Norbert Jokl as a military cadet in World War I.
1914 | Norbert JOKL
The oldest recording of Albanian, the voice of an Albanian from 1914.
The Austrian scholar and linguist Norbert Jokl (1877-1942) was born as the only son of a Jewish merchant family in Bzenec (Bisenz) in southern Moravia. He graduated from a German-language secondary school in Uherske Hradiste (Ungarisch Hradisch) in July 1895 and moved to Vienna to study law and political science, finishing his doctorate there in 1901. He then embarked upon a legal career but soon abandoned it to return to university studies. Jokl took up Indo-European philology under Paul Kretschmer (1866-1956), Romance philology under Wilhelm Meyer-Lübke (1861-1936) and Slavic philology under Vratoslav Jagi (1838-1923) and Václav Vondrák (1859-1925), finally choosing Slavic as his main field. In 1903, he got a position as a trainee at the Vienna University Library and, after finishing a second doctorate summa cum laude in March 1908, worked there as a librarian until the end of his career. In 1913, he was appointed by the university to hold lectures in Albanian, Slavic and Baltic philology and, in 1923, was made a full professor, a position he retained until 1938, when he was pensioned off on racial grounds.
Jokl had begun learning Albanian with the help of Gjergj Pekmezi (1872-1938) and other Albanians in Vienna. From a preliminary report on the study of Gheg dialects, which he prepared in 1914 for the Austrian Academy of Sciences, it is evident that he was particularly fascinated by the regional variants of northern Albanian.
Norbert Jokl taught at the University of Vienna from 1913 to 1938 and was the leading figure of Albanian scholarship in the German-speaking world. In 1937, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Albanian independence, he was awarded the Scanderbeg Order by the Albanian government and visited Albania for the first and last time. In 1941, when life for the Jews in the Third Reich had become intolerable, he tried to get a job in Albania. Aware of his great contribution to Albanian studies, the Albanian government under Italian occupation approved his request and, in a letter dated 6 October 1941, the Albanian Minister of Education, Ernest Koliqi (1903-1975), offered him a post as “organizer of Albanian libraries.” The Italian foreign minister, at the insistence of Carlo Tagliavini (1903-1982), professor of the University of Padua, sought an exit visa for him, but the German authorities refused to let Jokl leave the country. On 2 March 1942, he was arrested by the Nazis in their campaign against the Jews and was deported on 6 May to Maly Trostinec near Minsk. He died soon thereafter, either during transport or at the extermination camp. His unpublished writings and library found their way into the Austrian National Library in May 1943.
Norbert Jokl is the author of about sixty scholarly articles on the Albanian language, published primarily in German. Of particular note is his monograph “Linguistisch-kulturhistorische Untersuchungen aus dem Bereiche des Albanischen” (Research in Linguistic and Cultural History from the Field of Albanian), Berlin 1923. His “Einführung in die vergleichende historische Grammatik des Albanischen” (Introduction to the Comparative Historical Grammar of Albanian), which he worked on painstakingly from 1913 to 1937, remained unpublished. It is preserved in stenographic form at the Manuscript Division of the Austrian National Library, together with several other manuscripts by the author.
The Earliest Recording of Spoken Albanian in the Balkans
In the spring of 1914, Norbert Jokl heard about a group of Albanians working as confectioners in Hungary. Without losing any time, he set off to meet them to make notes on their dialects. With the support of the Balkan Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Jokl then invited one of the workers, a certain Mustafa Abdyli (b. 1876) from Vrapçishta near Gostivar in Macedonia, to Vienna for a month to make a sound recording of his language at the Phonogram Archives there. This five-minute recording, made on 4 April 1914 and presented here for the first time, constitutes the earliest audio recording ever made of the Albanian language in the Balkans. The original recording is preserved at the Phonogram Archives of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Zentrum Sprachwissenschaft, Bild- und Tondokumentation, Phonogrammarchiv, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Vienna, to whom we are grateful for permission to make it available to the public here.
An Albanian from Shtirovica in Upper Reka, Macedonia. Photo by Bajazid Elmaz Doda, ca. 1907. Austrian National Library. Photo Archives. Inventory No. NB902062B.
(beginning of the folktale “The Mare and the Wolf”)
Paska një pelë një vakët. E pela dalka e shkuaka prej shtëpisë, e shkuaka e kullotka. Kullotka e ardhka në shtëpi. Prej shtëpisë del e shkon në fushë. Prej fushe vjen e vjen në shtëpi. Prej shtëpisë del e shkon në fushë. E kulloten si kulloten, shkon në fushë si shkon në fushë, e u çuaka pela e mbajtka katërmbedhjetë muaj. Katërmbedhjetë muaj, i ardhka vakti me pjell. Pjellka, e u bëka mazi. Si u bëka mazi, kana rrit. Si kana rrit, shkuaka pela e kullotka në fushë. E kullotka e ardhka në shtëpi, e del prej shtëpisë e shkon në fushë. Prej fushe kulloten e vjen në shtëpi. Si vjen në shtëpi e i thotë mazit: “kur të dalë prej derës unë, e ta më çelish derën,” thotë, e del e shkon në fushë. E vjen në fushë. Prej fushe e thotë:
“Pelo, pelo, çilma derën, se të kam pru barë, kashtë, tagjije.”
Pela, mazi e çelën. Hyn brenda. Si hyn brenda, bëhët: ditë kana, natë kana bërë.
Once upon a time there was a mare. And the mare went out and left home, and went and grazed. It grazed and came home. From home it goes out and goes to the field. From the field it comes back and comes home. From home it goes out and goes to the field. And it grazes as it grazes. It goes to the field as it goes to the field. The mare was covered and was pregnant for fourteen months. Fourteen months, and the time came for it to give birth. It gave birth, and a foal was born. When the foal was born, it grew up. While it was growing up, the mare went and grazed in the field. And it grazed and came home, and it leaves home and goes to the field. From the field it grazes and comes home. When it comes home, it says to the foal: “When I go out the door, you lock it for me,” it says, and it goes out and goes to the field. And it comes to the field, from the field and says:
“Mare, mare, open the door, for I have brought you grass, hay and fodder.”
The mare... the foal opens it. It enters. When it enters, it happens: it was daytime, it became nighttime.
|1914 Jokl Ph 2352 | MP3 1,0 MB
me u rrit
unë e shkruaj
unë e bëj
buz, dy buza
[unë] e di
ne e dimë
frost, the frost
pot, the pot
apple, the apple
from the plot (of land)
god, the god
I do, I make
lip, two lips
|1914 Jokl Ph 2353 | MP3 0,5 MB
|një, dy, tre, katër,
pesë, gjashtë, shtatë,
tetë, nëntë, dhjetë,
|one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten,
[Introduction: Robert Elsie. Recording: Ph 2351 – Ph 2353, made in the Phonogram Archives, Vienna on 4 April 1914 by Leo Hajek. Transcription and translation: Norbert Jokl. Austrian Academy of Sciences. Centre for Linguistics, Video and Audio Documentation, Phonogram Archives www.pha.oeaw.ac.at]