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Dargwa language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
дарган мез
dargan mez
دارڮان مز
Native toNorth Caucasus
Ethnicity590,000 Dargins (2010 census)[1]
Native speakers
490,000 (2010 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2dar
ISO 639-3dar (also Dargin languages)

Dargwa (дарган мез, dargan mez) is a Northeast Caucasian language spoken by the Dargin people in the Russian republic Dagestan. It is the literary and main dialect of the dialect continuum constituting the Dargin languages.[2] It is based on the Akusha dialect of Dargin.


Dargwa is part of a Northeast Caucasian dialect continuum, the Dargin languages. The four other languages in this dialect continuum (Kajtak, Kubachi, Itsari, and Chirag) are often considered variants of Dargwa. Korjakov (2012) concludes that Southwestern Dargwa is closer to Kajtak than it is to North-Central Dargwa.[3]

Geographic distribution[edit]

According to the 2002 Census, there are 429,347 speakers of Dargwa proper in Dagestan, 7,188 in neighbouring Kalmykia, 1,620 in Khanty–Mansi AO, 680 in Chechnya, and hundreds more in other parts of Russia. Figures for the Lakh dialect spoken in central Dagestan[4] are 142,523 in Dagestan, 1,504 in Kabardino-Balkaria, 708 in Khanty–Mansi.[verification needed]



Like other languages of the Caucasus, Dargwa is noted for its large consonant inventory, which includes over 40 phonemes (distinct sounds), though the exact number varies by dialect. Voicing, glottalization (as ejectives), fortition (which surfaces as gemination), and frication are some of the distinct features of consonants in Dargwa. Particularly noteworthy is the inclusion of an epiglottal ejective by some dialects such as Mehweb [ru], which it may be the only language in the world to use phonemically.[5]

Labial Dental Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal/
plain sib.
Nasal m n
voiced b d d͡z1 d͡ʒ1 ɡ ɢ1 ʡ1
voiceless p t t͡s t͡ʃ k q ʔ
long 2 2 t͡sː2 t͡ʃː2 2 2
ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ ʡʼ2
Fricative voiced v1 z ʒ ɣ1 ʁ ʢ ɦ2
voiceless f1 s ʃ ç1 x χ2 ʜ2
long 2 ʃː2 2 χː2
Trill r
Approximant w2 l j
  1. Present in the literary standard of Dargwa, but not some other dialects.
  2. Present in some dialects, but not the literary standard.
  • The source is rather ambiguous in its using the term "laryngeal" for a presumed column of consonants that includes both a "voiced" and a "glottalized" plosive. A voiced glottal plosive cannot be made, because the glottis needs to be closed, and an ejective consonant requires an additional closure further up the vocal tract. Pending clarification, this row has been transcribed here as an epiglottal column and a glottal stop, both found in many other East Caucasian languages.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə
Open a

The Dargwa language features five vowel sounds /i, e, ə, a, u/. Vowels /i, u, a/ can be pharyngealized as /iˤ, uˤ, aˤ/. There may also be a pharyngealized mid-back vowel [oˤ] as a realization of /uˤ/, occurring in the Megeb dialect.[5]


The current Dargwa alphabet is based on Cyrillic as follows:

А а Б б В в Г г Гъ гъ Гь гь Гӏ гӏ Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з
И и Й й К к Къ къ Кь кь Кӏ кӏ Л л М м Н н О о П п Пӏ пӏ
Р р С с Т т Тӏ тӏ У у Ф ф Х х Хъ хъ Хь хь Хӏ хӏ Ц ц Цӏ цӏ
Ч ч Чӏ чӏ Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я

The first Dargin alphabet was created by Peter von Uslar in the late 19th century, published in the grammar Хюркилинский язык for the Urakhin dialect [ru] of Dargwa.

The Latin alphabet of the 1920s is not supported by Unicode, but is approximately:[6]

a ʙ c ç ꞓ d e ə f g ǥ ƣ h ħ ⱨ i j k ⱪ l m n o p ᶈ q ꝗ r s ꞩ ş t ţ u v w x ҳ ӿ z ƶ ⱬ ƶ̧

(The letters transcribed here ⱨ ⱪ ᶈ ҳ ⱬ might have cedillas instead of hooks; the printing in sources is not clear.)

Writing system comparison chart[edit]

Compiled from:[7]

c. 1930
Uslar Arabic
(before 1920)
А а A a а ا ,آ آ a
Б б B b б ب b
В в V v ԝ و w
Г г G g г گ ڮ g
Гъ гъ Ƣ ƣ ӷ غ ʁ
Гь гь H h һ ھ h
ГӀ гӀ Ⱨ ⱨ ع ʕ
Д д D d д د d
Е е E e, je e اە - e, je
Ё ё - ɵ
Ж ж Ƶ ƶ ж ژ ج ʒ
З з Z z з ز z
И и I i i اى - i
Й й J j j ى ي j
К к K k кᷱ ک k
Къ къ Q q к ڠ ق q:
Кь кь Ꝗ ꝗ q ق
КӀ кӀ Ⱪ ⱪ қ گ
Л л L l л ل l
М м M m м م m
Н н N n н ن n
О о O o о او - o
П п P p п پ ف p
ПӀ пӀ[comm. 1] [comm. 2] ԥ ڢ ب
Р р R r р ر r
С с S s с س s
Т т T t т ت t
ТӀ тӀ T̨ t̨ ҭ ط t’
У у U u у او و u
Ф ф F f - ف f
Х х X x х خ χ
Хъ хъ Ӿ ӿ k څ ق q
Хь хь Ҳ ҳ ؼ x:
ХӀ хӀ Ħ ħ ح ћ
Ц ц Ꞩ ꞩ ц ڝ ژ ʦ
ЦӀ цӀ Ⱬ ⱬ ڗ ژ ʦ’
Ч ч C c ч چ
ЧӀ чӀ Ç ç ج چ ʧ’
Ш ш Ş ş ш ش ʃ
Щ щ şş - ʃː
Ъ ъ - ء - ʔ
Ы ы - ɨ
Ь ь -
Э э E e - اه - e
Ю ю ju - ju
Я я Ә ә, ja ӕ أ - ja
- Ⱬ̵ ⱬ̵ ђ ڞ - t͡s
- Ӡ ӡ -
- є[comm. 2] - ڃ چ
- [comm. 2] гᷱ ݢ -




Assertive (finite) forms[edit]
Assertive (finite) forms [8]
Present 1. all types of present situations including actual and habitual situations, 2. historic present, 3. close future: the speaker‘s intention IPF [-ti] PERSON / PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) reduplication or negative auxiliary anwar-ri kaRar luk’-a–ca=b (Anwar is writing a letter)
Past Progressive a progressive situation in the past IPF -ti PAST (–di) it uč’-a-Ti–di (He was reading)
Aorist any completed action in the past PF - PERSON (–da/–di) negative auxiliary
Imperfect unspecified imperfective meaning in the past (both durative and multiplicative situations) IPF - PERSON (–da/–di) hin ha.ruq-ib
Perfect perfect (a completed action whose results are still presently actual) PF - PERSON /PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) jabu-l hin d=er{-ib–ca=d (The horse has drunk up the whole of the water)
Pluperfect a completed action in the past preceding another past action PF -li PAST (–di)
*Evidential Present 1. inference from non-trivial results of a situation that still exist at the moment of speech 2. subject resultative: IPF - PERSON/PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) jabu hinni b=u{-ib–ca=b (The horse has had a drink of water)
*Evidential Past 1. inference from non-trivial results that existed in the past subject resultative in the past IPF -li PAST (–di)
Resultative resultative (state of the patient) - -li PERSON /PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) jabu mura-l b=uK-un-ni–ca=b 'The horse has eaten its fill of hay.‘
Experiential experiential - -ci PERSON /PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) ni}a-la }a=b b=uZ-ib-ti–ca=b d=eqel juz-i d=elk'-un-ti ̳There have been in our village those who had written many books'.
Habitual Past a habitual action in the past IPF -a-d-i, -a-T-i, -iri/-ini or -aj no separable predicative morphemes reduplication harzamina b=urs-iri di-la waba-l 'My mother used to tell (this story).‘
Future all types of future situations IPF - PERSON/FUTURE(–da/–di/-ni) negative auxiliary
Obligative Present a situation that the speaker believes necessary to be realized IPF * - PERSON /PRESENT (–da/–di/–ca=b) negative auxiliary
Obligative Past an irreal situation that the speaker believes necessary to have been realized in the past IPF * - PAST (–di)
Hypothetical Present a possible action in the future - - PERSON(–da/–di) reduplication or negative auxiliary
Hypothetical Past a past situation that did not take place, but is treated by the speaker as having been possible under certain conditions - - PAST (–di)
Irrealis used in the apodosis of the irreal conditional clauses IPF - PAST (–di) reduplication

Kadar dialect[edit]

The Kadar dialect (G'adaran lug'at / Гъадаран лугъат) with 18,000 speakers is a dialect of the Northern Dargin languages, one of the Dargin languages, which is characterized by specific phonetic, morphological, lexical and syntactic features. It is traditionally regarded as a single dialect of Dargwa.[9][10] The vocabulary layer of the Kadar dialect includes words borrowed from Arabic, Persian, Russian and especially Turkic.[11]


  1. ^ a b Dargwa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Forker D (2019). A grammar of Sanzhi Dargwa (pdf). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.3339225. ISBN 978-3-96110-197-9.
  3. ^ Korjakov, Yu. B. (2012). Лексикостатичексая классификация Даргинских Языков (Paper presented at the Moscow Seminar on Nakh-Dagestanian lanlanguages organized by Nina Sumbatova) (in Russian).
  4. ^ Echols, John (Jan–Mar 1952). "Lakkische Studien by Karl Bouda". Language. 28 (1). Linguistic Society of America: 159. doi:10.2307/410010. JSTOR 410010.
  5. ^ a b Daniel, Michael; Dobrushina, Nina; Ganenkov, Dmitry (2019). The Mehweb language: Essays on phonology, morphology and syntax. Berlin: Language Science Press.
  6. ^ "НЭБ - Национальная электронная библиотека".
  7. ^ А. А. Исаев (1970). "Социологический сборник". О формировании и развитии письменности народов Дагестана. Махачкала. pp. 173–232.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  8. ^ Nina R. Sumbatova, Rasul Osmanovič Mutalov. "A Grammar of Icari Dargwa". Lincom GmbH, 2003
  9. ^ Berg, Helma van den (2001). Dargi folktales : oral stories from the Caucasus with an introduction to Dargi grammar. Leiden: Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies, Universiteit Leiden. ISBN 9057890666.
  10. ^ Коряков, Юрий (2021). "Даргинские языки и их классификация" [Dargwa languages and their classification]. In Майсак, Т. А.; Сумбатова, Н. Р.; Тестелец, Я. Г. (eds.). Дурхъаси Хазна. Сборник Статей К 60-Летию Р. О. Муталова / Ред. Т. А. Майсак, Н. Р. Сумбатова, Я. Г. Тестелец. М.: Буки Веди Дурхъаси хазна. Сборник статей к 60-летию Р. О. Муталова (in Russian). Буки Веди. pp. 139–154. ISBN 978-5-6045633-5-9.
  11. ^ Vagizieva, Naida A.; Temirbulatova, Sapiyahanum M. (30 October 2016). "ТЮРКИЗМЫ В КАДАРСКОМ ДИАЛЕКТЕ ДАРГИНСКОГО ЯЗЫКА" [Turkisms in the Kadar Dialect of the Dargin Language]. Bulletin of the Kalmyk Institute for Humanities of the Russian Academy of Sciences (in Russian). 25 (3): 83–89. doi:10.22162/2075-7794-2016-25-3-83-89. ISSN 2075-7794. Retrieved 22 December 2022.


  1. ^ Introduced in the 1960s
  2. ^ a b c Excluded in 1932


External links[edit]