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one of the Caucasian (Iberio-Caucasian) languages which has recently become a written language and which is included in the Abkhazo-Adyg group. This language is spoken predominantly in the Abkhazian ASSR (about 65,000 speakers) and in Turkey. It is represented by two dialects—the Abzhui dialect, on which the literary language is based, and the Bzyb’ dialect. The phonetics of the Abkhaz language is characterized by a meager vocalic system (the phonemes /a/ and /a/ with broad phonetic variation) and a rich consonantal system (58 phonemes in the literary language and 65 phonemes in the Bzyb’ dialect). Stress is phonologically significant.

By morphological type, the Abkhaz language is agglutinative, with a highly developed prefix structure. Elements of polysynthesism are much in evidence. The simplicity of the noun morphology contrasts with the complexity of the verbal morphology. There are several categories common to nouns and verbs (the categories of humans and things, number, and possessiveness; common particles). There are no declensions. Postpositions are used instead of prepositions. The verbs are divided into transitive and intransitive, static and dynamic. Among the verbal categories are person (polypersonal conjugation), number version potentiality, reciprocity, conjunctivity, causitive, tense, mood, and so forth. There is a complex system of preverbs. Infinite and verbal adverb constructions functioning as subordinate clauses are widely used. Compounding of words plays an important role in the formation of words. The vocabulary exhibits Turkisms, Georgianisms, and Russianisms. The Latin script adopted in 1928 was converted in 1938 to a Georgian script and in 1954 to a Russian script.


Uslar, P. K. Etnografiia Kavkaza: Iazykoznanie. Vol. 1: Abkhazskii iazyk. Tiflis, 1887.
Marr, N. Ia. Abkhazsko-russkii slovar’. Leningrad, 1926.
Bgazhba, Kh. S. Bzybskii dialekt abkhazskogo iazyka. Tbilisi, 1964.
Lomtatidze, K. V. “Abkhazskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR. Vol. 4: Iberiisko-kavkazskie iazyki. Moscow, 1967.
Grammatika abkhazskogo iazyka. Sukhumi, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
This pattern has been reported, for example, for nonfinite tenses in Abkhaz, which are used in different types of subordinate clauses, for example, in complement clauses of indirect speech:
Since the hypothesis formulated above only applies to free modifiers (Section 1), Abkhaz does not constitute a true counterexample.
While nearly every side in the early stages of Georgia's conflicts received some aid from the Russian military, it appears that Moscow played an important role in preventing the defeat of Abkhaz and Ossetian forces.
His remarks contrasted with the statements by Ossetian and Abkhaz leaders who vowed to accept nothing less than full independence and refused to discuss any other options with Georgia).
Victory went to the local Abkhaz, aided by ever-eager-to-fight Cossacks, volunteers from the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, and some Russians.
A significant degree of autonomy for the Abkhaz people.
According to the Abkhaz constitution, any problems involving ballot boxes both inside and outside of Abkhazia can result in the election being voided, which made the intervention into the Turkish ballot box quite significant.
Election posters for the incumbent Abkhaz leader, Sergei Bagapsh, depict him in statesman-like poses with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, and Vladimir Putin, the prime minister.
4) In its statement the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed no concern at all about Georgia's rights and anxieties and justified Putin's actions on the grounds of "protecting the interests of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian population and its Russian citizens".
Language: Georgian (official), Abkhaz also "official language" in Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia.
Moreover, it granted Russian citizenship to Abkhaz and South Ossetian residents, and then justified its recent invasion of Georgia on the grounds that it had an obligation to protect Russian citizens.
Most of the Abkhaz and Ossetians have already obtained Russian passports.