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the language of the Ossetians, who constitue the basic population of the Severnaia Osetiia ASSR and Iuzhnaia Osetiia Autonomous Oblast. It is also spoken in the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR, Stavropol’ Krai, and a number of regions of the Georgian SSR. Ossetic is spoken by 432,000 persons (1970 census).

Ossetic belongs to the Indo-European language family; it has preserved many features inherited from the language of the Alani and Scythians. There are two primary dialects: Iron, the basis of the literary language, and Digor. The inhabitants of the mountain auls of Uallagkom speak a mixed dialect.

The phonology of Ossetic is characterized by seven vowels (strong and weak) and 28 consonants (including globalized consonants and the uvular q). Its grammatical structure is agglutinative (declensions) and inflectional (conjugations). Nouns have the categories of definiteness and number; there are nine cases. There are four classes of numerals: cardinals, ordinals, distributives, and fractions. Ossetic has been strongly influenced by other Caucasian languages.

The first written record in Ossetic, the Zelenchukskaia inscription (written in Greek letters), dates from 941. A writing system based on the Cyrillic alphabet was created by A. Shegren in 1844. From 1923 to 1938 the Ossetic writing system was based on the Latin alphabet. A Georgian-based script was used in Iuzhnaia Osetiia from 1938 to 1954. A writing system based on the Russian alphabet was adopted in Severnaia Osetiia in 1938 and in Iuzhnaia Osetiia in 1954.


Shegren, A. Osetinskaia grammatika, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1844.
Miller, V. F. Iazyk osetin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962. (Translated from German.)
Akhvlediani, G. S. Sbornik izbrannykh rabot po osetinskomu iazyku, book 1. Tbilisi, 1960.
Grammatika osetinskogo iazyka, vols. 1–2. Ordzhonikidze, 1963–69.
Abaev, V. I. Osetinskii iazyk i fol’klor, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Abaev, V. I. Istoriko-etimologicheskii slovar’ osetinskogo iazyka, vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958–73.
Abaev, V. I. Russko-osetinskii slovar’. Moscow, 1970.


References in periodicals archive ?
From the point of view of prefixation, the SAE core is constituted by German, Croatian, Romanian and Ossetic.
One possible alternative to this analysis might be treating -lasen as a morphologicalized relational noun (this interpretation is proposed in Belyaev 2015 for Ossetic directive, recessive and comitative markers, which demonstrate many postpositional properties, just as the Beserman recessive and approximative do).
2015, "Incorporating Case" in Ossetic and the Typology of Case Markers.
Here follow some examples (for a more comprehensive list see Zoller forthcoming): Garhwali syam karka 'woodcock', Wakhi kherk, khirk 'chicken', Burushaski qarqaamuc 'Huhn, Hahn' (with -muc < OIA mrgaci 'bird' [10265]), (25) Pashto qarya 'crow, rook', Ossetic kark 'hen', Late Avestan kahrka- (in compounds), Middle and New Persian kark 'chicken, hen', Tocharian B kranko 'chicken', etc.
He quotes among others Ossetic coergoes 'eagle', Sogdian carkas 'bird of prey', Middle Persian kargas, Khwarezmian krkys 'vulture', New Persian kargas, Yidgha kary[?
Against it one can adduce the fact that in Ossetic there are very old prefixal formations which do not carry any aspectual function.
These examples suggest therefore that the Slavic-style aspect, in Ossetic, has to be considered as a quite late development, not necessarily induced by contact with the Kartvelian languages rather than with Russian; this conclusion brings us to the next point.
Among the modern Iranian languages, Ossetic is distinguished by its complex system of nominal case inflection, exemplified by the following paradigms for baex "horse" in the two major dialects, Digor (D) and Iron (I): (2)
Although a century has passed since the appearance of Miller's pioneering historical grammar of Ossetic in 1903, disagreement persists as to the origin of several of these case markers.
The Twaltae (Tualtae) are referred to several times as a "Southern Ossetic tribe" (e.
Ossetic provides us with a matching noun in son 'misfortune, misery' (Abaev, CroBaPb, III:134-35), which is a specialized, traditional, formulaic word, in part22 synonymous with the common aeznag.
Some Notes on Herodotus IV, 71-75," comparing recent archaeological discoveries and the Ossetic Baekh faeldisyn ritual.