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The Albanologist Maximilian Lambertz (1882–1963) preferred a connection with the Albanian shqipe or shqiponjë ("eagle"), which is the symbol of Albania.
The latter explanation may, however, simply be a folk etymology or constitute the reason why Albanians identify themselves with the eagle.
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.
The Albanians in Macedonia represent about 30 percent of the population, although there are no reliable statistics.
The Albanian minority in Greece can be divided into two groups: those living in villages and settlements near the Albanian border and the largely assimilated Arvanites who populated much of central and southern Greece in the late Middle Ages.
An estimated three-hundred thousand emigrants from Albania now live in Greece, and about two-hundred thousand reside in Italy.There is little evidence to prove or disprove this theory, since little is known about the Illyrian language.Since ancient times, very substantial strata of Latin and of Slavic and Turkish have been added to Albanian, making the older strata more difficult to analyze.Also related to this basic root are the Turkish and Greek words for Albanians and the Albanian language.Albanians now use the designation shqiptar ("Albanian") shqip ("Albanian language"), and Shqipëria ("Albania"). According to the Austrian linguist Gustav Meyer (1850–1900), shqip ("Albanian language"), shqiptar ("Albanian"), and Shqipëria ("Albania") are related to the Albanian verb shqipoj ("to speak clearly") and shqiptoj ("to pronounce") and can be linked to the Latin excipio and excipere ("to listen to, take up, hear").