Abkhazo-Adyghean Languages

Abkhazo-Adyghean Languages are part of northwestern subdivision of Iberian-Caucasian language family. This family contains Abkhazian, Abaza, Adyghe, Kabardian and Ubykh languages. These languages are in the same group due to specific characteristics attributed to them: 1. In phonetics – vowel system is simple (2-3 phonemes), consonant system is elaborate (around 80 phonemes), 2. Grammar – noun class system is simple, verb conjugation system is elaborate. There is a big number of preverbs (verb prefixes) and noun prefixes. Verb and noun stems mostly have one syllable. A simple sentence creates grammatical constructions in infinitive, dative and nominative. Position of words in sentence has grammatical importance. Abkhazo-Adyghean language unity is preserved mainly in pronouns, numerals and verbs. All of these languages are agglutinative with polysynthetic traits. Apart from these common traits, there are some phenomena that allow us to separately categorize Abkhazian- Abaza language (grammatic categories for objects and humans, absence of declension) and Adyghean language (Adyghean and Kabardian: relatively developed declension, lack of grammatical categories). Ubykh language is between these two subgroups.

Literature: Рогава Г. В., Абхазско-адыгские языки, წგ.: Языки народов СССР, т. 4, М., 1967; Dumézil G., Études comparatives sur les langues caucasiennes du Nord-Ouest, P., 1932.

G. Rogava