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April 2002

European Youth Online Magazine


Young people in Europe

About the poems by Albanian schoolchildren
By Lumnije Jusufi

Poetry and the writing of literary texts are very important to Albanians. Even before they can read and write, schoolchildren receive from their primary-school teachers poems, often by well-known authors, which they are expected to learn by heart. The teachers, as well as the children's parents and brothers and sisters, then practise the poems with them. Consequently, even quite young children are able to recite poems by heart. As early as the 4th class at primary school, that is to say, when they about ten years old, the schoolchildren start writing poems and texts of their own. Looking at a text objectively, analysing and interpreting it - the approach mainly adopted in Germany - is totally alien to Albanian children. Their main task at school is to write their own texts. This is required in almost all school tests. Consequently, they are closely associated with the writing of poems and other types of text. In contrast to the situation in many western European countries, poems written by primary-school pupils and other young people are the norm in Albania.

These four poems were written by pupils at a secondary school in the village of Zajaz:

I am small

I am small
And in my seventh year
Can read well
In the Abetare *

With boundless joy
Reading story upon story
And poem upon poem
About the place I call home

I go to school,
Learn with all my might
And yet further increase
My parents' delight

By Lindita Dervishi

Jam e vogėl

Jam e vogėl
Shtatė vjeēare
Lexoj mirė
Nė abetare

Lexoj vjersha
E tregime
Me dėshirė
Pėr vendlindjen time.

Shkoj nė shkollė
Dhe mirė mėsoj
Prindėrit e mi
Shumė i gėzoj.

Lindita Dervishi

Note: Abetare
The "Abetare" is the book from which the Albanian schoolchildren in the first class at primary school learn to read and write. Its status is very different, though, from the German primer (elementary textbook). The Abetare is often felt to be synonymous with the Albanian language, poets frequently even using it as a metaphor for Albanian culture and education as a whole.


I love my native country

I love my native country
And respect it profoundly,
With a love so great
To it my songs I dedicate.

Known as Drogomisht i vogėl
by the Albanian people,
Over there and clearly visible,
Stands my village on the hill.*

By Sheza Limani

E dua vendlindjen

E dua vendlindjen
Shumė e respektoj
Me dashuri tė madhe
Kėngė i kėndoj

Jetoj nė njė fshat
Atje nė njė kodėr
Ai e ka emrin
Dragomisht i vogėl

Sheza Limani

Note: Drogomisht i vogėl is a small village near Zajaz. Zajaz is about 12 km north of Kiēevo. Look at the map!


Our language*

Oh, how wonderful it sounds,
Calm comes over me when it surrounds.
From my mother Albanian I first heard
From her the language I have learned.

Reading and writing the alphabet,
Is a skill I shall never forget,
Proudly I learn its every secret.

A friendly pupil,
I have a wish to fulfil:
To acquire a still greater command
Of the expressions used in my land

By Shkumbin Rrushaj

Gjuha jonė

Oh sa bukur tingėllon
Ēdo herė gjuha mė qetėson
Nga nėna shqipen e dėgjova
Dhe prej saj e mėsova

Shkronjat i mėsova
Ti shkruaj e lexoj
Krenari e madhe
Qė prej tyre mėsoj

Jam nxėnės i ndershėm
E kam shumė dėshirė
Shprehjet e gjuhės sime
Ti shqiptoj mė mirė

Shkumbin Rrushaj

Notes: language
For many Germans it is difficult to understand the feeling of wishing to love and praise the native language and country. After all, you do not miss what you have already got. By this I mean that, up until recently (in part, this still applies), education in Albania, Albanian culture, Albanian history and traditions were banned. As a result of a thousand years of suppression, the Albanians identify particularly closely with their culture, language, and history. This explains why Albanians consider dedicating a poem or a song to their native language or country almost a virtue. This is true in particular of the Albanians who live outside the borders of present-day Albania.


Farewell my dear teacher

Farewell my dear teacher
In my thoughts you will always feature
As I learn at a school of a different kind
You will never be far from my mind.

For as long as I live
I'll try to keep alive
The memory of four years without interruption
In which I benefited from your instruction.

The advice that you gave us
Was for us to learn
And respect our elders.

I am grateful for the knowledge
Of our language's golden letters
I acquired under your tutelage.

By Adelina Fejza

Lamtumirė mėsuese e dashur

Lamtumirė mėsuese e dashur
tani nė shkollė tjetėr
   do tė mėsoj
por dije mėsuese
se kurrė s'do tė harroj

S'do tė harroj mėsuese
gjatė tėre jetės sime
katėr vjet tė tėra
ti mė dhe mėsime

Ti na kėshillove
qė ne tė mėsojmė
dhe mė tė vjetėrit
duhet ti nderojmė

Tė qofsha fal mėsuese
qė mė dhe dituri
Shkronjat tona tė arta
Mi mėsove Ti.

Adelina Fejza


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