Tosk Albanian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RegionAlbania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Turkey
Native speakers
1.8 million (2011 census)[1]
Early forms
Albanian alphabet, formerly Elbasan
Language codes
ISO 639-3als
Linguasphere55-AAA-aca to 55-AAA-ace
Albanian language map en.svg
A map showing Tosk speakers in the two palest shades of brown

Tosk (definite Albanian form: toskërishtja) is the southern group of dialects of the Albanian language, spoken by the ethnographic group known as Tosks. The line of demarcation between Tosk and Gheg (the northern variety) is the Shkumbin River. Tosk is the basis of the standard Albanian language.

Major Tosk-speaking groups include the Myzeqars of Myzeqe, Labs of Labëria, Chams of Çamëria, Arvanites of Greece and the Arbëreshë of Italy, as well as the original inhabitants of Mandritsa in Bulgaria. In North Macedonia, there were approximately 3000 speakers in the early 1980s.[2]

Tosk features[edit]

  • Rhotacism: Proto-Albanian *-n- becomes -r- (e.g. rëra "sand")
  • Tosk dialects preserve groups mb, ngj and nd assimilated to m, nj and n in Geg.[3]
  • Proto-Albanian becomes va.
  • Nasal vowels: There is a lack of nasal vowels in Tosk (e.g. sy "eye") and Late Proto-Albanian plus a nasal becomes ë (e.g. nëntë "nine").
  • e-vowel: The e becomes ë in some varieties in some words qën for qen in Vjosë.
  • ë-vowel: The ë may have several pronunciations depending on dialect: the ë is more backed in Labërisht dialects like that of Vuno, where mëz "foal" is [mʌz]). Final -ë drops in many Tosk dialects and lengthens the preceding vowel.
  • y-vowel: The y vowel often derounds to i in Labërisht, Çam, Arvanitika and Arbëresh (e.g. dy "two" becomes di).
  • Dh and Ll: These sounds may interchange in some words in some varieties.
  • H: This may drop in any position in some dialects.
  • Gl/Kl: Some varieties of Çam, Arberësh, and Arvanitika retain kl and gl in place of q and gj (e.g. gjuhë "tongue" is gluhë in Çam, gluhë in Siculo-Arberësh, and gljuhë in Arvanitika; "klumësh" for "qumësht" "milk" in Arbëresh).
  • Rr: Rr becomes r in some varieties.

Northern Tosk[edit]


Front Central Back
Close i y u
Close-mid e
Open-mid ɜ ɔ
Open a
IPA Description Written as
i Close front unrounded vowel i
y Close front rounded vowel y
e Close-mid front unrounded vowel e
a Open central unrounded vowel a
ɜ Open-mid central unrounded vowel ë
ɔ Open-mid back rounded vowel o
u Close back rounded vowel u
  • Mid sounds e, o can also be heard as [ɛ, o], in free variation.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tosk at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Fraenkel, Eran; Kramer, Christina Elizabeth (1993). Language Contact - Language Conflict. p. 36. ISBN 9780820416526. Thus, for example, even the small numbers of Tosk Albanians of southern North Macedonia (only approximately 3,000 in the early 1980s)
  3. ^ Orel, Vladimir E. (1998). Albanian etymological dictionary. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004110243.
  4. ^ Coretta, Stefano; Riverin-Coutlée, Josiane; Kapia, Enkeleida; Nichols, Stephen (16 August 2022). "Northern Tosk Albanian". Journal of the International Phonetic Association: 1–23. doi:10.1017/S0025100322000044.

External links[edit]