The Albanian LIP! (why can't I think of a pun for "Albanian" anyway?)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/04/30 13:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/04/30/10005250.aspx


Perhaps I am just getting old, but I can't think of a pun for the title on this one....

The Albanian Language Interface Pack is now available (32-bit only, requires an English base langauge).

You can get it right here!

And now a bit of backgroun on Albanian:

NUMBER OF SPEAKERS:  5.1 million native speakers

NAME IN THE LANGUAGE ITSELF:  Shqip

Albanian is spoken by the entire population of Albania (about 3 million), another 1.5 million in the disputed region of Kosovo, and about 600,000 in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Isolated and long-established pockets of Albanian exist in Greece and the south of Italy. There are two major dialects, Gheg, spoken in the north, and Tosk, spoken in the south of the Shkumbini River. Additionally two variants of Tosk have developed in Italy and Greece, brought there by emigrants and mercenary soldiers from Albania centuries ago: Arvanitika is spoken in some rural enclaves of Greece, mostly by older people; and Arbëreshë is spoken in southern Italy. Gheg and Tosk are mutually intelligible, with certain limits. Standard Albanian is based on Tosk since 1952 (From 1908 to 1952 a form of Gheg had been used).

Albanian literature dates back to the 16th century (1555, Gjon Buzuku’s prayer book Meshari). The development of a unified literary language happened during the national renaissance (Relindja) of the late 19th century.

FUN FACTS:

• The name Albanian comes from a Latin term for a tribe of the region, the Albani. In the language itself, Albanian is called shqip.
• Albanian sometimes employs terms that help avoiding taboo words so that no bad luck is generating by naming the real thing: A wolf might be called mbyllizogojën (derived from an expression meaning May God close his mouth!), a fairy shtozovalle (from an expression meaning May God increase their round-dances!).
• The introduction of a new alphabet (see below) was opposed heavily by the ruling Turkish government.  That dispute ultimately contributed to the declaration of independence by Albania on November 28, 1912.

CLASSIFICATION:  Albanian is an Indo-European language, constituting a separate and independent branch of this family (It is considered the sole survivor of the Illyrian branch).

SCRIPT:  Albanian adopted the Roman alphabet in 1908 (Congress of Manastir). Until then the Greek and the Cyrillic alphabet and the Ottoman Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet had been used to write Albanian. The letters ç and ë were added, while the w is not used. There are nine diagraphs (pairs of letters used to write one sound) for certain sounds, e. g. sh (pronounced as in English) or xh (pronounced like the j in jungle). These are treated like letters in Albanian (for example in encyclopedias).

Enjoy!


John Cowan on 30 Apr 2010 6:59 PM:

"It's Shqipping!" sounds good to me.


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