Voice Over Sydney: The Albanian language (shqip) is spoken by over six million people in the southwestern Balkans, primarily in the Republic of Albania and in the neighbouring countries which once formed part of the Yugoslav federation (Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). In Albania itself, the language is spoken by the entire population of 3,087,159 inhabitants (census of April 2001), including some bilingual ethnic minorities.
Voice Over Sydney: Albanian in other countries
In Kosovo, where there are as yet no reliable population statistics, Albanian is spoken by almost the entire population of about two million individuals, including some bilingual minorities: Bosniaks, Turks, Croats and Roma. Ethnic Serbs in Kosova (now about five percent of the population) have traditionally refused to learn or speak Albanian, but attitudes may change once traditional hostilities and ethnic tensions subside.
The Republic of Macedonia is estimated to have at least half a million Albanian speakers, equaling about twenty-five percent of the total population of the republic, although there are no reliable statistics. The Albanian population is to be found in and around Skopje (Alb. Shkup), where it constitutes a substantial minority, Kumanova (Maced. Kumanovo) and, in particular, in western Macedonia from Tetova (Maced. Tetovo), Gostivar and Dibra (Maced. Debar) down to Struga, where it forms the majority.A minority of about 50,000 Albanian speakers is also to be found in Montenegro, mostly along the Albanian border (Ulqin-Ulcinj, Tuz and Gucia/Gusinje).
There are also at least 70,000 to 100,000 Albanian speakers scattered throughout southern Serbia, primarily in the Presheva Valley near the borders of Macedonia and Kosova.To the south of Albania, in Greece, there are traditional settlements of Çamërian dialect speakers, in particular around Parga and Igoumenitsa in Epirus. Despite border changes and deportations to Albania, the Albanian population here may be as high as 100,000, although they are highly assimilated. In central Greece, the Albanian language, known in Albanian as Arbërisht and in Greek as Arvanitika, languishes in about 320 villages, primarily those of Boeotia (especially around Levadhia), southern Euboea, Attica, Corinth and northern Andros.
Voice Over Sydney: Albanian in Greece
These speakers are the descendants of large-scale Albanian emigration to Greece during the late Middle Ages. No official statistics exist as to their numbers. This exceptionally archaic form of Albanian is dying out rapidly.