The Phenomenon of Gender Shift in Albanian Language

Proceedings of ‏The 4th International Conference on Research in Humanities and Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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The Phenomenon of Gender Shift in Albanian Language

Adelina Çerpja and Anila Çepani



Gender is an important grammatical category for the Albanian language. According to this category, Albanian nouns are classified into masculine, feminine and neuter and their gender affiliation is defined:

  • by the ending sound of the theme, with case endings of the indefinite and definite singular form;
  • syntactically through the agreement features of the dependent elements (determiners, adjectives, pronouns and so on).

But there is a large group of singular masculine nouns in Albanian, whose dependent elements have a special agreement: these elements have masculine forms in singular and feminine forms in plural. This group of nouns can be identified by the endings of plural: they are inanimate masculine nouns that have the endings –e and –ra in the plural form of the indefinite nominative case.

The phenomenon, which has occasionally attracted the attention of some scholars of Albanian, exists in various Indo-European languages, such as Romanian, Italian, Slovak, Czech, modern Greek, etc., where a certain class of nouns in the singular appear as masculine, in the plural pass to the feminine.

The phenomenon of gender shift of some Albanian masculine nouns in plural is relatively old, especially in the Gheg dialect, where it appeared before the Buzuku’s century (XV), although it appeared early even in the Tosk dialect. In the following years it was generalized and in ’80 it was recommended in all normative books of Albanian language.

Keywords: gender; ambigender; shift gender; masculine; plural; Albanian language.