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Albanian alphabet

The Albanian alphabet consists of 36 letters:

A, B, C, Ē, D, Dh, E, Ė, F, G, Gj, H, I, J, K, L, Ll, M, N, Nj, O, P, Q, R, Rr, S, Sh, T, Th, U, V, X, Xh, Y, Z, Zh.

Note: The 7 vowels are in bold, and below are the corresponding SAMPA values:

a, b, ts, tS, d, D, E, @, f, g, J, h, i, j, k, l, l_e, m, n, n^, O, p, c, 4, r, s, S, t, T, u, v, dz, dZ, y, z, Z

(146KB OGG Vorbis file)

Table of contents
1 History
2 Reference
3 See also


The Albanian alphabet was the result of an evolutionary process of several different versions. The first major attempt at forming an Albanian alphabet was made by Naum Veqilharxhi in 1824 who wanted Albanians to have their own alphabet and not be influences by Greek and Arabic ones. He formed a 33-letter alphabet from Latin alphabets and called it Evetor. This alphabet was mainly used in southern Albania. Other variants of the time included a Catholic alphabet used by Arbėreshė (Italo-Albanians), an Arabic one favored by the pashas, and the Istanbul one created by Sami Frashėri based on the Latin script with certain Greek characters. The latter became widely used as it was also adopted by the Istanbul Society for the Printing of Albanian Writings, which in 1879 printed Alfabetare, the first abecedarium. Another variant similar to the Istanbul one, Bashkimi, was developed by the Albanian literary society Bashkimi (The Union) in Shkodėr with the help of Catholic clergy and Franciscans that aimed to be simpler. Yet another version, Agimi, was developed by another literary society called Agimi (The Dawn) and spearheaded by Ndre Mjeda in 1901.

In November 1908, an alphabet Congress was held in Monastir. It aimed to unify Albanians behind one alphabet and some prominent delegates included Midhat Frashėri, Sotir Peēi, Shahin Kolonja, and Gjergj D. Kyrias. There was much debate and the contending alphabets were Istanbul, Bashkimi, and Agimi. However, the Congress was unable to make a clear decision and opted for a compromise solution of using both the widely used Istanbul one and a new Latin one.

During 1909 and 1910 there were movements by Young Turks supporters to adopt an Arabic script alphabet as they considered the Latin script to be against religious law and Islam. In Korēė and Gjirokastėr demonstrations took place favoring the Latin alphabet, whereas in Elbasan a demonstration for the Arabic alphabet took place led by muslim clerics (hoxhas) that told muslims they would be infidels if they used the Latin script.

In 1911, the Young Turks dropped their opposition to the Latin script and finally the adoption of a revised Bashkimi alphabet that is still used today took place. Both Ghegs in the northern Albania and Tosks in the south adopted the alphabet though their respective dialects of Albanian differ somewhat.


The history of the albanian alphabet is based on the article by Van Christo [1] and it is used with permission.

See also