Circassian
Cherkess
EthnicityCircassians, Cherkesogai
Geographic
distribution
North Caucasus
Linguistic classificationNorthwest Caucasian
  • Circassian
Proto-languageProto-Circassian
Subdivisions
Glottologcirc1239
  Circassian

Circassian (/sɜːrˈkæʃən/ sur-KASH-ən), also known as Cherkess (/ɜːrˈkɛs/ chur-KESS), is a subdivision of the Northwest Caucasian language family, spoken by the Circassian people. There are two Circassian languages, defined by their literary standards, Adyghe (кӀахыбзэ; also known as West Circassian), with half a million speakers, and Kabardian (къэбэрдейбзэ; also known as East Circassian), with a million. The languages are highly mutually intelligible with one another, but differ to a degree where they would be considered clear-cut dialects. The earliest extant written records of the Circassian languages are in the Arabic script, recorded by the Turkish traveller Evliya Çelebi in the 17th century,[1] although the Greek and Georgian alphabets were adapted for them in ancient and medieval times.[2]

There is consensus among the linguistic community about the fact that Adyghe and Kabardian are typologically distinct languages.[3][4][5] However, the local terms for these languages refer to them as dialects. The Circassian people call themselves адыгэ (adyge; English: Adyghe) in their native language. In the southwestern part of European Russia, there is also a Federal Subject called Adygea (Russian: Адыгея, Adygeya), enclaved within Krasnodar Krai, which is named after the Circassian endonym. In the Russian language, the Circassian subdivision is treated as a group of languages and called адыгские (adygskie, meaning the Adyghe languages), whereas the Adyghe language is called адыгейский (adygeyskiy, meaning the language of those in [the Republic of] Adygea). The terms Circassian and Cherkess are sometimes used in several languages as synonyms for the Northwest Caucasian languages in general or the Adyghe language in particular.

Circassian languages

Proto‑Circassian
East Circassian
West Circassian
Kuban river
Black Sea coast
A Circassian dialects family tree.
Yinal speaking Adyghe and Kabardian

Alphabets

Adyghe alphabet
А а
[]
Б б
[b]
В в
[v]
Г г
[ɣ] or [ɡ]
Гу гу
[ɡʷ]
Гъ гъ
[ʁ]
Гъу гъу
[ʁʷ]
Д д
[d]
Дж дж
[d͡ʒ]
Дз дз
[d͡z]
Дзу дзу
[d͡zʷ]
Е е
[ja/aj]
Ё ё
[jo]
Ж ж
[ʒ]
Жъ жъ
[ʐ]
Жъу жъу
[ʒʷ] or [ʐʷ]
Жь жь
[ʑ]
З з
[z]
И и
[jə/əj]
Й й
[j]
К к
[k]
Ку ку
[]
Къ къ
[q]
Къу къу
[]
Кӏ кӏ
[t͡ʃʼ/kʼ]
Кӏу кӏу
[kʷʼ]
Л л
[ɮ] or [l]
Лъ лъ
[ɬ]
Лӏ лӏ
[ɬʼ]
М м
[m]
Н н
[n]
О о
[aw/wa]
П п
[p]
Пӏ пӏ
[]
Пӏу пӏу
[pʷʼ]
Р р
[r]
С с
[s]
Т т
[t]
Тӏ тӏ
[]
Тӏу тӏу
[tʷʼ]
У у
[w/əw]
Ф ф
[f]
Х х
[x]
Ху ху
[]
Хъ хъ
[χ]
Хъу хъу
[χʷ]
Хь хь
[ħ]
Ц ц
[t͡s]
Цу цу
[t͡sʷ]
Цӏ цӏ
[t͡sʼ]
Ч ч
[t͡ʃ]
Чӏ чӏ
[t͡ʂʼ]
Чъ чъ
[t͡ʂ]
Ш ш
[ʃ]
Шъ шъ
[ʂ]
Шъу шъу
[ʃʷ] or [ʂʷ]
Шӏ шӏ
[ʃʼ]
Шӏу шӏу
[ʃʷʼ]
Щ щ
[ɕ]
Ъ ъ
[ˠ]
Ы ы
[ə]
Ь ь
[ʲ]
Э э
[a]
Ю ю
[ju]
Я я
[jaː]
ӏ
[ʔ]
ӏу
[ʔʷ]
Kabardian alphabet
А а
[]
Э э
[a]
Б б
[b]
В в
[v]
Г г
[ɣ]
Гу гу
[ɡʷ]
Гъ гъ
[ʁ]
Гъу гъу
[ʁʷ]
Д д
[d]
Дж дж
[d͡ʒ] or [ɡʲ]
Дз дз
[d͡z]
Е е
[ja/aj]
Ё ё
[jo]
Ж ж
[ʒ]
Жь жь
[ʑ]
З з
[z]
И и
[jə/əj]
Й й
[j]
К к
[k]
Ку ку
[]
Къ къ
[q]
Къу къу
[]
Кхъ кхъ
[q͡χ]
Кхъу кхъу
[q͡χʷ]
Кӏ кӏ
[t͡ʃʼ] or [kʲʼ]
Кӏу кӏу
[kʷʼ]
Л л
[ɮ] or [l]
Лъ лъ
[ɬ]
Лӏ лӏ
[ɬʼ]
М м
[m]
Н н
[n]
О о
[aw/wa]
П п
[p]
Пӏ пӏ
[]
Р р
[r]
С с
[s]
Т т
[t]
Тӏ тӏ
[]
У у
[w/əw]
Ф ф
[f]
Фӏ фӏ
[]
Х х
[x]
Ху ху
[]
Хъ хъ
[χ]
Хъу хъу
[χʷ]
Хь хь
[ħ]
Ц ц
[t͡s]
Цӏ цӏ
[t͡sʼ]
Ч ч
[t͡ʃ]
Ш ш
[ʃ]
Щ щ
[ɕ]
Щӏ щӏ
[ɕʼ]
Ъ ъ
[ˠ]
Ы ы
[ə]
Ь ь
[ʲ]
Ю ю
[ju]
Я я
[jaː]
ӏ
[ʔ]
ӏу
[ʔʷ]
Dialectal letters
Гь гь
[ɡʲ]
Кь кь
[]
Кӏь кӏь
[kʲʼ]
Сӏ сӏ
[]
Чу чу
[t͡ʃʷ]
ӏь
[ʔʲ]

Sound changes

The major differences in the Circassian dialects

See also: Proto-Circassian language

Sound changes between Adyghe (Temirgoy) and Kabardian:[6]

Loanwords

Circassian languages contain "many loan-words from Arabic, Turkish, Persian (particularly in the area of religion) and Russian".[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ Papşu, Murat (2006)."Çerkes-Adığe yazısının tarihçesi Archived December 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine". Nart, İki Aylık Düşün ve Kültür Dergisi, Sayı 51, Eylül-Ekim 2006. (in Turkish)
  2. ^ "The Circassian Alphabet". circassianweb.com. Circassian Family Tree. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b Kuipers, Aert H. (1960). Phoneme and morpheme in Kabardian (eastern Adyghe). The Hague: Mouton & Co. p. 7.
  4. ^ Smeets, Henricus Joannes (1984). Studies in West Circassian phonology and morphology. Leiden: The Hakuchi Press. p. 41. ISBN 90-71176-01-0.
  5. ^ Hewitt, George (2005). "North West Caucasian". Lingua. 115 (1–2): 17. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2003.06.003. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. ^ Aydın, Şamil Emre (2015), Çerkes Diyalektleri, ISBN 9786056569111
  7. ^ Reza, Hirtenstein & Gholami 2021.

Sources

Literature