Albania is a relatively ethnically homogeneous country with a vast majority of the population speaking the Albanian language which is also the country’s official language. Minorities in the country speak their own native languages like Greek, Macedonian, Romani, and others. Italian and English are the most popular foreign languages spoken by the Albanians.
What Is The Official And Most Popular Language Of Albania?
According to the Albanian Constitution, the Albanian language is the official language of Albania. The language serves as the mother tongue of 98.76% of the population of the country. There are several distinct dialects of Albanian. The two most widely spoken ones are the Tosk which is spoken in the south and the Gheg which is spoken by people in the north of Albania. The River Shkumbin forms the traditional divide between populations of Albania speaking these two dialects of the Albanian language. Cham, Arbereshe, and Arvanitika are some other dialects of Albanian that are spoken outside the country in Italy and Greece.
Minority Languages Spoken In Albania
The most spoken minority language of Albania is Greek. The language is spoken by the Greeks living in the country as well as by Albanians who had immigrated to Greece in the past. The variant of Greek spoken in the country is known as the Northern Epirote Greek which uses not only some Albanian words but also some archaic Greek words which are no longer spoken by speakers of Standard Modern Greek. Slight variations in accent also exist between pockets of populations speaking Greece in Albania.
The Aromanian is a minority language of Albania spoken by the Aromanians living in the country. These people, numbering about 100,000 to 200,000 are classified as a cultural minority by the Albanian law.
About 10,000 members of the Romani cultural group living in Albania speak the Romani language and have managed to preserve their native language despite the absence of a formal education system teaching the language in Albania.
The Macedonian language is spoken by the Macedonian people of Albania. According to the 1989 census, there were only 5,000 speakers of this language in the country.
The Serbo-Croatian language is spoken by people residing near Albania’s borders with Serbia and Montenegro in the northern part of the country.
Popular Foreign Languages Spoken In Albania
The Italian language is the most popular foreign language spoken in Albania. The popularity of the language traces its origins to when the country was a protectorate of Italy. During this period, Italian was an official language in Albania. Most of the Albanians who speak Italian in the country have learnt the language by watching Italian television on an extensive scale. The 19,000 ethnic Italians living in the country also speak this language.
Unlike Italian, English is widely taught in schools across Albania. Thus, English is the most popularly spoken foreign language among the youth of Albania. About 65% of the children of the country can speak English. The language was introduced in 1921 in Albania but suffered setbacks during the Communist rule in the country. Later, the language once more gained popularity in the country.
French, Russian, and Chinese are some other foreign languages spoken by small sections of the Albanian population.