Adyghe grammar

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Adyghe is a polysynthetic[citation needed] language with an ergative verb-final clause structure and rich verb morphology.


Adyghe is an ergative–absolutive language, which means that the subject of an intransitive verb behaves like the object of a transitive verb, and differently from the agent of a transitive verb. Nouns in Adyghe can have the following roles in a sentence:

  • Ergative case: Marked as -м /-m/, it serves to mark the one that causes change by doing the verb.
  • Absolutive case: Marked as -р /-r/, it serves to mark the one that changes by the verb, i.e. it is being created, altered, moved or ended by the verb.
  • Oblique case: Also marked as -м /-m/, it serves to mark the dative and applicative case roles. It acts as the indirect object in the sentence and its state doesn't change by the verb, i.e. we have no indication what happens to it or how it behaves after the verb.

In intransitive verbs the subject is in the absolutive case thus it indicates that the subject is changing.

  • In this example the boy is changing by moving:
Кӏалэр макӏо
Кӏалэ-р макӏо
[t͡ʃʼaːɮar maːkʷʼa]
boy (abs.) (s)he is going
"The boy is going."
  • In this example the man is changing by moving. The verb еон /jawan/ "to hit" describes the movement of hitting and not the impact itself, so we have no indication of what happens to the object (the wall in this case).
Лӏыр дэпкъым ео
Лӏы-р дэпкъы-м ео
[ɬʼər dapqəm jawa]
man (abs.) wall (obl.) (s)he is hitting
"The man is hitting the wall."
"Literally: the man is hitting at the wall."

In transitive verbs the subject is in the ergative case thus it indicates that the subject causes change to the object which gets the absolutive case.

  • In this example the wall changes by being destroyed (it was altered). The verb къутэн /qʷətan/ "to destroy" does not indicate how the subject (boy) destroyed the wall thus we have no indication of the boy changing, making him the one that caused the change (and not the one that changes).
Кӏалэм дэпкъыр ыкъутагъ
Кӏалэ-м дэпкъы-р ыкъутагъ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam dapqər əqʷətaːʁ]
boy (erg.) wall (abs.) (s)he destroyed
"The boy destroyed the wall."
  • In this example the rock changes by moving (motion in air), the man causes the change and the wall acts as the indirect object of the preposition.
Лӏым мыжъор дэпкъым тедзэ
[ɬʼər məʒʷar dapqəm tajd͡za]
man (erg.) rock (abs.) wall (obl.) (s)he is throwing at
"The man is throwing the rock at the wall."


Singular and plural[edit]

A Circassian noun can be in one of the following two states: singular plural

Singular nouns have zero morpheme, while plural nouns use the additional хэ morpheme, which is attached to the main form of the word. For example: singular: унэ "home", тхылъ "book", plural: унэ-хэ-р "homes", тхылъ-хэ-р "books".

Unlike English verbs, Circassian verbs use -х- or -а- morphemes to form their plural versions. The second morpheme is attached to the verb in front of the verb's root, and the first is attached after it. For example: ар мак1о "he is going", ахэр мак1о-х "they are going"; ащ ы1уагъ "he said", ахэмэ а-1уагъ "they said".

Definite and indefinite forms[edit]

Circassian nouns usually have either definite or indefinite form. The idea behind this conception is close to the idea of definite/indefinite articles in English. Definite form of Circassian nouns has -р or -м formats at the end of the word. For example: кӏалэ "boy" – indefinite noun (has none of the definite formats) - it can be used in generalizations or when the boy is unknown to either the "speaker" or "listener" (a/an or zero article in English); кӏалэр, кӏалэм "the boy" – it is used when the mentioned boy is well known to both the "speaker" and "listener".


Adyghe has four different noun cases, each with corresponding suffixes: absolutive, ergative, instrumental, and adverbial.

Case Suffix example
Cyrillic IPA
Absolutive р /r/ кӏалэр [t͡ʃʼaːɮar] ('the boy')
Ergative-Oblique м /m/ кӏалэм [t͡ʃʼaːɮam] ('the boy's')
Instrumental (м)кӏэ /(m)t͡ʃʼa/ кӏалэмкӏэ [t͡ʃʼaːɮamt͡ʃʼa] ('using the boy')
Adverbial эу /aw/ кӏалэу [t͡ʃʼaɮaw] ('as a boy')

Absolutive case[edit]

The absolutive case of a definite noun is marked by the affix -р /-r/ both in the singular and plural forms (e.g. кӏалэр [t͡ʃʼaːɮar] 'the boy', кӏалэхэр [t͡ʃʼaːɮaxar] ('the boys'), шыр [ʃər] 'the horse'). It acts as the subject of intransitive verbs and the direct object of transitive verbs.

кӏалэр еджапӏэм кӏуагъ
кӏалэ-р еджапӏэ-м кӏо-агъ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮar jad͡ʒaːpʼam kʷʼaːʁ]
the boy (abs.) the school (erg.) (s)he went
"the boy went to the school"

Ergative-Oblique case[edit]

A noun in the ergative case is marked by the affix -м /-m/ (e.g. кӏалэм [t͡ʃʼaːɮam] 'the boy's', кӏалэхэм [t͡ʃʼaːɮaxam] 'the boys'', шым [ʃəm] 'the horse). This case has two roles: Ergative role and Oblique role.

  • Ergative role - Marking the subject of transitive verbs
бзылъфыгъэм джанэр егъэкъабзэ
бзылъфыгъэ-м джанэ-р егъэкъабзэ
[bzəɬfəʁam d͡ʒaːnar jaʁaqaːbza]
the woman (erg.) the shirt (abs.) (s)he cleans
"the woman cleans the shirt"
  • Oblique role - Marking the indirect object of intransitive verbs
кӏалэр тхылъым еджэ
кӏалэ-р тхылъ-ым еджэ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮar txəɬəm jad͡ʒa]
the boy (abs.) the book (obl.) (s)he reads
"the boy reads the book"

The Ergative-Oblique case can also be used as an adverbial modifier. For example: Студентхэм мафэм ӏоф ашӏагъ "The students have worked during the day" (мафэм – adverbial modifier of time); Кӏалэхэр мэзым кӏуагъэх "The boys went to the forest" (мэзым – adverbial modifier of place).

Instrumental case[edit]

indefinite nouns are marked by the affix -кӏэ : тхылъ-кӏэ, "by/with book", 1э-к1э "by/with hand". definite nouns express this case using the ergative affix -м in conjunction with the affix -кӏэ: уатэ-м-к1э "by/with the hammer", дыды-м-к1э "by/with the awl".

ыцӏэр къэлэмымкӏэ къитхэгъ
ы-цIэ-эр къэлэм-ымкIэ къи-тхы-эгъ
[ət͡sʼar qalaməmt͡ʃʼa qəjtxaʁ]
his name (abs.) pencil (ins.) he wrote
"he wrote his name with the pencil"

Adverbial case[edit]

Has the suffix -эу /aw/ (e.g. кӏалэу [t͡ʃʼaːɮaw] 'boy'), шэу [ʃaw] 'horse'). This case indicates the manner in which the verb was done.

лӏыр профессорэу хъугъэ
лӏыр профессор-эу хъу-гъэ
[ɬʼər profesoraw χʷəʁa]
man (abs.) professor (adv.) (s)he became
"The man became a professor."


In Adyghe, like all Northwest Caucasian languages, the verb is the most inflected part of speech. Verbs are typically head final and are conjugated for tense, person, number, etc. Some of Circassian verbs can be morphologically simple, some of them consist only of one morpheme, like: кӏо "go", штэ "take". However, generally, Circassian verbs are characterized as structurally and semantically difficult entities. Morphological structure of a Circassian verb includes affixes (prefixes, suffixes) which are specific to the language. Verbs' affixes express meaning of subject, direct or indirect object, adverbial, singular or plural form, negative form, mood, direction, mutuality, compatibility and reflexivity, which, as a result, creates a complex verb, that consists of many morphemes and semantically expresses a sentence. For example: уакъыдэсэгъэгущы1эжьы "I am forcing you to talk to them again" consists of the following morphemes: у-а-къы-дэ-сэ-гъэ-гущы1э-жьы, with the following meanings: "you (у) with them (а) from there (къы) together (дэ) I (сэ) am forcing (гъэ) to speak (гущы1эн) again (жьы)".


Verbs in Adyghe can be transitive or intransitive.

In a sentence with a transitive verb, nouns in the absolutive case (marked as -р) play the role of direct object. In the sentences of this type the noun in the subject's position is in the ergative case (marked as -м):

Кӏалэм письмэр етхы "The boy is writing the letter";
Пхъашӏэм уатэр къыштагъ "The carpenter took out the hammer";
Хьэм тхьак1умк1ыхьэр къыубытыгъ "The dog has caught the hares".

In these sentences the verbs етхы "is writing", къыштагъ "took out", къыубытыгъ "has caught" are transitive verbs, and the nouns письмэр "letter", уатэр "hammer", тхьак1умк1ыхьэр "hare" are in the absolutive case (suffix -р) and express direct object in the sentences, while the nouns кӏалэм "boy", пхъашӏэм "carpenter", хьэм "dog" are subjects expressed in the ergative case.

In a sentence with an intransitive verb, there is no direct object, and the real subject is usually expressed by a noun in the absolutive case

Чэмахъор щыт "The shepherd is standing (there)";
Пэсакӏор макӏо "The security guard is going";
Лӏыр мэчъые "The man is sleeping".

In these sentences with intransitive verbs, nouns that play role of subject are expressed in the absolutive case: чэмахъо-р "shepherd", пэсакӏо-р "guard", лӏы-р "man".

There are verbs in the Adygeh language that in different contexts and situations can be used both as transitive and intransitive. For example:

Апчыр мэкъутэ "The glass is being broken",
Кӏалэм апчыр екъутэ "The boy is breaking the glass".

In the first sentence the verb мэкъутэ "is being broken" is used as an intransitive verb that creates an absolutive construction. In the second sentence the verb е-къутэ "is breaking" creates an ergative construction. Both of the verbs are formed from the verb къутэ-н "to break".

In the Adyghe language, intransitive verbs can have indirect objects in a sentence. The indirect objects are expressed by a noun in the oblique case (which is also marked as -м). For example:

Кӏалэр пшъашъэм ебэу "The boy kissed the girl",
Лӏыр чъыгым чӏэлъ "The man lays under the tree".
Кӏалэр тхылъым еджэ "The boy reads the book".

In these sentences with intransitive verbs, nouns that play role of indirect object are expressed in the oblique case: пшъашъэ-м "girl", чъыгы-м "tree", тхылъы-м "book".

Intransitive verbs can be turned into transitive with the causative affix -гъэ- (meaning "to force, to make"). For example:

Ар мачъэ "He is running", but Ащ ар е-гъа-чъэ "He forces him to run",
Ар мэкуо "He is screaming", but Ащ ар е-гъэ-куо "He makes him scream".

The verbs in the first sentences мачъэ "is running", мэкуо "is screaming" are intransitive, and the verbs in the second sentences егъачъэ́ "forces ... to run", егъэкуо "makes ... scream" are already transitive.

Dynamic and static verbs[edit]

Adyghe verbs can be either dynamic or static.

Dynamic verbs express (process of) actions that are taking place (natural role of verbs in English):

Сэ сэчъэ "I am running";
Сэ сэцуахъо "I am crawling",
Сэ сэлъэгъу "I am seeing",
Сэ сэӏо "I am saying".

Static verbs express states or results of actions:

Сэ сыщыт "I am standing",
Сэ сыщылъ "I am lying.",
Сэ сыпхъашӏ "I am a carpenter",
Сэ сытракторист "I am a tractor-driver".


Adyghe verbs have different forms to express different person. These forms are, mostly, created with specific prefixes. Here how it looks like in singular:

сэ-тхэ "I write",
о-тхэ "You write",
ма-тхэ "writes";

and in plural:

тэ-тхэ "We write",
шъо-тхэ "You write",
ма-тхэ-х "They write".


Adyghe verbs have special forms to express time:

Present tense: сэ-тхэ "I write", сы-щыс "I sit", сэ-к1о "I go", тэ те-джэ "We study"; ар е-джэ "He studies", ахэр е-джэ-х "They study".

Future tense is created with the suffixes -щт, -н: сы-кӏо-щт "I will go", с-тхы-щт "I will have written"; сы-кӏо-н "I will go", с-тхы-н "I will have written".

Past tense is created with the suffixes -гъ(э), -щты-гъэ (close to simple past), -гъагъэ (distant past): с-тхы-гъэ "I have written", с-тхы-щты-гъэ "I was writing", с-тхы-гъагъэ "I had been writing (then)".

Valency increasing[edit]

Case Prefix Meaning Example
Causative гъэ~ [ʁa~] "to force, to make" гъэ-плъэн [ʁapɬan]
"to make him look at"
Comitativ дэ~ [da~] "with" д-еплъын [dajpɬən]
"to look with"
Benefactive фэ~ [fa~] "for" ф-еплъын [fajpɬən]
"to look for"
Malefactive шӏо~ [ʃʷʼa~] "against one's interest" шӏу-еплъын [ʃʷʼajpɬən]
"to look against his interest"
Reflexive зэ~ [za~] "self" зэ-плъын [zapɬən]
"to look at oneself"


Imperative mood of second person in singular has no additional affixes: штэ "take", кӏо "go", тхы "write"; in plural the affix -шъу is added in front of the verbs: шъу-къак1у "you (plural) go", шъу-тхы "you (plural) write", шъу-штэ "you (plural) take".

Conditional mood is expressed with suffix -мэ: сы-к1о-мэ "if I go", сы-чъэ-мэ "if I run", с-ш1э-мэ "if I do".

Concessive mood is expressed with suffix -ми: сы-к1о-ми "even if I go", сы-чъэ-ми "even if I run", с-ш1э-ми "even if I do".

Optative mood is expressed with the complex suffix -гъо-т: у-к1уа-гъо-т "would you go", п-тхы-гъа-гъо-т "would you write".

Interrogative form is expressed with the affix -а: ма-д-а? "is he sewing?", мэ-пхъашӏ-а? "is he a carpenter?".

Negative interrogative form is expressed with the affix -ба: ма-кӏо-ба "isn't he is going?", мэ-гыкӏэ-ба "isn't he washing?".


Present participles in the Circassian language are formed from the appropriate dynamic verbs with the suffix -рэ:

кӏо-рэ-р "one that's walking",
чъэ-рэ-р "one that's running".

Participles can also be created from static verbs. In this case no additional morphological modifications are required. For example: щысыр "sitting", щылъыр "lying". In the past and future tenses participles have no special morphological attributes, in other words, their form is identical to the main form of the verb. The forms of participles in different grammatical cases are equal to the forms of the appropriate verbs. The same is also true for their time-tenses.


Masdar (a form of verb close to gerund) in the Adyghe language is expressed with the suffix -н:

тхы-н "a write (writing)",
чъэ-н "a run (running)",
штэ-н "a take (taking)",
гущыӏэ-н "a talk (talking)",
дзы-н "a throw (throwing)".

Masdar has grammatical cases:

Absolutive чъэны-р,
Ergative чъэны-м,
Instrumental чъэны-м-кӏэ,
Adverbial чъэн-эу

and different forms for different person:

сы-чъэн "I will run",
у-чъэн "you will run",
чъэн "he will run".

Negative form[edit]

In the Adyghe language negative form of a word is expressed with different morphemes (prefixes, suffixes). In participles, adverbial participles, masdars, imperative, interrogative and other forms of verbs their negative from is expressed with the prefix -мы, which, usually, goes before the root morpheme, that describes the main meaning:

у-мы-тх "you don't write",
у-мы-1уат "you don't disclose",
сы-къы-пфэ-мы-щэмэ "if you can't bring me",
у-къа-мы-гъа-к1омэ "if you aren't forced to come".

In verbs the negative meaning can also be expressed with the suffix -эп/-п, which usually goes after the suffixes of time-tenses. For example:

сы-тэджырэ-п "I am not getting up",
сы-тэ-джыгъэ-п "I have not got up",
сы-тэджыщтэ-п "I will not get up".



From the morphological point of view adjectives in the Circassian language are not very different from nouns. In combinations with nouns they lose their grammatical independence. Adjectives form their plural form the same way nouns do, they also use the same affixes to form different grammatical cases (from Absolutive to Adverbial).

Adjectives can be either qualitative or relative.

Adjectives can be in singular or plural form: фыжьы "white" (singular) - фыжь-хэ-р "whites" (plural).

They switch grammatical cases similarly to nouns:

Case Singular Plural
Absolutive фыжьыр фыжьыхэр
Ergative-Oblique фыжьым фыжьыхэм
Instrumental фыжьы(м)кӏэ фыжьыхэ(м)кӏэ
Adverbial фыжьэу фыжьыхэу

A qualitative adjective as a compliment in a sentence goes after the word it describes: к1алэ дэгъу "good boy", унэ лъагэ "high house"; a relative adjective goes before it: пхъэ уатэ "wooden hammer", гъучӏ пӏэкӏор "iron bed". In the second case adjectives do not change their form, only the appropriate nous do. For example: in plural - гъучӏ пӏэкӏорхэр "iron beds".

In different grammatical cases:

Case Singular Plural
Absolutive гъучӏ пӏэкӏорыр гъучӏ пӏэкӏорхэр
Ergative-Oblique гъучӏ пӏэкӏорым гъучӏ пӏэкӏорхэм
Instrumental гъучӏ пӏэкӏоры(м)кӏэ гъучӏ пӏэкӏорхэ(м)кӏэ
Adverbial гъучӏ пӏэкӏорэу гъучӏ пӏэкӏорхэу

Combining adjectives with nouns it is possible to produce a great lot of phrases: пшъэшъэ дахэ "beautiful girl", кӏалэ дэгъу "good boy", цӏыф кӏыхьэ "long man", гъогу занкӏэ "straight road", уц шхъуантӏэ "green grass" and so on. These phrases can be easily included into sentences. If a noun has a certain grammatical case, the adjective gets the suffix of the case instead of the noun, for example кӏэлэ кӏуачӏэ-р "the strong boy (abs.) and уатэ псынкӏэ-мкӏэ "using the light hammer (ins.).

Сэ непэ пшъэшъэ дахэ слъэгъугъэ
[sa najpa pʂaʂa daːxa sɬaʁʷəʁa]
I today a girl beautiful I saw
"I have seen a beautiful girl today."
Тэ гъогу занкӏэм тырыкӏуагъ
[ta ʁʷagʷ zaːnt͡ʃʼam tərəkʷʼaːʁ]
we road straight (erg.) we were walking
"We were walking on the straight road."

Circassian qualitative adjectives also have comparative and superlative forms. For example: нахь фыжь "whiter, more white" (comparative form) and анахь фыжь "whitest, most white",

The Comparative degree is formed by auxiliary word нахь:

Ар ощ нахь лъагэ – he is higher than you,
Нахь ины хъугъэ – He became bigger [More big became],
Нахь лIэблан охъун фай - You must be braver.

The superlative degrees is formed by auxiliary word анахь (more than all...):

Ар пшъашъэмэ анахь дахэ – She is the most beautiful among the girls,
Ар зэкӏэмэ анахь лъагэ - It is the highest,
Зэкӏэми шхын анахь дэгъумкӏэ ыгъэшхагъ – (S)he feeds him with the tastiest meal,
Ар заужмэ анахь лъэшы – He is the strongest.


The following suffixes are added to nouns:

Suffix Meaning Example
~кӏэ (~t͡ʃʼa) new унакӏэ (new house)
~жъы (~ʐə) old унэжъы (old house)
~шхо (~ʃxʷa) large унэшхо (large house)
~цӏыкӏу (~t͡sʼəkʷʼ) small унэцӏыкӏу (small house)

The following suffixes are added to adjectives:

Suffix Meaning Example
~ӏо (~ʔʷa) slightly стырыӏо (slightly spicy)
~щэ (~ɕa) too much дыджыщэ (too much bitter)
~дэд (~dad) very дэгъудэд (very good)
~бз (~bz) totally дэгъуабз (totally good)
~шъыпкъ (~ʂəpq) truly, really дэгъушъыпкъ (really good)
~ашъу / ~рашъу (~aːʃʷ / ~raːʃʷ) kind of дэгъурашъу (kind of good)
~кӏай (~t͡ʃʼaːj) pretty дэгъукӏай (pretty good)
~нчъэ (~nt͡ʂa) lacking акъылынчъэ (mindless)
Мы джанэр оркӏэ иныӏо
[mə d͡ʒaːnar wart͡ʃʼa jənəʔʷa]
this shirt for you slightly big
"This shirt is slightly big for you"
Мы джанэр кӏалэм фэшӏыкӏэ иныщэ
[mə d͡ʒaːnar t͡ʃʼaːɮam faʃʼət͡ʃʼa jənəɕa]
this shirt boy (erg.) for too large
"This shirt is too large for the boy"
Мы сурэтыр дэхэдэд
[mə səwratər daxadad]
this painting too beautiful'
"This painting is too beautiful"


To indicate a thought or an opinion of someone, the prefix шӏо~ (ʃʷʼa~) is added to the adjective. This can also be used on nouns but it is very uncommon. For example:

  • дахэ "pretty" → шӏодах "it's pretty for him.
  • дэхагъ "as pretty" → шӏодэхагъ "it was pretty for him.
  • ӏэшӏу "tasty" → шӏоӏэшӀу "it is tasty for him.
  • плъыжьы "red" → шӏоплъыжьы "it is red for him.
кӏалэхэмэ ашӏодахэп сиджанэ
кӏалэ-хэ-мэ я-шъо-дахэ-п си-джанэ
[t͡ʃaːlaxama jaːʃʷadaːxap sid͡ʒaːna]
the boys (erg.) it was not pretty for them my shirt
"my shirt was not beautiful for the boys."
мы мыӏэрысэм иуасэ пшӏолъапӏа?
мы мыӏэрысэ-м и-уасэ п-шӏо-лъапӏ-а?
[mə məʔarəsam jəwaːsa pʃʷaɬaːpʼaː]
this apple (erg.) its cost is it expensive for you?
"Is this apple expensive for you?"
All different forms of шӏо~.


To indicate a measure of a certain adjective the suffix ~гъэ (~ʁa) is added. Usually it is used for measurable adjectives like length, height, weight, size, strength and speed but it can be used on any adjective. This suffix turns the adjective to a noun.

  • кӏыхьэ /t͡ʃʼaħə/ - long → кӏыхьэгъэ /t͡ʃʼaħəʁa/ - length.
  • ӏэтыгъэ /ʔatəʁa/ - high → ӏэтыгъагъэ /ʔatəʁaːʁa/ - height.
  • псынкӏэ /psənt͡ʃʼa/ - fast → псынкӏагъэ /psənt͡ʃʼaːʁa/ - speed.
  • фабэ /faːba/ - hot → фэбагъэ /fabaːʁa/ - heat.
  • кӏуачӏэ /kʷʼaːt͡ʃʼa/ - strong → кӏочӏагъэ /kʷʼat͡ʃʼaːʁa/ - strength.
  • ӏужъу /ʔʷəʒʷə/ - wide → ӏужъугъэ /ʔʷəʒʷəʁa/ - width.
  • дахэ /daːxa/ - beautiful → дэхагъэ /daxaːʁa/ - beauty.
пхъэм иӏужъугъэ 65 сантиметр
[pχam jəʔʷəʒʷəʁa 65 saːntimetr]
the wood (erg.) its width 65 centimeters
"The wood's width is 65 centimeters"
кӏалэм кӏочӏагъэ хэлъ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam kʷʼat͡ʃʼaːʁa xaɬ]
boy (erg.) strength it is laying in
"The boy has strength in him."

State of the adjective[edit]

The suffix ~гъакӏэ (~ʁaːt͡ʃʼa) is appended to adjectives to form nouns meaning "the state of being the adjective".

  • кӏыхьэ /t͡ʃʼaħə/ - long → кӏыхьэгъакӏэ /t͡ʃʼaħəʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - lengthiness; longness.
  • псынкӏэ /psənt͡ʃʼa/ - fast → псынкӏэгъакӏэ /psənt͡ʃʼaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - speediness.
  • кӏуачӏэ /kʷʼaːt͡ʃʼa/ - strong → кӏочӏэгъакӏэ /kʷʼat͡ʃʼaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - strongness.
  • дахэ /daːxa/ - pretty → дэхэгъакӏэ /daxaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - prettiness.
сэ мыӏэрысэм иӏэшӏугъакӏэ сыкъегъатхъэ
сэ мыӏэрыс-эм и-ӏэшӏу-гъакӏэ сы-къ-е-гъа-тхъэ
[sa məʔarəsəm jəʔaʃʷʼəʁaːt͡ʃʼa səqajʁaːtχa]
I apple (erg.) its testiness I enjoy it
"I enjoy the apple's testiness."
пшъашъэм ӏэшӏэхэу идэхэгъакӏэкӏэ сыкъигъэделагъ
пшъашъэ-м ӏэшӏэх-эу и-дэхэ-гъакӏэ-кӏэ сы-къ-и-гъэ-дел-агъ
[pʂaːʂam ʔaʃʼaxaw jədaxaʁaːt͡ʃʼat͡ʃʼa səqəjʁadajɮaːʁ]
the girl (erg.) easily using her prettiness (s)he fooled me
"The girl fooled me easily by using her prettiness."


In the Adgyeh language adverbs belong to these groups: adverbs of place, adverbs of time, adverbs of quality and adverbs of amount.

Adverbs of place[edit]

  • адэ - "there" (invisible).
  • модэ - "there" (visible).
  • мыдэ - "here".
модэкӏэ тучаныр ӏут
модэ-кӏэ тучан-ыр ӏут
[modat͡ʃʼa tut͡ʃaːnər ʔʷərt]
over there (ins.) shop (abs.) it is standing
"The shop is placed over there."
адэ кӏалэр кӏуагъэ
адэ кӏалэ-р кӏу-агъэ
[aːda t͡ʃʼaːɮar kʷʼaːʁa]
there boy (abs.) (S)he went
"The boy went there."

Adverbs of time[edit]

  • непэ - "today".
  • непе рнэу - "this whole day".
  • тыгъуасэ - "yesterday".
  • тыгъуасэнахьыпэ - "day before yesterday".
  • неущы - "tomorrow".
  • неущмыкӏэ - "the day after tomorrow".
  • гъэрекӏо - "last year".
  • мыгъэ - "this year".
  • къакӏорэгъэ - "next year".
  • иджы - "now".
  • иджырэкӏэ - "for now".
  • иджыкӏэ - "so far".
  • иджыри - "still"
  • джыдэдэм - "right now".
  • иджынэсфэ - "until now".
  • пчэдыжьым - "at morning".
  • щэджагъом - "at noon".
  • щэджэгъоужым - "at afternoon".
  • пчыхьэм (нычхьапэ) - "at evening".
  • чэщым - "in the night".
  • зэманым - "in the past".
  • тӏэкӏушӏэмэ (тӏэкӏу машӏэмэ) - "soon".
  • бэшӏэмэ (бэ машӏэмэ) - "later".
  • тӏэкӏушӏагъэу - "recently".
  • бэшӏагъэу - "long time ago".
  • пэтырэу - "while".
  • етӏанэ (етӏуанэ) - "afterwards"
  • пасэу - "early"
  • кӏасэу - "lately"
  • ренэу - "always"
тӏэкӏушӏэмэ тышхэнэу тыкӏощт
тӏэкӏушӏэмэ ты-шхэ-нэу ты-кӏо-щт
[tʼakʷʼʃʼama təʃxanaw təkʷʼaɕt]
soon we (to) eat we will go
"Soon we will go to eat."
непэ пасэу еджапӏэм тынэсышъугъ
непэ пасэу еджапӏэм тынэсышъугъ
[najpa paːsaw jad͡ʒaːpʼam tənasəʃʷəʁ]
today early school (erg.) we could arrive
"Today we successfully arrived school early."

Adverbs of amount[edit]

  • макӏэ - "few".
  • тӏэкӏу - "a bit".
  • тӏэкӏурэ - "few times, for a short period of time".
  • бэ "a lot".
  • бэрэ "a lot of times, for a long period of time".
  • ӏаджэ "many".
  • хъои "plenty".
  • апӏэ "load of".
  • заулэ "several".
  • сыдэу "so".
шхыныр сыдэу фабэ
шхыны-р сыдэу фабэ
[ʃxənər sədaw faːba]
food (abs.) so hot
"The food is so hot."
кӏалэм ахъщэ бэ иӏ
кӏалэ-м ахъщэ бэ иӏ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam aːχɕa ba jəʔ]
boy (erg.) money a lot (s)he has
"The boy has a lot of money."
чэщым лӏыр тӏэкӏурэ макӏо
чэщы-м лӏы-р тӏэкӏурэ макӏо
t͡ʃaɕəm ɬʼər tʼakʷʼra maːkʷʼa]
night (erg.) man (abs.) short period of time (s)he went
"In the night, the man goes for a small period of time."

Adverbs of quality[edit]

Adverbs of this group are formed from the appropriate qualitative adjectives using the suffix ~эу /~aw/. Adverbs in this group describe the manner in which the verb was done.

  • къабзэ "clean" → къабзэу "cleanly"
  • чыжьэ "far" → чыжьэу "far",
  • псынкӏэ "quick" → псынк1эу "quickly",
  • дахэ "beautiful" → дахэу "beautifully",
  • благъэ "near" → благъэу "nearly".
  • лъэш "powerful" → лъэшэу "powerfully".
  • шъабэ "soft" → шъабэу "softly"
  • пытэ "firm" → пытэу "firmly"
кӏалэр чыжьэу чъагъэ
кӏалэ-р чыжьэ-у чъ-агъэ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮar t͡ʃəʑaw t͡ʂaːʁa]
boy (abs.) far (adv) (s)he ran
"The boy ran far."
кӏалэм шхыныр дэгъоу ышӏэгъ
кӏалэ-м шхын-ыр дэгъо-у ышӏэ-гъ
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam ʃxənər daʁʷaw əʃʼaʁ]
the boy (erg.) food (abs.) excellently (s)he done it
"The boy done the food excellently."
пшъашъэр дахэу матхэ
пшъашъэ-р дахэ-у матхэ
[pʂaːʂar daːxaw maːtxa]
the girl (abs.) beautifully (s)he writes
"The girl writes beautifully."


Adyghe has the word нахь /naːħ/ "rather, actually" which can be used to introduce a clarification or a contradiction in a sentence. For example:

  • кӏуагъэ "(s)he went" → кӏуагъэ нахь "rather (s)he went".
  • къины "hard" → къины нахь "rather it is hard".
  • кӏалэ "boy" → кӏалэ нахь "rather it is a boy".
кӏалэр кӏуагъэп, чъагъэ нахь
кӏалэ-р кӏу-агъ-эп, чъ-агъэ нахь
[t͡ʃʼaːɮar kʷʼaːʁap t͡ʂaːʁa naːħ]
boy (abs.) (s)he went (s)he ran rather
"The boy didn't walk, rather he ran."
фылымым теплъыгъэ нахь
фылым-ым т-еплъы-гъэ нахь
[fələməm tajpɬəʁa naːħ]
film (erg.) we watched it rather
"We actually watched the film."


In English the word "and" is used to connect parts of speech with others, while in Circassian, there are different ways to connect different parts of speech with others.

Case Suffix Example
Cyrillic IPA
Indefinite nouns рэ /ra/ кӏалэ-рэ пшъашъэ-рэ къэкӏуагъэх
"a boy and a girl came."
Definite nouns мрэ /mra/ кӏалэ-мрэ пшъашъэ-мрэ кӏуагъэх
"the boy and the girl came."
Pronouns рэ /ra/ сэ-рэ о-рэ тыкӏуагъ
"You and I went."
Indefinite adjectives ри /ri/ кӏэлэ кӏыхьэ-ри пшъашъэ дахэ-ри къэкӏуагъэх
"a tall boy and a pretty girl came."
Definite adjectives мри /mri/ кӏэлэ кӏыхьэ-мри пшъашъэ дахэ-мри къэкӏуагъэх
"a tall boy and a pretty girl came."
Numbers рэ /ra/ кӏэлэ тӏу-рэ пшъашъэ щы-рэ къэкӏуагъэх
"two boys and three girls came."
Universal nouns и /i/ кӏал-и пшъашъ-и къэкӏуагъэх
"boys and girls came."
Adverbs мкӏи /mt͡ʃʼi/ мафэ-мкӏи чэщы-мкӏи къэкӏуагъэх
"they came in the day and in the night."

The conjunctions ыкӏи /ət͡ʃəj/ "and" can also be used to connect different parts of speech.

Verbs: Кӏалэр еджэ ыкӏи матхэ "The boy reads and writes".
Adjectives: Кӏалэр дахэ ыкӏи кӏыхьэ "The boy is handsome and tall".


Conjunctions in the Circassian language play the same role like in English, they are used to connect together, in different ways, words or parts of a difficult sentence. According to structure of Circassian conjunctions they can be separated into two groups: simple and complex.

Simple conjunctions[edit]

Among simple Circassian conjunctions are:

  • ыкӏи - "and".
  • е - "or".
  • ау - "but".
Сэ сыкӏуагъ къалэм, ау къэзгъэзэжьыгъэп
[sa səkʷʼaːʁ qaːɮam aːw qazʁazaʑəʁap]
I I went city (erg.) but I didn't return
"I went to the city, but I haven't returned."
Сэ непенэу сэлажьэ ыкӏи сычъыягъэп тыгъуасэ чэщым
[sa najpajnaw saɮaːʑa ət͡ʃʼəj sət͡ʂaːʁap təʁʷaːsa t͡ʃaʃə]
I this whole day I am working and I haven't slept yesterday in the night (erg.)
"I have been working this while day and I haven't slept yesterday night."

Complex conjunctions[edit]

  • ау щытми - "however".
  • ары шъхьай - "but".
  • ары пакӏопышъ - "not only", "but".
  • арти - "so".
  • армэ (ащтэумэ) - "if so".
  • арми (ащтэуми) - "even if so".
  • армырмэ - "if not, else, otherwise".
  • армырми - "even if not, either way".
  • нахь мышӏэми - "despite".
  • зэ-зэ - "here-and-there".
  • е-е - "either-or".
  • сыда пӏомэ - "because".
  • ащ къыхэкӏыкӏэ - "due to".
  • сыдигъокӏи - "in any case".
  • сыдми - "either way".
унэм тигъэс, сыда пӏомэ непэ къещхыщт
[wənam təjʁas sədaː pʔʷʼama najpa qajɕxəɕt]
house (erg.) let us stay inside because today it will rain
"Let us stay inside the house, because today it will rain."
армэ, неущы къычӏегъэдзагъэу седжэу сыублэщт экзамыным фэшӏыкӏэ
[aːrma najwɕə qət͡ʂʼajʁad͡zaːʁaw sajd͡ʒaw səwbɮaɕt akzaːmənəm faʃʼət͡ʃʼa]
if that so tomorrow starting from studying (adv.) I will start exam (erg.) for
"If that so, I will start studying for the exam starting from tomorrow."


In the Circassian language participles are different both by their semantics and structure. Semantically they fall into the following groups: affirmative, negative, interrogative, intensive, indicatory and stimulating.


  • ары "yes".
  • хъун, хъущт "fine, OK".
  • адэ "of course (expresses confidence)".

For example:

- Непэ тадэжь къак1оба. - Хъун. "- Come to us today. - OK";
- Къэс1уагъэр къыбгуры1уагъа? - Ары. "- Have you understood what I have said? - Yes";
Адэ, непэ тыдэкӏыни тыкъэшхэщт. "Certainly, we will go out today and eat."


  • хьау "no".

For example: Хьау, хьау, зыми сэ сыфаеп "No, no, I don't want a thing";


  • шӏуа "perhaps".

For example: Сыдигъо ш1уа автобусыр къызык1ощтыр? "When perhaps will the bus will come?";


  • адэ "well".
  • кӏо "well".

For example:

Адэ, Пщымаф, гущы1эу птыгъэр гъцэ1эжьба. "Well, Pshimaf, you must keep your word".
Кӏо, кӏалэр еджэн фаи къытдэкӏышъугъэп. "Well, because the boy needs to study he couldn't come out with us.


  • мары "this is it",
  • моры "that is it".

For example: Мары машинэу зигугъу къыпфэсш1ыгъагъэр "This is the car which I have told you about";


  • еу "come on".

For example: Еу, псынк1эу зегъахь! "Come on, get out of here quickly".


  • ашъыу "er", "uh", "I mean" (said when one has made a mistake in speech, before one corrects it)

For example: Уатэр къэсфэхь, Ашъыу, отычэр къэсфэхь " Bring me the hammer, er, I mean, bring me the ax".

  • ашъыу "argh", "ugh" (an expression of bad mood or vexation or dissatisfaction)

For example: Ашъыу!, зэ щыгъэт "Ugh!, shut up for a moment".

  • хъугъэ "that's enough" (an expression of giving up)

For example: Хъугъэ!, некӏо тыкӏожьыщт "That's enough, let's return".

  • еоой "alas"

For example: еоой, идж сыд цӏыфым ышӏэжьыщтэр? "Alas, what will the person do now?".


Adyghe has four demonstratives: а /ʔaː/, джэ /d͡ʒa/, мо /mo/ and мы /mə/ while the Shapsug dialect has two more demonstratives: дымо /dəmo/, дымы /dəmə/.

а /ʔaː/

  1. that
    а ӏанэthat table
    а пшъашъэthat girl
    а кӏалэм еӏоthat boy is saying
  • The determiner 'а' /ʔaː/ refer to a referent that is far away and invisible to both the speaker and the listener(s). It is similar to the English language determiner that, but with the condition that the referent has to be invisible or far away.

мо /maw/

  1. that
    мо ӏанэthat table
    мо пшъашъэthat girl
    мо кӀалэм еӀоthat boy is saying
  • The determiner 'мо' refer to a referent that is visible and in a known distance from both the speaker and the listener(s) (both the speaker and the listener(s) can see the referent). It is similar to the English language determiner that, but with the condition that the referent has to be visible.

мы /mə/

  1. this
    мы ӏанэthis table
    мы пшъашъэthis girl
    мы кӀалэм еӀоthis boy is saying
    мы мэгъэthis year
  • The determiner 'мы' refer to a referent that is close to both the speaker and the listener(s). It is exactly like the English language determiner this.

джэ /d͡ʒa/

  1. that
    джэ ӏанэthat table
    джэ пшъашъэthat girl
    джэ кӏалэм еӏоthat boy is saying
  • The intensive determiner 'джэ' refer to a referent which is usually invisible. This determiner is used when the referent in the conversation is clear to both the speaker and the listener(s). Someone would use this determiner in order to emphasizes that both he and the listener(s) have the same referent in mind.

дымо /dəmo/

  1. that (over there)
    дымо ӏанэthat table over there
    дымо пшъашъэthat girl over there
    дымо кӀалэм еӀоthat boy over there is saying
    дымо цӀыфэр улъэгъуа? — Do you see that person over there?
  • The determiner 'дымо' refer to a referent that is visible. This determiner is used when the speaker wants to emphasizes that the object is in his sight, so that the listener(s) will expect the referent to be the thing (s)he looks at. It is usually used to introduce a new referent, for example it can be used to refer to a stranger on the street or to refer to a certain object on the field that is visible. This determiner might be used while pointing one's finger at the people or objects in question.

дымы /dəmə/

  1. this (over here)
    дымы ӏанэthis table over here
    дымы пшъашъэthis girl over here
    дымы кӀалэм еӀоthis boy over here is saying
    дымы цӀыфэр улъэгъуа? — Do you see this person over here?
  • The determiner 'дымы' refer to a referent that is visible. This determiner is similar to the determiner дымо. This is used instead of дымо when the referent is very near. Like the determiner дымо, it might be used while pointing one's finger at the referent in question. Even without pointing fingers the listener(s) will expect the referent to be the thing the speaker looks at. It can be used to point on objects in a room for example.

тэ (ta)

  1. which
    тэ ӏанэ?which table?
    тэ пшъашъэ?which girl?
    тэ кӀалэм еӀо?which boy is saying?


The demonstratives can be used to express different things like:

Location: адэ "there", модэ "there", мыдэ "here" and тэдэ "where?".
Area: ау "there", моу "there", мыу "here", джэу "there" and тэу "where?".
Similarity: ащфэд "like that", мощфэд "like", мыщфэд "like this" and тэщфэд "like what?".
Action: ащтэу "like that", мощтэу "like", мыщтэу "like this", джэщтэу "like that" and тэщтэу "how?".
Time: ащыгъум "at that moment", мыщыгъум "at this moment" and тэщыгъум "at what time?".
Indicatory: ары "that one", моры "that one", мары "thus one", джэры "that one" and тэры "which one?".


In the Circassian language pronouns belong to the following groups: personal, demonstrative, possessive, interrogative, adherent, indefinite.

Personal pronouns are only expressed in first and second person in singular and plural forms: сэ /sa/ "I", тэ /ta/ "we" о /wa/ "you" and шъо /ʃʷa/ "you" (plural).

In order to express third person, the special demonstrative pronouns ар "he", мор "that", мыр "this", ахэр, мыхэр "they, that" are used. For Circassian personal pronouns there is no contrast between the nominative and ergative grammatical cases (like it is with Circassian nouns). These two grammatical cases merge into one common case, so personal pronouns have only three different cases: absolutive /ergative, instrumental, adverbial.

Grammatical cases of personal pronouns:

Case First-person Second-person
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Singular Absolutive сэ sa о wa
Ergative сэ sa о wa
Instrumental сэркӏэ sart͡ʃʼa оркӏэ wart͡ʃʼa
Adverbial сэрэу saraw орэу waraw
Plural Absolutive тэ ta шъо ʃʷa
Ergative тэ ta шъо ʃʷa
Instrumental тэркӏэ tart͡ʃʼa шъоркӏэ ʃʷart͡ʃʼa
Adverbial тэрэу taraw шъорэу ʃʷaraw

In a sentence a personal pronoun usually plays role of subject or object:

Сэ седжэ "I read (study)";
О уеджэ тхылъым "You are reading the book";
Тэ тэк1о школым "We are going to school";
Шъо 1оф шъош1э "You (plural) are working";
Сэрк1э мы 1офы́р зэш1охыгъэ́ хъущтэ́п "This problem can not be solved by me alone".

Demonstrative pronouns are мы "this", мо "that", а "that". There is a contradistinction between "мы" and "мо" on how far the referred object is. The pronoun "а" is neutral on this matter.

Мы унэм нахьи мо унак1эу къаш1ырэр нахь дах "This house, which is being built, is more beautiful than that one";
А тхылъэ́у пщэфыгъэм сегъэплъыба "Show me the book you have bought, please".

Demonstrative pronouns switch four grammatical cases:

Absolutive мыр, мор, ар;
Ergative мыщ, мощ, ащ;
Instrumental мыщк1э, мощк1э, ащк1э;
Adverbial мырэу, морэу, арэу.

The plural form of demonstrative pronouns is expressed by the -хэ- formant:

Absolutive мыхэр,
Ergative мыхэм,
Instrumental мыхэмк1э,
Adverbial мыхэу.

Possessive pronouns express the idea that something belongs to someone. There are several possessive pronouns in the Circassian language:

сэсы́й "my/mine",
оу́й "your/yours",
йый "his",
тэты́й "our/ours",
шъошъу́й "your/yours" (plural),
яй "their/theirs".

These pronouns change their form in different grammatical cases in the same way. Let us show examples of how they are used in a sentence:

Мы унэр сэсый "This house is mine";
Мы чъыгхэр тэтыех "These trees are ours".

The following pronouns are interrogative pronouns of the Circassian language:

хэт (хэта)? "who?",
сыд (сыда)? "what?",
тхьапш? "how much (many)?",
тары? "which?",
сыдигъу? "when?",
тыдэ? "where?",
сыд фэд? "what kind of?".

The interrogative pronoun хэт? "who?" is used to address the nouns that belong to the class of human being, and the pronoun сыд? "what?" is for the nouns that belong to the class of thing. For example:

Хэт зы1уагъэр? "Who has said (that)?",
Хэт унэм къихьагъэ́р? "Who has entered the house?",
Сыд плъэгъугъа? -Хьэ слъэгъугъэ́. "What have you seen? - I've seen a dog".
Сыд къэпщагъэр? - "What have you brought?", Пхъэ къэсща́гъэр - "I have brought firewood".

Circassian adherent pronouns:

ежь "self",
зэк1э "whole",
шъхьадж "every",
ышъхьэк1э "self personally",
хэти, хэтрэ́ "everyone", "each",
сыди, сыдрэ́ "everything", "each" and some others.


Хэти зышъхьамысыжьэу 1оф ыш1эн фае "Everyone must work hard";
Сыдрэ 1офри дэгъу, угу къыбде1эу бгъэцак1эмэ "Each job is good if it is made with soul".

There is only one pronoun in the Circassian language which belongs to the group of indefinite pronouns. This pronoun is зыгорэ́. It has several close meanings: "someone", "one", "something", "somebody" and so on. The indefinite pronoun has the same forms in different grammatical cases like nouns have:

Case Singular form Plural form
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Absolutive зыгорэ zəɡʷara зыгорэхэр zəɡʷaraxar
Ergative зыгорэм zəɡʷaram зыгорэхэмэ zəɡʷaraxama
Instrumental зыгорэ(м)кӏэ zəɡʷara(m)t͡ʃʼa зыгорэхэ(м)кӏэ zəɡʷaraxa(m)t͡ʃʼa
Adverbial зыгорэу zəɡʷaraw зыгорэхэу zəɡʷaraxaw

Here are examples of how these forms are used in a sentence:

Зыгорэ пчъэм къытеуагъ "Someone has knocked the door";
А тхылъ гъэш1эгъоным зыгорэ къытегущы1эгъагъ "Somebody has spoken about this interesting book".


In the Circassian language, as well as in other Ibero-Caucasian languages, role of prepositions belongs to postpositions. It is difficult to define the exact count of postpositions in the Circassian language, because even such major parts of speech as nouns (from the point of view of their functionality) sometimes can be included into the group, together with some verb prefixes. For example, in the sentence Тхылъыр столым телъ "The book is lying on the table" the noun has no preposition, but the meaning remains clear because in the verb те-лъ "is lying" the prefix те- expresses something's being on a surface, so this form of the verb literally means "on the surface is lying".

Nouns and adverbs sometimes play role of postpositions. For example, nous that describe different parts of human body (head, nose, side and so on) sometimes function as postpositions. For example: Шъузыр лӏым ыпэ итэу кӏощтыгъэ "The wife was going in front of the husband" (the preposition "in front of" in the Circassian sentence is expressed by the phrase ыпэ итэу "being in front of his nose").

Nouns and pronouns combine with a postposition in the ergative grammatical case only. For example, the postposition дэжь "near, beside" requires a word in the ergative case:

  • чъыгы-м дэжь "near the tree";
  • ныбджэгъу-м пае "for the friend".

Postpositions can attach possessive prefixes to themselves. For example, in singular:

  • сэ с-а-дэжь "near me",
  • о у-а-дэжь "near you",
  • ащ ы-дэжь "near him";

in plural:

  • тэ т-а-дэжь "near us",
  • шъо шъу-а-дэжь "near you",
  • ахэмэ а-дэжь "near them".

The following words are used as postpositions in the Circassian language:

  • дэжь "near".
  • пае "for".
  • пашъхьэ "in front of, before".
  • чӏэгъ "under".
  • шъхьагъ "above".
  • фэдэу "like, similar".
  • азыфагу "between".
  • гузэгу "middle".
  • бгъу "side".
  • гупэ "face".
  • кӏыб "back".
  • къогъу "corner".
  • кӏыӏу "surface".
  • кӏоцӏы "inside".
  • пэ "nose".
  • пшъэ "neck".
  • ужы "trace".
  • нэуж "track".
  • чӏыпӏэ "place".


The suffix ~a /aː/ initials the interrogative particle that indicates a yes-or-no question. For example:

  • макӏо "(s)he is going" → макӏуа? "is (s)he going?"
  • кӏалэ "boy" → кӏала? "is it a boy?"
  • дахэ "beautiful" → даха? "is (s)he beautiful?"
Кӏала ӏаным тесыр? - Is it a boy that stands on the table?
Кӏалэр ӏаным теса? - Is the boy standing on the table?
Кӏалэр ӏана зытесыр? - Is it a table the boy is standing on?

If question is posited to word having the negative suffix ~п (~p), it is converted to suffix ~ба (~baː)[clarification needed]. The suffix ~ба /baː/ initials the negative interrogative particle. For example:

  • макӏо "(s)he is going" → макӏо-ба? "isn't (s)he is going?"
  • кӏалэ "boy" → кӏалэ-ба? "isn't it is a boy?"
  • дахэ "beautiful" → дахэ-ба? "isn't (s)he is beautiful?"
Кӏалэба ӏаным тесыр? - Isn't it a boy that stands on the table?
Кӏалэр ӏаным тесыба? - Isn't the boy standing on the table?
Кӏалэр ӏанэба зытесыр? - Isn't it a table the boy is standing on?

If question is posited by auxiliary interrogative words:

  • хэт (хэта) "who".
  • сыд (шъыд) "what/which".
  • сыда (шъыда) "why".
  • тыдэ "where".
  • тхьэпш "how much".
  • сыд фэдиз "how much".
  • тэщтэу (сыдэущтэу) "how".
  • тары "which".
  • сыдигъу (шъыдгъо) "when".
  • сыдкӏэ (шъыдкӏэ) "with what".
  • сыд фэд? "what kind of?".
хэт къэкӏуагъэ?
[xat qakʷʼaːʁa]
who the person that came
"Who came?"
сыд кӏалэм ыцӏэ?
[səd t͡ʃʼaːɮam ət͡sʼa]
what the boy (erg.) his name
"What is the boy's name?"
непэ тыдэ ущыӏэщт?
[najpa təda wɕəʔaɕt]
today where you will be there
"Today where will you be?"


  • Numbers from zero to ten are specific words
0 зиӀ [ziʔ]
1 зы About this sound[zə] 
2 тӀу About this sound[tʷʼə] 
3 щы About this sound[ɕə] 
4 плӀы About this sound[pɬʼə] 
5 тфы About this sound[tfə] 
6 хы About this sound[xə] 
7 блы About this sound[blə]  or About this sound[bɮə] 
8 и About this sound[jə] 
9 бгъу About this sound[bʁʷə] 
10 пшӀы About this sound[pʃʼə] 
  • Numbers from eleven to nineteen are built with the word for ten, followed by кIу ([kʷʼə]) and the unit digit:
11 пшӀыкӀуз About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəz] 
12 пшӀыкӀутIу About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼ] 
13 пшӀыкӀущ About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəɕ] 
14 пшӀыкӀуплI About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəpɬʼ] 
15 пшӀыкӀутф About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼətf] 
16 пшӀыкӀух About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəx] 
17 пшӀыкӀубл About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəbl] 
18 пшӀыкӀуй About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəj] 
19 пшӀыкӀубгъу About this sound[pʃʼəkʷʼəbʁʷ] 
  • The tens follow a vigesimal system from forty up, with the exception of fifty:
20 тӀокӀы [tʷʼat͡ʃə] (20)
21 тӀокӀырэ зырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃəra zəra] (20 and 1)
22 тӀокӀырэ тIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃəra tʷʼəra] (20 and 2)
23 тӀокӀырэ щырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃəra ɕəra] (20 and 3)
30 щэкӀы [ɕat͡ʃə] (30)
31 щэкӀырэ зырэ [ɕat͡ʃə zəra] (30 and 1)
32 щэкӀырэ тIурэ [ɕat͡ʃə tʷʼəra] (30 and 2)
40 тӀокӀитIу [tʷʼat͡ʃitʷʼ] (20 × 2)
41 тӀокӀитIурэ зырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃitʷʼəra zəra] (20 × 2 and 1)
42 тӀокӀитIурэ тIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃitʷʼəra tʷʼəra] (20 × 2 and 2)
50 шъэныкъо [ʂanəqʷa] (half-hundred)
51 шъэныкъорэ зырэ [ʂanəqʷara zəra] (half-hundred and 1)
52 шъэныкъорэ тIурэ [ʂanəqʷara tʷʼəra] (half-hundred and 2)
60 тӀокӀищ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕ] (20 × 3)
61 тӀокӀищырэ зырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕəra zəra] (20 × 3 and 1)
62 тӀокӀищырэ тIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕəra tʷʼəra] (20 × 3 and 2)
70 тӀокӀищырэ пшIырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕra pʃʼəra] (20 × 3 and 10)
71 тӀокӀищырэ пшIыкIузырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕra pʃʼəkʷʼəzəra] (20 × 3 and 11)
72 тӀокӀищырэ пшӀыкӀутIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃiɕra pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼəra] (20 × 3 and 12)
80 тӀокӀиплӀ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼ] (20 × 4)
81 тӀокӀиплӀырэ зырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼəra zəra] (20 × 4 and 1)
82 тӀокӀиплӀырэ тIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼəra tʷʼəra] (20 × 4 and 2)
90 тӀокӀиплӀырэ пшIырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼəra pʃʼəra] (20 × 4 and 10)
91 тӀокӀиплӀырэ пшIыкIузырэ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼəra pʃʼəkʷʼəzəra] (20 × 4 and 11)
91 тӀокӀиплӀырэ пшӀыкӀутIурэ [tʷʼat͡ʃipɬʼəra pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼəra] (20 × 4 and 12)
  • One hundred is шъэ (ʂa). The hundreds are formed by the hundred word root (шъ (ʂ)) followed by -и- (-i-) and the multiplier digit root.
100 шъэ (ʂa)
101 шъэрэ зырэ (ʂara zəra) (100 and 1)
110 шъэрэ пшӏырэ (ʂara pʃʼəra) (100 and 10)
200 шъитӀу (ʂitʷʼ) (100 × 2)
201 шъитӀурэ зырэ (ʂitʷʼəra zəra) (200 × 2 and 1)
300 шъищ (ʂiɕ) (100 × 3)
400 шъиплӀ (ʂipɬʼ) (100 × 4)
500 шъитф (ʂitf) (100 × 5)
600 шъих (ʂix) (100 × 6)
700 шъибл (ʂibl) (100 × 7)
800 шъий (ʂij) (100 × 8)
900 шъибгъу (ʂibʁʷ) (100 × 9)
  • One thousand is мин (min). The thousands are formed by the thousand word root (мин (məjn)) followed by -и- (-i-) and the multiplier digit root.
1000 мин (min)
1001 минрэ зырэ (minra zəra) (1000 and 1)
1010 минрэ пшӏырэ (minra pʃʼəra) (1000 and 10)
1100 минрэ шъэрэ (minra ʂara) (1000 and 100)
2000 минитӀу (minitʷʼ) (1000 × 2)
3000 минищ (miniɕ) (1000 × 3)
4000 миниплӀ (minipɬʼ) (1000 × 4)
5000 минитф (minitf) (1000 × 5)
6000 миних (minix) (1000 × 6)
7000 минибл (minibl) (1000 × 7)
8000 миний (minij) (1000 × 8)
9000 минибгъу (minibʁʷ) (1000 × 9)
10000 минипшӏ (minipʃʼ) (1000 × 10)
11000 минипшӀыкӀуз (minipʃʼəkʷʼəz) (1000 × 11)
12000 минипшӀыкӀутIу (minipʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼ) (1000 × 12)
20000 минитӀокӀы (minitʷʼat͡ʃə) (1000 × 20)
100000 минишъэ (miniʂa) (1000 × 100)
200000 минишъитӀу (miniʂitʷʼ) (1000 × 200)

When composed, the hundred word takes the -рэ (-ra) suffix, as well as the ten and the unit if any (e.g.:

шъэрэ зырэ (ʂara zəra) [101],
шъэрэ тIурэ (ʂara tʷʼəra) [102],
шъэрэ пшӀыкӀузырэ (pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼəra) [111],
шъитӀурэ щэкӀырэ плIырэ (ʂitʷʼəra ɕat͡ʃəra pɬʼəra) [234]).

  • One thousand is мин (min). The other thousands are formed by concatenating the thousand word with -и- (-i-) and the multiplier digit root:

минитӀу (minitʷʼə) [2,000],
минищ (miniɕ) [3,000],
минищ шъэ (miniɕ ʂa) [3,100],
минищ шъитIу (miniɕ ʂitʷʼə) [3,200],
миниплӀ (minipɬʼ) [4,000],
миниплӀы шъэ (minipɬʼəra ʂa) [4,100],
минишъиплIтIу (miniʂipɬʼətʷʼ) [4,200],
минишъиплӀщ (miniʂipɬʼəɕ) [4,300],
минитфы шъэ (minitfə ʂa) [5,100],
минишъитфтIу (miniʂitfətʷʼ) [5,200]...

When there is a certain amount of the noun, the noun is followed by -и (-i) and the multiplier digit root.

for example:

Зы кӀалэ - One boy (zə t͡ʃaːla),
КӀалитӀу - two boys (t͡ʃaːlitʷʼ),
КӀалиплӏ - four boys (t͡ʃaːlipɬʼ),
КӀалишъэ - 100 boys (t͡ʃaːliʂa),
Зы мафэ - one day (zə maːfa),
МафитIу - two days (maːfitʷʼ),
Мафищы (мафищ) - three days (maːfiɕ).

Ordinal numbers[edit]

  • Except апэрэ/япэрэ - first (aːpara/jaːpara) are formed by prefix я- (jaː-) and suffix – нэрэ (- nara). For example:

ятIунэрэ - second (jaːtʷʼənara), ящынэрэ - third (jaːɕənara), яплIынэрэ - fourth (jaːpɬʼənara).

first - япэрэ [jːpara]
second - ятӀунэрэ [jaːtʷʼənara]
third - ящынэрэ [jaːɕənara]
fourth - яплӀынэрэ [jaːpɬʼənara]
firth - ятфынэрэ [jaːtfənara]
sixth - яхынэрэ [jaːxənara]
seventh - яблынэрэ [jaːblənara]
eighth - яинэрэ [jaːjənara]
ninth - ябгъунэрэ [jaːbʁʷənara]
tenth - япшӀынэрэ [jaːpʃʼənara]
eleventh - япшӀыкӏузынэрэ [jaːpʃʼəkʷʼəzənara]
twelfth - япшӀыкӏутӏунэрэ [jaːpʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼənara]
twenty th - ятӏокӏынэрэ [jaːtʷʼat͡ʃənara]
hundredth - яшъэнэрэ [jaːʂanara]

Япэрэ мафэ - First day (jaːpara maːfa),
ЯтIонэрэ мафэ - second day (jaːtʷʼənara maːfa),
ЯтIонэрэ цуакъо - second shoe (jaːpara t͡ʃʷaːqʷa),
Яхэнэрэ классым щегъэжьагъэу тутын сешъо~I have been smoking since the sixth class.

Discrete numbers[edit]

  • Are formed by changing the last vowel ~ы (~ə) of number to ~эрэ (~ara):

о плIэрэ къыосIогъах - I have told you four times already.

  • Number can also define measure of a share: Numbers "one" and "two" are formed by words псау (psaw) (whole, whole), ренэ (rena) (whole, whole about length of time), ныкъо (nəqʷa) (the half).

Fractional numbers[edit]

  • Fractional numerals are formed from cardinal numerals with the help of the -(а)нэ /aːna/ morpheme:

щы /ɕə/ "three" - щанэ /ɕaːna/ "third",
плӏы /pɬʼə/ "four" - плӏанэ /pɬʼaːna/ "fourth",
хы "six" - ханэ /xaːna/ "sixth" and so on.

In a sentence: Чӏыгоу къытатыгъэм изыщанэ картоф хэдгъэтӏысхьа́гъ "On one third of the allocated land we have planted potatoes", Хатэм изыщанэ помидор хэдгъэтIысхагъ- third part of vegetable garden we used for the tomatoes, Ахъщэ къыратыгъэм ыпӏланэ чыфэ ритыгъ – The quarter of the money he received, he lent.

half (1÷2) - ныкъо [nəqʷa]
one third (1÷3) - щанэ [ɕaːna]
two thirds (2÷3) - щанитӏу [ɕaːnitʷʼ] (1÷3 × 2)
one fourth (1÷4) - плӀанэ [pɬʼaːna]
two fourths (2÷4) - плӀанитӏу [pɬʼaːnitʷʼ] (1÷4 × 2)
three fourths (3÷4) - плӀанищ [pɬʼaːniɕ] (1÷4 × 3)
one fifth (1÷5) - тфанэ [tfaːna]
one sixth (1÷6) - ханэ [xaːna]
one seventh (1÷7) - бланэ [blaːna]
one eighth (1÷8) - янэ [jaːna]
one ninth (1÷9) - бгъуанэ [bʁʷaːna]
one tenth (1÷10) - пшӀанэ [pʃʼaːna]
one eleventh (1÷11) - пшӀыкӏузанэ [pʃʼəkʷʼəzaːna]
one twelfth (1÷12) - пшӀыкӏутӏуанэ [pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼaːna]
one twentieth (1÷20) - тӏокӏанэ [tʷʼat͡ʃaːna]
one hundredth (1÷100) - шъанэ [ʂaːna]

Separative numbers[edit]

  • Separative numerals are formed by repetition of the appropriate cardinal numeral with the help of the morpheme -ры /-rə/:

зырыз /zərəz/ "by one",
тӏурытӏу /tʷʼərətʷʼ/ "by twos",
щырыщ /ɕərəɕ/ "by threes",
плӏырыплӏ /pɬʼərəplʼ/ "by fours",
тфырытф /tfərətf/ "by fives" and so on.

In a sentence: Еджакӏохэр экзаменым тӏурытӏоу чӏахьэщтыгъэх "Pupils entered the examination room by twos".

Approximate numbers[edit]

  • Approximate numerals are formed as a combination of three cardinal numerals where the main constructive numeral is, usually, the numeral зы "one". for example

зыхыбл /zəxəbl/ зы-хы-бл "about six or seven",
зытӏущ /zətʷʼəɕ/ зы-тӏу-щ "about two or three".

In a sentence: Непэ садэжь нэбгырэ зытIущ къыIухьагъ "About two or three people have approached me today".



  • Аркадьев, П. М.; Ландер, Ю. А.; Летучий, А. Б.; Сумбатова, Н. Р.; Тестелец, Я. Г. Введение. Основные сведения об адыгейском языке в кн.: "Аспекты полисинтетизма: очерки по грамматике адыгейского языка" под ред.: П. М. Аркадьев, А. Б. Летучий, Н. Р. Сумбатова, Я. Г. Тестелец. Москва: РГГУ, 2009 (Arkadiev, P. M.; Lander, Yu. A.; Letuchiy, A. B.; Sumbatova, N. R.; Testelets, Ya. G.
  • Introduction. Basic information about Adyghe language in "Aspects of polysyntheticity: studies on Adyghe grammar" edited by: P. M. Arkadiev, A. B. Letuchiy, N. R. Sumbatova, Ya. G. Testelets. Moscow, RGGU, 2009) (in Russian) ISBN 978-5-7281-1075-0
  • Ranko Matasović, A Short Grammar of East Circassian (Kabardian): [1].
  • Caucasus Studies 1 CIRCASSIAN Clause Structure Mukhadin Kumakhov & Karina Vamling

External links[edit]