top of page

Discover Piana degli Albanesi: the language and the alphabet.

The language

The dialect of Piana degli Albanesi, despite its phonetic and morpho-syntactic peculiarities, belongs, like the other Arbëreshe dialects of southern Italy, to the Tuscan dialect group widespread in southern Albania.

The language, starting from the first decades of the second post-war period, is seriously threatened by a constant process of assimilation and by a progressive transition to Italian-Albanian diglossia with Albanian in a basically subordinate position.

Furthermore, the strong homologation pressures exerted by dominant cultures through the new technological communication systems have now become even more aggressive with further risks for the survival of the cultural and linguistic peculiarities of the Albanian communities of Italy.

Hence the need and the indispensability of an increasingly demanding and constant cultural battle. A battle that, which began in 1950 with the presentation of the first bill for the teaching of the Albanian language in elementary schools in the municipalities of Albanian origin in Sicily, has only recently been able to produce legal recognition at European, national and regional level of minorities linguistic.

In this general framework, briefly outlined, it is possible to unequivocally grasp the best signs of the cultural vitality of the arbëreshë and of their firm determination to defend the heritage that their ancestors with patient and obstinate tenacity have been able to transmit along these five centuries of permanence " te dheu i huaj "(" in a foreign land ") replying worthily to the unforgettable warning of Giuseppe Schirò:

Po të mbahij Arbëreshë

e të ruani gluhën tënë

me kujdes e me të dashur,

si një gjë të shëjtëruamë

si më të mirën nga të dhënat

e t’yn Zoti

But always Albanians keep yourselves

and keep our language

with care and affection,

as a sacred thing

as the best of gifts

of God

(Te dheu i huaj, IX, vv. 180-184)


The Albanian language is, like Greek and Latin, an independent branch of the Indo-European group and, precisely, a derivation of the ancient Illyrian. Then, over time, it underwent a strong Romanization and, still later, it borrowed foreign elements, Turks, Italians, Neo-Greeks and Slavs, which, with the formation of the Albanian state (November 1912), due to the purity of the language , have been gradually replaced by ancient words or neologisms. The Albanian language is divided into two main dialects: Tuscan in the south and Ghego in the north. The Albanians of Italy (Arbëreshë) speak Tuscan, but the grammar is based on ghego, because Albanian literature began brilliantly in this dialect (Gjon Buzuku-1555, Pietro Budi-1618, Francesco Bardhi-1635, Pietro Bogdani-1685) . Until November 1908, Albanian writers had solved the problem of the alphabet and spelling in different ways. Some, those of Latin culture, used the Latin alphabet supplemented by some special sign, others, those of Greek culture, used the Greek alphabet. In 1879, a "literary society" was created in Constantinople with the aim of publishing books and newspapers in the Albanian language. It had as its main purpose the creation of an alphabet. The Latin alphabet was chosen with borrowings from other languages ​​and with some special signs to give the sounds of Albanian. There were various attempts by other companies to define the question which was finally resolved only in November 1908 when a Congress was convened in Monastir (a city in central-eastern Albania) which appointed a Commission for the elaboration of the alphabet. It is made up of 36 letters: "a b c ç d dh e ë 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".

professoressa Luisa Salerno


Karl Gurakuqi: “Grammatica albanese dell'uso moderno” – Palermo 1967



This site and its blog do not represent a newspaper as they are updated without any periodicity. It cannot therefore be considered an editorial product pursuant to law no. 62 of 7.03.2001. The site aims to promote the cultural and territorial heritage of Piana degli Albanesi. Many published images, which are not among those of our property, come from the shared heritage of Sicily's fans online. This website is not for profit, anyone who sees a possible violation of copyright can report it here and we will promptly remove the specific content.

bottom of page