The dialects differ very much in different parts of the island, so that those who speak one often cannot understand those who speak another, and use Italian as the medium of communication.
Between several of these dialects it is probable that closer affinities exist.
The whole country was occupied by a variety of tribes, speaking agglutinative dialects for the most part, though the western districts were occupied by Semites.
They are broken up into almost countless tribes and clans, many of which number only a few hundred individuals, and their language consequently presents a variety of dialects, of which no classification has yet been effected: in the district of Posia alone a member of the Presbyterian mission distinguished eight different mutually unintelligible dialects.
In the absence of literary culture the Albanian dialects, as might be expected, are widely divergent; the limits of the two principal dialects correspond with the racial boundaries of the Ghegs and Tosks, who understand each other with difficulty; the Albanians in Greece and Italy have also separate dialects.