Prizren in Kosovo

Language in Kosovo: What do they Speak?

Interested in the country of Kosovo and curious about the language in Kosovo?

You’ll find Kosovo in the heart of the Balkans. But this country is more than just a geopolitical entity; it’s a real melting pot of cultures, traditions, and languages. So, how about the language in Kosovo? What do they speak?

While its turbulent history has shaped its sociopolitical environment, the languages spoken there have always been central to its cultural identity and unity.

Let’s dive in and find out!

What is the main language spoken in Kosovo?

Kosovo is a very diverse country with a rich history and a lot of different cultural influences. Despite this diversity, there’s one language that stands out above the rest: that’s Albanian. It’s the main language spoken by a large majority of the people.

No matter where you go in Kosovo, be it the bustling cities or the serene countryside, you’re likely to hear the sounds of Albanian being spoken. For example, in schools, teachers instruct their students in Albanian.

But also on the television, shows and news broadcasts are primarily in Albanian. Newspapers, books, and many websites from Kosovo are written in this language as well.


The government conducts its business in Albanian, and official documents, like laws and public announcements, are typically presented in this language. It’s deeply ingrained in every aspect of daily life.

So, when you think of Kosovo and its language, Albanian is undeniably at the heart of its linguistic landscape.

How different is the accent spoken in Kosovo from the one in Albania?

Kosovo and Albania, though both predominantly Albanian-speaking regions, have experienced different historical and cultural influences over the centuries.

You might wonder about the differences in accents. While the foundation of the language remains the same, the accent and some vocabulary differences can be attributed to several factors.

Let’s delve deeper into the differences between the Albanian spoken in Kosovo and that in Albania:

  • Pronunciation: This is one of the more noticeable differences. Just as American and British English have distinct pronunciations for certain words, so do the Albanian dialects of Kosovo and Albania.

    For instance, the word for what is “çka” in Kosovo and “çfarë” in Albania.
  • Vocabulary: Over time, both regions have adopted different loanwords from their neighboring countries or occupiers. Kosovo, due to its historical ties with Slavic countries, has incorporated more Slavic loanwords.

    For example, in Kosovo, one might use “bre” (a word of Slavic origin) for emphasis, while this is less common in Albania.
  • Grammar and Usage: There are minor grammatical differences, but they don’t make it hard to understand each other. For example, in the use of definite articles, the two dialects might place them differently.
  • Influence of Other Languages: Kosovar Albanians, due to historical reasons, might have a better grasp of Serbian or other Slavic languages, and sometimes this influence can be seen in daily speech, especially among older generations.

    On the other hand, Albania, being closer to Greece and Italy, has had more influence from these countries, resulting in certain borrowed phrases or words.
  • Formality in Speech: Due to historical linguistic developments, Albanian in Albania tends to have kept more archaic terms, especially in formal speech, whereas in Kosovo, the language has seen a mix of traditional and modern, influenced by its recent history.

It’s important to note, however, that despite these differences, the Albanian spoken in both regions is pretty much the same.

The differences are comparable to those between American and British English, distinct in their own right but easily understood by speakers from both regions.

How many languages are in Kosovo?

Kosovo is a place where many different people live, and because of that, you can hear several languages being spoken. The main language you’ll hear is Albanian, as most people speak it.

But that’s certainly not the only language! Serbian is also spoken by a part of the population, especially in areas where there are more Serbs living. Apart from Albanian and Serbian, there are a few more languages that some people speak.

language in kosovo - The City of Prizren
The City of Prizren

These include Bosnian, Turkish, and Roma. These languages are spoken by smaller groups of people who have their own traditions and history in Kosovo.

So, when you’re in Kosovo, you might come across different languages being spoken in different areas, making it a really interesting place where cultures come together and share their ways of speaking.

Talking about wandering around Kosovo, I really recommend the One Day Tour in Kosovo with the emphasis on local culture. It’s a great way to get to know more about Kosovo, its culture, language and traditions!

Book your One Day Tour in Kosovo here to get the maximum out your stay!

What language is Kosovo similar to?

You could say that Albanian, in its essence, is quite unique. However, historical ties, migrations, and interactions mean that there are linguistic traits in Albanian that might remind a listener of neighboring Balkan languages, like Serbian, Macedonian, or even Greek.

Albanian Alphabet

Kosovo, with its majority of Albanian speakers, primarily uses the Albanian alphabet. The Albanian alphabet is based on the Latin script, which is the same script that you might be familiar with if you’re an English speaker but many other languages use.

However, it has been modified to better represent the unique sounds of the Albanian language. Here’s a brief look at the Albanian alphabet and how to pronounce its letters:

  • A, a – pronounced as “a” in “apple”
  • B, b – pronounced as “b” in “boot”
  • C, c – pronounced as “ts” in “bits”
  • Ç, ç – pronounced as “ch” in “church”
  • D, d – pronounced as “d” in “dawn”
  • Dh, dh – pronounced as “th” in “this”
  • E, e – pronounced as “e” in “bet”
  • Ë, ë – pronounced close to “a” in “sofa”
  • F, f – pronounced as “f” in “fill”
  • G, g – pronounced as “g” in “gone”
  • Gj, gj – pronounced as “g” in “gestion”
  • H, h – pronounced as “h” in “ham”
  • I, i – pronounced as “i” in “machine”
  • J, j – pronounced as “y” in “yes”
  • K, k – pronounced as “k” in “kiss”
  • L, l – pronounced as “l” in “love”
  • Ll, ll – pronounced as “ll” in “fall”
  • M, m – pronounced as “m” in “moose”
  • N, n – pronounced as “n” in “nose”
  • Nj, nj – pronounced as “ny” in “canyon”
  • O, o – pronounced as “o” in “lot”
  • P, p – pronounced as “p” in “pet”
  • Q, q – pronounced as “ch” in “chocolate” but further back in the mouth
  • R, r – a rolled “r”, like in Spanish “rojo”
  • Rr, rr – a stronger rolled “r”
  • S, s – pronounced as “s” in “sub”
  • Sh, sh – pronounced as “sh” in “she”
  • T, t – pronounced as “t” in “top”
  • Th, th – pronounced as “th” in “thick”
  • U, u – pronounced as “oo” in “boot”
  • V, v – pronounced as “v” in “van”
  • X, x – pronounced as “dz” in “adze”
  • Xh, xh – pronounced as “j” in “jam”
  • Y, y – similar to “i” in “machine” but shorter
  • Z, z – pronounced as “z” in “zoo”
  • Zh, zh – pronounced as “s” in “measure”

Remember, these are simple pronunciation to help you. The actual sounds might be slightly different depending on the speaker, context or where you are in Kosovo!

Albanian basic phrases

Venturing into Kosovo or would you like to have a simple chat with a local? Here are some essential phrases that might help you out:

  • Hello – Përshëndetje (Pronunciation: puhrr-shuhn-DEHT-yeh)
  • Goodbye – Mirupafshim (Pronunciation: meer-oo-PAHF-sheem)
  • Please – Ju lutem (Pronunciation: yoo LOO-tem)
  • Thank you – Faleminderit (Pronunciation: fah-leh-MIN-deh-reet)
  • Yes – Po (Pronunciation: poh)
  • No – Jo (Pronunciation: yoh)
  • What is your name? – Si quheni? (Pronunciation: see CHOO-heh-nee?)
  • My name is… – Unë quhem… (Pronunciation: OO-neh CHOO-hem…)
  • Water – Ujë (Pronunciation: OO-yuh)
  • I don’t understand – Nuk kuptoj (Pronunciation: nook KOOP-toy)
  • How much does it cost? – Sa kushton? (Pronunciation: sah KOOSH-ton?)
  • Excuse me – Më falni (Pronunciation: muh FAHL-nee)
  • I’m sorry – Më vjen keq (Pronunciation: muh VYEN kech)
  • Where is the toilet? – Ku është banja? (Pronunciation: koo USH-teh BAHN-yah?)
  • I love you – Të dua (Pronunciation: tuh DOO-ah)

Remember, these are approximate pronunciations, and mastering the exact sound might require listening to native speakers or using pronunciation guides. But these should give you a good starting point!

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    Language in Kosovo: FAQs

    The information below is related to the language in Kosovo and will give you some more great insights!

    What percent of Kosovo speaks Albanian?

    Albanian is undeniably dominant in Kosovo. Roughly 90% of the population resonates with Albanian roots, making the language omnipresent in daily communications, art, music, and the media.

    Is Albanian difficult to learn?

    Learning Albanian really offers you a unique challenge. It’s not just about vocabulary or grammar. It’s also about a rich cultural experience.

    For an English speaker, Albanian might feel really foreign due to its distinct linguistic roots.

    However, every language journey is paved with curiosity, persistence, and the joy of understanding another culture. Daily practice and determination will get you really far!

    What does Kosovo mean in the Albanian language?

    The name Kosovo doesn’t actually have a direct translation in the Albanian language. Instead, its origins come from old Slavic words. In the Slavic root, kos means blackbird.

    So, some people believe that Kosovo is related to the word for field of blackbirds. There’s a famous place in Kosovo called the Field of Blackbirds or Field of Kosovo, which is historically significant.

    This place witnessed a big battle in 1389 between the Serbian army and the Ottoman Turks. However, when people in Kosovo say Kosovo today, they’re talking about their country, not blackbirds.

    So, in the modern sense, Kosovo just means the name of the country for most people.

    Do they speak English in Kosovo?

    Absolutely! English, over the years, has quickly gained prominence in Kosovo. Especially in the capital city Pristina you’ll find your way quite easy with the English language.

    The Capital City Pristina
    The Capital City Pristina

    Thanks to the educational system and the globalizing world, a considerable portion of Kosovars, especially the younger demographic, converse confidently in English, making it easier for tourists and business professionals alike.

    You might struggle a bit more with the English language in the rural parts of Kosovo, though.

    The Wrap-Up: Language in Kosovo

    Kosovo isn’t just a land defined by borders. It’s a fascinating mix of languages, each telling a storty of strong resilience, culture, and unity.

    The great blend of the Albanian language with other regional languages shows you the country’s past, present, and its hopeful future for the youngest country in Europe. So, when it comes to the language in Albanian, it’s predominantly Albanian.

    Do you want to know more about Kosovo? Check out my other posts about the best cities in Kosovo and 17 fun facts about Kosovo!

    Your restless voyager,


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