Kabardian grammar

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Kabardian grammar refers to the whole system and structure of East Circassian (Kabardian) language.


Adyghe is an ergative–absolutive language, unlike nominative–accusative languages, such as English, where the single argument of an intransitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She walks.") behaves grammatically like the agent of a transitive verb ("She" in the sentence "She finds it."), in ergative–absolutive language, the subject of an intransitive verb behaves like the object of a transitive verb, and differently from the agent of a transitive verb. For example, the word щӏалэ "boy" in the intransitive sentence щӏалэр малӏэ "the boy dies" behaves grammatically different from the word щӏалэ "boy" in the transitive sentence щӏалэм ар еукӏы "the boy kills it".

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 is changed by the verb's, 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 is not changed by the verb, i.e. we have no indication of 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 ( created, altered, moved or ended).

  • In this example the boy is changing by moving:
Щӏалэр мэкӏуэ
Щӏалэ-р мэкӏуэ
[ɕʼaːɮar maːkʷʼa]
boy (abs.) (s)he is going
"The boy is going."
  • In this example the man is changing by moving. The verb еуэн /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 йоуэ
Лӏы-р дэпкъы-м йоуэ
[ɬʼər dapqəm jowa]
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 causes the change (and not the one that changes).
Щӏалэм дэпкъыр икъутащ
Щӏалэ-м дэпкъы-р икъутащ
[ɕʼaːɮam dapqər jəqʷətaːɕ]
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 мывэр дэпкъым тедзэ
[ɬʼəm məvar dapqəm tajd͡za]
man (erg.) rock (abs.) wall (obl.) (s)he is throwing at
"The man is throwing the rock at the wall."

It is important to distinguish between the intransitive and transitive verb, because the subject and object noun cases as well as the sentences' verb conjunctions (the prefixes that indicate person) depend on it. A fault in this can change the meaning of the sentence drastically, switching the roles of the subject and object. For instance, look at the following two sentences:

кӏалэм пшъашъэр йолъэгъу
кӏалэ-м пшъашъэ-р йолъэгъу
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam pʂaːʂar jawɬaʁʷə]
boy (erg.) girl (abs.) (s)he is seeing
"The boy is seeing the girl."
кӏалэм пшъашъэр йоплъы
кӏалэ-м пшъашъэ-р йоплъы
[t͡ʃʼaːɮam pʂaːʂar jawpɬə]
boy (obl.) girl (abs.) (s)he is looking at
"The girl is looking at the boy."

Even though the noun cases of the word boy кӏалэ are the same (In the Ergative-Oblique case marked as -м), they behave grammatically different because the verb еплъын "to look" is considered an intransitive verb in contract to the verb елъэгъун "to see" which is transitive.


Singular and plural[edit]

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

Singular nouns have zero morpheme (no prefixes / suffixes), 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 -я- 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 макӏуэ "he is going", ахэр макӏуэ-х "they are going"; ар абы еджащ "he read it", ар ахэмэ я-джащ "he read them".

Definite and indefinite forms[edit]

Circassian nouns usually have either definite or indefinite form. The idea behind this concept is close to the idea of definite/indefinite articles in English. The definite form of Circassian nouns have -р or -м (noun cases) formats at the end of the word. For example: щӏалэ "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); щӏалэр, щӏалэм "the boy" – it is used when the mentioned boy is well known to both the "speaker" and "listener".

Noun cases[edit]

Kabardian also declines nouns into four different cases, each with corresponding suffixes: absolutive, ergative, instrumental, and invertive.

Case Suffix example
Cyrillic IPA
Absolutive р /r/ щӏалэр [ɕʼaːlar] ('the boy')
Ergative-Oblique м /m/ щӏалэм [ɕʼaːlam] ('the boy's')
Instrumental (м)кӏэ /(m)t͡ʃʼa/ щӏалэмкӏэ [ɕʼaːɮamt͡ʃʼa] ('using the boy')
Adverbial ыу /əw/ щӏалу [ɕʼaɮəw] ('boy')

Absolutive case[edit]

Has the suffix - р /r/ (e.g. щӏалэр [ɕʼaːɮar] 'the boy', щӏалэхэр [ɕʼaːɮaxar] ('the boys'), шыр [ʃər] 'the horse'). The absolutive case usually expresses subject in conjunction with intransitive verbs or direct object in conjunction with transitive verbs: For example:

In the following example, Щӏалэр is in the absolutive case, it points to the subject (the boy), and the sentence is in the absolutive form with an intransitive verb (кӏуащ);

щӏалэр еджапӏэм кӏуащ
щӏалэ-р еджапӏэ-м кӏу-ащ
[ɕʼaːɮar jad͡ʒaːpʼam kʷʼaːɕ]
the boy (abs.) the school (erg.) (s)he went
"the boy went to the school"

In the following example, джанэр is in the absolutive case, it points to the direct object (the shirt which is being laundred), and the sentence is in the ergative form (after the form of its subject - Бзылъфыгъэм) with a transitive verb (егыкӏы).

бзылъхугъэм джанэр егыкӏы
бзылъхугъ-эм джанэ-р егыкӏы
[bzəɬxʷəʁam d͡ʒaːnar jaɣət͡ʃʼə]
the woman (erg.) the shirt (abs.) (s)he laundries it
"the woman laundries the shirt"

Ergative case[edit]

Has the suffix -м /-m/ (e.g. щӏалэм [ɕʼaːɮam] 'the boy's', щӏалэхэмэ [ɕʼaːɮaxama] 'the boys'', шым [ʃəm] 'the horse's). This case has two roles: Ergative role and Oblique role.

  • The Ergative role functions as subject in conjunction with transitive verbs.
лӏым мафӏэр йогъэкӏуасэ
лӏы-м мафӏэ-р йогъэкӏуасэ
[ɬʼəm maːfʼar jawʁakʷʼaːsa]
the man (erg.) the fire (abs.) (s)he extinguishes it
"the man extinguishes the fire"
  • The Oblique role functions as indirect object with both transitive and intransitive verbs.

An example with an intransitive verb йоджэ "reads" and indirect object тхылъым "book".

щӏалэр тхылъым йоджэ
щӏалэ-р тхылъ-ым йоджэ
[ɕʼaːɮar txəɬəm jawd͡ʒa]
the boy (abs.) the book (obl.) (s)he reads
"the boy reads the book"
Litrary: "the boy is involved in reading the book"

An example with an transitive verb реты "gives" and indirect object пшъашъэм "girl".

щӏалэм мыӏэрысэр пщащэм реты
щӏалэ-м мыӏэрыс-р пщащэм реты
[ɕʼaːɮam məʔarəsər pɕaːɕam rajtə]
the boy (erg.) the apple (abs.) the girl (obl.) (s)he gives it to
"the boy gives the apple to the girl"

The Ergative-Oblique case can also be used as an adverbial modifier. For example: Студентхэм махуэм ӏоху ящӏаш "The students have worked during the day" (махуэм – adverbial modifier of time); Щӏалэхэр мэзым кӏуахэщ "The boys went to the forest" (мэзым – adverbial modifier of place).

Instrumental-Directional Case[edit]

Indefinite nouns are marked by the affix -кӏэ : тхылъ-кӏэ, "by/with book", ӏэ-к1э "by/with hand". definite nouns express this case using the ergative affix -м in conjunction with the affix -кӏэ: уадэ-м-кӏэ "by/with the hammer", тхылъ-м-к1э "by/with the book".

сэ къэрэндащкӏэ сотхэ
сэ къэрэндащ-кӏэ сотхэ
[sa qarandaːɕt͡ʃʼa sawtxa]
I pencil (ins.) I write
"I write using a pencil"
щӏалэр адыгэбзэкӏэ мэпсалъэ
щӏалэ-р адыгэбзэ-кӏэ мэпсалъэ
[ɕʼaːɮar aːdəɣabzat͡ʃʼa mapsaːɬa]
boy (arg.) using Circassian language (ins.) (s)he is speaking
"The boy is speaking (using) Circassian language."

The Instrumental case can also mark the direction of action:

    • гъуэгу /ʁʷaɡʷ/ road → гъуэгумкӏэ /ʁʷaɡʷəmt͡ʃʼa/ from the road (direction).
    • унэ /wəna/ house → унэмкӏэ /wənamt͡ʃʼa/ from the house.
    • хы /xə/ sea → хымкӏэ /xəmt͡ʃʼa/ from the sea (direction).
дэ къуажэмкӏэ докӏуэ
дэ къуажэ-мкӏэ докӏуэ
[da qʷaːʒamt͡ʃʼa dawkʷʼa]
we village (ins.) we go
"we are going in the direction of the village"
Том, нобэди еджапӏэмкӏэ ныщӏыхьэ
Том, нобэди еджапӏэ-мкӏэ ныщӏыхьэ
[tom nawbadi jad͡ʒaːpʼamt͡ʃʼa nəɕʼəħa]
Tom (name) today school (ins.) stop by
"Tom, come to our school today"

Adverbial case[edit]

Has the suffix -уэ /wa/, or -у /əw/ (e.g. щӏалу [ɕʼaːɮəw] 'boy'). The adverbial case usually expresses a transition into something, or definition (clarification, which often works like the English words -which, -who, -that... ) of a name. It points to the real (literal, not grammatical) subject in the sentence. For example:

лӏыр профессорэу хъуащ
лӏыр профессор-эу хъу-ащ
[ɬʼər profesoraw χʷaːɕ]
man (abs.) professor (adv.) (s)he became
"The man became a professor."
лӏыжьу щысар кӏуэжащ
лӏыжъ-у щыс-а-р кӏуэ-ж-ащ
[ɬʼəʑər ɕəsaːr kʷʼaʒaːɕ]
old man (adv.) the one that sit (s)he returned
"The old man who had sat there, left."
лӏыр тхьэмаду дзэм къыхэкӏыжащ
лӏы-р тхьэмад-у дзэ-м къыхэкӏыжащ
[ɬʼər tħamaːdəw d͡zam qəxat͡ʃʼəʒaːɕ]
man (abs.) leader (adv.) army (obl.) (s)he returned
"The man has returned from the army as an officer."


Kabardian is a pro-drop language. The subject and the object pronouns are sometimes omitted when verb conjugations reflect number and person.

  • Both subject and object are mentioned :
щӏалэм пщащэр елъэгъу
щӏалэ-м пщащэ-р елъэгъу
[ɕʼaːɮam pɕaːɕar jaɬaʁʷə]
the boy (erg.) the girl (abs.) (s)he is seeing
"the boy is seeing the girl"
  • If the direct object is not mentioned :
щӏалэм елъэгъу
щӏалэ-м елъэгъу
[ɕʼaːɮam jaɬaʁʷə]
the boy (erg.) (s)he is seeing
"the boy is seeing him/her/it"
  • If the subject is not mentioned :
пщащэр елъэгъу
пщащэ-р елъэгъу
[pɕaːɕar jaɬaʁʷə]
the girl (abs.) (s)he is seeing
"(s)he is seeing the girl"
  • If both subject and object are not mentioned :
(s)he is seeing
"(s)he is seeing him/her/it"

Noun and adjective[edit]

In Kabardian, if a noun is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective is always placed right after the noun and also gets the grammatical role suffixes instead of the noun.

  • Absolutive case
пщэщэ дахэр макӏуэ
[pɕaɕa daːxar maːkʷʼa]
girl the pretty (abs.) (s)he is going
"the pretty girl is going"
  • Ergative case
щӏалэ кӏыхьэм ешхы мыӏэрысэ
[ɕʼaːɮa t͡ʃʼəħam jaʃxə məʔarəsa]
boy the long (erg.) he is eating a/the the apple (abs.)
"the long boy is eating the apple"
  • Instrumental case
къэрэндащ папцӏэмкӏэ сотхэ
[qarandaːɕ papt͡sʼamt͡ʃʼa sawtxa]
pencil sharp (ins.) I am writing
"I am writing with (using) the sharp pencil"


In Kabardian someone (person) or something (animal, plant, object) that does a specific verb (or something happened to him/it) can be represented with the verb word with the additional suffix -э (a) (for present tense -рэ (-ra)). For example:

  • макӏуэ /maːkʷ'a/ - he is going → кӏуэрэ /maːkʷ'ara/ - the person that's going
  • машхэх /maːʃxax/ - they are eating → шхэхэрэ /maːʃxaxara/ - the people that are eating.
  • мэлэжьащ /malaʑaːɕ/ - he worked → лэжьар /malaʑaːɕa/ - the person that worked.
  • лӏэнущ /ɬʼanəwɕ/ - he will die → лӏэнур /ɬʼanəwr/ - the person that will die.
кӏуэрэр сикъуэш
кӏуэ-рэр си-къуэш
[kʷʼarar səjʃ]
the person that is going (abs.) my brother
"the person that is going is my brother"

Creating nouns from adjective[edit]

In Kabardian someone (person) or something (animal, plant, object) that have a specific adjective can be presented with the adjective word with the additional noun case suffix (absolutive, ergative, etc.) For example:

  • дахэ /daːxa/ - pretty → дахэр /daːxar/ - the pretty person (absolutive case).
  • ӏэфӏ /ʔafʼə/ - tasty → ӏэфӏэр /ʔafʼar / - the tasty ones (absolutive case).
  • щӏыӏэ /ɕʼəʔa/ - cold → щӏыӏэм /ɕʼəʔam/ - in the cold (ergative case).
щӏалэр хуабэм хэт
щӏалэ-р хуабэ-м хэт
[ɕʼaːɮar xʷaːbam xat]
the boy (abs.) the heat (erg.) (s)he is standing in
"The boy is standing in the heat"


Possessive cases are one of the most important grammatical characteristics of nouns in the Circassian language. Singular Circassian nouns of the proprietary form are expressed by the following prefixes:

Pronoun Prefix Example
First person си- си-тхы́лъ "my book";
Second person уи- уи-тхы́лъ "your book";
Third person и- и-тхы́лъ "his book".

Plural nouns have these prefixes:

Pronoun Prefix Example
First person ди- д-у́н "our home".
Second person фи- фи-у́н "your home".
Third person я- я-у́н "their home".


Kabardian has three demonstratives: а /ʔaː/, мо /mo/ and мы /mə/.

а /ʔaː/

  1. that
    а ӏанэthat table
    а пщащэthat girl
    а щӏалэм жыӏэthat 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 пщащэthat girl
    мо щӏалэм жыӏэthat 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 пщащэthis girl
    мы щӏалэм жыӏэthis boy is saying
  • 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.


The demonstratives can be used to express different things like:

Location: адэ "there", модэ "there", мыдэ "here".
Similarity: апхуэд "like that", мопхуэд "like", мыпхуэд "like this".


Personal pronouns[edit]

In Kabardian, personal pronouns are only expressed in first person, second person in singular and plural forms.

Case Singular Plural
First-person Second-person First-person Second-person
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Absolutive сэ sa уэ wa дэ da фэ fa
Ergative сэ sa уэ wa дэ da фэ fa
Instrumental сэркӏэ sart͡ʃʼa уэркӏэ wart͡ʃʼa дэркӏэ dart͡ʃʼa фэркӏэ fart͡ʃʼa
Invertive сэру sarəw уэру warəw дэру darəw фэру farəw
сэ тхылъым седжащ
сэ тхылъы-м се-дж-ащ
[sa txəɬəm sajd͡ʒaːɕ]
I the book (erg.) (s)he read
"I read the book"
дэркӏэ мы шхыныр лъапӏэ
дэр-кӏэ мы шхыны-р лъапӏэ
[dart͡ʃʼa ʃxənər ɬaːpʼa]
For us (ins.) this the food (abs.) expensive
"This food is expensive for us"

Demonstrative Pronouns[edit]

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. Third person pronouns are expressed as demonstrative pronouns.

Case Demonstratives
а мо мы
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Singular Absolutive ар aːr мор mor мыр mər
Ergative абы aːbə мобы mobə мыбы məbə
Instrumental абыкӏэ aːbət͡ʃʼa мобыкӏэ mobət͡ʃʼa мыбыкӏэ məbət͡ʃʼa
Adverbial арэу aːraw морэу moraw мырэу məraw
Plural Absolutive ахэр aːxar мохэр moxar мыхэр məxar
Ergative абыхэм aːbəxam мобыхэм mobəxam мыбыхэм məbəxam
Instrumental абыхэмкӏэ aːbəxamt͡ʃʼa мобыхэмкӏэ mobəxamt͡ʃʼa мыбыхэмкӏэ məbəxamt͡ʃʼa
Adverbial ахэрэу aːxaraw мохэрэу moxaraw мыхэрэу məxaraw
мыбы хьэлэгъу ешхы
мыбы хьэлэгъу е-шхы
[məbə ħaɮaʁʷ haʃxə]
This (erg.) a bread (s)he eats
"This person/animal eats bread"
мыбыкӏэ щӏалэр къакӏуэ
мыбы0кӏэ щӏалэ0р къа-кӏуэ
[məbət͡ʼa ɕʼaːɮar qaːkʷʼa]
This way (ins.) the boy (abs.) (s)he is coming
"The boy is coming from this way"

Possessive Pronouns[edit]

Plurality Person Prefix meaning example
Cyrillic IPA
Singular 1st person си- /səj-/ "my" сиунэ /səjwəna/ - my house; ситхылъ /səjtxəɬ/ - my book
2nd person уи- /wəj-/ "your" уиунэ /wəjwəna/ - your house; уитхылъ /wəjtxəɬ/ - your book
3rd person и- /jə-/ "his" иунэ /jəwəna/ - his house; итхылъ /jətxəɬ/ - his book
Plural 1st person ди- /dəj-/ "our" диунэ /dəjwəna/ - our house; дитхылъ /dəjtxəɬ/ - our book
2nd person фи- /fəj-/ "your" фиунэ /fəjwəna/ - your house; фитхылъ /fəjtxəɬ/ - your book
3rd person я- /jaː-/ "their" яунэ /jaːwəna/ - their house; ятхылъ /jaːtxəɬ/ - their book
си унэ фыкъакӏуэ
си унэ фы-къа-кӏуэ
[səj wəna fəqaːkʷʼa]
my house come (plural)
"Come to my house"
ди машинэкӏэ къалэм докӏуэ
ди машинэ-кӏэ къалэм до-кӏуэ
[dəj maːʃinat͡ʃʼa qaːɮam dawkʷʼa]
Our using the car (ins.) the city (erg.) we are going
"we are going to the city with our car"
Case First-person Second-person Third-person
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Singular Absolutive сэсий sasəj уэуий wawəj ий jəj
Ergative сэсый sasəj уэуий wawəj ий jəj
Instrumental сэсиемкӏэ sasəjamt͡ʃʼa уэуиемкӏэ wawəjamt͡ʃʼa иемкӏэ jəjamt͡ʃʼa
Adverbial сэсийу sasəjaw уэуийу wawəjaw иеу jəjaw
Plural Absolutive дэдий dadəj фэфий fafəj яй jaːj
Ergative дэдий dadəj фэфий fafəj яй jaːj
Instrumental дэдиемкӏэ tatəjamt͡ʃʼa фэфиемкӏэ ʃʷaʃʷəjamt͡ʃʼa яемкӏэ jaːjamt͡ʃʼa
Adverbial дэдийу dadəjaw фэфийу fafəjaw яеу jaːjaw

Indefinite pronoun[edit]

In Kabardian whole one - зыгоруэ, Serves for indication of all notions corresponding to English words "someone", "something", "someone", "something", "sometime", "somewhere", etc. Зыгуэрэ changes either as noun – in number and in cases:

Case Singular form Plural form
Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA
Absolutive зыгуэрэ zəɡʷara зыгуэрэхэр zəɡʷaraxar
Ergative зыгуэрэм zəɡʷaram зыгорэхэмэ zəɡʷaraxama
Instrumental зыгуэрэ(м)кӏэ zəɡʷara(m)t͡ʃʼa зыгуэрэхэ(м)кӏэ zəɡʷaraxa(m)t͡ʃʼa
Adverbial зыгуэрэу zəɡʷaraw зыгуэрэхэу zəɡʷaraxaw


In Kabardian, 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: кӏуэ "go", щтэ "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: уакъыдэсэгъэпсэлъэжы "I am forcing you to talk to them again" consists of the following morphemes: у-а-къы-дэ-со-гъэ-псэлъэ-жы, with the following meanings: "you (у) with them (а) from there (къы) together (дэ) I (со) am forcing (гъэ) to speak (псэлъэн) again (жы)".


Verbs in Kabardian 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):

Щӏалэм письмэр йотхы "The boy is writing the letter";
Пхъащӏэм уадэр къыщтащ "The carpenter took out the hammer";
Хьэм тхьак1умкӏыхьэр къыубытащ "The dog has caught the hares".

In these sentences the verbs етхы "is writing", къыщтащ "took out", къыубытащ "has caught" are transitive verbs, and the nouns письмэр "letter", уадэр "hammer", тхьак1умк1ыхьэр "hare" are in the absolutive case (suffix -р) and express direct object in the sentences, while the nouns щӏалэм "boy", пхъащӏэм "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.

Жэмахъуэр щыт "The shepherd is standing (there)";
Пэсакӏуэр макӏуэ "The security guard is going";
Лӏыр мэжей "The man is sleeping".

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

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

Абджыр мэкъутэ "The glass is being broken",
Щӏалэм абджыр йокъутэ "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 йо-къутэ "is breaking" creates an ergative construction. Both of the verbs are formed from the verb къутэ-н "to break".

In the Kabardian 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:

Щӏалэр пщащэм йоплъ "The boy looking at the girl",
Лӏыр жыгым щӏэлъ "The man lays under the tree".
Щӏалэр тхылъым йоджэ "The boy reads the book".

In these sentences with intransitive verbs, nouns that play role of indirect object are expressed in the oblique case: пщащэ-м "girl", жыгы-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 мажэ "He is running", but Абы ар е-гъа-жэ "He forces him to run",
Ар матхэ "He is writing", but Абы ар е-гъа-тхэ "He makes him to write".

The verbs in the first sentences мажэ "is running", матхэ "is writing" are intransitive, and the verbs in the second sentences егъажэ "forces ... to run", егъатхэ "makes ... to write" are already transitive.


Tense Suffix Example Meaning
Present ~(р) /~(r)/ макӏуэ /maːkʷʼa/ (s)he is going; (s)he goes
Preterite ~ащ /~aːɕ/ кӏуащ /kʷʼaːɕ/ (s)he went
Pluperfect ~гъащ /~ʁaːɕ/ кӏуэгъащ /kʷʼaʁaːɕ/ (s)he went a long time ago"
Categorical Future ~нщ /~nɕ/ кӏуэнщ /kʷʼanɕ/ (s)he will go
Factual Future ~нущ /~nəwɕ/ кӏуэнущ /kʷʼanəwɕ/ (s)he will go, (s)he is about to go
Imperfect ~(р)т /~(r)t/ макӏуэ(р)т /maːkʷʼa(r)t/ (s)he was going
Anterior Perfect (Perfect II) ~ат /~aːt/ кӏуат /kʷʼaːt/ (then) (s)he went
Anterior Pluperfect ~гъат /~ʁaːt/ кӏуэгъат /kʷʼaʁaːt/ (then) (s)he went a long time ago"
Future II Categorical ~нт /~nt/ кӏуэнт /kʷʼant/ (s)he was about to go / (s)he would go
Future II Factual ~нут /~nəwt/ кӏуэнут /kʷʼanəwt/ (s)he was about to go / (s)he would go

Dynamic and static verbs[edit]

Kabardian verbs can be either dynamic or static.

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

Сэ сэжэ "I am running";
Сэ сэкӏуэ "I am going",
Сэ сэлъэгъу "I am seeing",
Сэ жысоӏэ "I am saying".

Static verbs express states or results of actions:

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


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

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

and in plural:

дэ-тхэ "We write",
фэ-тхэ "You write",
ма-тхэ-х "They write".

Valency increasing[edit]

Case Prefix Meaning Example
Causative гъэ~ [ʁa~] "to force, to make" гъэ-плъэн [ʁapɬan]
"to make him look at"
Comitative дэ~ [da~] "with" д-еплъын [dajpɬən]
"to look with"
Benefactive хуэ~ [xʷ~] "for" ху-еплъын [xʷajpɬən]
"to look for"
Malefactive фӏ~ [fʼa~] "against one's interest" фӏ-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: щтэ "take", кӏуэ "go", тхы "write"; in plural the affix -фы is added in front of the verbs: фы-къак1у "you (plural) go", фы-тхы "you (plural) write", фы-щтэ "you (plural) take".

Conditional mood is expressed with suffix -мэ: сы-к1уэ-мэ "if I go", сы-жэ-мэ "if I run", с-щ1э-мэ "if I do".

Concessive mood is expressed with suffix -ми: сы-к1уэ-ми "even if I go", сы-жэ-ми "even if I run", с-щ1э-ми "even if I do".

Affirmative form is expressed with the affix -къэ: ма-кӏуэ-къэ "isn't he is going?", мэ-гыщӏэ-къэ "isn't he washing?".


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

кӏуэ-рэ-р "one that's walking",
жэ-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 Kabardian language is expressed with the suffix -н:

тхы-н "a write (writing)",
жэ-н "a run (running)",
щтэ-н "a take (taking)",
псэлъэ-н "a talk (talking)",
дзы-н "a throw (throwing)".

Masdar has grammatical cases:

Absolutive жэны-р,
Ergative жэны-м,
Instrumental жэны-м-кӏэ,
Adverbial жэн-у

and different forms for different person:

сы-жэн "I will run",
у-жэн "you will run",
жэн "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-кӏу "you don't go",
сы-къы-пхуэ-мы-щэмэ "if you can't bring me",
у-къа-мы-гъа-к1уэмэ "if you aren't forced to come".

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

сы-тэджыр-къым "I am not getting up",
сы-тэ-джа-къым "I have not got up",
сы-тэджыну-къым "I will not get up".

Positional conjugation[edit]

In Kabardian, the positional prefixes are expressing being in different positions and places and can also express the direction of the verb. Here is the positional conjugation of some dynamic verbs, showing how the prefix changes the indicated direction of the verb:

Position Prefix Example
Looking Throwing
Body position/Pose щы~ [ɕə~] щеплъэ [ɕajpɬa]
"(s)he is looking at that place"
щедзы [ɕajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing at that place"
On те~ [taj~] теплъэ [ɕajpɬa]
"(s)he is looking on"
тедзэ [ɕajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing at"
Under щӏэ~ [ɕʼa~] щӏаплъэ [ɕʼaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking under"
щӏедзэ [ɕʼajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing under"
Through хэ~ [xa~] хаплъэ [xaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking through"
хедзэ [xajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing through"
Within some area дэ~ [da~] даплъэ [daːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking at some area"
дедзэ [dajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing at some area"
Inside an object даплъэ [daːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking inside an object"
дедзэ [dajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing inside an object"
Around ӏу~ [ʔʷə~] ӏуаплъэ [ʔʷaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking around"
ӏуедзэ [ʔʷajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing around"
Inside и~ [jə~] еплъэ [japɬa]
"(s)he is looking inside"
редзэ [rajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing inside"
Hanged/Attached пы~ [pə~] пэплъэ [papɬa]
"(s)he is searching by looking"
педзэ [pajd͡za]
"(s)he is hanging by throwing"
Behind къуэ~ [qʷa~] къуаплъэ [qʷaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking behind"
къуедзэ [qʷajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing behind"
Aside го~ [ɡʷa~] гуаплъэ [ɡʷaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking aside"
гуедзэ [ɡʷajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing aside"
Against пэӏу~ [paʔʷə~] пэӏуаплъэ [paʔʷaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking against"
пэӏуедзэ [paʔʷajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing against"
Backwards зэщӏ~ [zaɕʼ~] зэщӏаплъэ [zaɕʼaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking backwards"
зэщӏедзэ [zaɕʼajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing backwards"
Inside within кӏуэцӏы~ [kʷʼat͡sʼə~] кӏуэцӏаплъэ [kʷʼat͡sʼaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking within inside"
кӏуэцӏедзэ [kʷʼat͡sʼajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing within inside"
Toward кӏэлъы~ [kʲʼaɬə~] кӏэлъэплъэ [ɬapɬa]
"(s)he is looking toward"
кӏэлъедзы [ɬajd͡zə]
"(s)he is throwing toward"
Past блэ~ [bɮa~] блэплъы [bɮapɬə]
"(s)he is looking past"
бледзэ [bɮajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing past"
Over щхьэпыры~ [ɕħapərə~] щхьэпырыплъы [ɕħapərəpɬə]
"(s)he is looking over"
щхьэпыредзэ [ɕħapərajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing over"
Directly жьэхэ~ [ʑaxa~] жьэхаплъэ [ʑaxaːpɬa]
"(s)he is glaring at one's face"
жьэхедзэ [ʑaxajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing at one's face"
Mouth жьэдэ~ [ʑada~] жьэдаплъэ [ʑadaːpɬa]
"(s)he is looking at a mouth"
жьэдедзэ [ʑadajd͡za]
"(s)he is throwing at a mouth"

Here is the positional conjugation of some verbs, showing how the root changes indicate position:

stands sits lies
Body position/Pose щыт (ɕət) щыс (ɕəs) щылъ (ɕəɬ)
On тет (tajt) тес (tajs) телъ (tajɬ)
Under щIэт (ɕ’at) щIэс (ɕ’as) щIэлъ (ɕ’aɬ)
Among хэт (xat) хэс (xas) хэлъ (xaɬ)
Within some area дэт (dat) дэс (das) дэлъ (daɬ)
Behind ӏут (ʔʷət) ӏyc (ʔʷəs) ӏулъ (ʔʷəɬ)
Inside ит (jət) иc (jəs) илъ (jəɬ)
Hanged or attached пыт (pət) пыc (pəs) пылъ (pəɬ)
Corner or behind къуэт (qʷat) къуэc (qʷas) къуэлъ (qʷaɬ)
Side гуэт (gʷat) гуэc (gʷas) гуэлъ (gʷaɬ)
In front of пэӏут (paʔʷət) пэӏуc (paʔʷəs) пэӏулъ (paʔʷəɬ)
Inside within кӏуэцӏыт (kʷʼat͡sʼət) кӏуэцӏыс (kʷʼat͡sʼəs) кӏуэцӏылъ (kʷʼat͡sʼəɬ)
Slope кӏэрыт (kʲʼarət) кӏэрыс (kʲʼarəs) кӏэрылъ (kʲʼarəɬ)
Over щхьэпырыт (ɕħapərət) щхьэпырыс (ɕħapərəs) щхьэпырылъ (ɕħapərəɬ)
Directly жьэхэт (ʑaxat) жьэхэс (ʑaxas) жьэхэлъ (ʑaxaɬ)
Toward the mouth жьэдэт (ʑadat) жьэдэс (ʑadas) жьэдэлъ (ʑadaɬ)


щыт - [someone or something] stands (as a pose);

Iут - [someone or something] stands (behind);

щIэт - [someone or something] stands (under)

тет - [someone or something] stands (above)

дэт - [someone or something] stands (between), etc.


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: хужы "white" (singular) - хужы-хэ-р "whites" (plural).

They switch grammatical cases similarly to nouns:

Case Singular Plural
Absolutive хужыр хужыхэр
Ergative-Oblique хужым хужыхэм
Instrumental хужы(м)кӏэ хужыхэ(м)кӏэ
Adverbial хужу хужыху

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 уадэ "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 - пхъэ унэ "wooden house".

In different grammatical cases:

Case Singular Plural
Absolutive пхъэ унэр пхъэ унэхэр
Ergative-Oblique пхъэ унэм пхъэ унэхэм
Instrumental пхъэ унэ(м)кӏэ пхъэ унэхэ(м)кӏэ
Adverbial пхъэ уну пхъэ унэху

Combining adjectives with nouns it is possible to produce a great lot of phrases: пщэщэ дахэ "beautiful girl", щӏалэ дэгъу "good boy", цӏыху кӏыхьэ "long man", гъуэгу занщӏэ "straight road", удз 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 щӏэлэ лъэщы-р "the strong boy (abs.) and уадэ псынщӏэ-мкӏэ "using the light hammer (ins.).

Сэ нобэ пщэщэ дахэ слъэгъуащ
[sa nawba pɕaɕa daːxa sɬaʁʷaːɕ]
I today a girl beautiful I saw
"I have seen a beautiful girl today."
Дэ гъуэгу занщӏэм дырыкӏуащ
[da ʁʷagʷ zaːnɕʼam dərəkʷʼaːɕ]
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: нэхъ хужы "whiter, more white" (comparative form) and янэхъ хужы "whitest, most white",

The Comparative degree is formed by auxiliary word нэхъ:

Ар абы нэхъ лъагэ – he is higher than you,
Нэхъ ины хъущ – He became bigger [More big became],
Нэхъ лӏыгъэ къызхэбгъэлъын хуей - You must be braver.

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

Ар пщащэмэ янэхъ дахэ – She is the most beautiful among the girls,
Ар псоми янэхъ лъагэ - It is the highest,
Псэри шхын янэхъ дэгъумкӏэ игъэшхащ – (S)he feeds him with the tastiest meal,
Ар псоми янэхъ лъэщ – He is the strongest.


The following suffixes are added to nouns:

Suffix Meaning Example
~щӏэ (~ɕʼa) new унащӏэ (new house)
~жьы (~ʑə) old унэжьы (old house)
~шхуэ (~ʃxʷa) large унэшхуэ (large house)
~цӏыкӏу (~t͡sʼəkʷʼ) small унэцӏыкӏу (small house)

The following suffixes are added to adjectives:

Suffix Meaning Example
~ӏуэ (~ʔʷa) slightly стырыӏуэ (slightly spicy)
~щэ (~ɕa) too much дыджыщэ (too much bitter)
~дэд (~dad) very дэгъудэд (very good)
~кӏей (~t͡ʃʼej) pretty дэгъукӏей (pretty good)
~ншэ (~nʃa) lacking акъылыншэ (mindless)
Мы джанэр уэркӏэ иныӏуэ
[mə d͡ʒaːnar wart͡ʃʼa jənəʔʷa]
this shirt for you slightly big
"This shirt is slightly big for you"
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 фӏэ~ (fʼa~) is added to the adjective. This can also be used on nouns but it is very uncommon. For example:

  • дахэ "pretty" → фӏэдах "it's pretty for him.
  • дэхагъ "as pretty" → фӏэдэхащ "it was pretty for him.
  • ӏэфӏ "tasty" → фӏэӏэфӏ "it is tasty for him.
  • плъыжьы "red" → фӏэплъыжь "it is red for him.
щӏалэхэмэ яфӏэдахкъым си джанэ
кӏалэ-хэ-мэ я-шъо-дахэ-п си джанэ
[t͡ʃaːlaxama jaːʃʷadaːxap si d͡ʒaːna]
the boys (erg.) it was not pretty for them my shirt
"my shirt was not beautiful for the boys."

Scaliness of an adjective[edit]

The suffix ~гъэ (~ʁa) is appended to indicate a measure of a certain adjective. Usually it is used for measurable adjectives like length, height, weight, size, strength and speed but it can be used on any adjective such as good, tasty, beauty and etc. This suffix can be used to scale adjectives, for instance, the word ӏэфӏы-гъэ (from the adjective ӏэфӏы "tasty") can be used to express different levels/qualities of tastiness. This suffix turns the adjective to a noun.

  • кӏыхьэ /t͡ʃʼaħə/ - long → кӏыхьэгъэ /t͡ʃʼaħəʁa/ - length.
  • ӏэтыгъэ /ʔatəʁa/ - high → ӏэтыгъагъэ /ʔatəʁaːʁa/ - height.
  • псынщӏэ /psənɕʼa/ - fast → псынщӏагъэ /psənɕʼaːʁa/ - speed.
  • хуабэ /xʷaːba/ - hot → хуабагъэ /xʷabaːʁa/ - heat.
  • ӏувы /ʔʷəvə/ - wide → ӏувыгъэ /ʔʷəvəʁa/ - width.
  • дахэ /daːxa/ - beautiful → дэхагъэ /daxaːʁa/ - beauty.
  • ӏэфӏы /ʔafʼə/ - tasty → ӏэфӏыгъэ /ʔafʼəʁa/ - level of tastiness.
  • дэгъу /daʁʷə/ - good → дэгъугъэ /daʁʷəʁa/ - level of goodness.
пхъэм и ӏувыгъэ 65 сантиметр
[pχam jəʔʷəvəʁa 65 saːntimetr]
the wood (erg.) its width 65 centimeters
"The wood's width is 65 centimeters"
щӏалэм лъэщыгъэ хэлъ
[ɕʼaːɮam ɬaɕəʁa 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", in contract to the suffix ~гъэ which is used to measure and scale the adjective. Some examples:

  • кӏыхьэ /t͡ʃʼaħə/ - long → кӏыхьэгъакӏэ /t͡ʃʼaħəʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - lengthiness; longness.
  • псынщӏэ /psənɕʼa/ - fast → псынщӏэгъакӏэ /psənɕʼaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - speediness.
  • кӏуащӏэ /kʷʼaːɕʼa/ - strong → кӏуэщӏэгъакӏэ /kʷʼaɕʼaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - strongness.
  • лъэщ /ɬaɕ/ - strong → лъэщыгъакӏэ /ɬaɕəʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - strongness.
  • дахэ /daːxa/ - pretty → дэхэгъакӏэ /daxaʁaːt͡ʃʼa/ - prettiness.
сэ мыӏэрысэм и ӏэфӏыгъакӏэ сыкъегъатхъэ
сэ мыӏэрыс-эм и ӏэфӏы-гъакӏэ сы-къ-е-гъа-тхъэ
[sa məʔarəsəm ʔaʃʷʼəʁaːt͡ʃʼa səqajʁaːtχa]
I apple (erg.) its tastiness I enjoy it
"I enjoy the apple's tastiness."


In the Kabardian 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 щӏалэр кӏуащ
адэ щӏалэ-р кӏу-ащ
[aːda ɕʼaːɮar kʷʼaːɕ]
there boy (abs.) (S)he went
"The boy went there."

Adverbs of time[edit]

  • нобэ - "today".
  • дыгъуасэ - "yesterday".
  • пщэдей - "tomorrow".
  • мыгъэ - "this year".
  • иджы - "now".
  • иджыри - "still"
  • иджыпсту - "right now".
  • пщэдджыжьым - "at morning".
  • шэджагъуэм - "at noon".
  • жэщым - "in the night".
  • зэманым - "in the past".
  • етӏанэ - "afterwards"

Adverbs of amount[edit]

  • мащӏэ - "few".
  • тӏэкӏу - "a bit".
  • тӏэкӏурэ - "few times, for a short period of time".
  • куэд "a lot".
  • куэдрэ "a lot of times, for a long period of time".
  • ӏаджэ "many".
щӏалэм ахъщэ куэд иӏ
щӏалэ-м ахъщэ куэд иӏ
[ɕʼaːɮam aːχɕa kʷad jəʔ]
boy (erg.) money a lot (s)he has
"The boy has a lot of money."
жэщым лӏыр тӏэкӏурэ макӏуэ
жэщы-м лӏы-р тӏэкӏурэ макӏуэ
ʒaɕəm 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 ~у /~w/. Adverbs in this group describe the manner in which the verb was done.

  • къабзэ "clean" → къабзу "cleanly"
  • жыжьэ "far" → жыжьу "far",
  • псынщӏэ "quick" → псынщӏэу "quickly",
  • дахэ "beautiful" → даху "beautifully",
  • благъэ "near" → благъу "nearly".
  • лъэщ "powerful" → лъэщу "powerfully".
  • щабэ "soft" → щабу "softly"
  • быдэ "firm" → быду "firmly"
щӏалэр жыжьу жащ
щӏалэ-р жыжь-у ж-ащ
[ɕʼaːɮar ʒəʑəw ʒaːɕ]
boy (abs.) far (adv) (s)he ran
"The boy ran far."
щӏалэм шхыныр дэгъу ищӏащ
щӏалэ-м шхын-ыр дэгъу-у ищӏ-ащ
[ɕʼaːɮam ʃxənər daʁʷəw jəɕʼaːɕ]
the boy (erg.) food (abs.) excellently (s)he done it
"The boy done the food excellently."
пщащэр даху матхэ
пщащэ-р дах-у матхэ
[pɕaːɕar daːxəw maːtxa]
the girl (abs.) beautifully (s)he writes
"The girl writes beautifully."


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/ щӏалэ-рэ пщащэ-рэ къэкӏуахэщ
"a boy and a girl came."
Definite nouns мрэ /mra/ щӏалэ-мрэ пщащэ-мрэ къэкӏуахэщ
"the boy and the girl came."
Pronouns рэ /ra/ сэ-рэ о-рэ дыкӏуащ
"You and I went."
Indefinite adjectives ри /ri/ щӏэлэ кӏыхьэ-ри пщащэ дахэ-ри къэкӏуахэщ
"a tall boy and a pretty girl came."
Definite adjectives мри /mri/ щӏэлэ кӏыхьэ-мри пщащэ дахэ-мри къэкӏуахэщ
"a tall boy and a pretty girl came."
Numbers рэ /ra/ щӏэлэ тӏу-рэ пщащэ щы-рэ къэкӏуахэщ
"two boys and three girls came."
Universal nouns и /i/ щӏал-и пщащ-и къэкӏуахэщ
"boys and girls came."
Adverbs мкӏи /mt͡ʃʼi/ махуэ-мкӏи жэщы-мкӏи къэкӏуахэщ
"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: Щӏалэр йоджэ ыкӏи матхэ "The boy reads and writes".
Adjectives: Щӏалэр 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".
  • ауэ - "but".
Сэ сыкӏуащ къалэм, ауэ къэзгъэзэжакъым
[sa səkʷʼaːɕ qaːɮam aːwa qazʁazaʒaːqəm]
I I went city (erg.) but I didn't return
"I went to the city, but I haven't returned."

Complex conjunctions[edit]

  • арщхьэк1э - "because".
  • aт1э - "in spite of".
  • хьэмэ - "or".
  • сыту - "as".
  • щхьэк1э - "though".
  • сыт щхьэк1э - "because (of) / why".
  • папщ1э - "for".
  • папщ1эк1э - "as".
  • щыгъуэ - "when".
  • зэ-зэ - "first…then".
  • е-е - "either-or".
  • къудейуэ - "as soon as".
  • ару - "just".
  • пэтми - "although".
  • щытмэ - "if".
  • ипкъ итк1э - "therefore".
  • къыхэк1к1э - "because / that’s why".


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.

  • дыдэ - "quite, very".
  • уеблэмэ - "even".
  • пIэрэ - "whether, really".
  • мис - "here".
  • мес - "there (near by)".
  • кхъы1э - "please".
  • нэхъ - "more".
  • нэхърэ - "more than".
  • хьэуэ - "no".
  • нтIэ - "yes".
  • акъудей (аркъудей) - "quite not".
  • къудей - "just now".


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: Фызыр лӏым ипэ иту кӏуащ "The wife went in front of the husband" (the preposition "in front of" in the Circassian sentence is expressed by the phrase ипэ иту "being in front of his nose").

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

  • жыгы-м деж "near the tree".

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

  • сэ с-а-деж "near me",
  • о у-а-деж "near you",
  • абы и деж "near him";

in plural:

  • дэ д-а-деж "near us",
  • фэ ф-а-деж "near you",
  • ахэмэ я деж "near them".

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

  • ипIэкIэ "before".
  • пщ1ондэ "before".
  • щыгъуэ "during".
  • икIуэцIкI "inside".
  • лъандэ "since".
  • къэскIэ "until".
  • нэс "until".
  • деж "near".
  • дежкIэ "at".
  • иужь "after".
  • пащхьэ "in front of".
  • щ1ыбагъ "behind".
  • щIагъ "under".
  • нэмыщI "except".
  • фIэкIа "except".
  • къэс "every".


  • Numbers from zero to ten are specific words
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 тху About this sound[txʷə] 
6 хы About this sound[xə] 
7 блы About this sound[bɮə] 
8 и About this sound[jə] 
9 бгъу About this sound[bʁʷə] 
10 пщӏы About this sound[pɕʼə] 
  • Numbers from eleven to nineteen are built with the word for ten, followed by кӏу ([kʷʼə]) and the unit digit:
11 пщӏыкӀуз [pɕʼəkʷʼəz]
12 пщӏыкӀутIу [pɕʼəkʷʼətʷʼ]
13 пщӏыкӀущ [pɕʼəkʷʼəɕ]
14 пщӏыкӀуплI [pɕʼəkʷʼəpɬʼ]
15 пщӏыкӀутху [pɕʼəkʷʼətxʷ]
16 пщӏыкӀух [pɕʼəkʷʼəx]
17 пщӏыкӀубл [pɕʼəkʷʼəbɮ]
18 пщӏыкӀуй [pɕʼəkʷʼəj]
19 пщӏыкӀубгъу [pɕʼəkʷʼəbʁʷ]}
  • The tens follow a vigesimal system from forty up, with the exception of fifty:
20 тӀощӏ [tʷʼaɕʼə] (20)
21 тӀощӏэ зырэ [tʷʼaɕʼəra zəra] (20 and 1)
22 тӀощӏэ тIурэ [tʷʼaɕʼəra tʷʼəra] (20 and 2)
23 тӀощӏэ щырэ [tʷʼaɕʼəra ɕəra] (20 and 3)
30 щэщӏ [ɕaɕʼ] (30)
31 щэщӏрэ зырэ [ɕaɕʼra zəra] (30 and 1)
32 щэщӏрэ тIурэ [ɕaɕʼra tʷʼəra] (30 and 2)
40 плIыщI [pɬʼəɕʼ] (20 × 2)
50 тхущI,[txʷəɕʼ] (half-hundred)
60 хыщI,[xəɕʼ] (20 × 3)
70 блыщI [bɮəɕʼ] (20 × 3 and 10)
80 ищI [jəɕʼ] (20 × 4)
90 бгъущI [bʁʷəɕʼ] (20 × 4 and 10)
  • One hundred is щэ (ɕa). The hundreds are formed by the hundred word root (щ (ɕ)) followed by -и-

(-i-) and the multiplier digit root.

100 щэ (ɕa)
101 щэрэ зырэ (ɕara zəra) (100 and 1)
110 щэрэ пщӏырэ (ɕara pʃʼəra) (100 and 10)
200 щитӀу (ɕitʷʼ) (100 × 2)
201 щитӀурэ зырэ (ɕitʷʼəra zəra) (200 × 2 and 1)
300 щищ (ɕiɕ) (100 × 3)
400 щиплӀ (ɕipɬʼ) (100 × 4)
500 щитху (ɕitxʷ) (100 × 5)
600 щих (ɕix) (100 × 6)
700 щибл (ɕibɮ) (100 × 7)
800 щий (ɕij) (100 × 8)
900 щибгъу (ɕibʁʷ) (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 пщӏырэ (minra pʃʼəra) (1000 and 10)
1100 минрэ щэрэ (minra ɕara) (1000 and 100)
2000 минитӀу (minitʷʼ) (1000 × 2)
3000 минищ (miniɕ) (1000 × 3)
4000 миниплӀ (minipɬʼ) (1000 × 4)
5000 минитху (minitxʷ) (1000 × 5)
6000 миних (minix) (1000 × 6)
7000 минибл (minibɮ) (1000 × 7)
8000 миний (minij) (1000 × 8)
9000 минибгъу (minibʁʷ) (1000 × 9)
10000 минипщӏ (minipʃʼ) (1000 × 10)
11000 минипщӀыкӀуз (minipʃʼəkʷʼəz) (1000 × 11)
12000 минипщӀыкӀутIу (minipʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼ) (1000 × 12)
20000 минитӀощӏ (minitʷʼaɕʼə) (1000 × 20)
100000 минищэ (miniɕa) (1000 × 100)
200000 минищитӀу (miniɕitʷʼ) (1000 × 200)

When composed, the hundred word takes the -рэ (-ra) suffix, as well as the ten and the unit if any (e.g.: щэрэ зырэ (ɕara zəra) [101], щэрэ тIурэ (ɕara tʷʼəra) [102], щэрэ пщӀыкӀузырэ (pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼəra) [111], щитӀурэ щэщӀырэ плIырэ (ɕitʷʼəra ɕat͡ʃəra pɬʼəra) [234]).

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 - Япэ [jaːpa]
second - ЕтIуанэ [jatʼaːna]
third - Ещанэ [jaɕaːna]
firth - Еянэ [jajaːna]
tenth - ЕпщIанэ [japɕʼaːna]
eleventh - ЕпщыкIузанэ [japɕʼəkʷʼəzaːna]
sixteenth. - ЕпщыкIуханэ [japɕʼəkʷʼəxaːna]

Discrete numbers[edit]

Зырыз - in ones, one by one
ТIурытI - in twos, two by two
Щырыщ - in threes, three by three
ПлIырыплI - in fours, four by four
Тхурытху - in fives, five by five
Хырых - in sixes, six by six
Блырыбл - in sevens, seven by seven
Ири - in eights, eight by eight
Бгъурыбгъу - in nines, nine by nine
ПщIырыпщI - in tens, ten by ten

Fractional numbers[edit]

half (1÷2) - Ныкъуэ [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) - пщӀанэ [pʃʼaːna]
one eleventh (1÷11) - пщӀыкӏузанэ [pʃʼəkʷʼəzaːna]
one twelfth (1÷12) - пщӀыкӏутӏуанэ [pʃʼəkʷʼətʷʼaːna]
one twentieth (1÷20) - тӏощӏанэ [tʷʼaɕʼaːna]
one hundredth (1÷100) - щанэ [ɕaːna]

See also[edit]



  • 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
  • Kabardian Verbal Affixes: Collected, arranged and edited by Amjad Jaimoukha : [1].
  • Ranko Matasović, A short grammar of east Circassian (Kabardian) : [2].