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The Caucasian languages

P. 125-157.

If anything, Europe’s linguistically most exotic area is the Caucasus. In terms of linguistic density it is the subcontinent’s New Guinea. Languages of Western, Central and Eastern Europe are less typologically diverse – and not much more numerous – than the languages spoken in its southeastern corner. Three “endemic” language families are spoken here, South Caucasian (Kartvelian), Northeast or simply East Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) and Northwest or simply West Caucasian (Abkhaz-Adyghe). The latter two are sometimes considered to form a deep-level North Caucasian family (see Nikolaev and Starostin 1994), but this entity is disputed. An earlier hypothesis of genealogical relations between all endemic families (the assumed Ibero-Caucasian family) has now been largely abandoned (cf. Tuite 2008). The linguistic diversity of the area is further extended by the presence of Turkic and Indo-European languages. We will primarily deal with endemic families, sometimes also with Armenian (for the purposes of this survey, the difference between Eastern and Western Armenian may be neglected), to a lesser extent with Iranian languages which are also spoken outside the Caucasus and minimally with the Turkic languages, as Turkic is dealt with in a separate chapter of the present volume.

В книге

The Caucasian languages
Vol. 1. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2011.