I'd like to ask some Albanian speakers to say pairs of words which come as close to possible as differing only by one of each pair having "l" and the other having "ll". I'm trying to hear and reproduce the difference.

Does Albanian have any such minimal pairs?

  • Most of the words with ll look like loans from Turkish or modern European languages.
    – fdb
    Sep 8, 2017 at 21:10

3 Answers 3


Here are a few ones.

  • vjel (crop, harvest) and vjell (to throw up)
  • mal (mountain) and mall (goods, commodity)
  • thelë (loaf) and thellë (deep profound)
  • diel (Sunday) and diell (Sun)

Edit A few more with an initial "ll".

  • llóje (types, kinds) and lojë (pun,joke)
  • llak (spray, laque, varnish) and lak (loop, noose)
  • llagëm (sewer) and lagem (to moisten)
  • Thanks Alain. Do you know of any with the "l" and "ll" at the beginning of words or syllables? I think that's possible in Albanian. Sep 27, 2011 at 12:11
  • Since the "ë" is silent even the thelë / thellë didn't work as clear as I'd hoped. It did remind me of a plain old geminate or an "emphatic" like in Arabic and they said I did it well but I'm not convinced (-: Sep 27, 2011 at 13:10
  • @hippietrail. I've added a few more starting with the double "L". Reminds me of when I was trying to pronounce correctly avô (Grandpa, [avo]) and avó (Grandma [avɔ]) in Portuguese do Brasil. Another one I fell into one fine day is Italian "trápano" (drill) and "trapáno" (bottom of the anatomy of the hardware shopkeeper)... Sep 27, 2011 at 14:12
  • @Alin: These are working great with my informant, the tongue is actually in the opposite positions for these sounds to what I expected! I'll edit out "Llir" though because it seems that first name you had in mind was in fact "Ilir". Sep 28, 2011 at 20:39

Djal (boy) and djall (devil) have been the source of some hilarious mix-ups.


Here a few more:

  • pulë (chicken) - pullë (button),
  • plakë (old woman) - pllakë (plate),
  • plumb (bullet) - pëllumb (dove),
  • lum (river) - llum (dirt, sludge),
  • palë (layer) - pallë (sword),
  • kollë (cough) - Kolë (a shortened form of the male name Nikollë)

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