Gheg Albanian

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"Geg" redirects here. For Spokane International Airport (IATA: GEG), see Spokane International Airport.
Region Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia
Native speakers
3.4 million  (2000[1] – 2001 censuses)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 aln
Glottolog gheg1238[3]
Linguasphere 55-AAA-aaa to 55-AAA-aag
A map showing Gheg speakers in green
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Gheg (or Geg) is one of the two major varieties of Albanian. The other one is Tosk, on which standard Albanian is based. The geographic dividing line between these two varieties is the Shkumbin River, which winds its way through central Albania.

Gheg is spoken in Northern Albania, Kosovo, northwestern Republic of Macedonia, southern Montenegro and Serbia.

Gheg does not have any official status as a written language in any country. Publications in Kosovo and Macedonia are in standard Albanian, which is based on Tosk. However, some authors continue to write in Gheg.


Gheg has several dialects, notably:

Southern Gheg[edit]

Southern Gheg is spoken in Albania (Durrës, Elbasan, Tiranë) and western Macedonia.[4]

A subdialect is Central Gheg, spoken in Tiranë, Krujë and Burrel.[4]

Northern Gheg[edit]

The Italian linguist Carlo Tagliavini puts the Gheg of Kosovo and Macedonia in Eastern Gheg.[5]


Assimilations are common in Gheg, but are not part of the Albanian literary language, which is a standardized form of Tosk Albanian.[6]



IPA Written as
[ə] ë (nër: 'under')
[a] a (mas: 'after')
[ɑ] â (prâpë: 'back')
[ɒ] ä (knäqët: 'having fun')
[e] e (dere: 'door')
[ɛ] ê (mênôj: 'I think')
[i] i (dritë: 'light')
[o] o (kos: 'yogurt')
[u] u (kur: 'when')
[y] y (shyqyr: 'thank God')
[ɔ] ô (dôrë: 'hand')


IPA Written as[7]
[ĩ] ĩ (hĩna: 'I entered')
[ɛ̃] ẽ (mrẽna: 'within')
[ɑ̃] ã (hãna: 'moon')
[ɔ̃] õ (some dialects)
[ỹ] ỹ (gjỹs: 'half')
[ũ] ũ (hũna: 'nose')

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Figure for Serbia appears to be taken from 2000 figure for Serbia and Montenegro.
    Gheg Albanian at Ethnologue (15th ed., 2005)
  2. ^ Gheg at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Gheg Albanian". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ a b Hinrichs, Uwe; Buttner, Uwe (1999). Handbuch der Sudosteuropa-Linguistik. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 285. ISBN 978-3-447-03939-0. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Carlo Tagliavini (1942), Le parlate albanesi di tipo Ghego orientale: Dardania e Macedonia nord-occidentale
  6. ^ Camaj 1984, p. 4
  7. ^ Fialuur i voghel Sccyp e ltinisct [sic] (Small Dictionary of Albanian and Latin), 1895, Shkodër


  • Martin Camaj (1984), Albanian grammar, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag
  • Carlo Tagliavini (1942), Le parlate albanesi di tipo Ghego orientale: Dardania e Macedonia nord-occidentale,
  • Wolfgang Koeth, Saskia Drude: Kosovo-Albanisch Wort für Wort, Kauderwelsch Band 221. Edition Tirta, Bielefeld 2014, ISBN 978-3894165796.

External links[edit]