Chamalal language

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чамалалдуб мичIчI (çamalaldub miçʿçʿ)
Native toRussia
RegionSouthwestern Dagestan[1]
EthnicityChamalal people
Native speakers
500 (2010)[2]
Northeast Caucasian
Language codes
ISO 639-3cji

Chamalal (also called Camalal or Chamalin) is an Andic language of the Northeast Caucasian language family spoken in southwestern Dagestan, Russia by approximately 500 ethnic Chamalals. It has three quite distinct dialects, Gadyri, Gakvari, and Gigatl.[2]


Chamalal is spoken in southwestern Dagestan, Russia by indigenous Chamalals since the 8th or 9th century. The ethnic population is approximately 5,000, with around 500 speakers. The language has a 6b (threatened) status.

Geographic distribution[edit]

The approximately 500 ethnic speakers live in eight villages in the Tsumadinsky District on the left bank of the Andi-Koisu river in the Dagestan Republic and in the Chechnya Republic. The speakers are mostly Muslim, primarily following Sunni Islam since the 8th or 9th century.

Official status[edit]

There are no countries with Chamalal as an official language.


Chamalal has there distinct dialects: Gadyri (Gachitl-Kvankhi), Gakvari (Agvali-Richaganik-Tsumada-Urukh), and Gigatl (Hihatl). There are also two more dialects: Kwenkhi, Tsumada.

Derived languages[edit]

Gigatl (Hihatl) and Chamalal proper (with Gadyri, Gakvari, Tsumada and Kwenkhi dialects) are considered to be sublanguages.

Writing System[edit]

Chamalal is an unwritten language. Avar and Russian are used in school, and Avar is also used for literary purposes.


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  1. ^ Ethnologue language map of European Russia, with Chamalal in the inset with reference number 10
  2. ^ a b Chamalal at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chamalal". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Further reading[edit]