The Oxford Handbook of Languages of the Caucasus
The volume includes chapters devoted to various aspects of Caucasian languages.
This chapter provides an overview of the basic properties of the languages of the Nakh-Dagestanian (East Caucasian) family. Given the size of the family, we cannot cover even the most typical features in full here, let alone describe details of the variation that exists. Likewise, we cannot do full justice to all individual languages or even branches within the family and must instead confine the discussion to occasional mentions of languages and branches here and there. The goal of this chapter is to complement the body of previously published surveys of the family and its branches, such as van den Berg (2005b), Bokarev and Lomtatidze (1967), Klimov and Alekseev (1980), Smeets (1994), Alekseev (1998b), Hewitt (2004), and Job (2004), and to provide a state-of-the-art update on the major issues in the grammar of Nakh-Dagestanian. Where appropriate, we refer the reader to other chapters in this volume or to existing family- or branch-wide overview studies of specific phenomena. For reasons of space, however, we do not provide references to individual grammatical descriptions, except when citing examples from the literature. Examples without references are drawn from our own fieldwork.
This chapter presents an overview of the Northwest Caucasian (West Caucasian, Abkhaz-Adyghe) family.
This chapter provides a sociolinguistic account of the languages of the Caucasus, including figures for speakers and their geographical distribution, language vitality, the official status of the languages, orthography, and writing practices. The chapter discusses language repertoires typical of different areas in the Caucasus, and their change over the 20th century. As a showcase, it provides an overview of traditional multilingualism in Daghestan, the most linguistically dense are in the Caucasus. It discusses various patterns of interethnic communication, including lingua franca and asymmetrical bilingualism. We show that bilingualism was gendered, and how Russian was spreading in the area as a new lingua franca. The chapter surveys the outcomes of language contact, covering both lexical borrowing (including main references to etymological research) and providing examples of structural convergence, with a special focus on the area of the highest language density in the Caucasus, Dagestan. Data in the chapter are based both on official sources (censuses), on information provided by experts and on the authors’ own work in the field.
In this chapter, Transliteration tables is provided for major written languages of Caucasus using Cyrillic.