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Indo-European language spoken by five to six million people in Albania, Kosovo, western Macedonia, and enclaves elsewhere, including southern Italy and southern Greece. There are two main dialect groups, Gheg (Geg) in the north, including Kosovo and Macedonia, and Tosk in the south. Albanian is the only extant representative of a distinct branch of Indo-European, whose pre-Roman Balkan ancestry is uncertain. The earliest written attestation is from the 15th century, though a standard orthography using the Latin alphabet was not adopted until 1909. The core vocabulary of Albanian is native, though in the course of its history it has absorbed many loanwords from Greek, Latin, Balkan Romance languages (seeRomanian), Slavic languages, and Turkish.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Albanian language, visit Britannica.com.
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