Albanian Common Phrases – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albanian language is rich with expressions and idioms, which have similarities and differences from south to north of the Albanian territories. They range from praises and oaths to greetings and condolences. Some of the most used Albanian words and phrases are listed below:

 

Po

Yes

Jo

No

Njatjeta

Hi

Mirë se vini

Welcome (greeting someone)

Si jeni?

How are you?

Faleminderit!

Thank you!

Ju lutem!

Please!

Hyni!

Come in!

Rrini si ne shtepine tuaj!

Make yourself at home!

Mirëmengjes!

Goodmorning!

Mirëmbrëma!

Goodevening?

Natën e mirë!

Goodnight!

Mirupafshim

See you

Ju bëftë mire!

Enjoy (bon appetit)

Natën e mire dhe gjumë të ëmbël

Goodnight and sweet dreams!

Si quheni?

What’s your name?

Une quhem…

My name is…

Nga jeni?

Where are you from?

Shëndet! (greeting)

Bless you!

Paç fat!

Good luck!

Gëzuar!

Cheers!

Urime!

Congratulations!

Ndihme!

Help!

Me falni!

Excuse me!

Me vjen keq!

I’m sorry!

Nuk kuptoj!

I don’t understand!

E kuptoj!

I understand!

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Albanian Words and Phrases – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albanian language is rich with expressions and idioms, which have similarities and differences from south to north of the Albanian territories. They range from praises and oaths to greetings and condolences. Some of the most used Albanian words and phrases are listed below:

 

Po

Yes

Jo

No

Njatjeta

Hi

Mirë se vini

Welcome (greeting someone)

Si jeni?

How are you?

Faleminderit!

Thank you!

Ju lutem!

Please!

Hyni!

Come in!

Rrini si ne shtepine tuaj!

Make yourself at home!

Mirëmengjes!

Goodmorning!

Mirëmbrëma!

Goodevening?

Natën e mirë!

Goodnight!

Mirupafshim

See you

Ju bëftë mire!

Enjoy (bon appetit)

Natën e mire dhe gjumë të ëmbël

Goodnight and sweet dreams!

Si quheni?

What’s your name?

Une quhem…

My name is…

Nga jeni?

Where are you from?

Shëndet! (greeting)

Bless you!

Paç fat!

Good luck!

Gëzuar!

Cheers!

Urime!

Congratulations!

Ndihme!

Help!

Me falni!

Excuse me!

Me vjen keq!

I’m sorry!

Nuk kuptoj!

I don’t understand!

E kuptoj!

I understand!

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Albanian Children’s Songs – Albanian Culture for Kids

There is a variety of Albanian songs dedicated to children of different ages. They cover a wide range of topics. Nursery rhymes are commonly used for toddlers. In many cases they involve animals. Famous Albanian nursery rhymes are Qingji i vogel (Little lamb), Moj bubrrec (Oh you roach), O sa mire, o sa keq (Too good, too bad) etc.

Other topics also include songs about holydays, dear family members and beauties of the Albanian country such as Kenga e gjyshes (Grandma’s song), Ja na erdhi Viti i ri (There comes the New year) etc.

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Below are some very famous Albanian children’s songs:

Albanian

English

Kënga e gjyshes

Tregon gjyshja nga herë

Na ishte se na ishte

Na ish një herë një djalë

Si veten shokët kishte.

Dhe unë duke dëgjuar

Shikoj me sytë e mi,

Një trim duke luftuar

Për fatet e lirise.

Refreni:

I ëmbël zëri gjyshes

Kur ngjarjen më tregon

E lehtë dorë e saja

Mbi krye më ledhaton.

(4x)

Tregon gjyshja nga herë

Na ishte se na ishte

Na ish një herë një djalë

Si veten shokët kishte.

Dhe unë duke dëgjuar

Shikoj me sytë e mi,

Një trim duke luftuar

Për fatet e lirise.

Refreni

Grandma’s song

Grandma tells us all the time

There was once,

once, a boy

With friends just like himself.

And I listening,

Picture through my eyes,

A brave man fighting

For the fate of freedom.

(Chorus)

So sweet the voice of grandma,

When the story she tells

So gentle her hand

Caressing my head.

(Repeat 4 Times)

Grandma tells us all the time

There was once,

Before us, a boy

With just like himself.

And me listening,

Picture through my eyes,

A brave man fighting

For the fate of freedom.

(Chorus)

Globi (Dhurate per Ditelindje)

Në përvjetor të ditëlindjes tënde,

Ke plot dhurata mbi tavolinë,

Dhe në mes tyre një glob të vogël,

Shokët e klasës ta kane sjellë,

Dhe në mes tyre një glob të vogël,

Shokët ta kanë sjellë,

Leht’ e leht’ përqark,

Globi rrotullohet,

Fluturojnë mbi të,

Gjithë kontinentet,

Ja atdheu ynë,

Ja përmes kaltërsisë,

Shqipëria ime,

Ja ku është.

Fushës qiellore, nëpër kristale

Fluturon globi e mban në shpinë

Rrugë dhe pemë, zogj e limane

Zjarre qytetesh që natën ndrijnë

Shpresa e njerëz, erë e tufane

Globi i mban mbi shpinë

Rreth e rreth përqark,

Globi rrotullohet,

Fluturojnë mbi të,

Gjithë kontinentet,

Ja atdheu ynë,

Ja përmes kaltërsisë,

Shqipëria ime,

Ja ku është.

The Globe (Birthday gift)

On your birthday anniversary,

The table is full with gifts for you,

And among them a small globe

That your classmates brought for you,

And among them a small globe

That your classmates brought for you,

Slightly, slightly around,

The globe revolves,

Flying upon it,

All the continents,

There lies our homeland,

There throughout the blue ,

My Albania,

There it is.

Heavenly field throughout crystals

The globe flies and carries upon

Roads and trees, birds and coves

Fires of cities that brighten the night

Hopes and people, wind and windstorms

The globe carries upon itself

Slightly, slightly around,

The globe revolves,

Flying upon it,

All the continents,

There lies our homeland,

There throughout the blue ,

My Albania,

There it is.

Qingji i vogel

Qingji i vogel rri mendueshem be be ba

pse me rri ashtu trishtueshem be be ba

eja eja bashke ne are tring tring tring

une mbledh lule ti ha bare tring tring tring

Qingji i vogel rri mendueshem be be ba

pse me rri ashtu trishtueshem be be ba

eja eja bashke ne are tring tring tring

une mbledh lule ti ha bare tring tring tring

2

Qingji i vogel rri mendueshem be be ba

pse me rri ashtu trishtueshem be be ba

eja eja bashke ne are tring tring tring

une mbledh lule ti ha bare tring tring tring

Qingji i vogel fatos i dashur be be ba

shokt per mua tok jane mbeldhur be be ba

une i vetem u merzita tring tring tring

zilja me fton dhe mua te grida tring tring tring

Qingji i vogel rri mendueshem be be ba

pse me rri ashtu trishtueshem be be ba

eja eja bashke ne are tring tring tring

une mbledh lule ti ha bare tring tring tring

The little lamb

Little lamb sitting so thoughtfully be be ba

Why are you so sad be be ba

Come come along with us in the field tring tring tring

I pick flowers you eat grass tring tring tring

Little lamb sitting so thoughtfully be be ba

Why are you so sad be be ba

Come come along with us in the field tring tring tring

I pick flowers you eat grass tring tring tring

2

Little lamb sitting so thoughtfully be be ba

Why are you so sad be be ba

Come come along with us in the field tring tring tring

I pick flowers you eat grass tring tring tring

Small lamb beloved fatos eu eu ba

my friends are gathered for me be be ba

I feel sad by myself tring tring tring

the bell invites me to the fold tring tring tring

Little lamb sitting so thoughtfully be be ba

Why are you so sad be be ba

Come come along with us in the field tring tring tring

I pick flowers you eat grass tring tring tring

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Albanian Alphabet – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albanian language has been written with various alphabets since the 15th century. Originally the Tosk dialect was written with the Greek alphabet, while the Gheg dialect was written with the Latin alphabet. They have both also been written with the Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet. On November 22, 1908, a Congress was held in Manastir regarding the unification of written Albanian into one single alphabet. The Latin alphabet for Albanian was standardized in 1909, in a unified literary version of Albanian.  Albanian also is spoken in Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Today’s Albanian alphabet has 36 letters, of which 7 vowels and 29 consonants.

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

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

Albanian is written the same way as it is pronounced. Important facts to keep in mind are letter combinations such as gj and nj, which represent one single phonetic sound. While j is a semi-vowel which may be used before or after a vowel or consonant or between two vowels, it becomes an inseparable character when it follows g or n. Likewise, when h follows d, s, t, x and z it is also considered a single alphabetical character producing each time a single phonetic sound.

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Albanian Music and Instruments – Albanian Culture for Kids

Traditional music in Albania is called folk music. It is one of the most valuable assets of the country as it’s extremely rich with a variety of musical instruments used to accompany the voice and folk dances. Polyphony is a typical musical tradition found in the south of Albania. It involves the blending of several independent vocal or instrumental parts.

The most common traditional instrument is the lahute (the lute) in the north, and saze (small orchestras composed of four or five instruments which are used to play music for folk dance on special occasions) in the south. Other musical instruments also include Çiftelia, Sharkia, Bicula (double flute), Zumarja, Fyelli (flute) etc.

Albanian folk music has a different style in the North when compared to the South. Differences among these two regions are reflected not only in the form of musical expression but also in the types of instruments used. Shkumbini River, which passes right in the middle of Albania separating the two main dialects of the country, Gheg in North Shkumbini and Tosk in the south of Shkumbin, also serves as a natural border for the classification of the different styles of music. The northern part of river Shkumbin, utilizes the lute and çiftelia while lands that lie south of river Shkumbin are known for the use of specific instruments such as bagpipe and bicula (double flute).

The end of the nineteenth century also marks the creation of a new type of music “the civic folk music”. In the south of Albania this type of music was mainly found in the cities of Korca, Vlora, Saranda, Delvin, Permet, Leskovik, and Pogradec. They used imported instruments like the clarinet, violin and accordion, as well as traditional characteristic instruments such as the lute. In the north the cities of Shkodra, Durres, Elbasan, Kavaja, etc, used a combination of imported instruments such as the clarinet, accordion and violin, with traditional instruments such as kemanxhia, flute, etc.

There are also differences in style of songs between the north and south of Albania. Music in the north is generally expressed with mountain epic songs of historical and heroic themes, while songs in the South have a more relaxed and gentle tone taking the form of ballads and covering a wide range of themes from lullabies, love songs, wedding songs to work songs, laments etc.

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Common Albanian Names – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albanian names are beautiful and they will tell you a lot about the culture and history of the country. Many of them belong to the nation’s outstanding men and women of the past. For example names such as Pirro, Gjergj, Arber, Donika, Vojsava,Teuta etc. are typical ancient Illyrians names. Albanian names are also often associated with the country’s geography, for example Korab, Shkëlzen, Drin, Sazan, Valbona etc are the names of famous mountains and rivers in Albania but they are widely used on people as well. Other names may express virtues such as Besnik (faith), Krenar (proud), Perparim (progress), Shpresa (hope) etc. Furthermore some names are related to nature, seasons, animals and anything which is seen as beautiful, good and virtuous in the Albanian culture.

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Nevertheless foreign names have been commonly used in Albania from time to time. For example during the Ottoman (Turkish) invasion many people took on Turkish, Arabic names such as Hasan, Husayn, Rexhep, Gjyle etc.  These names were inherited from generation to generation and are still commonly found among today’s older generation. After the 90s, names from Western Europe and the Americas became very popular. Albania had just opened up to the Western world, culture and media so many names were drawn from television shows, mainly soap opera characters and football players (example Albertino, Bernadino, Johnny, Samanta, Franc).

Even though today you will find a mix of all these names from various ethnicities, Albanians seem to be going back to their roots preferring more and more real Albanian names.

Some of the most common Albanian names used nowadays are:

For girls: Afërdita, Albana, Alketa, Adelina, Ardiana, Arta, Blerta, Bora, Dea, Donika, Era, Edlira, Ejona, Luljeta, Shpresa, Vera, Valbona Teuta, Lindita, Flutura, Fatbardha, Genta, Mimoza, Pranvera, Rezarta, Suela etc.

For boys: Agim, Alban, Arber, Arben, Arjan, Astrit, Aleksander, Agron, Bashkim, Besnik, Bardhyl, Drilon, Dritan, Drini, Bujar, Erjon, Ervin, Ilir, Fatmir, Gjergj, Gjon, Genci, Perparim, Pirro, Krenar, Ylli, Luan etc.

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Albanian History with Facts – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albanians come from an ancient tribe called Illyrians, a population which was created around 2000 BC. Illyrian provinces especially in the coastal areas were very developed both socially and politically. Illyrian states that were formed during this time, were included in the Mediterranean world of advanced civilization.

Throughout history though, Albanian territories have been ruled by various foreign empires starting with the Roman Empire followed by the Byzantines. Greeks reached Epidamos (today Durrës), Apollonia and Butrint in the 7th century BC establishing there self-governed colonies. Illyrians were able to preserve their language and traditions despite centuries of Roman and Greek occupation.

At the end of the 14th century, Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Most of the country’s population was converted to Islam during this time. Under the lead of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania managed to gain independence from the Ottomans but this was only for a short time in the mid-1400s. The Ottomans tried again to take control of the Kruje castle attacking Albania from all sides.  Albania was to remain part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years until 1912. Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg played a very important part during this time. He participated in 25 battles and was victorious in 24 of them. For this reason he is considered to be the perfect example of warrior and leader.

From 1912 until the end of World War I Albanian was attacked from other neighboring countries. In 1939 Albania was occupied by Italy for 11 years and later in 1943 the country was occupied by Germany. A group called the Antifascist National Liberation front was created to provide resistance to foreign attacks.

Communist Party came into power in November 1944, when foreign forces left the country. Albania remained under the communist rule for the next 50 years, during which time the country was in complete isolation from other cultures. In 1991 Communism fell and Albania became a democratic country which leads to a new chapter in the Albanian history.

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Albanian Heritage and Culture – Albanian Culture for Kids

Albania is one of the oldest countries in Europe therefore Albanians have a culture and language of their own. A combination of old traditions and modern elements is what makes Albanian culture special. Having been under the rule of other countries for a long time throughout history Albanians have borrowed some traditions from the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Turks, Slavs, and the Italians. Nevertheless Albanians have managed to also preserve their own traditions which are inherited from generation to generation. The national Albanian symbol is the eagle. The double headed eagle on the red Albanian flag represents the independent state of Albania.

Folklore is an important part of the Albanian culture. Literature, music, choreography and dramatic folklore is rich, diverse, with great artistic values and it is inherited from generation to generation. Handcrafts consist of beautiful, artistic items adorned with national motifs and traditional creativity of the local people. There are also many archaeological findings which provide great information on the past and the formation of present culture. For instance, the oldest architectural monuments in Albania were constructed by the Illyrians. Later on the Greeks and Romans who occupied Albania built structures still visible in urban and rural landscapes.

Traditionally, Albania has been 70% Sunni Muslim, 10% Roman Catholic (mostly in the north) and 20% Albanian Orthodox, making it the only European country to have a Muslim majority.

Here are some interesting facts regarding Albanian culture and social interaction.

A nod of the head usually means ‘no’ and shaking one’s head means ‘yes’.

Greeting can be done with a kiss on the right cheek between close acquaintances. Handshaking is an accepted form of greeting in more formal settings.

It is culturally acceptable to express strong emotions when amongst familiar people.

Albanians will usually pay for their guests’ meals and will insist on paying the bill, even when you have invited them to your favorite restaurant.

Education is very important to young Albanians and those who get to attend university consider themselves lucky. Knowledge of at least one foreign language is considered a necessity and many people spend money and time to learn at least a new language.

Albanians still practice arranged marriage and believe this helps built respect among their families and the couple.

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Fun Facts and Famous Places of Albanian Culture For Kids

Fun facts

Although religion is mentioned above, 74 % of Albanian people are atheists. They never go to church or mosque. Albania was the only officially atheist nation the world has ever known.

Nowadays Albanian Legal System is being integrated into Euro-Atlantic legal system, but in some rural areas The Code of Lekë Dukagjini is still being practiced. This code is a set of traditional Christian Albanian codes and laws developed by Leke Dukagjini. Although Kanun is not legal today, it is widely respected and still practiced in some parts of Albania and Kosovo. This code has influenced the Albanian culture with focus on the sections family and marriage. According to this Code Albanian men and women were not allowed to choose their wives or husbands by being attracted to them. Instead, their parents interfered and made such decisions. Still according to this Code the definition of marriage is “to form a household, adding another family to the household, for the purpose of adding to the work force and increasing the number of children”.

There is another interesting tradition among Albanians in rural areas. Although this custom is enormously fading away there are cases when men and women are not allowed to stay together in the same room when visiting relatives. Men will be separated from women and will be taken to a special room called Oda. Women are not allowed to enter Oda for any reason while men are inside. Also men are not allowed to enter women room. Only very close family members are allowed to do so, such us husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and uncles.

Famous places

There are many famous places in Albania where you can still find their own culture and tradition.

One of them is KrujaCastle. This is a castle in the city of Kruja and the center of Skanderbeg’s battle against the Ottoman Turks. It is a center of tourism in Albania, and a source of inspiration to Albanians.

Another famous place lies in southern part of Albania and it is called Butrint. It was an ancient Roman city in Epirus but now it is an archeological site near the city of Saranda. It attracts many visitors each year.

Rozafa Fortress is the place where you can find the old world charm. It is a castle near the city of Shkodër, in northwestern Albania, one of Albania’s oldest and most historic towns, as well as an important cultural centre. It rises imposingly on a rocky hill, 130 meters above sea level.

Mt Dajti National Park is a weekend gateway where you can relax and leisure. It is situated in the northeast of the capital city of Tirana. All kind of flowers and different climate zone is the striking feature of this place. This is an ideal place for people to enjoy walking in a peaceful and quiet surrounding.

IonianCoast is another famous place among different famous places in Albania. It is known for beautiful beaches where people can enjoy swimming along the Ionian and Adriatic coasts.

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Albanian Customs and Etiquette, and Values for Kids

Verbal or nonverbal communication

Some nonverbal communications in Albanian culture show drastic differences comparing to some other peoples’ culture around the world. It is very common for Albanians to greet each other with a kiss or a hug, even between the same genders.  Albanians consider two men or two women walking hand-in-hand to standard behavior while in the United States, two men or women holding hands would indicate a romantic relationship. While Americans smile freely at strangers, in Albanian regions this is considered a little strange and sometimes impolite. Albanians tend to use more eye contact when they are speaking, but less when they are listening. It is believed that avoiding eye contact is the way to show respect. Physical distance is another major difference in the nonverbal communication between Albanians and other cultures. Acceptable distance for Albanians is much shorter than what most Americans feel comfortable with. When Albanians place the hand on the chest is to say, “thank you”, when they stroke the shoulder lightly means “good luck”.

There are some differences in Verbal Communications, as well. Albanians may frequently talk loudly to each-other but it is not because they are angry. They raise their voices even in normal conversations. Albanian women tend to speak more than listening and when in groups you would be listening two or more women speaking at the same time. It is not unusual when Albanian parents would tell to their kids “I will kill you”. This usually happens when kids do something wrong or don’t obey their parents and it is a routine expression. However, parents never mean to do so and they never do so, and nobody takes it seriously. It is only an attempt to discipline their children.

Values

Albanian people in general are very hospitable. It is not unusual for an Albanian family to spend a month’s salary to feed a visitor. A person invited to dinner will be given enough to “feed an army,” even though the host may go hungry the next day. By tradition women are expected to stay at home and to obey their husbands. They usually take care of the house and their children. However, recently, women are being emancipated. For Albanians the family is considered to be the most stable institution therefore they prefer to live all together; husband, wife, children, father, mother, brothers, and sisters.

Albanians are hard workers and especially women. Besides working at home, Albanian women living in rural areas are frequently compelled to do agriculture work. They also take care of cattle.

There are three religions practiced in Albania; catholic, 30%, orthodox, 10 % and Islam, 60 %. There is an extraordinary religious tolerance among Albanians and religious divisions are not significant at all. Members of the same family sometimes belong to different religions.

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