Talk:Abkhaz language

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Alphabet photo[edit]

It's already been mentioned once, someone needs to change the photo, and if I do it, knowing me I'll get mixed up in some copyright muddle :)

Bazzasayslol (talk) 15:08, 17 July 2012 (UTC) lol

Untitled[edit]

From other pages on the internet, it looks as if a second part of the native name (бызшәа) of this language has been skipped: [1], [2], [3]. However I also found one page using one word: [4]. Anyone know something about this, comments? --Dittaeva 17:38, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I put it in there, I must have goofed, sorry. Feel free to put the second word in there. Just remember to make it into Unicode entity codes for people that have problems with Cyrillic. (Yes, I do see the difference between aṗsua and aṗsua byzš˚a, don't try to tell me I have seeing problems.) Wikiacc 20:36, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The second part (бызшәа) is just the Abkhazian word for "language"; either form is OK. :) thefamouseccles 04:55, 02 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Classification[edit]

I removed Dene-Caucasian from the genetic classification part of the table and instead moved mention of it to the body of the article; Dene-Caucasian is an unproven and controversial hypothesis and the basic description of the language should reflect current mainstream opinion. The former 67.101.96.244: Ergative rlt 00:47, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Yes, you are completely right. It was added by Nixer, who believes that this fringe theory should be accepted as mainstream. --Gareth Hughes 11:43, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Word order?[edit]

Does anyone know the basic word order of Abkhaz? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.157.44.34 (talk) 11:48, 29 March 2006

Any word order is theoretically possible, but SOV is normal and unmarked in Abkhaz, as in all Northwest Caucasian languages. thefamouseccles 00:45, 18 Apr 2006 (UTC)
In turkey we talk exactly like Turks do "Object subject verb", also many of my cousins in Abkhazia use the same. But the official language is different they use Object Verb Subject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.103.216.228 (talk) 11:38, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Abkhaz Language Link to the Georgian[edit]

The article mentions that "Sometimes North Caucasian languages and South Caucasian languages are grouped into the Caucasian languages, but these have not been shown conclusively to be related and are widely considered to be a geographically based convention." I'm not sure what is meant by this statement since it is not referenced in the text, but the North Caucasian language group is a sub-group, just like the South Caucasian language group, of a larger Ibero-Caucasian Language Family. It is commonly believed that both the North and South Caucasian language families have a common base. Getting back to the Abkhaz and Georgian language links which are not mentioned in this article at all, I would like to say that these languages do have a quite few things in common, and these similiraties can be noticed even by the untrained eye. For instance, -ba word bases and names beginning and ending with the letter a are common in both languages. Examples include words such as Ushba in Georgian (Svanetian) and Eshba in Abkhazian, or achadara in Abkhazian and ashkara (or ashkaraa) in Georgian. Abkhazian words such as Auadhara and Amtsakhara are strikingly similar to Georgian/Svan words such as Shkhara. This would seem to make sense since the Svan Language is generally considered as "Ancient Georgian" (or pre-modern Georgian), and if Abkhaz and Georgian languages are related and have a common base, the old Georgian (or Svanetian) word forms would have quite a few things in common with their Abkhaz counterparts. In addition, common one-word verb-noun conjugations in Georgian such as "sashualebaa" (means of doing something), "mogonebaa" (the remembrance of something) are very similar to a number of Abkhazian words (hence the common -ba base and the use of the "aa" ending). If there's a language expert that will be able to correct some of the specified misconceptions on the Abkhaz Language page, it would be very helpful. Otherwise, I have the information on the subject and will correct some of the abovementioned ambiguities within a week or two. D.Papuashvili 07:05, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

I have to strongly disagree with this. First off, Svan isn't archaic Georgian any more than Frisian is archaic English. Svan is still spoken, which makes it just as modern as Georgian is (Svan has a lot of unusual sound changes, but those are most likely to be a recent innovation, not the original Proto-Kartvelian condition). Secondly, what you have to remember is that because the Abkhaz and Georgian languages have been in contact for so long, they have certainly been borrowing things from each other, and developing in parallel. However, that doesn't mean that they're related; and in fact, I strongly believe that they are not related, and that the Ibero-Caucasian language "family" is no more than an areal grouping, not a phylogenetic one. The morphology of Abkhaz is just too different from the morphology of Georgian. Yes, they're both agglutinative, and form very large one-word constructions; but so does Navajo, and Zulu, and Yanyuwa. You mentioned the word ending -ba, which is found on many Georgian nouns; however, in Abkhaz that ending is usually found on family names, not on ordinary nouns. Anyway, I can't explain everything in one comment, so if you would like to talk more about this issue, feel free to leave a note on my user talk page. Thefamouseccles 13:16, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Dear Thefamouseccles, thank you for your comments and for replying promptly. I have to disagree with you as well. The Svan language is widely considered a pre-modern form of Georgian due to Svaneti's isolation from the rest of Georgia (and the world for that matter:)). Unlike modern Georgian, the influence of other languages on Svanetian was greatly diminished due to Svaneti's location, and the language was able to maintain a large number old Georgian words (and even letters) that were simply lost or modified in the lowland areas. This is also true in the mountainous regions of Khevsureti and Tusheti, but to a lesser extent. The abovementioned factors caused the Svan language to evolve at a considerably slower pace than the rest of Georgian and Migrelian. All I'm saying is that the Abkhaz and Georgian languages have a common base, an Ibero-Caucasian language base, which may not make the languages "closely-related" by any means, but still makes them related. After I posted my comments yesterday, I looked at the references which were used on this page (such as Chirikba and Hewitt). I'm surprised that Dimitri (Damtyr) Gulia (faculty member of TSU was not used as well:). These references do not represent the full (or professional) picture and are more like a separatist-sponsored promotional site:). By separatism, I'm referring to Abkhaz separatism which was advocated and endorsed by the official (Soviet) Moscow (just like in many other parts of Georgia such as Mingrelia, South Ossetia, Ajaria, Imeretia, etc.) and not the large majority of the Abkhaz themselves. Anyway, getting back to the topic, other, older scholarly sources about Ibero-Caucasian links should be included on this page to make this article as balanced and representative, as possible. Thanks again for posting your comments. D.Papuashvili 14:43, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Not a problem, D.Papuashvili; I enjoy talking about the languages of the Caucasus. Now, I'm not saying that Svan doesn't preserve some more archaic features of Proto-Kartvelian, but calling it an archaic form of Georgian is a problem because Svan is not mutually intelligible with Georgian. They may have both sprung from the same proto-language, but calling that proto-language "Georgian" is misleading, and implies that Svan is still understandable by Georgian-speakers and vice versa.
As for the Abkhaz-Georgian issue, I really don't think it's an Abkhazian separatist issue at all. (Hewitt's and Chirikba's sources are present on the page simply because they are the most comprehensive Abkhaz grammars written in English - since this is the English Wikipedia, not everyone here reads Georgian. :) It is merely an issue of the modern comparative techniques used in linguistics. Ultimately, Georgian is South Caucasian and Abkhaz is North-West Caucasian; they are two different subgroups, even if one does accept the idea of the Ibero-Caucasian language family. To prove that the two groups are related, it isn't enough to say that Abkhaz shares many features with Georgian, because those features could come from the languages being in contact with each other; we must also be able to say that Svan shares many features with Kabardian, or that Mingrelian shares many features with Ubykh, and so on. It isn't enough to just find a series of words that look alike (read [5] for a good summary of why not); several linguists have tried to link North-West Caucasian with Basque by using that technique, but study of morphology does not support it. It is necessary to systematically prove that South Caucasian and North-West Caucasian share many cognates, and that the sound changes are regular - and current research simply does not show that. I have been working with Ubykh for six years, and while I have found a few possible South Caucasian loans (perhaps 10-15 words in a 3,000-word lexicon), I have found no evidence to suggest that there is any genetic connection with Georgian or with any other South Caucasian language. I also don't think it is helpful to consider old sources as more valuable than new ones; while they may be useful, the old ones often use outdated techniques and contain serious methodological flaws, like the old technique of comparing individual words, which is no longer considered a valid method in comparative linguistics. Could you provide me some references that support the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis, so I can read some more about it? Thefamouseccles 04:38, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
"Abkhazian words such as Auadhara and Amtsakhara are strikingly similar to Georgian/Svan words such as Shkhara" - Maybe because it's an Abkhaz toponym. A-shkhara is Abkhazian word meaning "mountainous territoty". A-shkha - a mountain. One branch of Abaza people is called "a-shkhar-waa" (highlanders). How many Georgian or Svan words could be marked as "such as Shkhara"? :) I don't think that there are a lot of similar forms in Kartvelian languages. Segnor Bugatti (talk) 20:36, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
D.Papuashvili all the related languages must have something common. Any Abkhazian speaker can understand written Adyge at least 50%, But how many Abkhazian words can a Georgian understand apart from mutual borrowings? I am living in a mixed society which I can say almost none. I cant understand any Georgian word at all if i don't know what it means. And even your linguists Georgian understand much of Abkhazian do they? I remember a militaristic campaign by them claiming there is no word for "Sea" in Abkhazian, which was a blatant lie. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.103.216.228 (talk) 11:45, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Cyrillics in Wikipedia[edit]

A guideline on whether or not to italicize Cyrillics (and all scripts other than Latin) is being debated at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (text formatting)#Italics in Cyrillic and Greek characters. - - Evv 16:27, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Edit war with bots?[edit]

It get's rather annoying to see Abkhaz language on my talk page every day, because bots add the Siberian-Russian interwiki link and other people keep removing it. Why is that? What's wrong with the Siberian article? Just being curious... — N-true 14:19, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

As the discussion on meta shows, a decision to close ru-sib would have been taken long ago had it not been for a massive sockpuppet and disruption campaign by its supporters. If the behavior of ru-sib's founder and principal contributor on meta is anything to judge by, assumptions of "good faith" are wasted on this project. The legitimacy of the "language" is not even what matters the most, it's the blatantly unencyclopedic content pointed out by the delete voters on meta that marks the whole wiki as simply not a good faith Wikipedia project. Under these circumstances, I think it is really not just a judgment on this particular stub being objectionable or not. Linking to it, from in between the other Wikipedias, implies an endorsement of the site as a legitimate Wikipedia project—which it isn't. And while I think the commitment to process shown by the meta admins is good (in prolonging the debate there), I really don't think we need to wait for its finalization to make this judgment. Khoikhoi 00:12, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I understand (I guess). I'm a strong opposer of dialect Wikipedias as well (and there are so many of them in German and Dutch dialects), that Siberian Wikipedia has been a thorn in my side as well — it seems to me like a playground; but on the other hand, I don't speak much Russian yet. But there should be better methods than reverting the bot edits every day. Would it help to contact the "creators"/"owners" of the bots so that they can program them not to add the Siberian interwiki link to this article? — N-true 02:30, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Number of Speakers[edit]

Anyone please post a reference or source indicating the number of speakers of this language. Thanks in advance. - Alsandro · T · w:ka: Th · T 22:11, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

As most of the native speakers are living in Turkey, which has a minority rights phobia now, It is impossible to give an exact number. Estimations are between 200 thousand to 500 thousand in Turkey, which may/may not include Abaza speakers.

Abkhazia is Abkhazia[edit]

And Georgia is Georgia. Don't put them together. --SergeiXXX (talk) 22:18, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but Abkhazia is still recognized by the world (minus a very few countries) part of Georgia. We do not want to make political propaganda here on Wikipedia. Let's stay with the facts, please. — N-true (talk) 23:05, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
You are "making political propaganda" by claiming Abkhazia to be a part of Georgia. And USA plus West Europe plus the Baltic States is hardly "the world". Most of the world, the REAL world doesn't even care about Georgia... --SergeiXXX (talk) 23:38, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Don't twist the facts, please. See List of unrecognized countries for the "list" of states (exactly two) that recognize Abkhazia as an independent state. — N-true (talk) 00:45, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
And yet Abkhazia has its own government which controls all of its territory. It has its own President, Sergei Bagapsh, and its own Armed Forces. It has its own Parliament. And it is recognized by at least 2 UN member states, Russia and Nicaragua. It even has diplomatic relations with Russia. It has all the characteristics of a country. So, how can it be thought of as part of another country? It is completely independent of Georgia... And another thing. For Albanian language, Kosovo is listed among "countries". What's the difference here? --SergeiXXX (talk) 02:23, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

I think Abkhazia should be listed, but with a footnote explaining it is not generally recognised. N-true, you're a fellow linguist. To me the questions what constitutes a language and what constitutes a sovereign state are similar. You know the saying with the language being a dialect with an army. Whether a language is officially recognised has more to do with politics than with linguistics, likewise whether a state is recognised has more to do with politics than with political science. Hence it sounds very ironic when you say We do not want to make political propaganda here on Wikipedia. Let's stay with the facts, please. The facts on the ground say Abkhazia is a functioning state, and it is political propaganda to pretend it's not true. (I'm not saying you are, I'm referring to politicians in the west.) sephia karta | di mi 19:20, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok, how's that? --SergeiXXX (talk) 21:11, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
You make a good point, Sephia karta, I agree with that, however – and this goes partly to SergeiXXX as well – I'd say, if not recognizing Abkhazia as a country on its own is a POV statement, then claiming it to be a totally independent country clearly is a POV statement as well. I think the way SergeiXXX phrased it now in the article is reasonable, though. — N-true (talk) 21:51, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Edits by Taivo[edit]

I disagree with your changes for the following reasons:

  • de facto independent state -> region of Georgia: This is a change from NPOV to POV, because that Abkhazia is a de facto independent state is a fact, that it is a region of Georgia is an opinion. A widely held opinion perhaps, but no less an opinion.
  • removal of Abkhazia from the list of states where the language is official: Again, it is a fact that Abkhaz is an official language of the not generally recognised state of Abkhazia, so I don't see how you can justify removing it. Certainly if you consider that certain other languages even have international organisations listed here.

Have a look at Albanian Language, where the fact that Kosovo is not recognised by a majority of the world's states isn't even mentioned. It is made sufficiently clear in this article and in the infobox that Abkhazia is not generally recognised, but to deny that recognition apart it is an independent state constitutes a breach of NPOV. sephia karta | di mi 00:02, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Actually I was proceeding on the basis of the very discussion that you were a party to and were in agreement with. Your accusations of NPOV are quite silly in that context. The current edit brings this article into line with the similar treatment of Armenian, which I edited into its current form. Kosovo is in a different league because it has been recognized not only by dozens of countries, but by several international organizations as well. Abkhazia is unrecognized except by Russia and Nicaragua and the territorial integrity of Georgia is universally affirmed by virtually all international organizations. Nevertheless, the article as currently edited is parallel to the treatment of Nagorno-Karabakh in the Armenian language article and is in accordance with the discussion to which you have been a party and to which I have tacitly agreed by editing into that framework. Remember, it was I who added Abkhazia back into the list of countries in the first section of the infobox. (Taivo (talk) 06:10, 29 December 2008 (UTC))
I have tweaked the wording slightly since Abkhazia is not recognized by a handful of states, but only by Russia and Nicaragua. The other "states" that recognize it are the other breakaway regions of Georgia and Moldova that are financed and supported by Russia. Since the Wikipedia discussion on lists of sovereign states (of which you are a part) makes a distinction between recognition by UN members and non-UN members, then the recognition of South Ossetia, and the Moldovan region (the name of which escapes me at the moment) of each other hardly counts as "a handful of states". Two UN members and a handful of rebellious unrecognized regions hardly constitutes "a handful". (Taivo (talk) 06:21, 29 December 2008 (UTC))
Sorry, I don't follow: what discussion that I was in agreement with? Secondly, international organisations are not in a position to recognise anything, it is only states that can do so. Kosovo and Abkhazia are essentially in the same situation for our purposes, in both cases their independence is controversial. Yes, Kosovo is recognised by more states, but that is only a quantitative difference. Thirdly, the list of sovereign states article only distinguishes between recognition by UN members and non UN members in its presentation, this distinction is not used as a basis for classification. In the end, South Ossetia and Transnistria are factually sovereign states, hence their inclusion in the list, and Abkhazia is thus recognised by 4 other states, a handful. But this latter point is not essential for me. I can agree to how the article looks like now except for the outright assertion that Abkhazia is a region of Georgia. I repeat: this is opinion, not fact. Could you agree with that sentence being reformulated into: Abkhaz is a Northwest Caucasian language spoken mainly by the Abkhaz people in Turkey and in Abkhazia, the breakaway republic claimed by Georgia but recognised as independent by Russia and Nicaragua.?sephia karta | di mi 16:38, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that wording is close. "Claimed by Georgia" implies that Georgia is the only party to its claim. How about Abkhaz...and in Abkhazia, the breakaway republic generally accepted as part of Georgia, but recognized as independent by Russia and Nicaragua. ? There are two POVs here: 1) Abkhazia is part of Georgia (the majority POV), 2) Abkhazia is independent (Russia, Nicaragua, and Abkhazia). Wikipedia's NPOV must be somewhere in between, but factually accurate. (Taivo (talk) 17:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC))
That's good.sephia karta | di mi 11:12, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
This is where I saw your participation: [6], but now that I look at the signatures I notice that you joined the discussion late. My apologies for misrepresenting your level of participation. (Taivo (talk) 17:48, 29 December 2008 (UTC))
Yes, I participated in that discussion, but regardless of the level of my participation, I don't see anything in it that would keep Abkhazia out of the infobox. :-) sephia karta | di mi 11:12, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
You are right, that's where I saw that italicizing Abkhazia with an accompanying note was coming out as the consensus and so I shifted my position to accept italicization with a note. (Taivo (talk) 16:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC))

And why remove the flags? Looked much better that way.--SergeiXXX (talk) 22:58, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Flags are not required in Language infoboxes as they have no bearing on the issue of where a language is spoken. Usually flags are just messy since they distract from the issue at hand, which is language distribution. Look at the vast majority of language articles and you will see no flags (see Timbisha language, for example). Within the area of official languages, then the flags do not distract but represent legal status. Here the flags are appropriate. But within the distribution portion of the box they distract more than instruct. (Taivo (talk) 23:26, 31 December 2008 (UTC))

Abkhaz language template[edit]

If you are a native speaker of Abkhaz then you can use this template on your userpage:


abk Ари иалоу и(л)зы аҧсшәа и(л)хатәы бызшәас иамоуп.


--Amazonien (talk) 03:51, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Fake abkhaz alphabet[edit]

The alphabet represented in a table in this page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AbkhazAlphabet1.jpg) has no sense whatsoever. The current alphabet for the Abkhazian language is based on the cyrillic one. There were alphabets based on the georgian and latin ones, but it was never designed a completely new alphabet as the one pictured in that table. If it is a proposal for a new kind of alphabet I think it has to be written somewhere. To my knowledge there are no such proposals, and that table should be considered as the work of a single person, a conlanger or such, and classified as vandalism. I'm going to remove it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tomaradze (talkcontribs) 16:54, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

That alphabet isn't fake at all, it is the Abkhaz language original alphabet although they don't use it today. It is based on the Northwest Caucasian languages script. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't be included in the Abkhaz language article, and in other articles like the Adyghe language its included.--Adamsa123 (talk) 21:05, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Any credible academic sources on the "Northwest Caucasian languages script"?--KoberTalk 21:17, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
How about this for a source?--Adamsa123 (talk) 07:46, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
According to this source (the reliability of which is highly dubious), this script is just a proposed alphabet based on some Circassian pictograms and familial emblems (tamga). In modern scholarship, interpretation of such symbols is usually a very contentious and risky endeavor.--KoberTalk 18:59, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Abkhaz-Abaza[edit]

Hi guys,

I've looked online to find good documentation about Abkaz and Abaza. However, it's very hard to find. I don't speak Russian or German (though I can read Cyrillic)...so any documentation in English, Turkish, French or Spanish would be of great help.

From what I've read online is that except for a phonological difference, Abkhaz and Abaza are not so different. I've seen that they both have a huge number of consonants (plosive and aspirants etc.) and only 2 vowels. I've read that their dialects form a dialect continuum.

What I would like to know is, as Apswa (Abazgi) is the way they both call themselves and their language...are they both actually the same language? I consider Serbo-Croatian as one language, even though the countries politically turn the dialects into languages. Considering that I don't want to deal with political nonsense, I would like to get the answers to the following 8 questions about Abkhaz and Abaza. (And even if no one can answer me directly, I would appreciate some guidance in finding online resources that would answer the questions).

  1. Do they have a common basic vocabulary? Or do they possess their own separate vocabularies? It would be considered separate even if the words have a common ancestor. For example the Spanish word madre and the Portuguese word mãe both mean "mother" and comes from the same origin. However they are different words and not the same words pronounced differently. On the other hand, some dialects of Spanish say maare and not madre, swallowing the letter "d". However the same dialects, always swallow the letter "d" in the same position...so maare is not a separate word but a separate pronunciation of the same word.
  2. Do they have the same personal pronouns? Is there any difference in pronouns in general, except may be of some regular pronunciation difference?
  3. Is the verb conjugation of both, the same or almost the same? Or do they have a different rules for verb conjugation?
  4. Is the noun declention (or case-ending) of both, the same or almost the same? Or do they decline their nouns (genitive, locative, ablative etc.) through different patterns?
  5. Do they have their own oral or written literature? I guess the answer to this question is Yes...as I've read about which dialect of Abkhaz and which dialect of Abaza was the main dialect for the literary form of that language. Although they might have a common literature as well. I've read that the literary form of Abaza is quite recent, may be a bit more than a century.
  6. Are their style of intonation the same? I'm guessing that the answer is no...because more or less every dialect has more or less its own intonation. But it would be interesting to know the answer from a native speaker.
  7. Do they have their own psychoacoustic and inferential acoustic notes?
    • Psychoacoustics, especially its applied form is hard to explain. However whether a group of people possess different psychoacoustic notes from another can be somehow determined by looking at the following questions:
      1. Do they pronounce the same alphabet and the same words in the same way?
      2. Are the local (not derived from other languages) or onomatopoeic words the same?
      3. Are the natural voices (or interjections) they create with their vocal chords in case of sudden emotional change, such as surprise, sudden frustration, anger etc., the same? (such ah, oh, hmm etc.)
    • Where Psychoacoustic Notes is related to phonetics, Inferential Acoustic Notes are related to phonology.
      • Examples of common inferential acoustic notes: In Bengali, kálo is black. The women in ancient Bengal used to make a dentifrice from roasted tobacco, ferric sulphate etc. and they use to call it mishi. So even today, in colloquial Bengali very black is said as mishkálo, that is kálo (black) as mishi. If they want to say "blackish", it's said as kálche. -che is a native Bengali suffix.
      • "Phonology is often distinguished from phonetics. While phonetics concerns the physical production, acoustic transmission and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages to encode meaning."
  8. Do they have the same syntax? Or does syntax change from dialect to dialect? Are the syntaxes of the literary forms of both the same?

I would appreciate very much for any native speaker to try to answer even few of the questions above.
Thank you very much. --Universal Life (talk) 15:51, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't speak Abkhaz, but as a linguist:
1) In general, this is not a binary choice between shared and separate. But I believe the vocabularies of Abkhaz and Abaza are quite similar.
5) I guess this (the fact that there are two standard languages) is the main argument in favour of considering them separate languages (by which I don't mean to say that this argument is decisive). Note that Abkhaz written literature has also only been around for little over a century.
One reason to consider Abkhaz-Abaza one language is that as far as I know the difference between Abaza and standard Abkhaz is not much larger than between various dialects of Abkhaz. Note also that there is no universally accepted way to distinguish between the concepts of language and dialect and that most linguists don't consider this a particularly interesting or useful question (in general, linguists are interested in linguistic phenomena, which may be particular to very specific varieties or shared by entire language families). sephia karta | dimmi 17:28, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Universal Life, I'm not as familiar with Abkhaz and Abaza as I am with the related Ubykh, but I can certainly try to answer some of your questions. Abkhaz is actually reasonably well documented in English, thanks to the work of the linguists George Hewitt and Viacheslav Chirikba, so searching for works by those authors may bear fruit for you. Abaza, by contrast, is astonishingly poorly documented in English, most of the available material being in Russian. I've only read two academic articles on Abaza, and I've looked hard for such articles in the literature. As sephia karta says, though, the differences between literary Abkhaz and literary Abaza are really not that great, and they're really two poles of a dialect continuum that contains a lot of variation in between. Anyway, onto your questions:
1) The point at which one can say that related words are "separate", particularly using your criteria, is very murky. In the Abkhaz-Abaza example, for instance, do you count Abzhywa Abkhaz (a-)χʷa "ashes" separately from Abaza qʷa? The two are different but are related, and since Abkhaz doesn't have the phoneme /qʷ/ one could argue that the difference between Abkhaz (a-)χʷa and Abaza qʷa is merely the same as the difference between the Spanish madre and maare that you cite as an example. Many of the apparent differences between Abkhaz and Abaza words are due simply to phonetic mergers of this type. How similar do they need to be before considering them merely "separate pronunciations of the same word"? In any case, the basic vocabulary is broadly the same, though there are differences even in some basic words (for instance, Abkhaz a-fa-ra, Abaza ʧa-ra "to eat", and also Abzhywa Abkhaz a-f’a, Abaza ʦ’a "thin" - though these latter ones are actually cognates, and their regular descent from a single ancestor is shown by other pairs like Abkhaz a-fə, Abaza ʦə "lightning", Abkhaz f-ba, Abaza ʦ-ba "six").
2) Yes, Abkhaz and Abaza largely have the same set of personal pronouns.
3) Yes, the verbs conjugate in more or less the same way, not only in Abkhaz-Abaza but in all Northwest Caucasian languages. There are minor differences, of course - Abaza tends to be more tolerant of having the verb agree for four nominal arguments, for instance, whereas Abkhaz allows but tends to avoid it.
4) As for declension, both Abkhaz and Abaza have only a very rudimentary case-marking system. In both languages, the ergative and absolutive nouns are subsumed under a single nominative case that takes no marking. In Abaza, there are rudimentary instrumental (-la) and adverbial (-(ʃ)ta) cases; in Abkhaz the instrumental behaves more like a postposition, and the only distinct case is therefore the adverbial (-s, sometimes -).
5) Yes, both varieties have strong oral and written literary traditions. The oral traditions are powerful in the Caucasus in general and many folk-tales from the NWC group were collected by Georges Dumézil; his 1967 Documents anatoliens sur les langues et les traditions du Caucase, V: Études abkhaz is a collection of Abkhaz folk stories with equivalents in various other NWC languages (though not Abaza). For both languages the written traditions are relatively recent; the first book in Abkhaz was published in 1865 and the literature didn't become substantial until the Soviet period. Abaza was raised to the status of "literary language" by the Soviets in 1938, when a Cyrillic orthography for it was developed.
6) In terms of intonation, I'm guessing that by that you mean stress or the like. There is some variation in stress and intonation, and some of this may vary by dialect; I can't say too much about that. However, for some speakers of Abaza there actually appears to be a system of lexical tone as well, which is not present in Abkhaz and seems not to be present even in all Abaza speakers, but one speaker of the Gumlokt subdialect, investigated by Viacheslav Chirikba, was able to give a number of minimal pairs showing three tone levels: (H) "dog" vs. (M) "eye", ʑə́ (H) "boiled" vs. ʑə̀ (L) "cow", bārà (ML) "you (female)" vs. bārá (MH) "to see", bāχ (M) "dry" vs. báχ (H) "steam".
7) To be honest, I have no idea what you're getting at with the description you give of the psychoacoustic phenomena you're interested in, so I can't really address that final question of yours.
Thefamouseccles (talk) 05:29, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Sephia karta and Thefamouseccles. Thank you very much both for your responses :)
Before I read your responses, I've actually found some resources (in Turkish! - it's my mother tongue) teaching both Abkhaz and Abaza...And some other resources..after extensive searching. Some of them:
So, I studied for a while, their alphabet, tried sincerely to pronounce almost all of their letters (which was honestly quite difficult) and learned a bit of vocabulary and grammar. I'm trying to apply Sarkar's linguistic criteria to differentiate language from dialect. It's as to say: If there was no state in the world, or at least no state-interference to languages, and if only linguists would determine what's a language and what's a dialect. So Sarkar wrote those 8 criteria (though I think I've explained may be wrong few details above) and said that they were roughly the criteria to determine what sets a full-fledged language apart from dialect or variant of language. In his books, he clearly states that a full-fledged language should have its own pronouns (No language can be considered a separate language if it does not have its own pronouns.) Folk literature is another important point. He has said: Hindi is not even a real language in comparison to Angika, Magahii, Bhojpuri, Maethilii, Nagpuri, Avadhi and Braja. The reason why this is so is as follows. Hindi is a language which is not even a hundred years old. The British rules developed this language during their regime by mixing together different languages and dialects from some places in and around Delhi. Among the above eight factors Hindi has no folk literature or folk songs, but Angika, Bhojpuri etc. have folk literature as well as all other seven factors necessary for a full-fledged language.
I'm not sure if Abkhaz and Abaza could be called Abstandsprache.
Thefamouseccles, thank you especially for your detailed answer, especially with all the questions :) I'll check the works of George Hewitt and Viacheslav Chirikba as well. About the vocabulary, for cases like (a-)χʷa and qʷa, if these changes can be easily explained by phonemic regular changes in both varieties (like one lacking a phoneme, replaced by another phoneme in the other variety of language), I think the answer is yes, they would be the same words pronounced differently. The examples you provided were very helpful :)
Finally, I can't say with certainty, but as far as I've learned and researched and compared both, I opine that (in Sarkar's 8 linguistic criteria) they don't constitute full-fledged languages and could be considered dialects or rather variants of the same language. The people neither see themselves as separate people. A common multidialectal alphabet could be developed, taking into consideration all of the dialects of the Abkhaz-Abaza dialect continuum. Then, except for some vocabulary (queue vs. line) and some orthographic differences (centre vs. center) - of course being much more in number than the American and British Englishes - the written language could be understood by all, and it could benefit the entire Apsua community. Anyway, mine are just ideas :)
Cheerfully --Universal Life (talk) 22:44, 12 August 2014 (UTC)