Eqrem Çabej (Albanian pronunciation: [ˌɛcrɛm ˈt͡ʃabɛj]) (6 August 1908 – 13 August 1980) was an Albanian historical linguist and scholar who, through the publication of numerous studies gained a reputation as a key expert in the research into Albanian-language, literature, ethnology and linguistics.
A native of the southern city of Gjirokastër, Albania, Eqrem Çabej completed his elementary education in his hometown. He left Albania in 1921, at the age of 12, and moved to Austria to continue his studies: first in St. Pölten then in Klagenfurt (1923–26), where he obtained his bachelor's degree. He went to University first in Graz (1927) and later in Vienna (1930–33). Attending lectures of renowned language scholars such as Paul Kretschmer, Karl Patsch, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, and Norbert Jokl, Çabej developed, under Jokl's guidance, an intense interest in the historical development of Albanian language. Before returning to Albania at the end of 1933, he submitted, in the University of Vienna, the Italoalbanische Studien (Italo-Albanian Studies in English) as his doctoral dissertation.
Career as an educator and scholar
Home after a 13-year absence, the 25-year-old Çabej returned to Albania and spent five years as a secondary school teacher in: Shkodra, Elbasan, Gjirokastër and Tirana. After Albania's occupation by Mussolini's Italy on 7 April 1939, he was sent away from Albania and confined to Rome, Italy. In 1942, he received an invitation to join the newly formed Institute of Albanian Studies, which he declined, and, in 1943, was offered the position of minister of education in the government headed by Prime Minister Rexhep Mitrovica which he refused also. Returning to Albania in the spring of 1944, he continued to work as a teacher and, in 1947, was appointed as a researcher in Instituti i Shkencavet (The Institute of Sciences) in Tirana, the precursor institution of the University of Tirana. From 1952 to 1967, he served as a professor of the history of Albanian language and historical phonology. In 1972, he became a founding member of Academy of Sciences of Albania. He worked as a researcher at the Institute of Linguistics and Literature in Tirana until the end of his life.
Eqrem Çabej died in a clinic in Rome, Italy, a week after his 72nd birthday.
Works and tributes
Among Eqrem Çabej's numerous works dealing with Albanian and its history include:
- Hyrje në historinë e gjuhës shqipe [Introduction to the History of the Albanian Language] (Tirana 1958; reprinted 2008)
- "Parashtesat e gjuhës shqipe" (Prefixes in Albanian Language) in collaboration with Aleksandër Xhuvani, 1956
- "Prapashtesat e gjuhës shqipe" (Suffixes in Albanian Language) in collaboration with Aleksandër Xhuvani, 1962
- “Die älteren Wohnsitze der Albaner auf der Balkanhalbinsel im Lichte der Sprache und der Ortsnamen” Atti dil VII Congresso Internazionale di Scienze Onomastiche 7, 1962: 241–251. (Reprinted in Albanian “Vendbanimi i hershëm i shqiptarëve në Gadishullin Ballkan në dritën e gjuhës e të emrave të vendeve.” in Rexhep Ismajli, et al., eds., Studime Shqiptare: Vepra të zgjedhura Prishtinë, Akadëmia e Shkencave dhe e Artëve, 2008: 515–524.)
- "Meshari" i Gjon Buzukut [The Missal of Gjon Buzuku] a critical edition (Tirana 1962–68)
- "Einige Grundprobleme der alteren albanischen Sprachgeschichte", Studia Albanica 1, 1964: 69–89
- Fonetika historike e shqipes [Historical Phonology of Albanian] (Tirana 1968)
- Shumësi i singularizuar në gjuhën shqipe (The singularized plural in Albanian language) 1967
- “Mbi disa izoglosa të shqipes me sllavishten.” Studime Filologjike 2, 1976: 63–74
- Studime etimologjike në fushë të shqipes [Etymological Studies in the Field of Albanian] in 7 volumes (Tirana 1976–2006, 5th volume still to appear)
- Akademia e Shkencave e Shqipërisë (2008) (in Albanian), Fjalor Enciklopedik Shqiptar 1 (Albanian encyclopedia), Tirana, ISBN 978-99956-10-27-2
- Elsie, Robert (1986). "Çabej, Eqrem". Dictionary of Albanian Literature. New York/Westport, Connecticut/London: Greenwood Press.
- Elsie, Robert (2004). "Çabej, Eqrem". Historical Dictionary of Albania (New edition ed.). Lanham, Maryland, and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press. pp. 76–77.
- Fischer, Bernd J. (1999). Albania at War, 1939—1945. C. Hurst & Co. p. 174.
- Wąsik, Zbigniew (1985). Profesor Dr Eqrem Çabej (1908–1980), wybitny filolog, twórca współczesnego językoznawstwa albańskiego [Professor Dr. Eqrem Çabej (1908–1980), Renowned Philologist, Creator of Modern Albanian Linguistics], Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis 1985/IX, pages 99–114.
- Eqrem Çabej biography (Albanian)