“The tragedy of Albanians from Kosovo is that they are discriminated against both in Belgrade and in Tirana”


Differences also involve linguistic phenomena and the strong influence of the Serbian language and culture in Kosovo.

“Serbian influence is very present in language in Kosovo, in the syntax, in the lexicon and in everyday life,” Pandeli Pani, an Albanian scholar at Bonn University, explained.

“For example, Albanians have taken most technological words from Italian or French while the Kosovars were more influenced by Serbian and sometimes by German.”

“There are many differences between Kosovars and Albanians in Albania,” Kreshnik Ibrahimi, the Kosovar actor who plays in the Erand Sojli’s sketch show, says.

“When I moved to Tirana, I had many difficulties working with Albanians from Albania,” he recalls. “They have a very different mentality compared to ours in Kosovo.”

Ibrahimi is the only Kosovo actor to have starred in the popular Albanian show Portokalli for years.
Kreshnik Ibrahimi | Photo by : Marjola Rukaj

“All the other actors from Kosovo stayed only short periods because our sense of humour and theirs are different – and the public in Albania didn’t quite get it”.

Linguist Pandeli Pani says Albanians became more aware of their differences with Kosovars in 1999, when large numbers of people fled to Albania during the Kosovo conflict. “Before that, we didn’t have systematic contacts and didn’t know each others’ realities,” he reflects.

Most people in Kosovo speak the northern Gheg dialect of Albanian, while Albania’s standard language since 1972 has been based on the southern Tosk dialect.
Enver Robelli, a Kosovo journalist on the daily Koha Ditore, said this difference has had an impact on mutual perceptions.

“Many negative stereotypes regarding Kosovars in Albania are caused by language and by the way that people in Albania perceive the way Kosovars speak,” he said.

“Even the fact that Kosovars speak slowly makes people in Tirana think that Kosovars are less intelligent than Albanians from Albania,” he added.