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Shkije or Shkje, is a term used in the Gheg dialect of Albanian language to refer to Serbs,[1] while the Albanian communities in Greece or Italy use it to refer to Greeks or Latins, or just non-Albanian speakers. The Arvanites in Greece use the version shkla to refer to the Greek population,[2][3][4] while the Arbereshe in Italy, a substantial part of which originates from the Arvanites, use the words shklan and shklerisht which mean "that does not speak Arbereshe", or "that speaks an incomprehensible language", referring to the Latin languages.[3] It is derived from either from the Venetian schiavone meaning the same[clarification needed] [2] or from the term "Slavs" (Latin: Sclavus),[5] which contained the traditional meaning of “the neighbouring foreigner”.[6]

It was widely used in the Albanian literature as well, i.e. Lahuta e Malcís (1937) of Gjergj Fishta (1871–1940).[1] Sami Frasheri also used the term in his works.[7] During the Yugoslav wars, Albanian newspapers called Serbs "Shkja".[8]

Word forms[edit]

Indefinite Singular Indefinite Plural Definite Singular Definite Plural
Nominative një shka (a serb male)/një shkinë(female) shkije (serbs)/shkina shkau (the serb)/shkina shkijet/shkinat (the serbs)
Accusative një shka/një shkinë shkije/shkina shkaun/shkinën shkijet/shkinat
Genitive i/e/të/së një shkau/shkine i/e/të/së shkijeve/shkinave i/e/të/së shkaut/shkinës i/e/të/së shkijeve/shkinave
Dative një shkau/një shkine shkijeve/shkinave shkaut/shkinës shkijeve/shkinave
Ablative (prej) një shkau/një shkine (prej) shkijesh/shkinash (prej) shkaut/shkinës (prej) shkijeve/shkinave

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gjergj Fishta; Robert Elsie; Janice Mathie-Heck (2005). The Highland Lute. I.B.Tauris. p. 459. ISBN 978-1-84511-118-2.
  2. ^ a b Arshi Pipa (1978), Albanian literature: social perspective, Albanische Forschungen (19–20), R. Trofenik, pp. 55–56, ISBN 9783878281061, OCLC 5281689, Since « Shkla- vun » is the albanization of Venetian « Schiavone », it would seem that the setting is Maina. This region, stretching alongside Mount Taygetus and extending into the sea...
  3. ^ a b Gjergji Shuka (2015), Tridhjetë Këngë Dhe Legjenda Ballkanike: Studim Mbi Origjinën Historike [Thirty songs and Balkanic legends: Study over the historical origin], Naimi, p. 78, ISBN 9789928109866, OCLC 928752657, translated
    Among Albanians of Greece, where our song originates, the word "shkla" is used to identify the Greek neighbors; among the Arbereshe of Italy - who frequently trace their origin to the today's western Greece - the words "shklan" and "shklerisht" mean: "who does not speak Arberisht" or "who speaks an incomprehensible language", referring, of course, to Latin language.
  4. ^ Tsitsipis, Lukas (1981). Language change and language death in Albanian speech communities in Greece: A sociolinguistic study. (Thesis). University of Wisconsin. pp. 100-101. "The term /evjeni̇́stika/ meaning “polite”, used by the young speaker to refer to Greek, is offered as synonymous to /shkljiri̇́shtika/ one of the various morphological shapes of the Arvanitika word /shkljeri̇́shtë/ which refers to “the Greek language”. Thus, Greek is equated with the more refined, soft, and polite talk. The concept of politeness is occasionally extended from the language to its speakers who are the representatives of the urban culture. In conversations in Kiriaki, I heard the word /shklji̇́ra/ (fem.) referring to a city women who exhibits polite and fancy behavior according to the local view. As I stated in the introduction to this dissertation, most of the occurrences of the term /shkljeri̇́shtë/ are not socially marked, and simply refer to the Greek language. But a few are so marked and these are the ones that reflect the speakers’ attitudes. The term /shkljeri̇́shtë/ is ambiguous. This ambiguity offers a valuable clue to the gradual shift in attitudes. It points to the more prestigious Greek language and culture, and also has a derogatory sense. In my data only the first meaning of the socially marked senses of the word occurs."; pp. 101-102. "The second meaning is offered by Kazazis in his description of the Arvanitika community of Sofikó, in the Peloponnese (1976:48): . . . two older people from Sofiko told me independently that, to the not-so-remote past, it was those who spoke Greek with their fellow-Arvanites who were ridiculed. Even today, if an older inhabitant of Sofiko were to speak predominantly in Greek with his fellow villagers of the same age, he would be called i shkljerishtúarë, literally “Hellenized” but used here as a derogatory term denoting affectation. One of those two informants, a woman, said that, until about 1950, it was a shame for a girl in Sofiko to speak Greek with her peers, for that was considered as “putting on airs.” In Spata, /shkljeri̇́shtë/ is used only to refer to “the Greek language” although speakers are aware of the other meanings of the word."
  5. ^ Stavro Skendi (1980). Balkan Cultural Studies. East European Monographs. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-914710-66-0. Shkje is the plural of Shkja, which in Albanian means both Slav and Orthodox Christian. Its derivation is: L. sclavus > Alb. shklavus > shkla > shkja
  6. ^ Pipa, Arshi (1989). The politics of language in socialist Albania. East European Monographs. p. 178. "North Albanian call Slavs shqé (sg. shqá <shkjá <shklá, from sclavus), whereas to Greco-Albanians shklerisht means ‘in the Greek language.’ Hamp observes that “obviously the meaning is traditionally ‘the neighbouring foreigner,’ as with Welsh, Vlah, etc.”"
  7. ^ "...Po me të qënë që sot flasinë serbisht, quhenë Shqeh e jo Shqipëtarë; se gjuha ësht, e para shënj e të çquarit të kombevet."
  8. ^ Balkan War Report: Bulletin of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Institute for War & Peace Reporting. 1997. For example, Serb and Macedonian newspapers frequently refer to Albanians as "Shiptars", while Albanian papers call Serbs "Shkja". Both terms are perceived as insulting by the peoples concerned.