ABKHAZ (ABXAZO) [ABK] 101,000 in Georgia (1993), 94% speak it as mother tongue; 476 in Ukraine (1979); 4,000 first language speakers out of 15,000 in ethnic group in Turkey (1980 estimate); 105,000 in all countries (1993 UBS). Abkhaz ASSR within Georgia, Black Sea coast. North Caucasian, Northwest, Abkhaz-Abazin. Dialects: BZYB, ABZHUI, SAMURZAKAN. It has literary status. Christian. Bible portions 1912-1981. Work in progress.
ASSYRIAN NEO-ARAMAIC (AISORSKI) [AII] 8,000 in Georgia (1994); 10,000 in Russia (1993); 5,000 in Armenia (1994); 30,000 in Iraq; 10,000 to 20,000 in Iran; 30,000 in Syria (1995); 200,000 in all countries. Erevan and scattered throughout Transcaucasia. Also in Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany, USA, Australia, South America, and elsewhere. Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern. Most speakers are elderly now, many use Russian as primary language. Has status as literary language in Georgia. 'Aisor' is the Russian name for the people. The Assyrian and Chaldean separated denominationally during the 16th century. Close linguistically to other Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Syriac script is used. Christian (Nestorian). Bible 1852-1911. NT 1846-1864. Bible portions 1840-1993. Work in progress.
BATS (BATSI, BATSAW, TSOVA-TUSH, TUSH, BATSBI, BAC, BATSBIITSY) [BBL] 2,500 to 3,000 (1975 SIL). Georgia, spoken by about half the inhabitants of Zemo-Alvani. North Caucasian, North Central, Batsi. Used in daily family communication. Traditional territory and way of life. Georgian is used as the literary language. Not intelligible with other related languages. Grammar. Sunni Muslim.
GEORGIAN (KARTULI, GRUZIN) [GEO] 3,901,380 speakers (98%), out of 3,981,000 in the ethnic group in Georgia (1993 UBS); 1,314 in Armenia (1979); 13,595 in Azerbaijan (1979); 7,700 in Kazakhstan; 1,002 in Kyrghyzstan; 130,000 in Russia; 808 in Tajikistan; 1,047 in Turkmenistan; 4,088 in Uzbekistan; 1,000 to 10,000 possibly in Iran; 40,000 in Turkey (1980 estimate); 757 in USA (1970 census); 4,103,000 in all countries. Also in adjoining areas in the western Caucasus. 69,700 square miles. South Caucasian, Georgian. Dialects: IMERETIAN, RACHA-LECHKHUM (LEXCHXUM), GURIAN, ADZHAR, IMERXEV KARTLIAN, KAXETIAN (KAKHETIAN), INGILO, TUSH, XEVSUR (KHEYSUR), MOXEV (MOKHEV), PSHAV, MTIUL, FEREJDAN, MESKHUR-JAVAKHURI. Has a script of its own called Mkhedruli. Imerxev is in Turkey, Ferejdan in Iran. Adzhai Muslims are in Armenia. The Meskhi are ethnically Georgian, speak Georgian, are Eastern Orthodox, and live in southwestern Georgia. South Caucasian is also called 'Kartvelian'. National language. Typology: SVO. Georgian Orthodox Church, some Sunni and Shi'a Muslim. Braille code available. Bible 1743-1989. NT 1709-1993. Bible portions 1709-1982.
JUDEO-GEORGIAN [JGE] 20,000 in Georgia (1995); 40,000 to 50,000 in Israel (1995); 60,000 to 70,000 in all countries. Some have gone elsewhere in the former USSR and to other countries. South Caucasian, Georgian. Oriental and Ashkenazic Jews in Georgia live separately. Judeo-Georgian speakers live separately from non-Jewish Georgian speakers. May not be a separate language from Georgian, but a dialect using various Hebrew loan words. Jewish. Survey needed.
LAZ (LAZE, CHAN, CHANZAN, ZAN, CHANURI) [LZZ] 2,000 in Georgia (1982 estimate); 1,000 to 1,500 in Germany; 30,000 in Turkey (1980 estimate); 33,000 or more in all countries. Adjar ASSR, Georgia, a couple of villages. Also in Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France. South Caucasian, Zan. Dialects: XOPA (HOPA), CHXALA (CKHALA), VICE-ARXAVA (VITAL-ARKHAVA), ATINA, SAMURZAKAN-ZUGDIDI, SENAKI. Their name for their language is 'Lazuri'. Not a written language in Georgia or Turkey. Georgian used as literary language. Officially considered to be a single language with Mingrelian, called 'Zan', although linguists recognize that they are not inherently intelligible with each other. In Germany they have their own journal and cultural society. Muslim. Survey needed.
MINGRELIAN (MARGALURI, MEGREL, MEGRULI) [XMF] 500,000 (1989 B.G. Hewitt). Lowland west Georgia. South Caucasian, Zan. Their name for themselves is 'Margaluri'. Not a written language. Georgian used as a literary language. Officially considered to be a single language with Laz, called Zan, but linguists recognize that they are not inherently intelligible with each other. Christian.
OSETIN (OSSETE) [OSE] 164,000 in Georgia (1993 Johnstone); 402,000 in Russia (1993 Johnstone); 88% speak it as mother tongue; 3,491 Digor in Kazakhstan; 8,000 Digor in Tajikistan; 1,887 Digor in Turkmenistan; 4,554 Digor in Ukraine; 6,000 Digor in Uzbekistan; 2,315 Digor in Azerbaijan (1979); 588,000 in all countries. South Ossetia, Georgia, and North Ossetia, Russia (Digor and Iron), upper passes of Caucasus, and east of Budapest, Hungary. Also in Germany and Turkey. There are unconfirmed reports of speakers in Syria. Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Northeastern. Dialects: DIGOR, TAGAUR, KURTAT, ALLAGIR, TUAL, IRON. Has literary status based on eastern dialect. Cyrillic script. Sunni Muslim (Digor), Christian (Iron). NT 1993. Bible portions 1848-1984.
SVAN (LUSHNU, SVANURI) [SVA] 35,000 (1975). South Caucasian, Svan. Dialects: UPPER BAL, LOWER BAL, LASHX, LENTEX. Traditional territory and way of life. Svan is used in daily family communication. Proficiency in Svan among young people is limited, but reports indicate that speakers want to remain separate from Georgian. Their name for their language is 'Lushnu'. Not a written language. Georgian and Russian are used as literary languages. Svan-speaking Jews are called 'Lakhamul'. Christian, Jewish (Lakhamul).
Several thousand in all countries (1985 B. Podolsky). Caucasus. Also in
a few villages in the Conetsk Oblast of southeastern Ukraine, Donec'k region.
10 villages total. Altaic,
Turkic. Related to Crimean Tatar. A number of inherently intelligible dialects.
Spoken by ethnic 'Greeks'. Survey needed.
Part of the Ethnologue,
13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.
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