Scripts Used for Abkhaz, by George Hewitt

From the Table of the post-Stalin Cyrillic-based script for Abkhaz alongside its Georgian-based predecessor (1954)

A while ago I posted on Facebook the scan of a page from A. M. Ch’och’ua & V. Maan’s 1935 primer Apswa Byzshwa ‘Abkhaz Language’ as an illustration of the script in used at that time. One viewer commented that he found it easier to read than the current, Cyrillic-based orthography. This gave me the idea of presenting a short text written in the different scripts that have been employed over the decades since an orthography was first devised for the language in the second half of the 19th century.

Read more …Scripts Used for Abkhaz, by George Hewitt

Ubykh Personal Names, by Viacheslav Chirikba

Iran and the Caucasus 27 (2023) 196-207 [Brill].

Abstract
The paper presents a survey of the system of Ubykh personal names. The traditional structure of Ubykh names was binary, consisting of a surname and a postposed personal name. Alternative structures included a preposed family name plus two or more personal names, or a surname, plus a patronymic, plus a personal name. Besides a few native Ubykh names, the majority of names are“Oriental” (Turkish/Turkic, Arabic, Jewish, Persian, etc.), Circassian or Abkhazian, or of unclear origin. There are also hybrid names combining names or formants of different languages.

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The Languages of the World according to Evliya, by Robert Dankoff

  • Language

From Mahmud Kaşgari to Evliya Çelebi
Studies in Middle Turkic and Ottoman Literatures [Chapter 19]

Robert Dankoff
Professor Emeritus of Ottoman & Turkish Studies, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

For roughly forty years, from 1640 to 1680, Evliya Çelebi, who was born and raised in Istanbul, travelled throughout the Ottoman domains, and into its peripheries — west as far as Vienna, north to Kiev and the land of the Kalmuks, east to Tabriz, south to Sinnar and Abyssinia. Wherever he went, he recorded local speech, and included the samples in his voluminous Seyahatname. Although he states repeatedly that the world-traveller must know 147 languages, he gives specimens of some thirty non-Turkic languages, plus samples of at least the same number of Turkish dialects or other Turkic languages.

Read more … The Languages of the World according to Evliya, by Robert Dankoff

Syntax in morphological guise: Interrogative verbal morphology in Abaza, by Peter M. Arkadiev

  • Language

Linguistic Typology 2020; 24(2): 211–251

Abstract
Abaza, a polysynthetic ergative Northwest Caucasian language, possesses a typologically unique system of forming content questions by means of inflectional marking in the verb. I offer a detailed description of this peculiar system, showing how it is grounded in the more general pattern of encoding relativization by means of prefixes forming part of the basic cross-referencing paradigms. I also discuss a tentative diachronic scenario, explaining how at least a subpart of the synthetic interrogative marking in Abaza (and its close relative Abkhaz) could have emerged via univerbation of pseudocleft focus constructions.

Read more …Syntax in morphological guise: Interrogative verbal morphology in Abaza, by Peter M. Arkadiev

Notes on some Pre-Greek words in relation to Euskaro-Caucasian (North Caucasian + Basque), by John D Bengtson and Corinna Leschber

  • Language

John D. Bengtson
Santa Fe Institute, Evolution of Human Languages Project 

Corinna Leschber
Institute for Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Studies, Berlin

Journal of Language Relationship • Вопросыязыковогородства • 19/2 (2021) • Pp. 71–98 • © John D. Bengtson, Corinna Leschber, 2021

A “Pre-Greek” substratum underlying the Indo-European Greek language has been sus-pected for a long time. There is no reason to suppose that there was only one “Pre-Greek” language; the region where Greek was and is spoken may have been multilingual, with lan-guages of diverse origins. In the following study a limited number of etyma are examined that seem to bear witness to a widespread Euskaro-Caucasian language (or language family) associated with the spread of agriculture out of Anatolia. Greek words like ἀκαρί ‘mite’, μαστός ‘breast, teat’, β/μύσταξ ‘upper lip, mustache’, ξύλον ‘wood, timber’, and ψῡχή‘breath’ are basic and not likely to be cultural loans, and could reflect genuine relics of a Euskaro-Caucasian Pre-Greek language. The examples discussed here are probably part of a much larger subset that a thorough study of Furnée’s and Beekes’ total list of “Pre-Greek” words might yield.

Read more …Notes on some Pre-Greek words in relation to Euskaro-Caucasian (North Caucasian + Basque), by John...

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.

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

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

  • Language
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

  • Language
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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