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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Laks, one of the literary languages of the Dagestan ASSR. Lak belongs to the Dagestan group of Caucasian (Ibero-Caucasian) languages. It is spoken in the Laka, Kuli, and Novaia Laka raions of the Dagestan ASSR, by approximately 82,200 people (1970 census).

Lak is divided into five main dialects. The Lak literary language is based on the Kumukh dialect. The phonetic structure of Lak is characterized by the presence of the labialized consonants [kƏv], [tsƏv], [t∫t∫v], and [kh’v], and by the phonemic contrast of simple and intensified consonants, which are distinguished by length and the absence of aspiration. Lak morphology is characterized by four grammatical classes. It has a multicase declensional system. Verbs are inflected for person. Tenses and moods are formed from a primary stem (the verb root with infixation) or from a secondary stem (from the infinitive). The simple sentence in Lak makes use of ergative, nominative, and dative constructions. In the eighth century, the Lak language began using loan-words from Armenian, Persian, and the Turkic languages. In Soviet times, Lak has borrowed vocabulary primarily from Russian. Lak had an alphabet based on Arabic script until 1928, when the alphabet was Romanized; in 1938 the Lak language adopted a writing system based on the Russian alphabet.


Zhirkov, L. I. Lakskii iazyk: Fonetika i morfologiia. Moscow, 1955.
Murkelinskii, G. B. “Lakskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 4.Moscow, 1967.
Murkelinskii, G. B. Grammatika lakskogo iazyka, part 1.Makhachkala, 1971.
Murkelinskii, G. B. Russko-lakskii slovar’. Makhachkala, 1953.
Khaidakov, S. M. Laksko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.