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an unwritten language of the Kartvelian language family. It is represented in the western Georgian SSR by two close dialects, Samurzakan-Zugdidi and Senaki. Mingrelian-Abkhazian bilingualism is common in the Abkhazian ASSR.

Mingrelian has five vowel phonemes—a, e, i, o, and u (in the Samurzakan-Zugdidi dialect, ә)—and 28 consonant phonemes (the pharyngeal series is represented by fewer consonants in comparison with the other Kartvelian languages). Consonant clusters are limited by harmonic complexes and groups with l, r, m, n, and w. Assimilation of vowels and dissimilation of consonants is widespread. There is a relatively high degree of synthesis in the morphology. Inflectional paradigms are unified. The nominal stem (with the exception of the final) is stable; vocalic (ablaut) alternations frequently occur in the verbal stem (dirak ˜ dirik ˜ dirk, “to bend”). There are nine cases: nominative, ergative, dative, transformative, genitive, instrumental, ablative, allative, and destinative.

In addition to the categories common to the Kartvelian languages, the Mingrelian verb uses prefixes to express the categories of attestation, reciprocity, and potential. Fifteen modal-temporal forms are distinguished. The ergative sentence construction is not widely used. A special feature of the vocabulary is the great number of sound-symbolic and onomatopoeic words, which often form correlative series. In addition to a wealth of Georgianisms, there are borrowings from Turkish, Abkhazian, and other languages. Verbal derivation is well developed.


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Kluge, T. Beiträge zur mingrelischen Grammatik. Berlin, 1916.