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the language of the Avars, who live in the Dagestan ASSR, partially in the northern Azerbaijan SSR, and in the Severnaia Ossetia ASSR.
Avar belongs to the Dagestan (or northeastern) group of the Caucasian (Ibero-Caucasian) family of languages. It breaks down into a large number of dialects, local dialects, and local subdialects, which form the southern and northern dialects. The so-called Bolmats (“language of society”), an interdialectal language based on the northern dialect, is the basis of the Avar literary language. In 1959, 270,000 people spoke Avar. It is a second language of the Ando-Bidoi (or Andi-Tsez) nationalities of the Dagestan ASSR.
The structure of the Avar language is characterized by a complex system of consonants, the presence of noun classes, numerous local cases, and an ergative construction. Attempts to write Avar words in Arabic script date to the 15th century, but Avar literature based on the Arabic script gained widespread popularity only in the mid-19th century and early 20th century. In 1927, Arabic was replaced by Latin script and in 1938 by Russian script. After the October Revolution, the Avar literary language began to flourish. The creative contribution of Gamzat Tsadas (1877–1951) and R. Gamzatov (born 1923) exerted a great influence on the development of literary Avar.
REFERENCESZhirkov, L. I. Grammatika avarskogo iazyka. Moscow, 1924.
Avarsko-russkii slovar’. Compiled by L. I. Zhirkov. Moscow, 1936. (A short Avar grammar is appended.)
Bokarev, A. A. Sintaksis avarskogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Saidov, M. S., and Sh. I. Mikailov. Russko-avarskii slovar’. Makhachkala, 1951.
Saidov, M. S. Avarsko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1967.