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Albanian is a language spoken by more than 8 million people. It is the official language of the Republic of Albania and the main language spoken in the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo (92% of its population are Albanians). Albanian is also spoken by several Albanian communities in western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia, southern Greece and Italy, in Sicily, and the Ukraine.
Albanian is considered an isolated Indo-European language in that it, like Armenian, does not belong to any other branch within the group. It shares lexical isoglosses with Greek, Balto-Slavic, and Germanic and preserves the distinctions between the active voice and middle voice and between the present tense and aorist. It also has several loan words from Doric Greek, Latin, Southern Slavic, Proto-Romanian, and Turko-Arabic. Albanian has two main dialects: Tosk, which is spoken in southern Albania and is the basis of standard Albanian, and Gheg, which is spoken in the north of Albania and Kosovo. Originally, the Tosk dialect was written in the Greek alphabet and the Gheg in the Latin script. They were both written as well in the Ottoman Turkish version of the Arabic script, Cyrillic, and local alphabets. Standard Albanian is written using the Latin alphabet. One of the main features of the Gheg dialect is the nasalization and assimilation of vowels, absent in Tosk. Some authors still write their works in Gheg, but only in Kosovo is Gheg used in newspapers and on television.


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