Talk:Northeast Caucasian languages

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Group, family, sub-family, branch[edit]

Kwami, I don't know who started using "group" intead of "family" for the branches; I suppose the idea was to reserve "family" for the top-level node (Northeast Caucasian). What about "branch" or "subfamily" instead? Jorge Stolfi 01:44, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Both "branch" and "subgroup" are commonly used terms in historical linguistics. It is sometimes the case that "branch" is used for higher level divisions and "subgroup" or "group" for lower divisions. It's really an arbitrary distinction, since there can be any number of node levels in a tree. Sgmccabe (talk) 14:36, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


Kwami, is the use of "isolate" for Dargwa and Khinalugh appropriate? Presumably you mean that they are branches of Northeast Caucasian that have a single language in them. But doesn't "isolate" mean specifically a language without any known relatives? (Would replacing all "family" to "branch" solve the problem?) Jorge Stolfi 01:44, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Hey again,
'Isolate' is frequently used this way. Armenian's commonly called an Indo-European isolate, for example. It's disambiguated in the 'language isolate' article.
Branch would be fine as a reference to a larger family, as here. But it's kind of nice to distinguish branches that are families themselves from branches that are single languages. Not important, though. Go ahead and change it if it bothers you.
I don't like to use the word 'subfamily' unless it actually means something. For example, Würm organized his Papuan classifications around levels he called phyla, stocks, and families, each with their own super- and sub-levels (he also used the terms phylum-level isolate, stock-level isolate, and family-level isolate). There was an element of coherence to the words, so in his case it's okay. But that's rare. Usually you just end up with gibberish such as an Indo-European family, containing an Italo-Celtic subfamily, which in turn contains a Celtic family, with a P-Celtic subfamily — completely meaningless terminology. —kwami 07:38, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Shift to modern classification[edit]

Kwami, I see that you are "modernizing" the classification of Caucasian languages so that the Northeast family by default includes the North-Central (Nakh) family. That is fine with me, but (1) I hope that it is indeed an accepted view now, so that we won't get into an edit war with some "Anti-Comrie" camp; and (2) we must be sure to updade North-Central Caucasian languages/Nakh languages to say that the former is only an old name for the latter. Jorge Stolfi 17:26, 4 January 2006 (UTC) OK, I see that it has been done already. I will put up a redirect from North-Central Caucasian languages to Nakh languages. Jorge Stolfi 18:00, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Meaning of old labels[edit]

BTW, is OK to call the whole shebang (NE + Nakh) as "Caspian", "East Caucasian", or "Dagestanian"? Or should we warn the reader that those labels may mean either "NE including Nakh" or "NE excluding Nakh", depending on the context? Jorge Stolfi 17:26, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Most of those terms were formulated for NEC less Nakh. I can especially see the geographic label Dagestanian objected to - there is after all a Nakho-Dagestanian, but people will also object to the latter as giving unwarranted prominence to Nakh. NEC and EC should be fine. Don't know about Caspian. But there's going to be variation regardless. There are linguists who would object to the term Indo-European as we have it, since in their conception Indo-European is Indo-Hittite less Anatolian.
Ethnologue has adopted the Comrie classification hook line & sinker. (They have a bit more detail in the Lezgian languages than we do.) There may be other classifications out there, but I doubt many people will defend the traditional one. kwami 18:36, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Labels and classification again[edit]


I think it would be interesting to mention all (or the most important, at least) of the competing models:

J. Nichols:

0. Nakh-Daghestanian

1. Nakh
2. Daghestanian
2.1. Avar-Andi-Tsez
2.2. Lak
2.3. Dargi
2.4. Lezghian
2.5. Khinalug


0. Nakh-Daghestanian

1. Nakh
2. Daghestanian
2.1. Avar-Andi
2.2. Tsez
2.3. Lak-Dargi
2.4. Lezghian-Khinalug

W. Schulze:

0. NEC

1. Old Type
1.1. Nakh
1.2. Lezghian-Khinalug
1.3. Lak-Dargwa
2. New Type
2.1. Tsezian
2.2. Avar-Andi

Anyway, it is apparent that "Daghestanian", if it is a real entity, is only a subbranch of NEC, so Daghestanian shouldn't be listed among the synonyms of Nakh-Daghestanian.--Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 11:34, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hello, since the label "Dagestanian", if not of any taxonomic value (but cf. Johanna Nichols 2003!), is used at least geographically to distinguish languages of Dagestan from those in Chechnya and Ingushetia, we should not use it as a synonym of Northeast Caucasian as a whole. I think it is enough to redirect from Dagestanian to Northeast Caucasian. Hence, I'm changing the introductory section and language box accordingly.--Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 09:48, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Nakh-Daghestanian Consonant Correspondences[edit]

Hello everyone! I'd like to include a list of correspondences (quoted from Nichols 2003), add a family tree, and, if possible, I would compare her reconstruction with Starostin/Nikolayev's, mention the criticisms etc. It'll take me some time, of course, so patience, please! ;-) --Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 19:31, 13 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm working on the Morphology section at the moment. I've been kindly provided some information from Prof. Wolfgang Schulze, which I'm reproducing below. I'm trying to translate it not only into English, but also into "Human English", which may not be an easy task. Any help is highly appreciated!


Schulze, Wolfgang 2001. Die kaukasischen Sprachen. M. Haspelmath et al. (eds.). La typologie des langues et les universaux linguistiques, vol. 2 (HSK), 1774-1796. Berlin/New York (de Gruyter).

Citation of the relevant text passages:

Die Morphoyntax der OKS wird gewöhnlich unter Bezugnahme auf eine relativ einheitliche Typologie beschrieben, die mit dem Stichwort nominalklassifizierende Ergativ-Sprachen an-gezeigt wird. Tatsächlich erweist sich dieser Aspekt als zentrales Moment der Architektur vieler OKS, obschon kaum von einem „einheitlichen“ Typus ausgegangen werden kann. In-sgesamt sind die OKS durch die folgenden, basalen Aspekte gekennzeichnet:

Formale Architektur: (Stark suffix-)agglutinierend, geringe Tendenzen zur Flexion;
Paradigmatische Architektur:
Nomen: Verdeckte (sekundär z.T. offene) Nominalklassifikation (zwei bis acht Klassen);
Numerus: Singular vs. (z.T. klassifizierender) Plural (vs. Kollektiva);
Kasus: Funktionale vs. lokale Kasus, partiell casus rectus vs. casus obliquus. Oftmals Basie-rung der Flexionsparadigmata auf z.T. klassifizierend wirkenden Stammerweiterungen (Abso-lutiv-, Obli-quus-, Ergativ-, und Genitiv-Flexion);
Lokalisierung: Lokalkasus, postpositional (z.T. durch Präverbien gestützt);
NP: Partiell Klassenkonkordanz; Gruppenflexion (am Nomen), partiell attributive Obliquus-markierungen (z.T. in determinierenden Funktion);
Personalpronomen: Partiell eigenständiges Flexionsparadigma; Inklusiv/Exklusiv in 50% der OKS; komplexe Schnitte innerhalb der Agentivitätshierarchie (z.B. SAP vs. nSAP; SAP(1) vs. nSAP(1), SAP.SG vs. SAP.PL usw.);
Deixis: Monozentrische oder (später) polyzentrische Systeme, Zweiteilung der horizontalen Achse (prox vs. dist), oftmals Dreiteilung des Distals im vertikalen Schnitt (dist®, dist­, dist¯);
Verb: Monokongruenz über Klassenzeichen in etwa 75% der OKS, daneben polykongruente Systeme (Person/Klasse oder (im Tabasaran) Person/Person), monopersonale Systeme nur im Udi bzw. sonst in Ansätzen vorhanden;
Basierung von TAM-Formen auf Auxiliarstrukturen oder (Lokal-)Kasus; daneben eigenstän-dige Tempusmorpheme; Aspektsysteme oft über Ablaut realisert; präverbiale Lokalisie-rungstrategien;

Funktionale Architektur:
Aktanz: Kasusbasierte Ergativität mit ergativischer (zum Teil auch akkusativischer) Kon-gruenz; DOM in Agensbereich relevant (Agens<Instr <Lok), im Udi DOM auch im Patiensbe-reich (indet<det); partiell split-A-Strukturen (besonders bei SAP); Transitivitätsgrad oftmals über Auxiliare angezeigt, daneben labile Verben; Präferenz für Stellungsakkusativität (A(IO)(O)V); Inversion (IO-O-V) bei verba sentiendi;
NP: Dem-Num-Attr-N-Reihung; kasuelle Possession (N-GEN N);
Perspektivierung: Vornehmlich bi-absolutive Strukturen (Aj>ABS Oi>ABS AGRi-V AUX-AGRj), daneben partiell Antipassiv und (vornehmlich im Udi) Passiv;
Junktion: Subordination vornehmlich über Partizipien und Konverbien; Relativsätze nur im Udi; akkusativischer A- oder (seltener) ergativischer O-pivot.

Topikalisierung: Links- und Rechtsverschiebung oder Topikpartikeln (partiell über Klassen- oder Personalzeichen).

--Pet'usek [petrdothrubisatgmaildotcom] 09:18, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Source: "A grammar of Khwarshi"of unknown author?"[edit]

"Caspian" and "Pontic" are from anthropology, and not from linguistic. In anthropology there is " a Caspian anthropological type " and is " Pontic anthropological type ". About the Caspian language group or family for the first time I hear. Anything similar is not present in one linguistic encyclopedia published in territory of the USSR and Russia. Whence it is taken? This Nakh-Dagestanian family, generally refers to "East Caucasian or Nakh-Daghestanian languages" (according to Linguistic Encyclopaedia published in the USSR) "Alarodian" (according to Starostin S.A.). As if to the seas in the seas not linguists let are engaged, and fishermens.About a level of authors speaks for itself and has undressed sources which it is impossible to read without laughter. Why has undressed sources should begin with nobody the known author of "Grammar of Khwarshi language? What themselves these represent Khwarshins? How many them in general in Daghestan? Here it is necessary to give first of all authoritative, solid authors of fundamental solid works. It is necessary to mention Starostin S.A., then Bokarev E.A., Klimov G.A., Khajdakov S.M., Desheriev Yu.D. and others. In my opinion clause should be removed in general completely and instead of it to create new in which the following would appear: EASTCAUCASIAN LANGUAGES (or THE NAKH-DAGHESTANIAN LANGUAGES). Further briefly to specify, that the basic help material contains in clause ALARODIAN LANGUAGES (ALARODIAN GROUP /or SUBFAMILY/ OF NORTH CAUCASIAN LANGUAGE FAMILY). And why any nobody known "Schultze" tries to separate Tsezian languages from Avaro-Ando--Tsezian subgroup? Who is this Schultze? Listen, you should adhere to the standard norms. Such classification which here is written is simply imagination of any German authors. Open in the beginning the encyclopaedic directories published in the USSR and Russia. It Schultz is not known by anybody. All clauses in Wiki should lean on solid fundamental works, instead of on authors any nobody of known brochures. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Could you try to make this intelligible? --JorisvS (talk) 17:53, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
All I can say in response to this is that A grammar of Khwarshi (2009) is a dissertation written by Zaira Khalilova under the supervision of Frederik Kortlandt and Bernard Comrie (ISBN 978-90-78328-93-3). It's not really clear what your objection is beyond that. (Sgmccabe (talk) 21:16, 6 December 2011 (UTC))
It is a lot of such dissertations. And it can be used in the end of the list, in the end of turn. It is especially obvious, as this work contradicts the basic sources, the settled sights. Such point of view on this theme does not exist neither in Dagestan, nor in Russia. I not such the big expert in English language. If it is necessary, I can result that concrete information with solid references, the literature in Russian. Your page partly of surprises in view of the revolutionism. I too at all do not like term North-East Caucasian(or Nakh-Daghestanian) languages. I consider correct it to name after Djakonoff and Starostin "Alarodian" with addition thus in brackets "Hurrian-Caucasian". But so to do it is impossible. There are rigid rules. It is necessary to allocate in the beginning the settled opinion on each question. To result authoritative authors. And here then all rest is possible. Same not a place for student's abstracts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gorgan Aparshahr (talkcontribs) 11:26, 4 January 2012 (UTC)