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Albanian name

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Title: Albanian name  
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Albanian name

Albanian names are names used in, or originating in, Albania. In Albania a complete name usually consists of a given name (Albanian: emri); the given name of the individual's father (Albanian: atësia), which is seldom included except in official documents; and a (most commonly patrilineal) family name or surname (Albanian: mbiemri). They are invariably given in the Western name order, or given name followed by family name.

Albanian given names are traditionally religious, either Christian or Islamic. During the Communist regime, based on the theory of the Illyrian origin of Albanians, supposedly Illyrian names were construed as appropriate names instead of religious ones. The government issued a decree ordering people to change their religious names to "pure Albanian names", while newborns had to receive non-religious names.

Given names

Traditionally, given names in Albania did not have Albanian origins because they were religious names, either Christian or Islamic. In Communist Albania, an Illyrian origin of the Albanians (without denying Pelasgian roots[1] a theory which has been revitalized today[2]) continued to play a significant role in Albanian nationalism,[3] resulting in a revival of given names supposedly of "Illyrian" origin, at the expense of given names associated with Christianity. This trend had originated with the 19th century Rilindja, but it became extreme after 1944, when it became the communist regime's declared doctrine to oust Christian or Islamic given names. Ideologically acceptable names were listed in the Fjalor me emra njerëzish (1982). These could be native Albanian words like Flutur "butterfly", ideologically communist ones like Proletare, or "Illyrian" ones compiled from epigraphy, e.g. from the necropolis at Dyrrhachion excavated in 1958-60.


Many surnames in Albania have Christian and Islamic roots.[4] The long mutual influence of the population resulted with large number of Albanian surnames ending in , ović or ovit even under the Ottoman rule.[5]


Communist-era Albania

According to decree issued in 1966 Muslims in Albania had to change their names to Albanian names while newborn Albanians had to receive non-religious names.[6] In a decree of November 1975 all the citizens of Albania whose names were considered objectionable by the Albanian Communist Party were ordered to change their names to "pure Albanian names" by the end of the year.[7][8]


  1. ^ Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, Bernd Jürgen Fischer, Albanian Identities: Myth and History, Indiana University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-253-34189-1, page 96, "but when Enver Hoxha declared that their origin was Illyrian (without denying their Pelasgian roots), no one dared participate in further discussion of the question".
  2. ^ Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 2009, Gilles de Rapper.
  3. ^ ISBN 960-210-279-9 Miranda Vickers, The Albanians Chapter 9. "Albania Isolates itself" page 196, "From time to time the state gave out lists with pagan, supposed Illyrian or newly constructed names that would be proper for the new generation of revolutionaries."
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