The spread of Standard Albanian: An illustration based on an analysis of vowels
Modern Standard Albanian is a young variety, proclaimed in 1972 at the Congress of Orthography in Tirana. It is based on the Tosk variety, one of the two main varieties (Tosk and Gheg) of the Albanian language, which is spoken in the South of the country. The aim of the current investigation is to look at the way in which this Standard is realized by its representatives, the educated speakers of four geographical regions: South Albania, Middle Albania, North Albania, and Kosovo. The analysis is based on the realization of stressed vowels. It can be shown that there are striking differences between the speakers of the Republic of Albania and Kosovo, whereas within Albania, speakers from the different geographical regions adopt characteristic features from the other geographical regions. The spread of Standard Albanian is, therefore, not solely an intrusion of the Tosk-based variety into the Gheg varieties, but rather, speakers counterbalance among their varieties on the basis of the alleged variety. a
a This article is a considerably revised version of a presentation given at the 2nd International Conference on Language Variation in Europe at Uppsala University in June, 2003. We are grateful for the comments of participants there and especially grateful for helpful comments by Werner Deutsch and two anonymous referees.