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Learn Albanian

It’s home to the double-headed eagle and the legendary Skanderbeg, where iso-polyphonic singing can still be heard if you’re lucky. Albania is a country that isn’t on everyone’s radar, but maybe it should be. It’s a country with friendly people, incredible landscapes, and an impressively distinct language.

Explore beginner-friendly resources for learning Armenian online. Explore resources, tips, and tricks to kickstart your language learning adventure today!

About the Albanian Language

There aren’t many languages that occupy their very own branch of the Indo-European language tree. The Encyclopedia Britannica mentions that its origins may be linked to ancient Dacian or Illyrian, though this is a topic that quickly becomes heated in various corners of the internet..

As it’s spoken today, there are two main dialect groups of Modern Albanian: Tosk and Gheg. They’re roughly separated by the Shumbkin river, with the northern half of the country predominantly speaking Gheg, and the south speaking Tosk. Since the two are largely mutually intelligible, I think beginning learners shouldn’t concern themselves too heavily with which they are learning..

It might seem intimidating, learning a language in such apparent isolation from other languages, but don’t be afraid. A keen ear will notice plenty of similarities with other languages. For instance, most English speakers could probably infer the meanings of the following ten words:.























Not so bad, right? It might not have as much in common with English as Spanish, French or German, but it uses the Latin alphabet and has some significant similarities.

My Albanian Language Journey

At the time of writing, I’ve been in Albania for just over eight months. I’ve lived in two vastly different cities, eaten my body weight in ajvar, experienced Besa culture up close, and learned a bit of the language..

I began looking for Albanian language resources before arriving in the country and was quickly confronted with a problem — there’s a serious lack of convenient, reliable options compared to what’s available for learning more popular languages..

The problems I most frequently came across were resources lacking in detailed instruction and those with unreliable information..

But fear not, there’s good news. A bit of digging turned up some solid options for various types of practice, and I’ve been able to use them to get comfortable with some of the basics of Albanian..

Brian in Kruje
Me, sun in the eyes, posing awkwardly with a newly-purchased qilim near the castle of Krujë.

Why Learn Albanian?

If you’ve got motivation squared away and are sure you want to learn the language, why? There are plenty of good reasons: to connect with speakers of Albanian, to learn more about Albanian culture, to work in Albania, to date in Albania, to understand Kosovar hip-hop… the list goes on..

Whatever your answer to this question, allowing it to guide your study plan is a good move. If you want to work for an Albanian company, for example, industry-specific words will be important. If your goal is to learn enough to make your vacation more enjoyable, you’ll probably want to focus on more basic phrases.

How to Learn Albanian

I can’t claim that I’ve reached any kind of conversational level with Albanian — despite being a language nerd and having lived here for a significant amount of time, I admittedly never made learning the language a priority. If I had, maybe I would have gotten some lines in this commercial I was in..

What I have learned is how to direct a taxi, navigate introductions, negotiate prices, and graciously accept homemade raki. I’ve done this largely with the help of a few different resources (which I’ll share) and by asking bilingual Albanians about their mother tongue, which you can do even if you don’t know any Albanians (I’ll share this tip as well!)..

From my point of view, making it a priority is probably the single most important part of language acquisition. If you’ve really set your mind to learning Albanian, there’s nothing that can stop you. And the resources mentioned in this post will certainly help you on your way.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Albanian?

It takes just over one thousand hours of dedicated study for most English speakers to gain basic fluency in Albanian, which is ranked as a Level 3 difficulty language by the Foreign Services Institute, or FSI.

That said, you may simply want enough fluency to get around on your travels, which might mean just a few months of study. Or you may have a close friend you can practice with—this will speed up your learning in no time!

 If you have already learned multiple languages, you will probably learn Albanian faster than the average person. Learning times will vary based on your individual circumstances.

What’s the Best Way to Learn Albanian?

The best way to learn Albanian is to make a plan and stick to it. Plan out how long you can study every day, or even book this into your weekly calendar to make sure you don’t skip sessions!

Besides picking a time to study every day, plan what study tools you will use in advance. If you know that you learn best visually, you may want to begin with an app-based course like Ling. If you can pay attention to an audio lesson, you may want to start with Pimsleur. Whatever apps, videos, or websites you use, consistency is key. 

What’s the Easiest Way to Learn Albanian?

The easiest way to learn Albanian is to learn in an immersive environment. If you need Albanian to communicate about your daily needs like groceries, you will force yourself to learn quickly! 

Another way to make learning Albanian easier is to make sure your study time is part of your daily routine, Spending just an hour a day learning Albanian could help you reach decent fluency in around two years.

How to Speak Albanian

The best way to learn to speak Albanian is to actually speak it, out loud, in real life, on a regular basis! This may sound scary, but you can work up to it in increments.

First, you will want to master some basics, using a course or watching a series of YouTube videos to understand basic grammar and vocabulary. Second, try repeating the words and phrases used by the presenter, in the privacy of your own home or car.

Finally, find a judgment-free zone to practice speaking Albanian with another person. Free conversation apps are a great resource here!

Your Albanian Study Plan

Coming up with the right study plan involves taking into consideration your motivation for learning the language and how you like to study. Some resources simply work better for some than others. Do you like flashy apps with animations and points to score? Or maybe you prefer a straightforward audio course that gets you speaking right away..

The point is, there are quite a few resources out there for learning Albanian, and the right mix depends on your goals and learning style. Finding resources that engage you and make you feel excited about the progress you’re making is a beautiful thing, and this post should hopefully point you in the right direction..

Albanian Beach

Authentic Local Content to Help You Learn Albanian

While learning Albanian, you could definitely benefit from adding a few resources. Engaging in several forms of media presented in Albanian could be essential in helping you understand how the language is used in different contexts.

One of the most rewarding aspects of learning a new language, in my opinion, is gaining the ability to interact with media in that language. Whole worlds open up to language learners in the form of music, books, internet sites, news shows, etc..

Spending time with Albanian content is great for learning the language as well. It’s a great chance to take advantage of the ability to observe how native speakers actually use the language and take notes on words you don’t understand. It’s also a great way to deepen your relationship with the language..

One of my favorite ways to explore a new language is to see what’s happening online. Checking out an Albanian language Instagram account or the Albania subreddit is a good way to get some casual, entertaining language practice..

If books are more your speed, perhaps you’d like to try your hand reading one by the famous Ismael Kadare..

Of course, there’s also radio. Whether you’re curious about Albanian news, want some passive Albanian immersion, or just want to sing your heart out, this Albanian radio app will give you free access to a variety of Albanian radio stations..

If TV is what you’re after, some Albanian channels are free to stream online.

Mountain Hillside


There truly is a wealth of options for getting practice with the Albanian language. If you’ve set your mind to learning it, you’ll hopefully be able to use this post to find some great options that fit your learning style and goals..

Keep in mind, though, that the best study plans are often those that take a varied approach. It’s doubtful that any one of the resources mentioned in this post will take you all the way to Albanian superstar on its own, but with a little persistence and the right mix of tools, the sky’s the limit.