The Kinship-Lexicon of Georgian, Mingrelian and Abkhaz, by George Hewitt

Bedi Kartlisa 1981

in Bedi Kartlisa, 1981, 256-267.

In this paper we present for comparison the kinship-lexicon of three languages. Georgian and Mingrelian are closely related South Caucasian (Kartvel) languages spoken in the Trans-Caucasian republic of Soviet Georgia. Abkhaz is also spoken in Soviet Georgia but only in the north-western region (apart from a few villages near Batumi), which is known as the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic. However, it belongs to a different language-family, known as North West Caucasian/ Although the majority of the Abkhaz terms given below maybe found in Benet (1974: 54ff.), the transcription there employed is too inexact for linguistic purposes. It was, therefore, deemed advantageous to make the Abkhaz material available once again to the English reader.

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Structure and System in the Abaza Verbal Complex, by W. S. Allen

William Sidney Allen, FBA (1918–2004) was a British linguist and philologist.

Transactions of the Philosophical Society, Oxford 1956, 127-176.

The Abaza (tapanta) language is spoken on the northern side of the Caucasus in the district of Cherkesskz (formerly Yezhov, formerly Sulimov, formerly Batalpashinsk), and by exiled communities in Turkey. It belongs to a closely related group with Abkhaz (apsawa) and other dialects, including (a)sqarawa; this group, which is sometimes also referred to as Abkhaz, is related in turn to Circassian or Adyghe (including Kabardian) and Ubykh, to form the western branch of the North Caucasian family.

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Are Verbs Always What They Seem to Be? By George Hewitt

Are Verbs Always What They Seem to Be?

Iran & the Caucasus, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2008), pp. 307-323

The NorthWest Caucasian language-family is noted (notorious) for the polysynthetic nature of its verbs. If one couples this with fact (a) that morphemes typically take the shape C(V) and fact (b) that the language has a minimum of 58 consonantal phonemes (sc. in its literary dialect) and that homonymy is widespread, one might expect that, for ease of encoding/decoding, verb-forms would shew great regularity and structural transparency. On the whole, this is indeed the case. However, there are instances where analysis presents some problems.

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Abkhaz Personal Names, by Viacheslav Chirikba

Iran & the Caucasus

Iran & the Caucasus Vol. 19, No. 4 (2015), pp. 343-356

Viacheslav A. Chirikba
Abkhazian State University, Sukhum

The paper presents a study of the Abkhaz personal names. Traditionally, Abkhazians, a Caucasian people living in the Republic of Abkhazia (many Abkhazians live also in Turkey and in some Middle Eastern countries), used a two-name system, consisting, as a rule, of the surname plus the postposed first name. The Abkhaz personal names are analysed with regard to their origin, structure, semantics, and social status. The onomastic system in general, as well as the tradition of naming among the Abkhazians are outlined as well.

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Was Abkhazian spoken in Abkhazia in Medieval times? By Thomas Wier

Map of Greek colonies around the Black Sea, ca. 550 b.c.

Thomas Wier
Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Free University of Tbilisi.

It is a near certainty that Abkhaz was spoken in Abkhazia going back to remote antiquity.

Unlike other languages spoken on or near the Black Sea like Georgian, Armenian and Greek with long written histories, Abkhaz was never written down until very recently, and so we have almost no direct evidence that it was spoken in Abkhazia before the 17th century with the publication of Turkish travel-writer Evliya Celebi’s Seyahatname ‘Book of Travel’, which mentions a few words of Abkhaz. However, we do have virtual proof of its existence there from an unusual source: ancient Greek pottery.

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Loans in Abkhaz, by Wim Lucassen

Loans in Abkhaz, by Wim Lucassen

Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics
Vol. 1, (1980), pp. 253-263

The aim of this article will be to show how a North West Caucasian language, viz. Abkhaz , treats words of foreign origin / and to establish several layers of loans according to historical background and a different degree of adaptation.

Within the group of NWC langages Abkhaz and Abazinian are closely related, as are Circassian and Kabardian. Ubykh stands somewhere between these two branches, but is not spoken anymore in the Soviet Union. A few repre- sentatives of this language can still be found in Turkey.

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Locative-directional preverbs in the Hattian and Abkhazian-Adyghe languages: a comparative aspect by A.P. Tikhonova

Hattic Language and Northwest Caucasian Languages

Aza Petrovna Tikhonova
Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor of English Philology Department, Adyghe State University.

Bulletin of the Adyghe State University. Series 2: Philology and Art History, 4 (187) 2016.

For the first time an attempt is made to single out locative-directional prefixes in the Hattian verbs, reveal their meaning and functions by comparing them with locative-directional prefixes in the Abkhazian-Adyghe languages. While singling out prefixes we took into consideration legitimate sound correspondences of vowels and consonants in the Hattian and Abkhazian-Adyghe languages:voiced-voiceless, palatal-hard, etc. Hattian sentences are given in Latin, their Abkhazian-Adyghe matches in the Cyrillic alphabet and Latin transliteration in square brackets. The materials of the study were bilingual texts «The God of Moon Fallen from the Heaven» and «A Building Ritual». The methodology of the investigation is based on L. Talmy’s cognitive semantics and typology. Orientation relationships are used for analyzing the meaning of Hattian verbal prefixes.

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Common West Caucasian: The Relation of Proto-West Caucasian to Hattic by Viacheslav Chirikba

The Relation of Proto-West Caucasian to Hattic by Viacheslav Chirikba

In his book "Common West Caucasian" (Leiden, 1996), the author touches upon the problem of the external relations of Common West Caucasian, namely, with the long extinct Hattic language of ancient Asia Minor (early second millennium B.C.).

Already the first explorer of Hattic, E. Forrer (1919: 1033, 1034), established its non-Indo-European character and suggested its relationship with Abkhazo-Adyghean languages. The same idea was proposed nearly at the same time by R. Bleichsteiner (1923).

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Baron Pyotr Karlovich Uslar: Inventor of the First Abkhaz Alphabet, by Stephen D. Shenfield

Peter Uslar

Stephen D. Shenfield | Special to Abkhaz World


Prior to the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, Abkhaz and the other languages of the mountain peoples existed only in oral form. They acquired writing systems as a delayed side effect of the conquest. This process was initiated by Baron Pyotr (Peter) Karlovich Uslar1 (1816 – 1875), a military engineer who became a pioneer in European studies of the Caucasus, especially the North Caucasus, and its peoples and languages.

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An Endangered Language, by Vitali Sharia

Ekho Kavkaza -- The Abkhaz language is officially registered in UNESCO’s list of endangered languages. The critical situation observed today has not something that emerged just yesterday or the day before. Among the numerous significant factors that have resulted in the current state of the Abkhaz language we can outline the calamity of the ‘Great Exile’ (makhadzhirstvo) in the 19th century, which turned Abkhazia into a country with a multi-ethnic population where the Russian language slowly but surely acquired the status of the language of interethnic communication; then there was the Georgian demographic and political expansion during the ascendancy of Beria in the mid-20th century, which in part led to Abkhaz-language schools being forced to adopt the Georgian language as the language of tuition. Such were the main but far from all the historical episodes and factors conditioning the current situation.

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In Memoriam Georges Charachidzé (1930 - 20 February 2010)

Prof. Georges Charachidzé has passed away on 20 Feb. 2010, in Paris.

Born in 1930 in France of a Georgian father and a French mother, Georges Charachidzé became a pupil of the great French scholar Georges Dumézil in 1953 when the latter agreed to supervise Charachidzé's doctoral thesis, which turned into his first publication ('Le Système religieux de la Géorgie païenne' = 'The Religious System of Pagan Georgia'). He was to adopt his supervisor's interests in the Caucasus and eventually, after Dumézil's death, take on his mantle as main collaborator with Ubykh's last fully competent speaker Tevfik Esenç in order to continue research on this soon-to-become-extinct North West Caucasian language -- Tevfik himself died in 1992.

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Abkhaz Loans in Megrelian, by Vyacheslav Chirikba

Iran and the Caucasus, Volume 10, Number 1, 2006 , pp. 25-76(52)
The paper presents a thorough investigation of the Abkhaz borrowings in Megrelian, including structural loans, grammatical elements, adjectives, adverbs, numerals, and appellativa (anatomical and medical terms, household items, terms related to husbandry and pasture, floristic and zoological names, religious terms, landscape, food, etc.). The author examines also the cases of the Abkhaz influence on Megrelian onomasticon.

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State and Language, by George Hewitt


Abkhazia in the Context of Contemporary International Relations
Pitsunda, The Republic of Abkhazia: June 29 - July 1, 2004

Though the title of this presentation may seem somewhat out of place in the context of the topic of the conference, I feel justified in discussing the matter in the conviction that a state's language-policy is an integral part of the way it presents itself to the outside world. It can, thus, help to shape general attitudes to the state and ultimately affect inter-state relations, both in the region and more widely.

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The Abkhazian language and its place in the Caucasian family of languages, by Khibla Amichba

“Our language is also our history.
There is more living illustration
of the peoples,than bones, weapons
and graves – it’s their languages."

Jacob Grimm

The territory of Abkhazia was populated from ancient times, and the richest archaeological excavations illustrate this.From antique times the different information on the history of Kolhida, especially about Abkhazia, was compiled from original sources of Ancient Greece (Aristotel, Strabon, Timosphen, Klaudi Ptolemei and others) and Rome (Dion Kassy, Appian, Phlavy Arrian, Plyni Secund etc.).



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