e enjte, dhjetor 13, 2007

Language Lessons#2

“të qaj” = “to cry, to weep, to shed tears”

This is an interesting word.

Within Shkodër you have 2 pronounciations of this same word.
I have been told that the 2 communities – Catholic and Islamic pronounce the word in a different way.

The muslims pronounce it with a “ch” sound at the beginning.
“chay, “ch” as in “chair”,“ay” is pronounced the same way as we say ”eye” in English.
The Catholics pronounce it with a “k” sound at the beginning.
“keeay” “ k” as in “kick”,“ee” as in “seen”, “ay” again the same as “eye”.
(I believe the “k” pronounciation is the proper (gjuhe letrare) way of pronouncing in Albanian)

Again you can see the different cultures in the same town just in one word.
Interestingly enough one of our sons pronounces it with the “k” sound at the beginning, even although my wife and I pronounce it with the “ch” sound.
I think he must have picked it up off his nursery school teachers.

Please feel free to correct my pronunciations…it’s all a learning process for me.

P.s to understand the comments better. Here is a map showing the split between Gheg and Tosk speakers. Although there is a better map here.

I believe the official Albanian language is Tosk, but the majority of people from Shkoder speak the "Gheg" dialect.
My only question would be this...
If the 2 different pronounciations are simply "Gheg" and "Tosk", then in respect of the word "qaj" why have we so many Shkodrans speaking "Tosk"?

14 komente:

Ervivi tha...

eeee... :s I dont think so... sorry eeeh :D

To my minde both pronunciations with "K" and "Ch"/"Tch" are in albanian dialekt
( I dont know dialekt in english :D :s)

generaly we pronunciate with Q ...like Qipro :D or...Qiri...

Anonim tha...

Well, close but no cigar. It's not muslims, but geg speakers who are closer to the ç/ch sound, whereas tosk/literary standard is with a q. This is not a k, but english doesn't have a sound similar to the q to approximate it (it's the same with the gj sound). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_palatal_plosive

Kolin tha...

Thanks for the posts and the clarifications.

I like my Language Lesson posts the best, as I feel I learn the most from them.

I don't mind at all being wrong...just as long as I can learn from the mistake!

Anonim tha...

Kaj is use in the north, i don't think the differences are attributed to moslem/catholic, qaj is in literary albanian, chaj sometimes is used by gegs who use standard albanian, or the veyr best they mix cases of q with c as is the case in Kosova.

I know you are a Christian missionary there, but as an Albanian of Geg stock i don't like the differenciating you doing on the relegious basis, it sounds alien to me.

Anonim tha...

During the Enver years lots of tosks and middle albanians moved to Shkoder or were assigned jobs in the north including shkoder, similarly north albs moved to south, that's why there are catholic churches in the south, traditionaly there would only be moslem and orthodox in the south.

Kolin tha...

That second post makes a lot of sense.

I agree and am willing to accept I may be wrong on the information I have been told. My wife is from Shkoder, but I get tend to only get one side of the (two) community's view...and even then a very limited view.

What they tell me is that in general the 2 communities say the word in a different way. (obviously there would be exceptions)

The remaining question would be why did it happen?

It may be simply as you said, Tosk speakers coming to Shkoder. If when Albanian teaching schools opened up after independence, some schools had Gheg and some Tosk teachers then there could be a difference in the pronounciation, and as some areas of Shkoder are very catholic/muslim then the children who attend there would obviously speak the same way as their teacher.
(Just a thought I had...again I may be wrong)

Anonim tha...

Kolin, it doesn't necessarily mean that all gegs would pronounce it that way either. There are variations within the geg speakers too. Also, some geg speakers can easily pronounce it the tosk way (and vice versa, but geg speakers would have more incentive to speak it the tosk way since the standard Albanian has been set to mostly tosk). It seems like making too much of something to me. "Tom[ei]to" "tom[ah]to"

abcd tha...

Kaj and chaj have nothing to do with religion but with the origin of people. Because the catholics in Shkodra are originally from Dukagjin and Malsia e Madhe, they tend to continue using their pronunciation. The muslims in Shkodra are more often than not from Shkodra itself, and thus they use a more "diluted" form of Gheg, similar to that of the lowlands; a form that is in fact in continuity with the language used all the way down to Lac, Kruje, Mat etc.
Again, religion has nothing to do with pronunciation. As an illustration of this dichotomy I submitt the way Albos from Kosovo pronounce it. Kosovars are overwhelmingly muslim and they say "kaj". It, appears to me that Drini River, more or less, serves as an internal divider of the Gheg speech, in terms of certain pronunciations.

ST tha...

Hello Kolin,

Cool you're doing Shqip language lessons. Have you by chance learned the Albanian word for "tea"?

I could never sort out the pronunciation difference between this word, "çaj", and the "qaj" you're talking about in this post.

Shume sukses!

Steve T.

Kolin tha...

Both the same to me. Though I am told there is a difference in the "ç" and the "q" sound.

I do understand Albanian(partly)...I just hope one day to speak it like an Albanian!!

Bardhyl tha...

The difference is "q" is a throat consonant and "c" is dental. The "c" is exactly like "chear".

Anonim tha...

You are right,the catholics in Shkoder(I don't know in other places in albania) usually say "kjaj" instead of "qaj" which is pronounced usually by muslims.
I don't know the reason from this different pronouncement of the same world from two communities.However is cool,when you hear a person say "kjaj" in Shkoder, this person 95% is catholic.

P.s Kolin and steve don't worry,I am albanian(shkodran)and sometimes it's difficult even for me to make the difference from "ç" to "q"

Para Vllaznia!

Bryce tha...

Very interesting blog post and so many comments! It is so fascinating to see the cultural differences just in Shkoder.

Here is a site in Albanian that you might want to check out:

Shqip wiki browser

Anonim tha...

that is well true....

myslims in shkoder say "qaj" and katolics say "kjaj".........

the same for the word tongue , katolics say "g'juha" muslims say "gjuha"
so colin ur wifes family it is right when they tell u that its religous differences i spelling and prononciatiion

all the best