Before I start introducing you to your first words in Albanian, I have to mention a few things about the language and this course.
The form of Albanian taught here will be the Standard form. This form of the language is used in Schools, public offices and media (i.e. any official form of communication). It is virtually identical to Tosk (Toskërishte), a dialect historically spoken in southern Albania, but has since become widely spoken in almost all of Albania (as a Standard form).
In Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Northern fringes of Albania, the Standard form is seldom spoken, however it is widely used for written official communication, schools and in the media (not for entertainment programs though as it doesn't sound natural when spoken by a Gheg speaker, it is like an Irishman making jokes in Cockney).
In these areas Gheg is spoken but Standard Albanian is written. It is a very confusing situation which I will explain at some later stage. Gheg Albanians and especially Kosovars (the most extreme form of Gheg) find it very difficult to express themselves in a standard Albanian. For example: One interesting thing you will notice is that when a TV reporter (who has obviously been trained to speak the standard version) asks a random teenager on the street about their opinion on something, they almost always try to answer in the standard Albanian, and they do it gracefully but with a few mistakes and a heavy accent, in some cases when they get too excited they tend to forget they’re on TV and switch to Gheg, which enables them to express themselves much clearer. You know when this happens when the tempo of speech increases significantly as they don’t have to think as much when they speak.
It is a paradoxical situation, however the point I am trying to make here is that, the Standard Albanian will be understood by almost all Albanians, hence why we are doing it here (as well as because it is the Standard of course).
Just as a quick comparison. Gheg (Gegënishte) and Tosk (Toskërishte) can vary quite a bit, especially the extreme forms as they are only partially intelligible. These could easily be different languages, but because of political reasons they are not. Whereas Serb and Croat are virtually the same but classed as different languages, the Albanian dialects can be compared to Castilian and Catalan, or Serbian and Macedonian in terms of difference.
Ok let us begin ( Të fillojmë )
From above you can tell that ‘we begin’ is ‘fillojmë’.
The infinitives in albanian start with ‘për të’ (not always though), so here we have an, ‘për të filluar’ (to start, to commence). This is a verb that ends with ‘uar’, so let’s from now on call these verbs, UAR verbs.
You would normally drop the ‘për të’ (as you would drop ‘to’ in English) and the ‘uar’ ending to form the present tense. This gives us the following:
I begin – (unë) filloj
You begin – (ti) fillon
You begin[formal] – (ju) filloni
He/She begins – (ai/ajo) fillon
We begin – (ne) fillojmë
You (pl)begin – (ju) filloni
They begin – (ata/ato) fillojnë
This pattern applies to most UAR verbs. There are a very few exceptions but at this stage not important.
As you can see from the above, the formal ‘you’ is the same as plural ‘you’. This applies to ALL the verbs. The formal ‘you’ you would use to speak to people you don’t usually know and wish to show respect to, the other form is used when spoken to friends.
Ok, here’s a little homework for you all:
1. The infinite of ‘to go’ in Albanian is ’për të shkuar’, how about you figure out the present tense (this is easy, but it will get harder believe me).
The verb for ‘to see’ is ‘për të shikuar’. If you want to say ‘to see it’ (note the ’it’ here) you would change the infinitive to ‘për ta shikuar’.
2. If the verb for ‘to fail’ is ‘për të dështuar’. How would you say ‘to fail it’ in Albanian.
3. Once you’ve done the number 1, try and say ‘We are going to see it’ (tip: in Albanian this is the same as ‘We go to see it’).
PLEASE USE ‘ANSWERS LESSON- 0’ TO POST YOUR ANSWERS.