Arbëresh [ˌæɾbəˈɾiʃt] is a variety of Albanian spoken by about 100,000 people in Abruzzi, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Apulia and Sicily in southern Italy. It is a descendent of the Tosk dialect of southern Albanian, and is also connected to the Arvanitika dialect of Albanian. which is spoken in parts of southern Greece.
Arbëresh is also known as Arbërisht, Arbërishtja or T'arbrisht, and retains elements of vocabulary and pronunciation that are no longer used in Tosk. It was brought to Italy during the 15th century by Albanians fleeing an Albania ruled by the Ottomans.
Until the 1980s Arbëresh was an oral language, though was written in the Italo-Albanian Byzantine Church. Since then efforts have been made to preserve the Arbëresh language and culture, and it is used in some schools in Sicily.
Tata ghine cë jee në chiex,
schetruarë clost embri ghit;
jar reghria jòte.
Bûrë clost vulema jùte astu në chiext, si në dee.
Bucnë tënë tëdiscmen emna sòt.
E ndiena meatëtë tona si na ndicgnëmi armikete tënë.
Etë mòj bieme ën pirasmô;
ma lirona caa ghiet eliga.
Sample text supplied by Wolfgang Kuhl
Information about the Arbëresh language and people
Page last modified: 14.12.23
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