Sunday, 19 February 2017

Ëndërroja...

I was dreaming...

Hey, I haven't come around for a while, but I've been really busy lately as I started a new full-time job and I still try to sort out my time... which sadly is not dedicated as much to my Albanian learning as I would like. But today I got inspiration as I stumbled upon a really beautiful song I wanted to share...

(excuse me if the formatting still looks bad at some places, I tried to fix it to match, but Blogger hates me today :/)


Ëndërroja t'jem me ty dhe të ndërtoj një ardhmëri // I was dreaming that I'm with you and that I'm having a future
Fluturoja si një flutur por krahët mi theve ti // I was flying like a butterfly, but you broke my wings
S'kam më forcë as të them "kthehu përsëri"! // I don't have more strength even to say "come back again"!
(The whole translation by me is here... I feel like I have to practice my skills so I don't forget it sometimes, haha)

So today's topic of the discussion is one of the past tenses - imperfect. Which, in my opinion, is actually the easiest one as it's probably the only one that has only 3 irregulars - jamkam and them. I still have such a hard time trying to process all the different classes and subclasses of verbs in the other two past tenses in the indicative mood, and I actually found out that learning them one by one is probably the only way to do that. I like the imperfect as it's fairly straightforward, plus it forms the conditional "would" (do të + imperfect), which is used quite a lot too. The only peculiarity is that some verbs change stem, otherwise the endings are always ja, je, (n)te, nim, nit and nin for anything other than class 6 (reflexives). Regarding them, the endings are (h)esha, (h)eshe, (h)ej, (h)eshim, (h)eshit, (h)eshin. The n/h ones in the brackets are used only if the stem ends in a vowel - easy and straightforward, almost as nothing else in this language!

As a person, I love reading, I even found a children's book sometime ago in a second hand bookstore here, but I still don't feel confident enough to understand it mainly because the past tenses give me a headache. I feel the lack of good resources there, as it's always covered "for a bit" in the books, and always at the end, not giving you enough practice - probably if a higher level book existed, it would be amazing!

Talking about books, verb-wise I'd personally recommend "541 Albanian verbs" by Bruce Hintz and Rozeta Stefanllari - while it doesn't cover absolutely everything, it's still a good base and it has some of the most popular verbs for you to learn.

Probably I should have started with the present, but hey, I just like to discuss whatever impressed me in some way, or whatever I feel like sharing some knowledge about. There are many, many other things that I would love to write about, I hope I will have some more time in the near future.

Natën e mirë, shpresoj që të shkruajmë së shpejti!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Ora

The time

Ky është posti im i parë në shkurt. As I always like to learn the things with prepositions, the times expressions have always been so confusing to me, as pretty much every case uses a different one. I'll take a look not only at the clock-time, but also some expression that indicate time.

The easiest one - no preposition.
Sa është ora? Ora është dy. Ora është gjashtëmbëdhjetë e një çerek. Ora është tetë e njëzet. Ora është dhjetë pa dhjetë, etc.
As far as I know, usually the 24 hours system is used (not for formal occasions though, like airport times etc, then it's 12 hours system), to avoid confusion whether you talk about 8 in the morning or 8 in the evening. However, there are 5 expressions that help you to specify what time of the day is exactly, these are:
(ora është dymbëdhjetë) e ditës - 12 noon (literally, of the day)
(ora është katër e dhjetë) e pasdites - 4 PM (literally, of the afternoon)
(ora është gjashtë) e mbrëmjes  - 6 PM (literally, of the evening) - as far as I know, that one depends on when the sun sets, so probably in the summer can be "e pasdites" instead of "e mbrëmjes"
(ora është dymbëdhjetë) e natës - 12 midnight (literally, of the night)
(ora është tetë) e mëngjesit - 8 AM (literally, of the morning) - morning is considered the time the sun rises, so again, in the summer some hours may become "e mëngjesit" instead of "e natës"

Please note that they still do not have a preposition - "e" is a linking article, part of the genitive case, so they're still following the rule.

Another preposition-less case is when you answer the question "Sa është data sot?" or "Ç'datë është sot?" or "Çfarë date është sot?" - the answer is "Sot është 3 shkurt 2017".


Të is not a preposition either, it's again a linking article, but I'm separating it from the previous one. Të is used mainly for the days of the week to say "on Monday, on Sunday" etc. What you're literally saying is "THE Monday" - the days of the week have an genitive "e" in front of them, which is a "leftover" for "ditë e hënës", and dita was later omitted..
So Të hënën shkoj në punë. This means that I go only this Monday though, if you want to say I go to work all Mondays, then it is Të hënave shkoj në punë. Here we meet two different cases - the first one (on Monday) is accusative (in case you wonder, it answers the question "when", and if I'm not mistaken, it should be a direct object). Të hënave is either genitive or dative because of its ending (I'm not that huge expert on the grammar and I honestly don't know, but I lean towards the genitive because of the linking article).
I used only Monday, but it's the same logic for every day: e hënë - Monday, të hënën - on Monday, të hënave - on Mondays, it can also be seen as e hëna when following the preposition nga (from), or when it's the subject of the sentence (what does that mean and what is a nominative case, you can remind yourself here).


For me, that word has always been a mystery, as it has so many different uses... Regarding the time, it's used to say "on" a specific day, for example më 3 shkurt 2017. Or më 10 korrik 2016. And so on. The only use is to specify the date - and actually to say you're born on some day, you use it again - jam lindur më 10 janar 1985.
Here is a sentence combination of the previous 2 - I was born on Saturday, 7 April 2000 - jam lindur të shtunën, më shtatë prill dy mijë.
is also used in the combination "më datë" - on the date - më datë 29 shtator 1983. Popular one when some kind of history is described.


Now that is the proper preposition. Pretty much it's used for everything else that hasn't been already covered, so I call it almost universal. Learning the exceptions, it should be easy to "guess" it right. Some examples:
in January, March, August - në janar, në mars, në gusht
in 2015 - në 2015/në vitin 2015/në 2015-ën
in the summer, in the winter - në verë, në dimër
in the summer of 2015 - në verën e vitit 2015
on the date 3 February - në datën 3 shkurt
at 10 o'clock - në orën dhjetë

It's also used in a combination with "nga" to indicate "from... to" - the trick here is that the word after "nga" is nominative definite, and after "deri (në)" is accusative definite. (is usually used for hours, and it's the accusative noun is definite because it carries extra information, but I'll write a prepositions post at some point). For example:
I work from Monday until Friday - Punoj nga e hëna deri të premten.
I work from 9AM until 5PM - Punoj nga ora nëntë deri në orën pesë.
I'll live there from 2017 until 2019. - Do të banoj atje nga viti 2017 deri vitin 2019.
And so on.

That's everything I can think about at the moment, thank you for reading. I wish I could post a bit more often, but please bear with me as I'm in a process of staring a new job next week and my birthday is a few weeks away too, so I can say I'm pretty busy in my real life, although I learn Albanian everyday, even for a few minutes. Consistency is a key, it helps a lot.

Oh, and I made the mistake to switch to half-translated by Google Translate Albanian Facebook, but that's a topic for another fun post. Hopefully I'll have time to write about it soon too.

Kujdesi për vetën, mirë u shkruafshim së shpejti.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Mënyra dëshirore

The Optative Mood

Mire se vini, today I'm going to take a look at one of my favourite peculiarities in the Albanian language - the optative mood. Thinking about it, I'd say that one of the first things everyone learns is "mirupafshim" - while it's a way to say "goodbye", it's actually a wish! Will take a closer look at it in a bit.

First, what is the optative mood - it's a mood which Albanians use to express wishes (or curses), and it literally translates as "may I/you/he etc. do something". While we have a really similar one in Bulgarian, it definitely doesn't have that widespread function as it is here - so it was something old and new at the same time for me. As a friend of mine first described it to me, it's "the -(f)sha tense". These endings are actually the endings of the first person singular forms of the verbs. It can be used in any person, depending on whom you address it towards. The extra -f is added if the root of the past tense/past participle ends in a vowel. (Hard grammatical stuff here, I won't be able to explain that well, as it depends on the "regularity" of the past simple and the past participle of each verb) So let's take a look at a few examples, which you may find helpful. (all examples are in the informal/friendly you)

U bëfsh 100 vjeç(e) - typical birthday wish. It's used to say "Happy birthday", but it actually means "may you become 100 years old" (some people live more, but probably in Albania it's considered amazing to turn 100, will have to ask haha). The informal/colloquial speech skips "u bëfsh" and you can see something like "edhe 100 vjeç(e)" instead. (Thank you, Facebook!)
Kalofsh mirë - Have a good time (but literally means "may you pass your time well")
Të bëftë mirë - used to say "Bon appétit", but in fact it means "may it comes well to you"
Paç fat - good luck (may you have luck)
Rrofsh - mainly used as a way to say "thank you", which translates literally as "may you live long"
Vdeksha për ty - that one is a romantic one, I'd die for you (may I die for you)

And, of course, mirupafshim. Literally, you're saying may we well see each other - if you take a closer look, it's consisting of mirë - good, u - reflexive particle that means self, and pafshim, which is the optative first person plural of shoh. As there is an "u" in front of the verb, that indicates that the verb is reflexive, thus is shihem (to see each other), not shoh (to see).

Another way to say "if, whether", except nëse is në qoftë se - may it be in that (way). But it always sounds so formal to me, although its use is interchangeable, as far as I know.

The optative can be used in negative sentences with "mos", and it again can be used to express positive wishes:
Mos vdeksh kurrë - may you never die.
Mos paç më të këqija - don't have bad luck (may bad things not happen to you)

And a huge part of the Albanian swearing is converted in that mood too (which I'll not cover here today) - remember, wishes or curses. A way to be inventive is to wish someone something, probably. Just take a look the next time if you meet any of the -fhs- verbs, they use them A LOT.

There is also a past perfect optative, used mainly in conditional clauses. I haven't found a grammar explaining that properly yet though, just bits and pieces, and everything I know about it is from short coverage of it in books, my friend and YouTube lessons. Probably it's considered a higher than a beginner level, that's why no book has a good explanation and exercises on it. But learning that is so helpful, as you begin to see the patterns in so simple words.

Kjo ishte diçka për sot, shpresoj që t'ju ndihmoj. Faleminderit për vëmendjen dhe... mirupafshim. Shkrofshim së shpejti.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Book review: Discovering Albanian by Linda Mëniku and Héctor Campos

Mirëmbrëma and welcome to my first ever book review.


So, Discovering Albanian 1. I must say that this is one of the best resources out there for almost complete beginners, and one of the few textbooks that are available for English speakers.
The biggest pro of it is that it comes with a workbook and an audio recording of all dialogues, readings and new words. So if you're a grammar geek that loves the old fashioned way of writing and correcting yourself, then this book is great for you. Plus, there is a Memrise course available for it that consists of all the 1850 words in the books, as I already mentioned in this post.

I started it as almost beginner, with no formal background in the language, except few expressions/words that I heard and knew from the Albanians around me. Now, I'm going over it for the third time (once reading only, once with the dialogues and now with the workbook, although I still haven't finished it as I don't have time). I've supplemented the words with another Memrise course, the 763 most popular Albanian words. I'll be honest with you - that book is good if you know the grammatical structure of a language close to Albanian, which is... pretty much none of the existing ones. What I mean is that you'll most probably go over it a few times, if you start from the scratch like I did.

There are two huge problems I've discovered and encountered with the Albanian books for English speakers. The first one is that there are no structured resources available after A2 level (when you finish the first level books) - they're either grammars, which require you to do extra research, or put too much information in a rather concise paragraph,, or Albanian schoolbooks, which require you to have reading knowledge in order to understand. Or you can discover whatever you want yourself by searching about it in grammars/reading in Albanian/watching TV etc.

The other big problem is that the book are not suitable for complete self-study beginners - not that you can't try it, it's just that the material goes forward rather fast. To gasp all aspects of something you have to practice it, but when practising, you encounter new and new grammar. Probably because these books are made to be taught by a real teacher. For example, I still struggle with the past tenses because they're structured in the book one after the other with not enough exercises to practice and learn the irregular forms of one, before jumping to the next.

Sneak peak at what's on the book as content: all the cases, definite/plural forms of nouns, linking articles, adjectives (both classes), the 6 verb classes, verb tenses: present, present subjunctive, present continuous, future, imperative, past, imperfect, imperfect subjunctive and present perfect, present perfect subjunctive, pluperfect, future perfect, numbers, direct/indirect pronouns, commonly used prepositions, impersonal forms, passive forms, possessives. Probably I'm missing something too, but it does cover a huge part of the basics and the language itself. The problem is that you may have it as theory, but putting it into practice is another topic.

Putting the too much grammar issue, the book gives a clear understanding of at least the most common verbs, nouns and so on, with real life situations that will help you for example to book a room in a hotel, to buy fruits and vegetables from the market, to ask for a different size shoes in the shop... what I really enjoyed is that after each chapter there is a cultural info about Albania, which I found really educating and it prompted me to research topics I liked myself. There is also a concise grammar at the end of the book that I still use as a reference point, as it's written in tables, so the information you're looking for it's easy to find.

There are a few exercises after each grammar point/reading/dialogue (usually there are 2 grammar points in a chapter, and 2 dialogues, plus at least 1 reading later on), which have their answers at the end of the book, so you can try yourself and then correct the answers. The textbook has even more for further practice.

The audio is nice, they speak rather slowly and clearly, so you can hear all the sounds. It becomes "more natural" when the book goes on, but I've learned that trying to imitate the natives' accent always helps. So try to learn the new words and read out loud with the speaker, it helps a lot. I've found that in an isolated environment (i.e. any, except if you're living in either Albania or Kosovo - the Albanians abroad tend to live in a community and know each other, rarely speak very well any other language, let alone more than one, plus I have no idea why, but it makes them have a really low opinion of you if you say you're from the Balkans and you're a girl; I've also seen [or rather, heard on the street] only 2 Albanian girls for almost 3 years and a half, and lots and lots of guys. Maybe it's just me, but that's a topic for another discussion), the "imitation" of their accent is the one that helps you the most to learn to pronounce words correctly, as there is nobody to correct you all the time, or you have really little chance to speak to anyone, unless you're having many Albanian friends. In this way you get used to the sounds, the letters, how the language sounds with the stresses (you start guessing them right after a while).

I'll be honest with you - the last chapter has 3 writing excercises to fill in the gaps, one for nouns/adjectives, one for verbs, one for pronouns, which I still haven't done, as I didn't feel like I had the right knowledge back then. As I mentioned, I still haven't finished my third time with that book, so probably now I'll be able to make them in an ok way. The thing is that everytime you go over that book, you continue to learn new and new things. So you have to be really determined and patient, because the more you know, the easier it becomes.

Now, people study in a different way - I'm the old-fashioned student that loves to read, write and gasp all the grammar aspects, in order to start writing and speaking. I have to know WHY - and I ask questions that sometimes are hard to explain/understand even for natives, I have a talent. If you're the other type that just listens a lot and can say lots of different combinations of the words they know, even if they're not many, then learn in your own way. I've always been awful for learning vocabulary unless I put it in context, so I gave up on the latter way a long, long time ago.

That's it for now, hope it's not that bad.

Faleminderit për vëmendjen, mirupafshim!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Emra, pjesë e parë - emrat e gjinisë femërore

Nouns, part one - the feminine nouns.

Mirëmbrëma, today I'll take a look at the nouns of the feminine gender. As you probably know, the nouns in Albanian are either masculine or feminine in both singular and plural forms (thus a single noun can have 2 different forms, one for singular and one for plural). Sometime ago, there was a third, neuter gender in the Albanian (as far as I know, mostly used for materials, parts of the body and substances), which turned into masculine, ending often in ë - examples include ujë, djathë, drithë... And these actually change their gender from masculine to feminine in plural as far as I know, but that's a topic for another discussion.

An advice for me - pay attention to the definite and the plural form of every new noun you learn. You'll be surprised how many ways of forming the plurals as exceptions exist, especially with the masculine nouns. Also, pay attention to the definite form, it's the best indicator about the noun's gender. Knowing these in the nominative will help you learn how to form the other cases, as a feminine indefinite noun (either singular or plural) is used as a base.

So the feminine nouns. Pretty easy to remember most of their unstressed forms (which in many cases are the same for both singular and plural), and they have rather easy plural/definite formation and recognition. They usually end in a vowel, whether stressed or unstressed. Compared to the masculine, they're more straightforward and with far less exceptions, that's why I started with them.
Definite forms: They divide in a few groups:
1). Ending in ë, and having definite form that changes ë to a: vajza, dita, nena, gota etc. Usually that's the main rule.
2). Ending in stressed i - add an -a to it: shtëpia, kutia, Shqipëria. In many cases the -i at the end of the nouns is stressed, I've seen it a lot more often than an unstressed I.
3). Ending in unstressed -e, replace it with -ja: shoqja, dritarja, lulja.
4). Ending in any unstressed vowel - add -ja: kafeja, gruaja.
5). Ending in -ër, -ërr, -ël, -ëll - drop the ë and add a: motra, letra, ëndrra.

Regarding the formation of the plural...
1). Most of the nouns that end in -i, -a, -e, -o, either stressed or unstressed, have the same form as the indefinite singular one: shtëpi, mace, shoqe, lule.
2). Most of the nouns that end in -ë change the -ë to a: gazeta, vajza, gota.
3). Some of the nouns ending in ë have the same form for singular and plural - these you must remember, but here are some: ditë,  gjuhë, javë, botë.
4). The ones that end in -ër, -ërr, -ël, -ëll again drop the ë and add a: motra, letra, ëndrra.
5). The last group are some irregular ones, these again should be learned - gra (grua), dyer (derë), net (natë) and so on.

The plural definite just add t (or të, if ending in stressed vowel) to the indefinite plural form.

So if you're pattern learner like me, you'll realize that most of the nouns have the same form in both their plural indefinite and their singular definite form. That was something that confused me a lot at first when I started studying, how to distinguish them. Here is the trick - in order to understand whether you talk about "the girl" or about "girls", for example, you should read the context and pay attention to the words around - are the verbs in plural? (if yes, it should be plural) Is that noun an action doer? (if yes, unless it's vajzat, then it's about the girl) These two should help you to get what it is about and hopefully - to understand it easier even when listening to the language.

That was the short "lesson" (not sure how to call it, I'm not too good at explaining, I just have my own ways of spotting patterns), hope you found it helpful.

Shihemi së shpejti!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Numrat

The numbers...

I've been really busy today, so I had no time to post the "yesterday's" post... however, here it is, better late than never!

The topic today is the numbers, which in fact are really easy regarding their formation, when you learn to count to 10. An interesting fact - no matter how many languages you know and how fluent you are in them, you'll always count subconsciously in your native language. It's faster and well, easier, I believe. But I've read that in Albanian knowing the numbers is important, especially the 1000s, as some people still quote the money in the old lek, which has one extra zero.

I also pay special attention to the numbers, as they confuse me in many languages (ugh, French = maths), and sometimes when people talk about something, it takes me too long to get the number. So I just practice.

So here are the numbers...
0 is "zero", pretty straightforward to remember (stress on O). 1 - një. 2 - dy. 3 - tre/tri (as far as I've seen, tri is user rather rarely; tre is the one used more, unless you count feminine nouns, or you say 30). 4 - katër. 5 - pesë. 6 - gjashtë. 7 - shtatë. 8 - tetë. 9 - nëntë. 10 - dhjetë. Try listening to their pronunciation around, to get used to it. Knowing them by heart is important for all the other numbers!

I, personally, still always confuse gjashtë with shtatë, as in my native language six sounds closer to the Albanian seven. I guess I do it subconsciously, the thing is that Memrise always gets me when I don't pay enough attention.

11 to 19 are formed by adding "-mbëdhjetë" (mbi dhjetë - literally, on ten) to the numbers from 1 to 9 - for example 11 is njëmbëdhjetë. That's a really interesting (I believe Balkan) feature, as there are a few languages forming these in such a "on ten" way - I know about the Balkan Slavic for sure. Also, note that the numbers are written with their respective end-of-the-word ë's, which get pronounced when in the middle of the word!

20 is njëzet and 40 is dyzet - both of them use an old measurement for 20 units, "zet". Other than that, the numbers from 21 to 99 are easy to form too. The "tens" (30, 50 and so on) are formed by adding "dhjetë" (ten) to the number - again something I've seen in other Balkan languages. 30 is tridhjetë though, using the feminine form of 3 - the only exception, all other numbers based on 3 form it with the masculine "tre". If you want to add a number after the tens, say 65, then you use "e" (and) to link them - gjashtëdhjetë e pesë. Pay attention that everything that "links" with the "e" is written separately, as opposed to some languages, which make them a whole word.

The word for a 100 is "njëqind", and all 100s follow the "-qind" pattern. What was hard for me was that while "one hundred" in English are two words, the Albanian ones are just one. The "linking" of any numbers following the hundred is the same, using the "e".

A thousand - një mijë. The first time these get "separate" from each other. I found it easy to remember as it reminds me of the word "mile" - and while a British mile equals around 1.6 kms, you get the idea, depends on which side you look at it. Then you also have million - një milion, billion - një miliardë, and so on. Actually the last two seem to share many similarities with the Balkan Slavic languages too.

As for the ordinals (first, second, third), they are pretty straightforward too. They always have linking article; the first 5 should be learned, the others form in the same way - just add a linking article in front of the number, and you have it!

First - i parë; second - i dytë; third - i tretë; forth - i katërt; fifth - i pestë.
Also, if the number doesn't end in të, you should add it - i dyzetë, i njëqindtë, i njëmijtë, i njëmiliontë, i njëmiliardtë. What's specific is that it actually now becomes a whole word. The ë is also dropped in from the -dhjetë or -qindtë or -mijtë ones, if it's a composed number, like 151th - i njëqindtepesëdhjetenjë. Good luck with pronouncing that (I personally can't and hope it won't be necessary to do so either!); I know it may look overwhelming, but practice makes perfect! If you like maths, try writing simple plus/minus equations to practice these. Like:
Sa bëjnë njëzet e një plus katër? Njëzet e një plus katër bëjnë njëzet e pesë.
Sa bëjnë dyqind e gjashtëdhjetë e shtatë minus njëqind e dyzet e tetë? Dyqind e gjashtëdhjetë e shtatë minus njëqind e dyzet e tetë bëjnë njëqind e nëntëmbëdhjetë.

You get my idea. Try reading them out loud and also writing them with letters, instead of writing the numbers. It's fun, you test yourself (you're always free to use a calculator too, the trick is to pronounce/write/get used to the numbers themselves, the answer doesn't matter), and you learn that the third person plural of bëj is bëjnë.

Oh, and by the way, the noun "numër" is masculine. These always confuse me, so I try to pay attention which is their right gender, as there are many -ër/-ërr that you have no way of recognising unless learning by heart.

Do të fle tani, natën e mirë dhe faleminderit për vëmendjen!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Çfarë ka në televizor sonte?

What is on the TV tonight?

One thing about me - I watch TV next to none, as I usually have no time for that and I read the news that interest me instead. But I try to be consistent with the Albanian one, as I think it greatly improved my listening so far. Actually, I believe it's a really good way for your ear to get used to the language, as well as to learn new words. The biggest challenge for me is to understand what something is about without concentrating on each and every word out there. I sometimes even play it while I do something else, just to listen to it, and I believe it helps a lot.

There is Albanian TV online, make sure you Google it! I personally love the news (on some channels only though, the popular ones like Top Channel, as it drives me crazy when people skip the correct writing, namely ë, in their news titles... I mean, you can't expect a learner to pronounce an unknown word right if you don't write it right, can you? Plus, you're pretending to be literate... guess not.) and the ads. Yes, you heard me right, I sometimes skip around the channels just to watch the advertisements - something that would annoy me in any other language I'm more familiar with. But they tend to talk a lot slower and less, compared to anything else, so it's interesting for me. Usually the news in any language are helpful to get used to the pronunciation. Sometimes, as I always have inspiration and usually also time during the night (as I work more day shifts compared to evening ones now), I get some really awkward discussion shows (we have the same in Bulgaria!), as they usually discuss interesting topics. I say awkward, as at one point the guests just try to talk at once and you lose track of who is saying what haha. I watched one about the flu a week ago, until that I-cannot-get-a-thing point.

The other really cool thing is to watch English movies with Albanian subtitles - there are so many movie channels, so you'll catch something. Of course, you have to be really proficient in English listening to benefit fully from it, as sometimes they talk quite fast, but it's always interesting for me to see how they translate some sentences (or skip words or even sentences, haha!)

And of course, music. But the singers who don't sing in any Gheg variation are really few (will review some of them in another post), so usually the ballads are better for understanding what they sing. However, I'd recommend improving your listening via songs only if you have the basic knowledge of the language already, as the online lyrics tend to be written wrongly, with so many mistakes, like q instead of ç, c instead of ç, unnecessarily skipped/written as "e" ë's and so on (ok, I'm becoming a bit of a perfectionist here, but I do correct Albanian lyrics, and sometimes it takes me ages to get what they're trying to sing, based on their accent and the wrong version I have in front of me - let alone understanding it to translate it later... But I love the ë, although it's a strange letter that doesn't get pronounced in so many cases - but I think it's really important to learn, write and pronounce it correctly! It changes the whole meaning of the words sometimes - like mjeke - female doctor(s) and mjekë - male doctors. Or me - with and më - to me. It also took me AGES to get that "ktu" actually means "këtu". Fun times!). It helps if you have an idea what the correct "version" of the songs are, and if you're not listening to some singers that no dictionary can understand. I actually love Albanian music, I just believe it's not a good learning tool, as opposed to some other languages with more "official and unified" use that use any dialects/slang in specific cases only.

As you can see, I'm working really hard on my pronunciation at the moment (because l, ll, r and rr drive me crazy! It's so hard to do a soft R when you have a rather "hard" native language regarding the pronunciation. Not to mention ç, q, xh and gj, these take extra effort too, as we don't have the q and the gj sound, but I'm getting there... slowly. At least I'm lucky enough to be familiar with c, ë, zh, sh and x as sounds already!). So the TV helps a lot, I also watch YouTube videos and repeat until I collapse after the Memrise's Discovering Albanian course, I've done 1/3 of it, so getting there slowly. I have a really specific accent that makes any other language sound awful, I needed around year and a half or two to change my English one, so I now try to learn the stuff as naturally as possible, as I see no point in wasting time to correct it later. Maybe sometime when I'm having less work I'll even upload some short Albanian audio, haha. It always reminds me of these polyglot videos on YouTube when people speak 10 languages, I wish I was brave enough to do that too. I really want to understand and speak Albanian to at least full B2 level, so I do everything possible to engage myself, even for 5-10 minutes everyday, and I think my effort pays me out finally.

Kjo është gjithçka për sonte, shpresoj që t'ju pëlqen. :)