Nakh Languages

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nakh Languages


(Veinakh languages), a group of Caucasian (Ibero-Caucasian) languages that includes the new written languages Chechen and Ingush and the unwritten Bats language. Some scholars regard the Nakh languages as a subgroup of the Nakho-Dagestanian languages.

The Nakh languages are distinguished from the other Ibero-Caucasian languages by a more complex vowel system. Special grammatical features include the presence of an ergative construction, a complex case system, and the category of grammatical classes, whose markers are added to certain verbs, such as Chechen v-u or y-u,”to eat” (male and female speaker, respectively), and also to qualitative adjectives, adverbial forms and auxiliary words (postpositions), and the numeral 4 (d-i; v-i’, y-i and b-i’). There are four class markers(v, b, y, and d), combinations of which are used to form six grammatical classes in Chechen and Ingush in the singular and plural, and eight in Bats. The verb has grammatical categories of class, tense, mood, aspect, and singularity and plurality of subject or object. A personal conjugation has developed in Bats: vuit’-as,”I go”; vuit’-aq,”you go.” Of the Nakh languages, only Chechen is marked by dialect differentiation.


Desheriev, Iu. D. Batsbiiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1953.
Desheriev, Iu. D. Sravnitel’no-istoricheskaia grammatika nakhskikh iazykov i problemy proiskhozhdeniia i istoricheskogo razvitiia gorskikh kavkazskikh narodov. Groznyi, 1963.
Mal’sagov, Z. K. Grammatika ingushskogo iazyka, 2nd ed. Groznyi, 1963.


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