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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia

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The Albanian language: developments in the lexicon under the new social and political order

Jani Thomaj1


Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2006, Issue 178, Pages 103–112, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/IJSL.2006.018, May 2006

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In the past decade the Albanian language has undergone a period of significant change in terms of lexical development. These developments are almost entirely attributable to extralinguistic factors. The turbulent transition from a centralized socialist system to a market economy in the 1990s was accompanied by an immediate opening of Albania to the outside world. This upheaval also brought about a social and intellectual liberation, a change in mental outlook, and freedom from the weight of dictatorship and the totalitarian mindset. The transformation from collectivized property to private property and the birth of political and cultural pluralism constituted a novel variable within Albanian society.

The pluralism of press and broadcast media and the phenomenal growth in the number of political parties are two important constituents for change in the lexical norm of the Albanian language, both in a positive and negative sense. A predisposition towards direct contact with Western languages and cultures, interpreted as a sign of the “Europeanization” of Albania, led to the proliferation of many foreign words, primarily English, into the lexicon of Albanian, especially in the domains of economics, trade, jurisprudence, information technology, politics, and administration. This study concerns itself with interpretation, classification, and examples of these changes.

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