No. XXXIV (2003)

Tracing Lexical Borrowings in the Balkans: Albanian Loan-words in the Serbian Speech of Prizren

Snežana Petrović
Institute for the Serbian Language, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Published 01.12.2003


  • Balkans,
  • Balkan languages,
  • Albanian,
  • Serbian,
  • Prizren

How to Cite

Petrović, S. (2003). Tracing Lexical Borrowings in the Balkans: Albanian Loan-words in the Serbian Speech of Prizren. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XXXIV), 157–172.


During the past centuries, until recently the city of Prizren has persisted as a unique multiethnic and multicultural environment atypical even for the Balkans, well-known for its ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. Various nations used to live and pass through Prizren in the course of more than six centuries – the Serbs, Turks, Albanians, Aromanians, Greeks and others – leaving their specific marks, visible on the city itself as well as the life and mentality of its inhabitants. One of the most vivid testimonies to this long-term coexistence can be seen in vernaculars of the local population. This paper presents some Albanian loan-words from the Serbian speech of Prizren hitherto not registered (or not recognised as such) in the respective etymological dictionaries and linguistic studies. The aim of this work is to offer their etymological analysis, through an investigation of the ways and mechanisms of lexical borrowing in the limited area of this town and to observe this phenomenon in a broader Balkan perspective. Analysed are the following words: bajmak m., adj. indecl. „with bow legs (of man or horse)“, cub adj. indecl. „short; short-tailed“, cub m., adj. indecl. „robber, outlaw“, ćul adj. indecl. „soaking wet“, điza f. „kind of crumbly cheese“, glistra f. „worm“, korse, korsem, krsem adv. „perhaps, as if“, kulme n., kuljma f. „top of the roof“, ljajka f. „lie“, ljaper m. „idler“, ljočka f. „darling, sweetheart“, ljum adj. indecl. „dear“, ljunga f. „boil; swelling“, putarka f. „salted and dried caviar“, ravš adv. „flat“, roktar m. „servant, attendant“, škret adj. „lonely, deserted, empty“, škrum adj. indecl. „dry as ashes“.


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