15 Albanian Words that every foreigner should learn

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These 15 Albanian Words will instantly make you understand the local culture better, and no matter if you’re traveling or moving to Albania as a foreigner, these words in Albanian will sure come in handy.

The younger generation generally speaks English, but not everyone is fluent, so it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Albanian phrases. This will make your trip to Albania more enjoyable, and you’ll surely be met with smiles and gratitude for trying to speak Albanian. 

Further down in this article you can also see a list of basic Albanian words for everyday use. But first, let’s learn some essential words in Albanian that are used frequently or have no equivalence in English. 

Mirë

Mirë is the Albanian word for good, and it’s very useful. My favorite way of using it is by saying O sa Mirë, which means something like “Oh, how cool” or “so good”. You should say with enthusiasm to enhance the expression. 

Bre

Bre doesn’t really have a meaning on its own in the Albanian language, but it’s just as a sentence enhancer, and you’ll hear it a lot. For example, you could say Qka po bon bre? which can be translated as “What are you doing” or “What’s up?”.

Shijshme

Of all the words in Albanian that a foreigner should learn, I really recommend this one because Albanian food is delicious, and Shijshme means delicious. It is pronounced like “shee-SHMEH” and to say that something is delicious you can say Ishte e shijshme.

Traditional food in Albania

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Lezetshëm!

This basically means cute, and you can use it to say “how cute”. It is pronounced like Le-zeeeehhh-tshëm. Perhaps not the easiest word in Albanian for a foreigner to pronounce, but it will certainly impress the locals if you’re successful. 

Kismet!

Kismet is more of a locally used word which means “Fate” or “destiny” and Albanians use it to dodge uncomfortable questions that they don’t have a good answer to or rather don’t want to answer.

As a tourist, you might not use this Albanian word, but it’s still good to know!

Bukuroshe

This is the Albanian word for beauty, and if you want to tell a girl/woman that she is beautiful, you could say Ti Je Bukur. 

Zemër

The literal translation would be heart, and Zemër can be used to refer to someone that you’re in love with or a dear family member. You can also say Zemra Ime, which basically means my sweetheart in Albanian.

Albanian word for my sweetheart

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Budall

This is the Albanian word for calling someone stupid or an idiot. It might be something you would say to a stranger since it would be rather offensive, but you could use it to joke around with friends. 

With that said, you’ll hear Native Albanians calling others a “budall” once in a while, so now you’ll know what it means. 

Shqiperia

You will probably hear someone say Shqiperia (meaning Albania) or Sqhiptar and Sqhip, which basically means Albanian.  

Faleminderit

Falemenderit is the Albanian word for thank you, and it will be appreciated if tourists use it instead of just saying thank you in English. You can also say Faleminderit Shüme, which means thank you very much. 

Gëzuar

If you’ll be drinking with some friends from Albania, you should say Gëzuar instead of cheers, which is the equivalent word in Albanian. 

Albanian word for cheers

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Spital

Spital means Hospital, and although I hope that you don’t have to visit a hospital during your visit, it’s good to know how to say it. And Farmaci is the Albanian word for Pharmacy in case you need any medicine. 

Mirëdita!

If you want to wish someone good day or greet a stranger, you can say Mirëdita. It’s always appreciated when foreigners make an effort to speak some Albanian words, even though they are simple like this one. 

If you want to greet someone and say hello in Albanian you can also say Përshëndetje! or Tungjatjeta.

Traditional clothing Albania

Photo: Daniel Reiner / Shutterstock.com

Basic Albanian Words

Now that you have learned some more advanced Albanian words, it’s time to get back to the basics. These basic words in Albanian can be used almost every day by tourists and expats. 

EnglishAlbanian
Hi/HelloPërshëndetje!/Tungjatjeta
GoodbyeTung/Lamtumirë/Mirupafshim!
Yes/NoPo/Jo
Thank youFaleminderit
You’re welcomeJu lutem
Big/smallMadh/vogël
GoodMirë
BadKeq
MorningMëngjes
AfternoonPasdite
EveningMbrëmje
NattNatë
BeautifulBukur
Uglyi shëmtuar
Easyi lehtë
Difficulti vështirë
BeerBirrë
CoffeeKafe
WaterUjë
WineVerë

Translate Albanian words into English

Translating basic words in Albanian is usually doable with Google Translate, which can be downloaded to your phone to use offline.

However, it’s not recommended to translate longer sentences because it’ll likely not turn out correct. 


Want to learn more Albanian words? Leave a comment below!

August 27th, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

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