Arbëresh language

Arbëresh (also known as Arbërisht, Arbërishtja or T'arbrisht) is the Albanian speech spoken by the Arbëreshë people in Italy, as well as the endonym of the Arvanitic language spoken by Arvanites in Greece.

Arbëresh
arbërisht
Pronunciation[ˌæɾbəˈɾiʃt]
Native toItaly
RegionApulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sicily
EthnicityArbëreshë
Native speakers
100,000 (2007)[1]
Dialects
  • Calabria Arbëresh
  • Molise Arbëresh
  • Puglia Arbëresh
  • Basilicata Arbëresh
  • Sicilia Arbëresh
Latin, formerly also Greek[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3aae
Glottologarbe1236[2]
Linguasphere55-AAA-ah
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History of Albania

History

Main article: History of the Arbëreshë

Between the 11th and 14th centuries, Albanian-speaking mercenaries, from the areas that are now Albania and Greece, were often recruited by the Franks, Catalans, Italians and Byzantines.

The invasion of the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century caused large waves of emigration from the Balkans to southern Italy. In 1448, the King of Naples, Alfonso V of Aragon, asked the Albanian noble Skanderbeg to transfer to his service ethnic Albanian mercenaries. Led by Demetrio Reres and his two sons, these men and their families were settled in twelve villages in the Catanzaro area of Calabria. The following year, some of their relatives and other Albanians were settled in four villages in Sicily.[3] In 1459 Ferdinand I of Naples also requested assistance from Skanderbeg. After victories in two battles, a second contingent of Albanians was rewarded with land east of Taranto, in Apulia, where they founded 15 villages.[4] After the death of Skanderbeg (1468), resistance to the Ottomans in Albania came to an end. Subsequently, many Albanians fled to neighboring countries and some settled in villages in Calabria.

There was a constant flow of ethnic Albanians into Italy into the 16th century, and other Albanian villages were formed on Italian soil.[5] The new immigrants often took up work as mercenaries with Italian armies. For instance, between 1500 and 1534, Albanians from central Greece were employed as mercenaries by Venice, to evacuate its colonies in the Peloponnese, as the Turks invaded. Afterwards these troops reinforce defenses in southern Italy against the threat of Turkish invasion. They established self-contained communities, which enabled their distinct language and culture to flourish. Arbëreshë, as they became known, were often soldiers for the Kingdom of Naples and the Republic of Venice, between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Despite an Arbëreshë cultural and artistic revival in the 19th century, emigration from southern Italy significantly reduced the population. In particular, migration to the Americas between 1900 and 1940 caused the total depopulation of approximately half of the Arbëreshë villages.

Classification

Arbëresh derives from a medieval variety of Tosk, which was spoken in southern Albania and from which the modern Tosk is also derived. It follows a similar evolutionary pattern to Arvanitika, a similar language spoken in Greece. Arbëresh is spoken in Southern Italy in the regions of Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Apulia and Sicily. All the varieties of Arberesh are closely related to each other but are not always entirely mutually intelligible.

Arbëresh retains many features of medieval Albanian from the time before the Ottoman invasion of Albania in the 15th century. It also retains some Greek elements, including vocabulary and pronunciation, most of which it shares with its relative Arvanitika. Many of the conservative features of Arberesh were lost in mainstream Albanian Tosk. For example, it has preserved certain syllable-initial consonant clusters which have been simplified in Standard Albanian (cf. Arbëresh gluhë /ˈɡluxə/ ('language/tongue'), vs. Standard Albanian gjuhë /ˈɟuhə/). Arbëresh most resembles the dialect of Albanian spoken in the south-central region of Albania, and also that of Çam Albanians.

Arbëresh was commonly called 'Albanese' ("Albanian" in the Italian language) in Italy until the 1990s. Arbëresh speakers used to have only very vague notions about how related or unrelated their language was to Albanian. Until the 1980s Arbëresh was exclusively a spoken language, except for its written form used in the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Church, and Arbëreshë people had no practical connection with the Standard Albanian language used in Albania, as they did not use this form in writing or in media. When a large number of immigrants from Albania began to enter Italy in the 1990s and came into contact with local Arbëreshë communities, the differences and similarities were for the first time made apparent. The Arbëreshë have mixed feelings towards the "new Albanians".[6]

Since the 1980s, some efforts have been organized to preserve the cultural and linguistic heritage of the language.

Arbëresh has been replaced by local Romance languages and by Italian in several villages, and in others is experiencing contact induced language shift. Many scholars have produced language learning materials for communities, including those by Zef Skirò Di Maxho who has written two books 'Udha e Mbarë' and 'Udhëtimi', both used in schools in the village of Piana degli Albanesi, Sicily, Gaetano Gerbino wrote Fjalori Arbëresh (Arberesh dictionary), others include Giuseppe Schirò Di Modica, Matteo Mandalà, Zef Chiaramonte, and the only book written in English for the U.S. and U.K. Arberesh diaspora is ‘Everyday Arberesh’ by Martin H. Di Maggio (2013).

False friends

While the relation between Arbëresh and standard Albanian is close, the two are not 100% mutually intelligible and there are many false friends, for example:

ArbëreshMeaningAlbanianMeaning
shërbenjto workshërbejto serve
pënonjto work in the fieldspunojto work
sheshplateausheshsquare
kopílyoung mankopilbastard
brekëtrousersbrekëunderpants
brumëpastabrumëdough
zienjto cookziejto boil

Varieties

The varieties of Arberisht largely correspond with the regions where they are spoken, while some settlements have distinctive features that result in greater or lesser degrees of mutual intelligibility.

The Siculo-Arbëresh variety is spoken exclusively in the Province of Palermo and in three villages; Piana degli Albanesi, Santa Cristina Gela and Contessa Entellina, while the varieties of Piana and Santa Cristina Gela are similar enough to be entirely mutually intelligible, the variety of Contessa Entellina is not entirely inteliglble. Therefore a further dialect within Siculo-Arberesh known as the Palermitan-Arberisht variety can be identified,[7] as well as a Cosenza variety, a Basilicata variety, a Campania variety represented by the speech of one single settlement of Greci. There is also a Molisan-Arbëresh and an Apulio-Arbëresh.

Within the Cosenza Calabrian varieties of Arbëresh, the dialect of Vaccarizzo Albanese is particularly distinct. Spoken in the villages of Vaccarizzo Albanese and San Giorgio Albanese in Calabria by approximately 3,000 people. Vaccarizzo Albanian has retained many archaic features of both Gheg and Tosk dialects.

Phonology

Some features of Arbërish distinguish it considerably from standard Albanian. In some cases these are retentions of older pronunciations.

Vowels

Ë

The letter Ë is pronounced as either a mid central vowel [ə] or as a close back unrounded vowel [ɯ]. So the word Arbëresh is pronounced either [ɑɾbəˈɾɛʃ] or [ɑɾbɯˈɾɛʃ] depending on the dialect.

Y to I

Arbërisht lacks the close front rounded vowel [y] of Albanian, which is replaced by the close front unrounded vowel [i]. For example ty ('you') becomes ti, and hyni ('enter') becomes hini.

Consonants

GJ, Q

The letters GJ and Q are pronounced as a palatalized voiced velar plosive [ɡʲ] and a palatalized voiceless velar plosive [kʲ], rather than a voiced palatal plosive [ɟ] and a voiceless palatal plosive [c] as in standard Albanian. E.g. the word gjith ('all') is pronounced [ɡʲiθ] rather than [ɟiθ], qiell ('heaven') is pronounced [kʲiɛx] rather than [ciɛɫ], and shqip ('albanian') is pronounced [ʃkʲɪp].

GL, KL

In some words, Arbëresh has preserved the consonant clusters /ɡl/ and /kl/. In Standard Albanian these have mostly become the palatal stops gj and q. E.g. glet not gjet ('s/he looks like ... '), klumësht not qumësht ('milk'), and klisha instead of kisha ('church').

H, HJ

The letter H is pronounced as a voiceless velar fricative [x] (a sound also found in Greek: χαρά [xaˈra], 'joy'). As such, the Albanian word ha ('eat') is pronounced [xɑ], not [hɑ]. Arbëresh additionally has the palatalized counterpart, [ç]. Therefore, the word hjedh ('throw') is pronounced [çɛθ]. The letter combination HJ is present in a few standard Albanian words (without a voiceless velar fricative), but is not treated as a separate letter of the alphabet as it is in Arbëresh.

LL, G

The letters LL and G are realised as a voiced velar fricative [ɣ] (also found in Greek: γάλα [ˈɣala], 'milk'). The vast majority of these words originate in Sicilian, but the sound also occurs in words of Albanian origin. Often G is replaced by GH in the Arbëresh orthography. This feature is very strong that it is carried over into the Italian speech of inhabitants of Piana degli Albanesi and Santa Cristina Gela in words such as Grazie, Frigorifero, Gallera, Magro, Gamba etc. which are realised respectively as [ʁratsiɛ], [friɣoˈrifero], [ɣaˈlɛra], [ˈmaɣro], [ˈʁamba] etc.[8][9] In Piana degli Albanesi the tendency is to treat Italian loanwords differently from Sicilian, which results in the difference between llampjun, pronounced as [ʁampˈjun] (from lampione, 'lamp post'), and lampadhin, pronounced as [lampaˈðin] (from Italian lampadina). In the first example, the L becomes LL [ʁ] because it comes from Sicilian, whereas in the process of transference from the Italian ampadina to Arbëresh lampadhin, the l does not change but the d becomes [ð].

Words of Albanian Origin
WrittenPronouncedEnglish
gëzim (gioia)[ʁzim]joy
gajdhur (asino)[ɣajˈður]donkey
grish (invitare)[ʁriʃ]invite
llah[ɣaχ]eat until stuffed
pagëzim (battesimo)[paʁˈzim]baptism
rruga (la strada)[ˈruɣa]street
Words of Sicilian Origin
WrittenPronounced
fugurë[fuɣurə]
fugatjar[fuɣatˈjar]
garazh[ɣarˈaʒ]
gurg[ɣurɣ]
gust[ɣust]
guant[ɣwant]
magare[maɣaˈri]

Final devoicing of consonants

In contrast with standard Albanian Arbëresh has retained an archaic system of final devoicing of consonants. The consonants that change when in final position or before another consonant are the voiced stops b, d, g, gj; the voiced affricates x, xh; and the voiced fricatives dh, ll, v, z, zh.

Original voiced b [b]d [d]g [ɡ]/[ɣ]gj [ɡʲ] x [dz]xh [] dh [ð]ll [ɣ]v [v]z [z]zh [ʒ]
Devoiced p [p]t [t]k [k]q [kʲ] c [ts]ch [] th [θ]h [x]f [f]s [s]sh [ʃ]

Examples:

  • b > p: thelb ('clove') - [θɛlp]
  • d > t: vend ('place') - [vɛnt]
  • dh > th: zgledh ('read') - [sklɛθ]
  • g > k: lig ('bad') - [lɪk]
  • gj > q: zogj ('chicks') - [zɔkʲ]
  • j > hj: vaj ('oil') - [vaç]
  • ll > h: uthull ('vinegar') - [ʊθʊχ]
  • x > c: ndanx ('near') - [ndant͡s]
  • z > s: loz ('dance') - [lɔs]
  • zh > sh: gozhda ('pin') - [ɣɔʃda]

Stress

Stress in Arbëresh is usually on the penultimate syllable, as in Italian.

Morphology

In Arbëresh the first person present indicative (e.g. "I work") is marked by the word ending in NJ, whereas in Albanian this is normally marked by J. So, 'I live' is rrónj in Arbëresh and rroj in standard Albanian. The present continuous or gerund differs from Standard Albanian; Arbëresh uses the form "jam'e bënj" instead of "po bej" (I am doing).

Non-Albanian derived elements

Vocabulary

Some Arbëresh words appear to be of Greek origin.

Examples:

  • amáhj [aˈmaç] ('war') from Greek μάχη [ˈmaçi] ('battle').
  • haristís [xaɾiˈstis] ('thank') from Greek ευχαριστώ [e̞fˌxariˈsto̞] ('thank you'). Arvanitika uses fharistisem.
  • hórë [xɔˈɾə] ('village') from Greek χώρα [chóra] ('land, village')
  • parkalés [paɾkaˈlɛs] ('I plead', 'please') from Greek παρακαλώ [paˌrakaˈlo̞] ('please').

Archaic Sicilianisms

Alongside the Greek component in Arbëresh, there is an extensive vocabulary derived from Sicilian and other southern Italian regional languages. Many of these words have retained their original meanings where Sicilian has given way to Italian in everyday speech amongst the non-Arbëresh Sicilian people.

Examples:

  • ghranët ('money') < Sic. granna, meaning 'grains'. It is still used in some contexts by modern Sicilian speakers, but in all situations in Arbëresh. Another Arbëresh word for 'money' is haromë, but is no longer used.
  • qaca ('square') < Sic. chiazza; used in all Arbëresh dialects as well as Sicilian. The Albanian word sheshi which means 'square' in standard Albanian means 'plateau' in Arbëresh.
  • rritrenjët ('toilets') < Norman French via Sic. retained in Arbëresh, but no longer in use in modern Sicilian.
  • rritëratë ('photograph') < Sic. 'picture' (ritrattu), more common in Arbëresh than in modern Sicilian.
  • zdar (to go to the countryside) < Sic. sdari; no longer commonly used in Sicilian.
  • zgarrar (to make a mistake; to err) < Sic. sgarrari (now carries a different meaning in Sicilian).

Incorporation

Alongside the Sicilian vocabulary element in Siculo-Arbëresh, the language also includes grammatical rules for the incorporation of Sicilian-derived verbs in Arbëresh, which differs from the rules concerning Albanian lexical material.

Examples:

  • pincar ('think'), originally mendonj-mbanj mend but also mëndinj; derived from the Sicilian 'pinzari'. Which conjugates in the present tense as follows:
  • U pincar = I think
  • Ti pincar = You think
  • Ai/Ajo pincar = He/She thinks
  • Na pincarjëm = We think
  • Ata/Ato pincarjën = They think
  • Ju pincarni = You (pl) think

In the past tense this conjugates as follows:

  • U pincarta = I thought
  • Ti pincarte = You thought
  • Ai/Ajo pincarti = He/She thought
  • Na pircartëm = We thought
  • Ata/Ato pincartën = They thought
  • Ju pincartët = You (pl.) thought

Contractions

M’e tha muaHe told me (feminine object)
Ngë m’i tha mëHe did not tell me (masculine object)
T’e thomI tell you (feminine object)
T’i thomI tell you (masculine object)

Diminutives and augmentatives

The Arbëresh diminutive and augmentative system is calqued from Sicilian and takes the form of /-ats(-ɛ)/ = Sic. -azz(u/a); for example "kalac" (cavallone/big horse), and the diminutive takes the form of /-tʃ-ɛl(-ɛ) from Sic. /-c-edd(u/a); for example "vajziçele" (raggazzina/little girl).The Arbëresh word for "swear word" is "fjalac" and comes from a fusion of the Arbëresh word of Albanian etymology: "fjalë" plus the Sicilian augmentative /-azz[a]/ minus the feminine gendered ending /-a/; this calques the Sicilian word 'palurazza' which is cognate with Italian 'parolaccia'.[9]

Comparison with other forms of Albanian

There are many instances in which Arberisht differs greatly from Standard Albanian, for instance:

ArbërishtShqip (Standard Albanian)Meaning
Vje' më rarë or vje' më thënëdo të thotë or do me thënëIt means
Bëjëm të shkonj (Piana degli Albanesi) or mënd e më shkosh (Santa Cristina)më le të kalojLet me pass
Shkòmë musturënmë jep piperinPass me the pepper
Zotërote/Strote ë një "zot"?Zotëri, jeni prift?Sir, are you a priest?
E ghrish zotërisë satë për një pasijatëju ftoj për një shëtitjeI invite you for a stroll
Zglith mirëlexo mirëRead well
Qëroi isht burinë i ligmoti është shumë keqThe weather is very bad
U rri Sëndahstinëjetoj në Shën KristinëI live in Santa Cristina
Ka bëjëm të ngrënitdo ta gatuajmë ushqiminWe will prepare the food
U ka' jecur njera qacësunë kam ecur deri sheshitI have walked to the square
Ghajdhuri isht ghrishur ndë horëngomari është ftuar në katundThe donkey is invited into the village
Jam e vete/m'e vete ngulem/flëunë do të fleI'm going to sleep
Lyp (lip) ndjesë se zgarrarta shumëmë fal se gabova shumëI'm sorry that I've made so many errors
Ajo isht time shoqeajo është gruaja imeShe is my wife
Flit t'arbrishtfol shqipSpeak Albanian!
Jim shoq isht e nguletshoku im është duke fjeturMy husband is sleeping
Më përqen rritëratën tënëmë pëlqen fotografia jonëI like our photograph
Mortatë or motrëmëmëhallë or tezëAunt
Lalë or vovixhaxha or Lalë (dialect)Uncle or Older brother
LalëbukriUncle by marriage
Vovamotra e madheOlder sister
Tatababai or Tata (dialect)Father
Mëmënëna or mamajaMother
Midhe'/ MëdhemaedheAlso
Lluaivëllaibrother
Ndrëngova / also KapirtaKuptovaI understood
SprasmjaFundiend
Fundi/BythiBythibuttocks
Jotëm përherë të thëshjë të mos hash nga tajuri çë ngë ka' klënë pastruam!Jot ëmë përherë/gjithmonë të thoshte të mos hash nga pjata që nuk është pastruarYour mother always said don't eat from plates that haven't been cleaned!
Kemi besë se ai ngë i ftesbesojmë se ai nuk ka fajWe believe he is not at fault
The Lord's Prayer Arbëresh by Sicily (first row)

Compared with Standard Tosk Albanian (second row),
and Gheg Albanian (third row).

Áti jinëçë jeqiell,shejtëruarkloftëembrijít.
Ati ynëqë jeqiell,u shënjtëroftëemriyt.
Ati ynëqë jeqiell,shejtnue kjoftëemniyt.
Our father who art in heavenhallowed be thy name
járthshitrregjëriajóte;ubëftëvullimijít,
arthtëmbretëriajote;u bëftëdëshirajote,
ardhtëmbretniajote;u baftëvullnesajote,
thy kingdom comethy will be done
si nëqiell,ashtúdhé;
si nëqiell,edhembidhe.
si nëqiellashtudhe.
on earth as it is in heaven
bukëntënëtë përditshmeenanevesòt;
bukëntonëtë përditëshmejepnanevesot;
bukëntonëtë përditshmeepnanesot;
give us this day our daily bread
ndjenadëtyrëttóna,
edhefalnafajettona,
e ndiejna ne fajet e mëkatettona,
and forgive us our trespasses
sinajandjejëmdëtyruamëvettanë;
sikundëredheneuafalimfajtorëvettanë;
si i ndiejmë nafajtorëttanë;
as we forgive those who trespass against us
emosnalebienngarje,lironangailigu;
edhemosnashtjerëngasje,poshpëtonangailigu;
emosnalen me rakeq,porlargonaprej gjith së keq;
and lead us not into temptationbut deliver us from evil
sejótjaishtrregjëria,fuqiaelëvdiapërjétëjetëvet.
sepsejotjaështëmbretëriaefuqiaelavdiajetëtjetëvet.
sepsejotejaâshtrregjinijaefuqiaelaftijetëtjetëvet.
for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Grammar comparison

There are many elements of Arberesh grammar that differ considerably from Albanian, for example:

ArbërishtShqipMeaningNotes
ka shkoshdo të kaloshYou will pass Arbërisht uses the common Balkan participle ka, whereas Shqip uses do which translates as 'want', which is also a feature of the Balkan sprachsbund
flini alluras/anangasijfolni/flisni shpejtSpeak soon (pl.)
flënifliniSleep! (pl.)
bëjëm të shkonjmë lër të kalojLet me pass Shqip uses 'allow me to pass' whereas Arbërisht uses 'we do to pass' and 'able to pass'.
vajtashkovaI went Arbërisht conjugates from the Tosk word të vete whereas shkova means 'I passed' in Arbërisht
ke gjegjurke dëgjuarYou have heard
i papas zën fill parkalesinprifti fillon lutjenThe priest starts the prayer
stisiishte ndërtuarIt was built
Jo, ngë e ka' parëJo, nuk e kam parëNo, I haven't seen it
jam e flas, je flet, ai isht e flet, ajo isht e flet, jem'e flasjëm, jan'e flasjën, jan'e flini po flas, ti po flet, ai po flet, ajo po flet, po flasim, po flasin, po flisniI am talking, you are talking, he is talking, she is talking, we are talking, they are talking, you (pl) are talking The present continuous is marked with the structure 'I am, You are, He is, She is, We are, They are etc. Whereas Shqip uses po which literally means 'yes'
ki’ të zgjoneshjëmduhet të ishim zgjuarWe should have got up
te ku ë Mërì?ku është Maria?Where is Maria? The locative marker te which literally means 'to' is added before ku 'where'. (A similar phenomena occurs in Welsh English and West Country English i.e. 'Where to you going?' or 'Where's he to?')
Mërìa rri alartëMaria jeton lartëMaria lives upstairs
Si ë Zotërote?Si jeni ju, Zotëri?How are you sir? The polite or formal is marked by use of Zotërote with ju being reserved for the plural only

Name

The name Arbërishte is derived from the ethnonym "Albanoi", which in turn comes from the toponym "Arbëria" (Greek: Άρβανα), which in the Middle Ages referred to a region in what is today Albania (Babiniotis 1998). Its native equivalents (Arbërorë, Arbëreshë and others) used to be the self-designation of Albanians in general. Both "Arbëria" and "Albania/Albanian" go further back to name forms attested since antiquity.

Within the Arbëresh community the language is often referred to as "Tarbrisht" or "Gjegje." The origin of the term "gjegje" is uncertain, however this does mean "listen" in Arbërisht. Gheg is also the name of one of the two major dialects of Albanian as spoken in the Balkans. The name Gheg is derived from the term initially used by the Orthodox Christian population of pre-Ottoman Albania for confessional denotation when referring to their Catholic neighbors who converted to Catholicism to better resist the Orthodox Serbs.[10]

Arbëresh names

Every Italo-Albanian person is given a legal Italian name and also a name in Albanian Arbërisht. Quite often the Arbëresh name is merely a translation of the Italian name. Arbëresh surnames are also used amongst villagers but do not carry any legal weight; the Arbëresh surname is called an "ofiqe" in Arbërisht. Some Arbëresh 'ofiqe' are 'Butijuni', 'Pafundi', 'Skarpari' (shoemaker from Italian word 'scarpa').

Examples of Italian names and their Arbëresh equivalents:

Italian Arbëresh
GiuseppeZef, Josif
MarcoMarku
LucaLekë, Lekini/u
FrancescoFrangjishk, Nxhiku, Çiku
NicolaKola, Koll
AngelicaËngjëlliqe
GabrieleGavril, Bjelli
AlessandroLishëndri
Elena, ElenucciaLena, Lenuca
GiacomoMinu, Minikeli, Jakini
Mario, MariuccioMarjucë
Emanuele, ManueleManueli
MariaMëria
MartinoMartini, Tinuçë
GaetanoTani
EleuterioLëfteri
AntonioNdon, Nton, Gjon
GaspareGhaspani
Domenica, MimmaMima
LorenzoLloreu
GiovanniJani, Xhuan, Vanù
DemetrioMitri
SpiridioneSpiridhon, Dhoni, Spiro
RosaliaSallja
Tommaso, TommasinoMasinë
CosimoGësmëni
SaverioShaverë
AndreaNdrica

Writing system

The language is not usually written outside of the church and a few highly educated families, but officials are now using the standard Albanian alphabet, which is used on street signs in villages as well as being taught in schools.

Language samples

Pronouns

 Personal pronounsPossessive pronouns
1Sg.uIjimmine
2Sg.tiyoujytëyours
3Sg.m.ajihei/e tíjhis
3Sg.f.ajoshei/e sajhers
1Pl.nawejynëours
2Pl.juyoujuajyours
3Pl.m.atathey (m.)atyretheirs (m.)
3Pl.f.atothey (f.)atyretheirs (f.)

Verbs

Arbëresh verbs often differ, somewhat drastically, from their Standard Albanian counterparts.

Personal moods
MoodTenseNumber and personEnglish
equivalent
(only sg. 1st)
SingularPlural
1st2nd3rd1st2nd3rd
Indicative Pluperfect kisha burëkishe burëkishë burëkishëm burëkishni burëkishin burëI had done
Imperfect ish'e buja (she buja)ish'e buje (she buje)ish'e bun (she bun)ishm'e bujëmishn'e buniishn'e bujënI was doing
Perfect burabureburëburëmburënburënI did
Present perfect ka burëka burëka burëka burëka burëka burëI have done
Present bunjbunbunbujëmbunibujënI do, I am doing
Future ka bunjka bunka bunka bujëmka bunika bujënI will do
Imperative Presentbuje!buni!do! (2nd person only)
Verbals
TypeFormEnglish
Infinitive të bunjto do
Gerund jam e bunjdoing
 The verb HAVEThe verb BE
 Pres.Imperf.Subj.Impf.Subj.Perf.Pres.Imperf.Subj.Impf.Subj.Perf.
1Sg.kamkeshëtë kemtë keshëjamjeshëtë jemtë jeshë
2Sg.kekeshetë keshtë keshejejeshetë jeshtë jëshe
3Sg.kakishtë kettë kishishtë, ështëishtë jettë ish
1Pl.kemikeshëmtë kemite keshëmjemijeshëmtë jeshëmtë jeshëm
2Pl.kinikeshëtëtë kinite keshëtëjinijeshëtëtë jeshëtëtë jeshëtë
3Pl.kanëkishnëtë kenëtë kishnëjanëishnëtë jenëtë ishnë

Some common phrases

Arberesh English
FalemHello.
Çë bën? Si rri?What are you doing? How are you?
Jam shum mirëI am very well
Ghracjii, je mirë?Thank you, and are you well?
O, jam midhema mirë.Yes, I'm fine too.
Flet arbërisht?Do you speak Arbërisht?
Ka vjen?Where are you from?
Jam gjimps arbëreshI'm half Arbëresh
Mëma jime ë lëtireMy mother is Italian
Ju parkalesPlease
Gëzonem të të njohPleased to meet you
MirmenatGood morning
ShihemiSee you soon
Gjegjemi aghurasWe'll speak soon
Si thrite?What's your name?
Mua më thonë MariejaMy name is Maria
Ëj/oYes (Piana degli Albanesi)
Ara/ëjYes (Santa Cristina Gela)
Ora/ëjYes (Contessa Entellina)
JoNo

Prepositions

Arbëresh English
te to
nga/ka from
prapa behind
te ana e beside, next to
kundrë against
me with
'e (f), i (m), të (n & pl) of
brënda within, inside
jasht outside
siprë on, above
njera until
për/pë' for
nën under
mjes between, among

Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns replace nouns once they are able to be understood from their context.

Arbëresh English
ai/ajo that (m/f)
ata/ato those (m/f)
ki/kjo this (m/f)
rta/rto these
mosgjë/gjë none

Sample text

Shërbesa e Kurorës - The Arbëresh Marriage Ceremony

Zoti : Gjergji, do ti të marsh për gruja Linën çë ë ke këtú te ana, si urdhuron Klisha Shejte, e të qëndrosh lidhur me atë në të mirën si edhé në të ligën gjithë ditët e gjellës tënde?

Priest: Do you George want to take as your wife Lina who is present here according to the instructions of the Holy Church and to be faithful through the good and the bad all of your life?

Dhëndërri: O, e dua!

Groom: Yes, I want!

Zoti: Bekuar kloft Perëndia jínë nga herë, naní e për gjithëmonë e për jetë të jetëvet.

Priest: blessed be our God for all time, now and always in the centuries of centuries.

Populli: Amín.

People: Amen.

Zoti: Në paqe parkalesjëm t'ën Zonë.

Priest: In peace we pray to the Lord.

Populli: Lipisí, o i Madh'yn'Zot.

People: Our Great God, we beseech you.

Bekimi të unazavet

Zoti: Me këtë unazë shërbëtori i Perëndis, Gjergji, lidhet me shërbëtorën e Perëndis, Lina, në embër të Atit, të Birit e të Shpirtit Shejt.

Priest: The servant of God, George, is tied to the servant of God, Lina, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Zoti jep krinjët e këndon Msalmin 127: Të limë atá çë i trëmben t'ynë Zoti e çë jecjën te udhët e Tij.

the priest delivers the candles and intones Psalm 127 Make happy those who fear the Lord and may they walk in His ways.

Lëvdi tij, o i madh'yn'Zot, lëvdi tij. Dhóksa si, o Theós imón, dhóksa si Glory to you, our God, glory to you.

Se ti ka hashë bukën e shërbëtyrës s'duarvet tote. Lumë ti e fatbardhë ka jeshë. Jotë shoqe ka jet si dhri me pemë te muret e shpis tënde. Bijët tatë si degë ullinjësh rrethë triesës tënde. Shi kështú ka jet bekuar njeriu çë ka trëmbësirën e Perëndisë.

That you will eat the bread of the work of your hands. You will be happy and enjoy all that is good. See your wife as a fertile vine in the intimacy of your home. That your daughters will be like olive branches around your table. That those who fear the Lord will be blessed.

Swadesh list (comparative list)

No. English Arberesh
Arbërisht, T'arbërisht
1 I u
2 you (singular) ti
3 he ai, ajo
4 we na, ne
5 you (plural) ju
6 they ata, ato
7 this ki, kjo
8 that ai, ajo
9 here rtu
10 there atì, atje
11 who kush
12 what çë
13 where ku
14 when kur
15 how si
16 not nëngë/ngë
17 all gjith
18 many shum, burin
19 some ca
20 few dica
21 other jetrë
22 one një
23 two di
24 three tri, tre
25 four kart
26 five pes
27 big i math, e madhe
28 long i, e glat
29 wide i, e trash
30 thick i, e trash
31 heavy i rënd, e rëndë
32 small i, e vogël
33 short i, e shkurtur
34 narrow i, e holl
35 thin i, e hollë
36 woman grua
37 man (adult male) burr
38 man (human being) njeri
39 child fëmijë
40 wife shoqja
41 husband shoqi
42 mother mëma
43 father tata
44 animal animall
45 fish pishk
46 bird zog
47 dog qen
48 louse
49 snake
50 worm Gjalpürrë
51 tree lis
52 forest voshku
53 stick
54 fruit
55 seed
56 leaf
57 root
58 bark (of a tree)
59 flower lule
60 grass
61 rope
62 skin likur
63 meat mish
64 blood gjak
65 bone asht
66 fat (noun)
67 egg ves
68 horn
69 tail
70 feather
71 hair krip
72 head krie
73 ear vesh
74 eye si
75 nose hun
76 mouth
77 tooth
78 tongue (organ) gluhë
79 fingernail
80 foot këmb
81 leg këmb
82 knee gluri
83 hand dor
84 wing krah
85 belly bark
86 guts
87 neck
88 back kurrdhux
89 breast
90 heart zëmbër
91 liver
92 to drink pi
93 to eat ha
94 to bite
95 to suck
96 to spit
97 to vomit
98 to blow
99 to breathe marr frim
100 to laugh qesh
101 to see shoh
102 to hear gjegjëm
103 to know di
104 to think pincar, mëndonj
105 to smell
106 to fear
107 to sleep flë
108 to live rronj
109 to die vdes
110 to kill vras
111 to fight
112 to hunt
113 to hit
114 to cut
115 to split
116 to stab
117 to scratch
118 to dig
119 to swim
120 to fly
121 to walk jec
122 to come vinj
123 to lie (as in a bed) ngulëm
124 to sit t'ujëm
125 to stand
126 to turn (intransitive)
127 to fall bie
128 to give jap
129 to hold
130 to squeeze
131 to rub
132 to wash lah
133 to wipe
134 to pull
135 to push
136 to throw
137 to tie
138 to sew
139 to count
140 to say them
141 to sing këndonj
142 to play loz
143 to float
144 to flow
145 to freeze
146 to swell
147 sun diell
148 moon hënxë
149 star illzë
150 water ujë
151 rain shi
152 river lum
153 lake ghaghu, liqen
154 sea dejt
155 salt krip
156 stone gur
157 sand
158 dust
159 earth dhe
160 cloud
161 fog
162 sky qiell
163 wind erë
164 snow zborë
165 ice akull
166 smoke
167 fire zjarr
168 ash
169 to burn djeg
170 road dhrom, rrugë
171 mountain mal
172 red kuq
173 green virdhi
174 yellow
175 white i bardh, e bardhe
176 black i zi, e zezë
177 night natë
178 day ditë
179 year vit
180 warm vap
181 cold titim
182 full plot
183 new i ri, e re
184 old i, e vjetrë
185 good i,e mirë
186 bad i, e lig
187 rotten
188 dirty
189 straight dreqtë
190 round
191 sharp (as a knife)
192 dull (as a knife)
193 smooth
194 wet lagët
195 dry
196 correct dreqtë, gjushtu
197 near ndanxë
198 far llarghu
199 right drejtë
200 left shtrëmbra
201 at te
202 in
203 with me
204 and e
205 if
206 because përçë
207 name embër

Footnotes

  1. Arbëresh at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Arbëreshë Albanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. The Italo-Albanian villages of southern Italy Issue 25 of Foreign field research program, report, National Research Council (U.S.) Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of Publication (National Research Council (U.S.)) Foreign field research program, sponsored by Office of Naval research, report ; no.25 Issue 25 of Report, National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of (National Academy of Sciences. National Research Council. Publication) Author George Nicholas Nasse Publisher National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1964 page 24-25 link
  4. The Italo-Albanian villages of southern Italy Issue 25 of Foreign field research program, report, National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of Publication (National Research Council (U.S.))) Foreign field research program, sponsored by Office of Naval research, report ; no.25 Issue 25 of Report, National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of (National Academy of Sciences. National Research Council. Publication) Author George Nicholas Nasse Publisher National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1964 page 25 link
  5. The Italo-Albanian villages of southern Italy Issue 25 of Foreign field research program, report, National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of Publication (National Research Council (U.S.))) Foreign field research program, sponsored by Office of Naval research, report ; no.25 Issue 25 of Report, National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Earth Sciences Volume 1149 of (National Academy of Sciences. National Research Council. Publication) Author George Nicholas Nasse Publisher National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, 1964 page 26 link
  6. New Albanian Immigrants in the Old Albanian Diaspora: Piana Degli Albanesi. Eda Derhemi
  7. Mandala', M., & Mandala' M (2005). Siculo-arbëresh e siciliano a contatto: alcune verifiche. In Der Einfluss des Italienischen auf die Grammatik der Minderheitensprachen. Morphologische und syntaktische Probleme (pagg. 13-21)
  8. A. Guzzetta, La Parlata di Piana degli Albanesi, Parte I - Fonologia, Palermo 1978
  9. Vito Matranga (January 1995). Ipotesi per il rilevamento dei dati variazionali nei punti albanofoni dell’Atlante linguistico della Sicilia (Report).
  10. Ghegs

References

  • Babiniotis, Georgios (1985): Συνοπτική Ιστορία της ελληνικής γλώσσας με εισαγωγή στην ιστορικοσυγκριτική γλωσσολογία. ["A concise history of the Greek language, with an introduction to historical-comparative linguistics] Athens: Ellinika Grammata.
  • Babiniotis, Georgios (1998), Λεξικό της Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας ["Dictionary of Modern Greek"]. Athens: Kentro Lexikologias.
  • Breu, Walter (1990): "Sprachliche Minderheiten in Italien und Griechenland." ["Linguistic minorities in Italy and Greece"]. In: B. Spillner (ed.), Interkulturelle Kommunikation. Frankfurt: Lang. 169-170.
  • GHM (=Greek Helsinki Monitor) (1995): "Report: The Arvanites". Online report
  • Hammarström, Harald (2005): Review of Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th Edition. LINGUIST List 16.2637 (5 Sept 2005). Online article Vol. II. Livadia: Exandas, 1999 PDF.
  • Η Καινή Διαθήκη στα Αρβανίτικα: Διάτα ε Ρε ['The New Testament in Arvanitika']. Athens: Ekdoseis Gerou. No date.
  • Kloss, Heinz (1967): "Abstand-languages and Ausbau-languages". Anthropological linguistics 9.
  • Salminen, Tapani (1993–1999): Unesco Red Book on Endangered Languages: Europe. .
  • Strauss, Dietrich (1978): "Scots is not alone: Further comparative considerations". Actes du 2e Colloque de langue et de littérature écossaises Strasbourg 1978. 80-97.
  • Thomason, Sarah G. (2001): Language contact: An introduction. Washington: Georgetown University Press. Online chapter
  • Trudgill, Peter (2004): "Glocalisation [sic] and the Ausbau sociolinguistics of modern Europe". In: A. Duszak, U. Okulska (eds.), Speaking from the margin: Global English from a European perspective. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Online article
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