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Albanian language .

December 30 2007 at 1:47 PM
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Anonymous  (Login Xenophon_Albanoi)

 
Albanian (Gjuha shqipe pronounced [ˈɟuha ˈʃcipɛ/]) is a language spoken by nearly 6 million people[1], primarily in Albania and Kosovo, but also in other parts of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population. These parts include the west of the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and south Serbia. In Greece and down the eastern coast of Italy plus Sicily, the language is spoken too. Elsewhere throughout the latter two countries, there is a modern diaspora originating from the Balkans; similarly, many other diasporans live in Scandinavia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Australia, Turkey and the United States.

The Albanian language belongs to the Indo-European language family of languages but has its own specifics, which means it does not have any direct similarities with other languages in the same family.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:48 PM 

Classification

Albanian was proven to be an Indo-European language in 1854 by the German philologist Franz Bopp. The Albanian language comprises its own independent branch of the Indo-European language family with no living close relatives (even though there are many dialects of Albanian, distant and remote).

Some scholars believe that Albanian derives from Illyrian[2] [3]while others claim that it derives from Daco-Thracian (Illyrian and Daco-Thracian, however, might have been closely related languages; see Thraco-Illyrian).

Establishing longer relations, Albanian is often compared to Balto-Slavic on the one hand and Germanic on the other, both of which share a number of isoglosses with Albanian. Moreover, Albanian has undergone a vowel shift in which stressed, long o has fallen to a, much like in the former and opposite the latter. Likewise, Albanian has taken the old relative jos and innovatively used it exclusively to qualify adjectives, much in the way Balto-Slavic has used this word to provide the definite ending of adjectives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:50 PM 

Geographic distribution


Albanian is spoken by nearly 6 million people[1] mainly in Albania, Kosovo, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, and by immigrant communities in many countries such as Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Turkey (Europe), Russia, Ukraine, UK, U.S., Switzerland, Australia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:50 PM 

Official status

Albanian in a revised form of the Tosk dialect is the official language of the Republic of Albania. Albanian is also one of the official languages of Kosovo and in the municipalities where there are more than 20% ethnic Albanian inhabitants in Macedonia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:52 PM 

Dialects

Albanian can be divided into two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk

The Shkumbin river is roughly the dividing line, with Gheg spoken north of the Shkumbin and Tosk south of it. The Geg literary language has been documented since 1462. Until the communists took power in Albania, the standard was based on Gheg. Although the literary versions of Tosk and Gheg are mutually intelligible, many of the regional dialects are not. Tosk is divided into many sub-dialects. The main groups are Northern Tosk (Berat, Pojan, Vlorë, Struga) and Labërisht Labëria. In Greece, the Çam and the Arvanites speak different Tosk sub-dialects. The sub-dialect of the Arvanites is only partially intelligible with other Tosk sub-dialects, such that it can be regarded as a separate language, Arvanitika. A distinct Tosk sub-dialect has been preserved in the Albanian-founded village of Mandritsa in southern Bulgaria. Tosk sub-dialects related to Arvanitika and called Arbërisht are spoken by the Arbëreshë, descendants of 15th and 16th century immigrants in southeastern Italy, in small communities in the regions of Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Campania, Molise, Abruzzi, and Puglia. Tosk sub-dialects are spoken by most members of the large Albanian immigrant communities of Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, and the United States.

Geg (or Ghegh) is spoken in Northern Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, and in parts of Montenegro. Each area of Northern Albania has its own sub-dialect: Tiranë, Durrës, Elbasan and Kavaja; Kruja and Laçi; Mati, Dibra and Mirdita; Lezhë, Shkodër, Krajë, Ulqin; etc. Malësia e Madhe, Rugova, and villages scattered alongside the Adriatic Coast form the northmost sub-dialect of Albania today. There are many other sub-dialects in the region of Kosovo and in parts of southern Montenegro, and in Macedonia. The sub-dialects of Malsia e Madhe and Dukagjini near Shkodra are being lost because the younger generations prefer to speak the sub-dialect of Shkodra.

Gheg and Tosk differ mainly by:

1. rhotacism - Gheg has n where Tosk has r
2. late Proto-Albanian ā + tautosyllabic nasal > Gheg low-central or low-back vowel; > Tosk mid-central, or low-front-to-central vowel
3. Proto-Albanian ō > uo > Gheg vo, Tosk va
4. infinitival use of verbal adjective preceded in Gheg by me and in Tosk by për të
5. difference in lexemes, noun plurals, suppletion of the aorist system of the verb

Subdialects may vary based on:

1. retention or loss of final schwa (-ë)
2. devoicing of final voiced segments
3. treatment of intervocalic and final nj
4. treatment of clusters of nasal + voiced stop
5. development of anaptyctic homorganic stops after nasals that follow a stressed vowel and precede unstressed -ël or -ër
6. treatment of vowel clusters ie, ye, and ua
7. treatment of stressed /e/ before a nasal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:53 PM 

Sounds

Albanian has 7 vowels and 29 consonants. Gheg has a set of nasal vowels which are absent in Tosk. Another peculiarity is the mid-central vowel "ë" reduced at the end of the word. The stress is fixed mainly on the penultimate syllable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:54 PM 

Notes:

* The palatal stops /c/ and /ɟ/ have no English equivalent, so the pronunciation guide is approximate. Palatal stops can be found in other languages, for example, in Hungarian (where these sounds are spelled ty and gy respectively).
* The palatal nasal /ɲ/ corresponds to the sound of the Spanish ñ or the French or Italian digraph gn (as in gnocchi). It is pronounced as one sound, not a nasal plus a glide.
* The ll sound is a velarised lateral, close to English dark L.
* The contrast between flapped r and trilled rr is the same as in Spanish. English does not have any of the two sounds phonemically (but tt in butter is pronounced as a flap r in most American dialects).
* (1) The letter ç can be spelt ch on American English keyboards, both due to its English sound, but more importantly, due to analogy with Albanian usage of h to modify the sounds s, x and z writing those sh, xh and zh. (Usually, however, it's spelled simply c, which may cause confusion; however, meanings are usually understood).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:56 PM 

Grammar

Albanian nouns are inflected by gender (masculine, feminine and neuter) and number (singular and plural). There are 4 declensions with 6 cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and vocative), although the vocative only occurs with a limited number of words. The cases apply to both definite and indefinite nouns and there are numerous cases of syncretism. The equivalent of a genitive is formed by using the prepositions i/e/të/së with the dative.
The definite article is posited after the noun as in many other Balkan languages, for example Romanian and Bulgarian.

* The definite article can be in the form of noun suffixes, which vary with gender and case.
o For example in singular nominative, masculine nouns add -i, or those ending in -g/-k, take -u (to avoid palatalization):
+ mal (mountain) / mali (the mountain);
+ libër (book) / libri (the book);
+ zog (bird) / zogu (the bird).
o Feminine nouns take the suffix -(j)a:
+ veturë (car) / vetura (the car);
+ shtëpi (house) / shtëpia (the house);
+ lule (flower) / lulja (the flower).
* Neuter nouns take -t.

Albanian has developed an analytical verbal structure in place of the earlier synthetic system, inherited from Proto-Indo-European. Its complex system of moods (6 types) and tenses (3 simple and 5 complex constructions) is distinctive among Balkan languages. There are two general types of conjugation. In Albanian the constituent order is subject verb object and negation is expressed by the particles nuk or s' in front of the verb, for example:

* Toni nuk flet anglisht "Tony doesn't speak English";
* s'e di "I don't know".

In imperative sentences, the particle mos is used:

* mos harro "do not forget!".

However, with verbs in the non-active form (forma joveprore), the verb is often in sentence-initial position:

* Parashikohet një ndërprerje "An interruption is anticipated".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:56 PM 

Vocabulary

 
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Anonymous
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:57 PM 

Shared Illyrian vocabulary

See Illyrian languages

* brisa, "husk of grapes"; cf. Alb bërsi "lees, dregs; mash" (< PA *brutia)
* loúgeon, "pool"; cf. Alb lag "to wet, soak, bathe, wash" (< PA *lauga), lëgatë "pool" (< PA *leugatâ), lakshte "dew" (< PA *laugista)
* mantía, "bramblebush"; cf. Alb (Tosk) mën "mulberry bush", (Gheg) man, archaic mand, mandë (< PA *manta)
* rhinos, "fog, mist"; cf. OAlb ren, mod. Alb re, rê "cloud" (< PA *rina)
* sica, "knife"; mod. Alb thikë
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:58 PM 

Early borrowing from Greek

Early Albanian words borrowed from Greek are mainly commodity items and trade goods, gained through direct contact with the Greeks.

* bagëm "oil for anointment" < Gk báptisma "anointment"
* bletë "hive; bee" < dialectal Gk mélitta "honey-bee" (Gk mélissa)[4]
* brukë "tamarisk" < Gk mourikē
* drapër "sickle" < Gk (NW) drápanon
* kopsht "garden" < Gk (NW) kāpos
* kumbull "plum" < Gk kokkumēlon
* lakër "cabbage, green vegetables" < Gk lákhanon "green; vegetable"
* lëpjetë "orach, dock" < Gk lápathon
* lyej "to smear, oil" < Proto-Albanian *elaiwanja, derived from *elaiwā < Gk elai(w)on "oil"
* mokër "millstone" < Gk (NW) mākhaná "device, instrument"
* mollë "apple tree" < Gk (NW) mālon "apple"
* ngjalë "eel" < Gk egchelys
* pjepër "melon" < Gk pépon "melon"
* presh "leek" < Gk práson
* shpellë "cave" < Gk spēlaion "cave"
* trumzë "thyme" < Gk thýmbra, thrýmbē
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:58 PM 

Gothic borrowings

* fat "groom, husband" < Goth brūþfaþs "bridegroom"[5]
* magar "donkey, ass" < *margë < Goth *marh "horse"
* petk "herder's coat; clothing" < Goth paida; cf. OHG pfeit, OE pād
* shkulkë "branch indicating a pasture is off limits" < Goth skulka "guardian"
* tirq "trousers" < Late Latin tubrucus < Goth *þiobroc "knee-britches"; cf. OHG dioh-bruoh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 1:59 PM 

The earliest accepted documentation in the Albanian language is from the 15th century AD, even though recently claims have been made for documents dating late 12th to have been found in the Vatican Library. Church documents in Latin have passages mentioning "Lingua Albanesca" in the 12th century as well. This is a time when Albanian Principalities start to be mentioned and expand inside and outside the Byzantine Empire. It is assumed that Greek and Balkan Latin (which was the ancestor of Romanian and other Balkan Romance languages), would exert a great influence on Albanian. Examples of words borrowed from Latin: qytet < civitas (city), qiell < caelum (sky), mik < amicus (friend).

After the Slavs arrived in the Balkans, another source of Albanian vocabulary were the Slavic languages, especially Bulgarian. The rise of the Ottoman Empire meant an influx of Turkish words; this also entailed the borrowing of Persian and Arabic words through Turkish. Surprisingly the Persian words seem to have been absorbed the most. Some loanwords from Modern Greek also exist especially in the south of Albania. A lot of the loaned words have been resubstituted from Albanian rooted words or modern Latinized (international) words.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:00 PM 

Writing system


Albanian has been written using many different alphabets since the 15th century. The earliest written Albanian records come from the Gheg area in makeshift spellings based on Italian or Greek and sometimes in Turko-Arabic characters. Originally, the Tosk dialect was written in the Greek alphabet and the Gheg dialect was written in the Latin alphabet. They have both also been written in the Ottoman Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet, and some local alphabets.

In 1908 an official, standardized Albanian spelling was developed, based on a Gheg dialect and using the Latin alphabet with the addition of the letters ë, ç, and nine digraphs. After World War II the official language changed in that it adopted the Tosk dialect as its model.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:01 PM 

History

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:02 PM 

Linguistic affinities

The Albanian language is a distinct Indo-European language that does not belong to any other existing branch. Sharing lexical isoglosses with Greek, Balto-Slavic, and Germanic, the word stock of Albanian is quite distinct. Hastily tied to Germanic and Balto-Slavic by the shift of PIE *ā to *ō in a supposed "northern group"[6], Albanian has proven to be distinct from the other two groups as this vowel shift is only part of a larger push chain that effected all long vowels[7]. Instead, Albanian is best known for its singular conservatism, having retained the distinction between active and middle voice, present and aorist, three series of tectal consonants before front vowels (e.g., palatals, velars, and labio-velars), and initial PIE *h4 as an h.[8]

The Albanian language has been variously attached to Illyrian and Messapian, both of which were related[9]. To a small extent, both - mainly Messapian - have left evidence that may in some way liken them to Albanian. First, Messapian's mixed use of both inherited genitive -as (cf. IE sg. -os, pl. -ōm) and ablative -aihi, -ihi as singular genitive endings[10] closely mirrors the Albanian genitive's retention of inherited -ōm (mod. Alb -e) in the plural but replacement with ablative -ai, -ei (mod. Alb -u, -i) in the singular. Second, all three languages experienced the change of IE *ǒ to *ǎ (cf. IE *ghórdhos > Alb gardh "fence"), while Messapian and Albanian share -au- to *-ā-[11] (cf. Mess Bāsta for Bausta and Proto-Alb *dausa > Alb dash "ram"). Third, Illyrian (as well as Latin) makes use of a collective noun suffix -inium (cf. Delminium), comparable to the Albanian plural ending -inj, -ënj, -enj (cf. lumë "river" > lumenj "rivers").[12] Finally, Illyrian shows the merger of aspirates and non-aspirates (e.g., *g/*gh > g), syllabic *ṛ and *ḷ > ur and ul, and the preservation of only the diphthongs ai, au, eu[13], all of which are found in Albanian. Similarly, in Messapian, the original labio-velars (kw, gw, ghw) were retained as gutturals and not converted into labials[14]; whether they were ever retained as gutturals in Albanian is not clear, but they were certainly maintained distinct from the labials - especially before front vowels (e.g., IE *ḱ, *k, and *kw > Alb th, q, and s).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:03 PM 

Compare several lexical correspondances:
Messapic /Proto-Albanian /Albanian /meaning
bilia /birlā /bijë, bilë /daughter
brendon "deer" /brina /bri, pl. brirë /horn, antler
klaohi "listen" /klāusnja /quaj, quej /to call
kos /kusa /kush /who
veinam "self" /swam > wa /u /reflexive clitic pronoun
/swaja /vehte /self
venas /wana /uri, û (Gheg dial. unja) /hunger

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:04 PM 

Tenuous connections persist between Albanian and Thracian, mainly the contentions that both are satem languages since they palatalized and assibilated PIE palatal velars and both deaspirated voiced aspirates[15], but these are nothing more than coincidental, considering these are characteristics found widely in other branches. Moreover, there is some evidence that the plain velars and the labio-velars may not have been completely merged in Proto-Albanian[16], and since they remain distinct before front vowels in modern Albanian, this feature is considered to be secondary. More to the point, Thracian devoiced a certain series of consonants where Albanian did not, and a short list of cognate correspondances should illustrate the true discrepancy: Thrac heris "hand", titha "shining", taru "spear", kiri/kira "mountain, forest", pi- "beside, more", dinupula/sinupyla "wild pumpkin", utos "water", Strýmon "river" vs. Alb dorë "hand", ditë "day", dru "wood", gur "stone, rock", mbi "up, on, over", thënukël "dogberry", ujë "water" (PA *udnja), rrymë "flow".

Messapian settlements are known to have existed along the Adriatic in both Italy and Illyria, especially around Durrës and in Apulia. Archaeology has shown that the Messapians employed cultural items, especially ceramics, reminiscent of earlier Glasinac types and that continued to be linked to the Devollian line in southern Albania. Furthermore, the extremely close parallels between Messapian and Illyrian names are unmistakable: Mess Dazes, Ladi, Plator and Illyr Dazios, Laidias, Platour[17].

Finally, Messapian has left several words in Italian dialects, including zabaglione "frothy dessert" (cf. Illyrian sabaium "beer"), manzo "ox" (cf. Alb mëz, mâz "pony"), northern bagola, bagula (cf. Alb bajgë "dung"), southern musso "ass" (cf. Alb mushk "mule"); though the last three may be pure borrowings from an earlier form of Albanian [18].

Even the name Albanian is of some dispute. Appearing in the 9th c. in Greek as the Arvanoi, and thereafter under similar names, including obsolete Albanian arbër or arbën, it stems directly from Vulgar Latin Albanus, from the southern Illyrian tribal name Albanoí; the adjective too, arbëresh/arbënesh, derived from Latin arbanensis. This same name appears in Slavic and was used to name the town of Labëri "Laberia", from South Slavic labanĭja, from olbanĭja.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:05 PM 

Historical presence and location

While it is considered established that the Albanians originated in the Balkans, the exact location from which they spread out is hard to pinpoint. Despite varied claims, the Albanians almost certainly came from slightly farther north (Kosovo) and inland (Northwest Macedonia) than would suggest the present borders of Albania, with a homeland concentrated in the mountains. The purely linguistic reasons are listed below.

* First, Albanian has few early Greek borrowings, most of which are from the Northwest dialect, probably via the islands off the coast of Albania, e.g. WGk (Doric) mākhaná gave Alb mokër "mill" and WGk drápanon gave Alb drapër "sickle".
* Similarly, the Illyrian coast is not a likely source since Albanian has no inherited nautical or indigenous sea-faring terminology, and has instead supplemented this absence with subsequent borrowing from Latin or Greek or recent metaphorical lexical creations.
* Third, toponyms along the coast, in contrast with native penultimate accent (ex: mbësë "niece" < PA nepō'tia), often show substratal antepenultimate accent (ex: Durrës < Dúrrhachium; Pojanë < Apóllonia), though there are some exceptions (Vlorë < Aulónā vs. Greek Aúlon).
* Also, some consider Albanian to be the source for a small number of grammatical and lexical similarities shared by otherwise dissimilar languages including Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, and to some extent Greek. Based on their extent of grammaticalization, these include: the postposition of articles, the presence of schwa, and the loss of infinitives.
* Finally, few if any Proto-Albanian place names exist in what was the former Roman province of Illyria.

Instead, given the overwhelming amount of shepherding and mountaineering vocabulary as well as the extensive influence of Latin, it is more likely the Albanians come from north of the Jireček line, on the Latin-speaking side, perhaps in part from the late Roman province of Dardania from the western Balkans. However, archaeology has more convincingly pointed to the early Byzantine province of Praevitana (modern northern Albania) which shows an area where a primarily shepherding, transhumance population of Illyrians retained their culture. This area was based in the Mat district and the region of high mountains in Northern Albania, as well as in Dukagjin, Mirditë, and the mountains of Drin, from where the population would descend in the summer to the lowlands of western Albania, the Black Drin (Drin i zi) river valley, and into parts of Old Serbia. Indeed, the region's complete lack of Latin place names seems to imply little latinization of any kind and a more likely spot for the early medieval heart of Albanian territory, following the collapse of the Illyrian province.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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Re: Albanian language .

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December 30 2007, 2:06 PM 

Linguistic influences

The period during which Proto-Albanian and Latin interacted was protracted and drawn out over six centuries, 1st c. AD to 6th or 7th c. AD. This is born out into roughly three layers of borrowings, the largest number belonging to the second layer. The first, with the fewest borrowings, was a time of less important interaction. The final period, probably preceding the Slavic or Germanic invasions, also has a notably smaller amount of borrowings. Each layer is characterized by a different treatment of most vowels, the first layer having several that follow the evolution of Early Proto-Albanian into Albanian; later layers reflect vowel changes endemic to Late Latin and presumably Proto-Romance. Other formative changes include the syncretism of several noun case endings, especially in the plural, as well as a large scale palatalization.

A brief period followed, between 7th c. AD and 9th c. AD, that was marked by heavy borrowings from Southern Slavic, some of which predate the "o-a" shift common to the modern forms of this language group. Starting in the latter 9th c. AD, a period followed characterized by protracted contact with the Proto-Romanians, or Vlachs, though lexical borrowing seems to have been mostly one sided - from Albanian into Romanian. Such borrowing indicates that the Romanians migrated from an area where the majority was Slavic (i.e. Middle Bulgarian) to an area with a majority of Albanian speakers, i.e. Dardania, where Vlachs are recorded in the 10th c. AD. Their movement is probably related to the expansion of the Bulgarian empire into Albania around that time. This fact places the Albanians at a rather early date in the western or central Balkans.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_language

 
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