language of the Lezghians, who live in the southeastern part of the Dagestan ASSR and in the northern part of the Azerbaijan SSR. It is related to the Lezghian group of Caucasian (Ibero-Caucasian) languages. The number of Lezghian speakers totals 311,000 (1970 census).
Lezghian is divided into three dialect groups: Kurin, Samurian, and Kuba. There are independent subdialects: Kurush, Giliar, Fiisk, and Gelhen. The sound system of Lezghian includes five vowels and a rich consonant system. Nouns have the categories of case (18) and number; the stem of the ergative case is used to form the oblique cases of nouns. Numerals are classed as cardinal, ordinal, fractional, and multiple (or distributive). The Lezghian verb is not inflected according to person and number; there are seven moods and a complex system of tense forms. The simple sentence in Lezghian employs nominative, ergative, and dative constructions. The Arabic-based alphabet was not widely used, and a Roman-based alphabet was created in 1928; a Russian-based alphabet has been used since 1938.
REFERENCESZhirkov, L. I. Grammatika lezginskogo iazyka. Makhachkala, 1941.
Meilanova, U. A. “Lezginskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 4. Moscow, 1967.
Gadzhiev, M. M. Russko-lezginskii slovar’. Makhachkala, 1950.
Talibov, B. B., and M. M. Gadzhiev. Lezginsko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1966.