Albanian and Kosovo

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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The Gujarati Language

The Gujarati Language

Gujarati is an incredibly fascinating language. Part of the Indo-Aryan language family, it harbours close connections to Punjabi and Hindi. Gujarati is spoken by as many as 45.7 million people in India alone, making it one of the most spoken first languages of the region. When we factor in speakers from other countries, Gujarati speakers account for 46.6 million of the population.

Similar to other Indo-Aryan dialects, Gujarati derives from Sanskrit and Prakrit, two ancient languages spoken in India up until 13th century AD.

Where is Gujarati spoken besides India?

Gujarati is richly spoken in many places outside of India. These regions include Bangladesh, Fiji, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, South Afria, United Kingdom and USA, to name a few.


Guajarati is one of 22 languages with official status in India. Particularly within the state of Gujarat, the majority of people communicate daily in the language. It is a widely celebrated and spoken language throughout Indian communities all across the world. Many migrants from India who have relocated still use it solely as their first language. In fact, it is one of the most spoken foreign languages in London and Birmingham.


There are several varying dialects spoken within the Gujarati language web. Most of these are based on location and will change based on the region you are in. These include:

  • East African Gujarati
  • Standard Gujarati (including the varieties spoken in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat)
  • Surati
  • Kathiyawadi
  • Kharwa
  • Khakari
  • Tarimukhi

Many dialects borrow loanwords from Portuguese, Persian and Arabic.

Final thoughts

Gujarati is a highly popular language in many other countries other than India. The development of the language since its early days is extremely fascinating. The language remains rife all across the world within Indian and Gujarat communities. The growing number of migrants may call for interpreters and translators in various different scenarios.

Should you require a Gujarati interpreter or translator, visit Crystal Clear Translation for a quote.

Wolof: An insight into the distinctive language

Wolof: An insight into the distinctive language

The Wolof language is a diverse tongue. Being part of the Niger-Congo language family, Wolof is spoken by the west African ethic group of Wolof people. Mainly prevalent within Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania, Wolof can differ between location, making it an extremely versatile dialect.

The History of Wolof

Although we cannot be sure of its specific origin, it is widely believed that Wolof derived from the Jolof empire around the 14th century. Later, by the 20th century, the language had spread rapidly with thanks to urbanisation, inter-ethnic marriages and socioeconomic developments.

There are two main dialects in Wolof, distinguished by their geographical location. One of those being spoken in Senegal and the other in Gambia.

Wolof in Senegal

Within Senegal, there are approximately 5.2 million Wolof speakers. The Wolof people are the largest ethnic group within the west African country and account for 7 million of the entire collective of people. Despite the official language in Senegal being French, Wolof is vastly spoken, whilst French is only really used by those who have attended French speaking schools. As more and more environmental developments surface, Wolof is increasing at a rapid rate, particularly in urban areas.

Wolof in Gambia

The number of native Wolof speakers is markedly less than that of Senegal, with only around 250,000 throughout the region. Wolof people can be found living in areas such as Baddibu, Jokadu, Saloum and Niumi. The remaining population of Gambia will typically speak Gambian as their mother tongue.

Wolof in Mauritania

A sovereign state in west Africa, Mauritania is home to approximately 4.4 million people. Out of the entire population only around 230,000 are speakers of the Wolof language, whilst most people will speak French or Arabic, the two national languages of the state.

How does Wolof differ by region?

Within Senegal there are 5 specific Wolof Dialects which include Baol, Cayor, Dylof, Lebou and Jander. These dialects typically differ between rural and urban areas. The larger, built-up areas of Senegal the dialect is markedly influenced by the French language, with a substantial of French loanwords present to this day. Gambian Wolof is too influenced by other languages, but in juxtaposition to Senegalese, Gambian Wolof has become influenced by English. Another notable difference is the numbers of speakers throughout various locations, as we touched on earlier, Senegal is home to the bulk of Wolof people and speakers. It is interesting to discover that even though all part of the same ethic group, there are significant distinguishing differences which categorise what is Gambian Wolof and What is Senegalese Wolof.

Concluding Thoughts

If we look at everything we have discovered about this fascinating language, we can draw a conclusion which states to us that dependent on the region you are present in you will be subject to a unique style of Wolof. It is also wise to note that the language has evolved through centuries, being significantly developed along the way by many environmental and social factors.

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Refugees and Asylum seekers in the UK: How can we overcome language barriers using professional translators and interpreters?

Refugees and Asylum seekers in the UK: How can we overcome language barriers using professional translators and interpreters?

Written by Shannon Walker.

According to 2018 statistics, there are over 170,000 combined refugees and asylum seekers living within the united Kingdom. An individual may seek refuge or asylum from their own country when they find themselves and their families in some type of grave danger. Other countries may offer refuge to these people on a temporary or permanent basis, in the hope of minimalizing danger to life. Whilst the UK does its part to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers only make up 0.26% of the UK population- this is minimal compared to countries like Turkey and Lebanon who are renowned for their work helping those seeking safety.

For those that find themselves seeking refuge and asylum in the UK, coming to a foreign country in haste may mean difficulties can arise. The most common challenge facing refugees and asylum seekers is that of language barriers; many if all migrants that enter the UK speak little to no English. There are a few essential instances where these languages barriers need to be tackled. Essential scenarios such as:

  • Medical appointments or other healthcare settings
  • Legal matters such as meetings with solicitors
  • Basic communication with refugee helpers
  • Permanent citizens looking for employment
  • Children entering schools

The most common way to manage these language barriers would be through the use of professional linguistic services.

Professional language interpreting

Most refugees and asylum seekers are likely to have no English-speaking friends or family to offer translation and interpretation support, so the next best option is to appoint professionals. There are two common types of interpretation that take place with refugees and asylum seekers; telephone and face-to-face interpreting- however, face-to-face is widely preferred in professional settings, but due to covid-19 restrictions telephone has been the norm. Nonetheless, both are highly effective in supporting those who are not intelligible with English.

When selecting an interpreter, there may be a few matters to consider before appointing somebody. Due to the sensitive nature of issues surrounding the individuals, it can be crucial to ensure the following needs are considered and met:

  • Consider one’s preference on gender or religious/ political background of the professional (whilst this may not be as vital in usual circumstances, it seems wise to understand why somebody seeking refuge may have these preferences)
  • Inform the individual of why you will be using an interpreter
  • Ensure the interpreter is trained to work in a sensitive environment

Once selected, the interpreter will be able to offer support accordingly by translating any speech or documents into an individual’s target language. This offers the person the best opportunity to gain inclusive and non-judgemental support when needed.

Final thoughts

It is vital that we assist refugees and asylum seekers in overcoming language barriers, this offers them the best opportunity to make the most of their time residing within the UK.

Should you require a professional interpreter or translator, visit Crystal Clear Translation for a quote.

The Tigre and Tigrinya Languages: What Is The Difference?

The Tigre and Tigrinya Languages: What Is The Difference?

In Eritrea, there is no official language, but there are a total of nine languages recognised in the country, with Tigrinya, Arabic and Tigre being the most prominent dialects in the region. The working languages of Eritrea comprise of Italian, Tigrinya, English, and Arabic. In addition to this, around 80% of Eritrean people are ethnic Tigrinya and Tigre. Considering the varied number of languages spoken, many people are bilingual or multilingual in Eritrea.




Tigrinya is a Semitic language; it is from the same language family as Tigre, Amharic, Hebrew, Arabic and Maltese. It is spoken by 7 million people around the world and is most widely spoken in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. It is also an official language in Ethiopia. The first written example of Tigrinya was from the 13th century – a text of local laws found in southern Eritrea. The Tigrinya alphabet consists of 32 letters and is written in the Ge’ez script. Tigrinya derives from the ancient Ge’ez language, now considered to be a defunct language. Unlike other languages in the Semitic language family, like Arabic or Hebrew, Tigrinya is written from left-to-right, in the same way as Latin and the English language.


Words in the Tigrinya language are affected by the gender of the person being spoken to. Nouns in the language are either masculine or feminine, but inanimate objects do not have a fixed gender. The masculine endings for nouns in Tigrinya are “-a” and “-u”, and the feminine ending is “-i”. Therefore, the phrase “how are you?” in both forms is “kemey aleka” (masculine ending) and “kemey aleki” (feminine ending).  Another example is the Tigrinya translation of the phrase “what is your name? – this becomes “men eyu shmu?” (Masculine ending) and “men eyu shma?” (feminine ending). Here are some examples of the present tense form as well as personal pronouns in the Tigrinya language.


Personal pronouns:


I (singular) – “ana”, (plural) – “nihna”

You (fem. singular) – “nisxi” (plural) “nixsin”

You (masc. singular)– “nixsa”, (plural) ”nixsum”

She/they (singular) – “nisa”, (plural) “nisom”

He/They (singular) – “nisu”, (plural) “nisan”


Present tense form of the verb – “to be”


I am (singular) – “iye”

You are (masc. singular) – “ikxa”

You are (fem. singular) – “ikxi”

You are (masc. plural) –“ikxum”

You are (fem. plural) – “ikxn”

He is – “iyu”

She is – “iya”

We are – “ina”

They are (masc. plural) – “iyom”

They are (fem. plural) – “iyen”


Despite sharing similarities with Tigre such as the use of Ge’ez script, the two languages differ in the extent of influence by other languages. The Tigrinya language has adopted some vocabulary from both the Italian and English languages. For example, the words pasta, machina (machine) and armadio (wardrobe) feature in Tigrinya and are pronounced in the same way in Tigrinya as they are in Italian. The English words computer, telephone and radio, in Tigrinya are written and pronounced as “computer, telefon, posta”. The development of the Tigrinya language has also been influenced by the Arabic language. Arabic loanwords in the Tigrinya language use the Arabic feminine word ending, “-a”. Nouns that do not derive from the Arabic language end using the Tigrinya feminine ending “-ät”:


Arabic loanwords

“qawa” – coffee

sadarya” – vest.


Tirgrinya feminine ending

aynät” – kind

‘amamat” – head-cover




The Tigre language, like Tigrinya, is a member of the Semitic language family. It is spoken mostly in Eritrea, notably in Keren, the second largest city in Eritrea. Unlike Tigrinya, it is spoken by a smaller proportion of people; it is estimated that there are between 250,000 and 1,050,000 Tigre speakers. Both Tigrinya and Tigre derive from the Ge’ez language, and both use the Ge’ez script. Tigre, like Tigrinya, is also an SOV (subject-object-verb) language. However, Tigre speakers who practise Islam write using the Arabic script whereas Christian Tigre people write mainly using the Ge’ez script, after the publication of a translation of the New Testament was written using the script in 1902. There are a variety of different dialects (Mansa, Habab, Barka, Semhar, Algeden, Senhit and Dahalik) within the Tigre language, but most of the dialects share the same vowels (/i/, /e/, /a/, /ā/, /o/, /u/), verbs, pronouns, and use the same gender rules, much in the same way as the Tigrinya language. However, Tigre differs greatly from Tigrinya in some of the basic charactersitics of the language, such as personal pronouns and the formation of the verb, “to be”, which is essential in any language.


For example, these are personal pronouns in the Tigre language:


I (singular) – “ana”, (plural) – “hna”

You (fem. singular) – “enti” (plural) “entn”

You (masc. singular)– “enta”, (plural) ”entum”

She/they (singular) – “hta”, (plural) “hten”

He/They (singular) – “htu”, (plural) “htom”


The verb ‘to be’ in Tigre in the present tense form:


I am – “ana … haleko”

You are (masc. singular) – “enta … haleka”

You are (fem. singular) – “enti … haleki”

You are (masc. plural) – “entum … halekum “

You are (fem. plural) – “entn … halekn”

She is – hta … halet”

He is – “htu …  hala”

We are – “nHna … halena”

They are (masc. plural) – “htom … halew”

They are (fem. plural) – “hten … haleya”



In Conclusion


One might suggest that since Tigre and Tigrinya share the same script, that they must be very similar languages. Nevertheless, the variations between the basic building blocks of both languages, such as the examples of personal pronouns and the formation of the present tense, highlight that there are significant differences between Tigre and Tigrinya to account for especially if one is trying to learn either language or looking for someone to translate the Tigrinya or Tigre languages.


If you require any services in Tigre or Tigrinya, at Crystal Clear Translation, we offer document translation, interpretation, and various language services in both languages. Click here to get a quote from Crystal Clear Translation and find out more about the services we offer.