kosovan languagein Yugoslavia’s language politics (pp 217-237). International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Vol 242.
- Canadian review of studies in nationalism: Revue canadienne des études sur le nationalisme, Volume 19. University of Prince Edward Island. 1992. p. 206. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Canadian review of studies in nationalism: Revue canadienne des études sur le nationalisme, Volume 19. University of Prince Edward Island. 1992. p. 207. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- Pipa, p. 173: Although the Albanian population in Yugoslavia is almost exclusively Gheg, the Albanian writers there have chosen, for sheer political reasons, to write in Tosk
- Telos. Telos Press. 1989. p. 1. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
The political-cultural relevance of the abolition of literary Gheg with literary Tosk.... Albanians identify themselves with language...
- Tomasz Kamusella. 2016. The Idea of a Kosovan Language in Yugoslavia’s Language Politics (pp 217-237). International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Vol 242. DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2016-0040
- Hinrichs, Uwe; Buttner, Uwe (1999). Handbuch der Sudosteuropa-Linguistik. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 285. ISBN 978-3-447-03939-0. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Friedman, Victor A (2006). "Balkanizing the Balkan Linguistic Sprachbund" in Aichenwald et al, Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. Pages 209.
- Meniku, Linda (2008). Gheg Albanian Reader. Page 8
- Meniku, Linda(2008). Gheg Albanian Reader. Page 9
- Meniku, Linda (2008). Gheg Albanian Reader. Page 7
- Meniku (2008). Gheg Albanian Reader. Page 7
- Matasović, Ranka (2012). "A Grammatical Sketch of Albanian for students of Indo-European". Page 42-43
- Tagliavini, Carlo (1942). Le parlate albanesi di tipo Ghego orientale: (Dardania e Macedonia nord-occidentale). Reale Accademia d'Italia.
- Pipa, p. 56
- 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
- Martin Camaj; Leonard Fox (January 1984). Albanian Grammar: With Exercises, Chrestomathy and Glossaries. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 4. ISBN 978-3-447-02467-9.
- Fialuur i voghel Sccyp e ltinisct [sic] (Small Dictionary of Albanian and Latin), 1895, Shkodër
- Carl Coleman Seltzer; Carleton Stevens Coon; Joseph Franklin Ewing (1950). The mountains of giants: a racial and cultural study of the north Albanian mountain Ghegs. The Museum.
- Pipa, Arshi; Repishti, Sami (1984). Studies on Kosova. East European Monographs #155. ISBN 0880330473.
- Elsie, Robert. "Albanian Dialects". Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.