Albanian and Kosovo

The Albanian language has over 7.5 million native speakers across a multitude of regions. It is of course the official language of Albania but is also considered the official tongue in the state of Kosovo.

Kosovo Albanians

Kosovo lies in the southeast of Europe, in the centre of the Balkans. With a population of approximately 1.6 million throughout the region, the richly populated state is home to the Kosovo Albanians- the largest ethnic group in Kosovo. According to the most recent census carried out, native Albanian speakers accounted for around 82% of the population.

Albanian spoken in Kosovo vs in Albania

In terms of culture, Albanians in Albania and Kosovo are considered closely related. However, in terms of dialect they do differ.


Tosk Albanian belongs to the southern group of dialects from the Albanian language family. Tosk is spoken richly throughout Albania, and it forms the foundation of the standard form of the language. 1.8 million people speak Tosk as their native language; mostly within Albania although it is spoken in small clusters throughout Italy, Turkey and North Macedonia.


Gheg Albanian is the second major Albanian dialect; typically spoken by Kosovo Albanians through the state of Kosovo. It is a northern dialect, and has official status throughout Kosovo- however, this only accounts for the spoken form, written Gheg does not have the same status but is still used within written media.

Differences and Similarities between Tosk and Gheg

With the main difference between the two Albanian dialects being their regional status, there are a few other differing factors. Dependent on the specific region you are in, the Albanian grammar may stay the same, but the accent and pronunciation may change. This can mean that a Kosovar Albanian may not be able to decipher that a Tosk Algerian is saying in a sentence. However, in written form there is still a high degree of mutual intelligibility.

In terms of vocabulary, the two are incredibly similar with only very minor differences.

Final thoughts

Albanian and Kosovan Albanian are incredibly similar in written form. When being spoken, there may be some degree of understanding, but small difficulties may occur based upon region. Tosk and Gheg remain as their own languages within the Albanian family of dialects.

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