|? lezgi ?'al|
|Native to||North Caucasus|
|Region||Southern Dagestan, western Caspian Sea coast, central Caucasus|
Official language in
Lezgian , also called Lezgi or Lezgin, is a Northeast Caucasian language . It is the principal Lezgic language, being followed by Tabasaran language spoken by about one-fifth of its number of speakers. It is spoken by the Lezgins, who live in southern Dagestan; Russia; northern Azerbaijan; and to a much lesser degree Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan; Kazakhstan; Turkey, and other countries. It is a much-written literary language and an official language of Dagestan. It is classified as "vulnerable" by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.
In 2002, Lezgian was spoken by about 397,000 people in Russia, mainly Southern Dagestan, and in 1999 by 178,400 people in mainly the Qusar, Quba, Qabala, Oghuz, Ismailli and Khachmaz (Xaçmaz) provinces of northeastern Azerbaijan. Lezgian is also spoken in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Germany and Uzbekistan by immigrants from Azerbaijan and Dagestan.
The total number of speakers is about 800,000.
Nine languages survive in the Lezgic language family:
These have the same names as their ethnic groups.
|Close||i (?)||y ()||? (?)||u (?)|
|Mid||e (?; ?)||(?)||o (o)|
There are 54 consonants in Lezgian. Characters to the right are the letters of the Lezgian Cyrillic Alphabet. Note that aspiration is not normally indicated in the orthography, despite the fact that it is phonemic.
|Nasal||/m/ ?||/n/ ?|
|Plosive||voiced||/b/ ?||/d/ ?||/g/ ?||/g?/|
|voiceless||/p/ ?||/t/ ?||/t?/||/k/ ?||/k?/||/q/||/q?/||/?/ ?|
|aspirated||/p?/ ?||/t?/ ?||/t/||/k?/ ?||/k/||/q?/||/q/|
|voiceless||/t?s/ ?||/t?s?/||/t/ ?|
|aspirated||/t?s?/ ?||/t?s/||/t/ ?|
|Fricative||voiced||/v/ ?||/z/ ?||/z?/||/?/ ?||/?/||//|
|voiceless||/f/ ?||/s/ ?||/s?/||/?/ ?||/x/||/x?/||/?/ ?||//||/h/|
|Approximant||/l/ ?||/j/ ?||/w/ ?|
Lezgian has been written in several different alphabets over the course of its history. These alphabets have been based on three scripts: Arabic (before 1928), Latin (1928-38), and Cyrillic (1938-present).
The Lezgian Cyrillic alphabet is as follows:
The Latin alphabet was as follows:
|A a||Ä ä||B b||C c||? ?||Ch ch||?h ?h||D d|
|E e||F f||G g||Gh gh||H h||I i||J j||K k|
|Kh kh||L l||M m||N n||? ?||O o||Ö ö||P p|
|Ph ph||Q q||Qh qh||R r||S s||? ?||T t||Th th|
|U u||Ü ü||V v||X x||X? x?||Y y||Z z||? ?|
Lezgian is unusual for a Northeast Caucasian language in not having noun classes (also called "grammatical gender"). Standard Lezgian grammar features 18 grammatical cases, produced by agglutinating suffixes, of which 12 are still used in spoken conversation.
The four grammatical cases are:
There are two types of declensions.
The numbers of Lezgian are:
Nouns following a number are always in the singular. Numbers precede the noun. "" and "" lose their final "-?" before a noun.
Lezgian numerals work in a similar fashion to the French ones, and are based on the vigesimal system in which "20", not "10", is the base number. "Twenty" in Lezgian is "?", and higher numbers are formed by adding the suffix - to the word (which becomes "" - the same change occurs in ? and ) and putting the remaining number afterwards. This way 24 for instance is ? ("20 and 4"), and 37 is ("20 and 17"). Numbers over 40 are formed similarly ( becomes ). 60 and 80 are treated likewise. For numbers over 100 just put a number of hundreds, then (if need be) the word with a suffix, then the remaining number. 659 is thus . The same procedure follows for 1000. 1989 is ? in Lezgi.