Mingrelian


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Mingrelian

 

an unwritten language of the Kartvelian language family. It is represented in the western Georgian SSR by two close dialects, Samurzakan-Zugdidi and Senaki. Mingrelian-Abkhazian bilingualism is common in the Abkhazian ASSR.

Mingrelian has five vowel phonemes—a, e, i, o, and u (in the Samurzakan-Zugdidi dialect, ә)—and 28 consonant phonemes (the pharyngeal series is represented by fewer consonants in comparison with the other Kartvelian languages). Consonant clusters are limited by harmonic complexes and groups with l, r, m, n, and w. Assimilation of vowels and dissimilation of consonants is widespread. There is a relatively high degree of synthesis in the morphology. Inflectional paradigms are unified. The nominal stem (with the exception of the final) is stable; vocalic (ablaut) alternations frequently occur in the verbal stem (dirak ˜ dirik ˜ dirk, “to bend”). There are nine cases: nominative, ergative, dative, transformative, genitive, instrumental, ablative, allative, and destinative.

In addition to the categories common to the Kartvelian languages, the Mingrelian verb uses prefixes to express the categories of attestation, reciprocity, and potential. Fifteen modal-temporal forms are distinguished. The ergative sentence construction is not widely used. A special feature of the vocabulary is the great number of sound-symbolic and onomatopoeic words, which often form correlative series. In addition to a wealth of Georgianisms, there are borrowings from Turkish, Abkhazian, and other languages. Verbal derivation is well developed.

REFERENCES

Kipshidze, I. Grammatika mingrel’skogo (iverskogo) iazyka s khrestomatiei i slovarem. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Berize, S. Megruli (iveruli) ena, book 1, essay 1. Tiflis, 1920.
Khubua, M. Megrel’skie teksty. Tbilisi, 1937.
Kiziria, A. I. “Zanskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow, 1967.
Kluge, T. Beiträge zur mingrelischen Grammatik. Berlin, 1916.

G. A. KLIMOV

References in periodicals archive ?
As the daughter of a Mingrelian family who migrated to the Karadeniz region of Turkey from Georgia, Kaya told Today's Zaman that "Nanni," which has been praised by the UK-based NGO Foundation for Endangered Languages, is all about keeping the torch of her ancestors' language alight.
Despite the fact that in retrospect Kaya says she regrets not singing lullabies to her own children in Laz or Mingrelian when they were babies, she is pleased that now, as grownups, they can enjoy and appreciate the old songs.
With particular reference to Abkhazia, the exiles in whose repatriation the Abkhazians are most interested are the descendants of those Abkhazians who migrated to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the great Caucasian War (1864) or following the Russo-Turkish war of 1877/8, a population-shift which denuded Abkhazia of its native inhabitants and created the opportunity for the start of large-scale inward Mingrelian migration, something which became state-policy under Stalin's anti-Abkhazian campaign from the late 1930s and which had such a disastrous consequence for the republic's ethnic balance, Abkhazians forming only 17.
CRIA: How widely spoken are Mingrelian, Laz and Svan in (and outside) Georgia?
During the relatively liberal era under Nikita Khrushchev, millions of gulag prisoners returned home, telling the truth about genocidal man-made hunger and the ethnic cleansing of entire nations, including the neighboring Chechens, Ingush, Mingrelian Turks, Black Sea Greeks, and others who were loaded in cargo trains and shipped to Siberia and the frozen steppes of Kazakhstan.
He led his Mingrelian (Western Georgian) followers against the demoralized Georgian army.
As already noted by DeLancey (1985), in one language of this family, Mingrelian, all intransitive clauses seem to follow the split (cf.
It seemed hilarious to us children when, in her account of this story, she tried to reproduce the terrible Mingrelian accent in his Russian.
This digression is enhanced by the anecdote about the principal's Mingrelian and mother's Abkhazian accents.
From an emigre source, some archival material and certain glasnost' revelations, Knight has put together an acceptable account of the early years and political formation of Beria: his Mingrelian background, his studies at the Baku Polytechnic School for Mechanical Construction and his stint as a Bolshevik spy in the Musavat party, which governed an independent Azerbaidzhan for an eighteen-month period between November 1918 and April 1920, before the territory was absorbed back into the Russian fold.
Amy Knight's treatment of the postwar issues are also informative and interesting: the campaign against "rootless cosmopolitanism," the Mingrelian Affair, the doctor's plot, the death of Stalin, and the fall and execution of Beria.
Aparag entered Kabardin as abredzh, Abkhaz as abrag', ossetian as abireg, Mingrelian, Svan, and Georgian as abragi, and Ingush and Chechen as obarg, to cite merely a few Caucasian languages.