A North West Caucasian Linguistic Reader
Compiled, analyzed, and translated by
with the help of B. George Hewitt and Zaira Khiba Hewitt for the Abzhwi Abkhaz text
This Reader in North West Caucasian languages brings together for the first time grammatical sketches and examples from all the languages of this typologically unusual family, including three dialects of Circassian and three of Abkhaz-Abaza, plus Ubykh. The texts are traditional tales, including two pagan hymns, all of which have been phonemicized (with an 81st consonant added to Ubykh), morphologically analyzed, glossed, and translated. This volume will be of use to those who wish to maintain these languages or to revive them, since all are now endangered.
Theoretical linguists will also find this volume interesting for the numerous unusual features that these languages exhibit. Their large consonantal inventories and vertical vowel systems are known. In addition these languages also have polypersonal verbs that convey the usual argument structure, but also pragmatic, syntactic, referential, and spatial information. They are split ergative, with Abkhaz-Abaza showing morphological ergativity because of a lack of case systems. The latter languages also show rightward wh-movement. Circassian shows rightward clefting, including clefted questions. All have headless relative constructions. Verb cliticization is found in Abkhaz-Abaza along with verb chaining. Most vocabulary, including many core items, is built up by extensive compounding processes. They offer a rich area for study.
ISBN 9783862886623. LINCOM Studies in Caucasian Linguistics 21. 292pp. 2015.