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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Kabardins and Cherkess who live in the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR, the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, and the city of Mozdok and some of the khutors (farmsteads) of Stavropol’ Krai adjacent to it. Kabarda-Cherkess is also spoken by the Besleneevtsy, who live in four auls (villages) in the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast and Krasnoiarsk Krai, and by the inhabitants of a number of auls in the Adygei Atonomous Oblast. Kabarda-Cherkess speakers number approximately 274, 500 (1970 census). Kabarda-Cherkess is related to the Abkhaz-Adyg group of the Ibero-Caucasian languages. It is divided into four main dialects: Bol’shaia Kabarda, Mozdok, Beslenei, and Kuban’. An orthography for Kabarda-Cherkess was created after the Great October Revolution based at first on the Roman alphabet (1923–24) and later (from 1936) on Russian orthography.

Kabarda-Cherkess is characterized by an abundance of consonants. There are only three vowels: a, e, and y. Its morphology is characterized by strongly pronounced polysynthesism of verb forms. The verb has categories of person, number, tense, mood, transitive-intransitive, static-dynamic, version, causative, and potential. There are three cases: nominative, ergative-oblique, and instrumental. The usual sentence word order is: subject-object-predicate. A relative attribute always precedes the attributed word, and a qualitative attribute follows the attributed word. Participial and adverbial-participial phrase constructions function mostly as subordinate clauses.


Turchaninov, G., and M. Tsagov. Grammatika kabardinskogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Iakovlev, N. F. Grammatika literaturnogo kabardino-cherkesskogo iazyka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Grammatika kabardino-cherkesskogo literaturnogo iazyka. Moscow, 1957.
Ocherki kabardino-cherkesskoi dialektologii. Nal’chik, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.