Studies in West Circassian phonology and morphology, by Rieks Smeets

Modern linguistic mapping of Western Caucasus tribal composition 1774-1780 © Artur Tsutsiev

Modern linguistic mapping of Western Caucasus tribal composition 1774-1780 © Artur Tsutsiev

Studies in West Circassian phonology and morphology, by Rieks SmeetsStudies in West Circassian phonology and morphology
Author: Rieks Smeets (Henricus Joannes Smeets)
Year: 1984
Publisher: The Hakuchi Press
Place of Publication: Leiden, Netherlands
Number of pages: 490
Language: English


This book is a contribution to the study of Circassian, a West Caucasian language.

The description focusses on the language of a group of Circassians in Anatolian Turkey living in a{d around the town of Duzce. They speak a form of Shapsug, a West Circassian dialect. The Düzce Shapsug data were collected both in Turkey and in the Netherlands. I spent three periods of a month doing fieldwork in Turkey. My main informant was a now 56-year old man who had lived in the Netherlands
for years. Data he provided were constantly checked with his family and other members of the Düzce community. I am very grateful to him and his relatives for their unselfish help and for their hospitality.

The Introduction, the first of the four parts of this book, gives an ethnolinguistic survey of the languages of the Caucasus and offers a short exploration of the West Caucasian linguistic type; the final section of the Introduction places this work within the larger framework of the study of West Caucasian languages as a whole.

Part 2, Phonology, presents, in five chapters, a phonology and morphophonology of Düzce Shapsug. Chapters 1, 2 and 5 mainly provide data, and chapters 3 and 4 are primarily concerned with analysis.

Part 3, Morphology, consists of a synchronic (chapter 6) and a diachronic (chapter 7) study of the expression of negation in Circassian.

Part 4 (chapters 8-11) offers four adapted versions of articles which have appeared or will appear elsewhere (see References). Presentation of material and terminology have been adapted where necessary. Chapters 8 and 9 also deal with morphology, chapter 8 with the expression of possession and chapter 9 with the indication of direction and location. Chapter 10 discusses a few developments in Shapsug consonant systems and chapter 11 presents a religious Düzce Shapsug text.

The References and the Abbreviations/Conventions cover all chapters. In addition, chapters 3-11 are each accompanied by a list of abbreviations. The Introduction and each chapter are followed by a set of notes. The four parts of this volume, and also the chapters making up part 4, can be read as studies in their own right. This explains why there is a certain amount of overlap in the introductory sections and notes of some chapters.

I am indebted to Colin Ewen for correcting the English of the 9 manuscript, Koos 't Hoen for parts of the English translation, proofreading and general logistic support, Jean-Robert Smeets for the French translation of chapter 8, and editorial assistance, Jan Timmers for his meticulous proofreading Marianne Boere for typing parts of the book, REFERENCES Ineke Smeets for proofreading, Arie Speksnijder for drawing the first two maps, and Mark Smeets for his patience.

The full book in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (12 MB)




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