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Albanians can be divided into two cultural groups: the northern Albanians, or Ghegs (sometimes spelled Gegs), and the southern Albanians, or Tosks.
The geographic border between the two groups, based on dialect, runs roughly along the Shkumbin River, which flows through the central town of Elbasan to the Adriatic Sea.
It is estimated that about one-hundred thousand people from the traditional Italo-Albanian communities in southern Italy can still speak Albanian.
Figures for Albanian settlements in Greece are unavailable because the Greek government does not acknowledge the existence of an Albanian minority there.
All Albanians north of the Shkumbin, along with the Albanians of Montenegro, Kosovo, and most of Macedonia (FYROM), speak Gheg dialects with their characteristic nasalization.
All Albanians south of the Shkumbin, including the Albanians of Greece, southwestern Macedonia, and southern Italy, speak Tosk dialects with their characteristic rhotacism.
That root also appears as *lab- in Labëria , referring to the southern Albanian region from Vlorë southward to the Greek border, and *rab- in early Slavic, as in raban , rabanski ("Albanian").
The 1991 census for the Republic of Albania gives a total population of 3,255,891.
In addition there are about two million Albanians in Kosovo, about five-hundred thousand in the Republic of Macedonia, and about one-hundred thousand in Montenegro.
To the east of the Republic of Albania is the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, one-third of which, along the Albanian border, has an Albanian majority.
The central Macedonian towns of Skopje, Kumanovo, and Bitola have sizable (15 to 50 percent) communities of Albanian speakers, whereas the western Macedonian centers of Tetova (Tetovo), Gostivar, and Dibra (Debar), along with the Struga area, all have an Albanian majority.
Also related to this basic root are the Turkish and Greek words for Albanians and the Albanian language.