Learning Languages – Albanian #1

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May 17, 2010 by jessperriam

I have to admit, I’ve been a little daunted at the idea of learning a few key Albanian phrases. I figure it’s the one place where asking someone if they speak English will prove fruitless.

Thankfully, Albania doesn’t seem too hard compared to Turkish or Arabic. Speaking of Turkish, I have to admit it’s quite challenging: I can only remember merhaba (hello). Must try harder.

Here are a the first five key phrases:

1. Hello – Tungjajeta

I’m going to eat a wee bit of humble pie here – this is the hardest hello I’ve come across. Phonetically, it’s pronounced toon-dya-tye-ta. I think I’m going to greet my colleagues with that tomorrow. And they can give me strange stares.

2. My name is Jess – Unë quhem Jess.

The two dots above the e makes it an ‘uh’ sound. And ‘qu’ equals ‘choo’. Pretty simple. So phonetically that would be oo-nuh choo-hem Jess

3. One ticket to Tirana, please. – Një biletë për në Tiranë, ju lutem.

Once again, taxi seems to be a universal word, so the taxi phrase is a little redundant in Albania. Plus the airport in Tirana is an hour bus ride from the city itself.  The upside? The ticket only costs the equivalent of $2.50 Australian. Bargain.  Phonetically, we’re saying: njuh bill-ett-uh puh nuh Ti- rah-nuh, yoo loo-tem.

4. Yes and no – po and jo

Ha! Too easy. Phonetically, this is poh and yo! Yes!

The tricky part? Albanians shake their head to say yes, and nod to say no. Not so easy, after all.

5. I’d like a coffee, please – Dua kafe, ju lutem

I think this comes into the file marked: easy Albania phrases. Doo-ah ka-fay, yoo loo-tem. I am going to be very, very caffeinated in Albania, I can just tell.


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