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ماغارول ماج, магӏарул мацӏ, maǥarul macʼ
, اوار ماج, авар мацӏ, awar macʼ
Native toNorth Caucasus, Azerbaijan
Native speakers
800,000 (2021)[1]
Cyrillic (current)
Arabic, Latin (historical)
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1av – Avaric
ISO 639-2ava – Avaric
ISO 639-3Either:
ava – Avaric
oav – Old Avar
oav – Old Avar
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Avar (магӏарул мацӏ, maǥarul macʼ [maʕarul mat͡sʼ], "language of the mountains" or авар мацӏ, awar macʼ [awar mat͡sʼ], "Avar language"), also known as Avaric,[2][3] is a Northeast Caucasian language of the Avar–Andic subgroup that is spoken by Avars, primarily in Dagestan. In 2010, there were approximately 1 million speakers in Dagestan and elsewhere in Russia.

Geographic distribution

It is spoken mainly in the western and southern parts of the Russian Caucasus republic of Dagestan, and the Balaken, Zaqatala regions of north-western Azerbaijan.[1] Some Avars live in other regions of Russia. There are also small communities of speakers living in the Russian republics of Chechnya and Kalmykia; in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Jordan, and the Marmara Sea region of Turkey. It is spoken by about 800,000 people worldwide. UNESCO classifies Avar as vulnerable to extinction.[4]


It is one of six literary languages of Dagestan, where it is spoken not only by the Avar, but also serves as the language of communication between different ethnic and linguistic groups.


Glottolog lists 14 dialects of Avar, some of which correspond to the villages where they are spoken.The dialects are listed in alphabetical order based on their name in Glottolog:


Consonant phonemes of Avar[5]
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
central lateral
lenis fortis lenis fortis lenis fortis lenis fortis lenis fortis
Nasal m n
Plosive voiced b d ɡ
voiceless p t k ʔ
ejective kːʼ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡sː t͡ʃ t͡ʃː t͡ɬː q͡χː
ejective t͡sʼ t͡sːʼ t͡ʃʼ t͡ʃːʼ (t͡ɬːʼ) q͡χːʼ
Fricative voiceless s ʃ ʃː ɬ ɬː x χ χː ʜ
voiced z ʒ ʁ ʕ ɦ
Trill r
Approximant w l j

There are competing analyses of the distinction transcribed in the table with the length sign ː. Length is part of the distinction, but so is articulatory strength, so they have been analyzed as fortis and lenis.[citation needed] The fortis affricates are long in the fricative part of the contour, e.g. [tsː] (tss), not in the stop part as in geminate affricates in languages such as Japanese and Italian [tːs] (tts). Laver (1994) analyzes e.g. [t͡ɬː] as a two-segment affricate–fricative sequence [t͡ɬɬ] (/t𐞛ɬ/ = /tɬɬ/).[6]

Avar Vowels
Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

Avar has five phonemic vowels: /a e i o u/.

Lexical accent

In Avar, accent is contrastive, free and mobile, independent of the number of syllables in the word. Changes in lexical accent placement indicate different semantic meaning and grammatical meanings of a word:


Avar is an agglutinative language, of SOV order.

Adverbs do not inflect, outside of inflection for noun class in some adverbs of place: e.g. the /b/ in /ʒani-b/ "inside" and /t͡se-b-e/ "in front". Adverbs of place also distinguish locative, allative, and ablative forms suffixally, such as /ʒani-b/ "inside", /ʒani-b-e/ "to the inside", and /ʒani-sa/ "from the inside". /-go/ is an emphatic suffix taken by underived adjectives.

Writing systems

There were some attempts to write the Avar language in the Georgian alphabet as early as the 14th century.[7][8] The use of Arabic script for representing Avar in marginal glosses began in the 15th century. The use of Arabic, which is known as ajam, is still known today.[8]

As part of Soviet language re-education policies in 1928 the Ajam was replaced by a Latin alphabet, which in 1938 was in turn replaced by the current Cyrillic script. Essentially, it is the Russian alphabet plus one additional letter called palochka (stick, Ӏ). As that letter cannot be typed with common keyboard layouts, it is often replaced with a capital Latin letter i ( I ), small Latin letter L ( l ), or the numerical digit 1.

Current orthography

The Avar language is usually written in the Cyrillic script. The letters of the alphabet are (with their pronunciation given below in IPA transcription):[5][9]

А а
Б б
В в
Г г
Гъ гъ
Гь гь
ГӀ гӏ
Д д
Е е
/e/, /je/
Ё ё
Ж ж
З з
И и
Й й
К к
Къ къ
Кь кь
КӀ кӏ
КӀкӏ кӏкӏ
Кк кк
Л л
ЛӀ лӏ
Лъ лъ
Лълъ лълъ
М м
Н н
О о
П п
Р р
С с
Сс сс
Т т
ТӀ тӏ
У у
Ф ф
Х х
Хх хх
Хъ хъ
Хь хь
Хьхь хьхь
ХӀ хӏ
Ц ц
Цц цц
ЦӀ цӏ
ЦӀцӏ цӏцӏ
Ч ч
Чч чч
ЧӀ чӏ
ЧӀчӏ чӏчӏ
Ш ш
Щ щ
Ъ ъ
Ы ы
Ь ь
Э э
Ю ю
Я я

Comparison chart

Compiled according to:[10][11][12]

Cyrillic Latin Arabic IPA
А а A a آ ,ا /a/
Б б B b ب /b/
В в V v و /w/
Г г G g گ ,ڲ /ɡ/
Гъ Гъ Ƣ ƣ غ /ʁ/
Гь гь H h /ɦ/
ГӀ гӀ Ⱨ ⱨ ع /ʕ/
Д д D d د /d/
Е е E e, Je je اِ ,اه /e/, /je/
Ё ё Jo, jo /jo/
Ж ж Ƶ ƶ ج ,ڗ /ʒ/
З з Z z ز /z/
И и I i اى ,اِ /i/
Й й J j ى /j/
К к K k ک /k/
Кк кк Kk kk ک ,کّ /kː/
Къ къ Q q ق /q͡χʼː/
Кь кь Ꝗ ꝗ ق ,ڸّ ,ۊّ ,ڨ /t͡ɬʼː/
КӀ кӀ Ⱪ ⱪ گ ,ڲ ,ک /kʼ/
КӀкӀ кӀкӀ Ⱪⱪ ⱪⱪ کّ /kʼː/
Л л L l ل /l/
Лъ лъ Ļ ļ ڸ /t͡ɬː/
Лълъ лълъ Ļļ ļļ ڸّ ,ڸ /ɬ/
М м M m م /m/
Н н N n ن /n/
О о O o او /o/
П п P p ف ,پ /p/
Р р R r ر /r/
С с S s س /s/
Сс сс Ss ss صّ ,ص /sː/
Т т T t ت /t/
ТӀ тӀ Ţ ţ ط /tʼ/
У у U u او /u/
Ф ф F f ف /f/
Х х X x خ /χ/
Хх хх Xx xx خّ /χː/
Хъ хъ Ӿ ӿ څ ,خّ /q͡χː/
Хь хь Ҳ ҳ ؼ /x/
Хьхь хьхь Ҳҳ ҳҳ ؼ ,کّ /xː/
ХӀ хӀ Ħ ħ ح /ʜ/
Ц ц Ꞩ ꞩ ڝ ,ز /t͡s/
(Цц цц) Ꞩꞩ ꞩꞩ زّ ,ز /t͡sː/
ЦӀ цӀ Ⱬ ⱬ ڗ ,ز ,زّ /t͡sʼ/
(ЦӀцӀ цӀцӀ) Ⱬⱬ ⱬⱬ ژّ /t͡sʼː/
Ч ч C c ج ,چ /t͡ʃ/
(Чч чч) Cc cc ش ,چ ,چّ /t͡ʃː/
ЧӀ чӀ Ç ç چ ,چّ ,ڃ /t͡ʃʼ/
ЧӀчӀ чӀчӀ Çç çç چّ /t͡ʃʼː/
Ш ш Ş ş ش /ʃ/
Щ щ Şş şş شّ /ʃː/
Ъ ъ ء /ʔ/
Ы ы Y y /ɨ/
Ь ь J j /ʲ/
Э э E e اه /e/
Ю ю Ju ju /ju/
Я я Ja ja /ja/

Writing Comparison

Arabic Alphabet (2007)[13] Cyrillic Alphabet (2007) Latin Alphabet

نۈڸ ماڨێڸ وێڮانا، ڨالدا ڸۇق - ڸۇقۇن،
ڨۇردا كُېر ڃُان ئۇنېو، بێدا وېضّۇن دۇن؛
ڨۇرۇڬێ باطاڸۇن صېوې ئۇناڬۈ،
صۈ ڸارال راعالدا عۈدۈو كّۈلېو دۇن.
ڸار چُاخّۇلېب بۇڬۈ چابخێل گّالاڅان،
ڸێن گانضۇلېب بۇڬۈ ڬانڃازدا طاسان؛
طاراماغادێسېب قُال بالېب بۇڬۈ،
قۈ ڸێگێلان دێصا سۈعاب راڨالدا

Нолъ макьилъ вихьана, кьалда лъукъ-лъукъун,
Кьурда квер чIван унев, бида вецIцIун дун;
Кьуруги батIалъун цеве унаго,
Цо лъарал рагIалда гIодов кколев дун.
Лъар чваххулеб буго чабхил кIкIалахъан,
Лъин кIанцIулеб буго ганчIазда тIасан;
ТIарамагъадисеб къвал балеб буго,
Къо лъикIилан дица согIаб ракьалда.

Noļ maꝗiļ viҳana, ꝗalda ļuq-ļuqun,
Ꝗurda кvеr çvan unеv, bida vеⱬⱬun dun;
Ꝗuruⱨ baţaļun s̶еvе unago,
Co ļaral raⱨalda ⱨodov ккolеv dun.
Łar cvaxxulеb bugo cabxil ⱪⱪalax̶an,
Łin ⱪanⱬulеb bugo gançazda ţaсan;
Ţaramaƣadiсеb qval balеb bugo,
Qo ļiⱪilan dis̶a сoⱨab raꝗalda.


The literary language is based on the болмацӏ (bolmacʼ)[citation needed]bo = "army" or "country", and macʼ = "language"—the common language used between speakers of different dialects and languages. The bolmacʼ in turn was mainly derived from the dialect of Khunzakh, the capital and cultural centre of the Avar region, with some influence from the southern dialects. Nowadays the literary language is influencing the dialects, levelling out their differences.[citation needed]

The most famous figure of modern Avar literature is Rasul Gamzatov (died November 3, 2003), the People's Poet of Dagestan. Translations of his works into Russian have gained him a wide audience all over the former Soviet Union.[citation needed]

Sample sentences

English Avar Transliteration IPA
Hello! Ворчӏами! Worch’ami! /wort͡ʃ’ami/
How are you doing? Щиб хӏaл бугеб? Shchib hal bugeb? /ʃːib ʜal bugeb/
How are you? Иш кин бугеб? Ish kin bugeb? /iʃ kin bugeb/
What is your name? Дуда цӏар щиб? Duda c’ar shchib? /duda t͡s’ar ʃːib/
How old are you? Дур чан сон бугеб? Dur chan son bugeb? /dur t͡ʃan son bugeb/
Where are you going? Mун киве ина вугев? Mun kiwe ina wugew? /mun kiwe ina wugew/
Sorry! Тӏаса лъугьа! T’asa łuḩa! /t’asa ɬuha/
Where is the little boy going? Киве гьитӏинав вас унев вугев? Kiwe ḩit’inaw was unew wugew? /kiwe hit’inaw was unew wugew/
The boy broke a bottle. Васас шиша бекана. Wasas shisha bekana. /wasas ʃiʃa bekana/
They are building the road. Гьез нух бале (гьабулеб) буго. Ḩez nux́ bale (ḩabuleb) bugo. /hez nuχ bale (habuleb) bugo/

See also


  1. ^ a b Avar at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
    Old Avar at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: ava". ISO 639-2 Registration Authority - Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-07-05. Name: Avaric
  3. ^ "Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: ava". ISO 639-3 Registration Authority - SIL International. Retrieved 2017-07-05. Name: Avaric
  4. ^ "UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger". UNESCO. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Consonant Systems of the North-East Caucasian Languages on TITUS DIDACTICA
  6. ^ Laver (1994) Principles of Phonetics p. 371.
  7. ^ Simon Crisp, "Language Planning and the Orthography of Avar", Folia Slavica 7, 1–2 (1984): 91–104.
  8. ^ a b Simon Crisp, "The Formation and Development of Literary Avar", pp. 143–62, in Isabelle T. Kreindler, ed., Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Soviet National Languages: Their Past, Present and Future, Contributions to the Sociology of Language, 40 (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1985).
  9. ^ Omniglot on the Avar alphabet, language and pronunciation
  10. ^ Саидов М. Д. (1948). "Возникновение письменности у аварцев" (Языки Дагестана ed.). Махач-Кала. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Новый алфавит для народностей Дагестана" (II) (Культура и письменность Востока ed.). Б. 1928: 176–177. Archived from the original on 2022-04-02. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Алексеев М. Е. (2001). "Аварский язык. — Языки Российской Федерации и соседних государств. — М.: Наука". М.: 24–34. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Avar (Магӏарул мацӏ / Авар мацӏ)". Retrieved 2023-08-14.