Université de Montréal
Svan is the smallest and least well-known of the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages. The traditional Svan homeland is in the northwest highlands of the Republic of Georgia, and the speech community comprises 35,000 to 40,000 people. In most recent respects, Svan retains the principal features of a Kartvelian language: subject and object agreement; verbal marking of aspect, evidentiality and 'version' [similar to active/medial opposition of Indo-European]; and a complex split-ergative morphosyntax. On the other hand, Svan morphophonemics has become far less transparent than that of Georgian or Laz-Mingrelian.
There is a great deal of allomorphy in noun declension and in some verbal paradigms (e.g. in the imperfect), and the pattern of Proto-Kartvelian verbal ablaut has been restructured in a distinctive way. Altough the sketch is primarily concerned with the synchronic grammar of the four Svan dialects, attention is given to certain issues in Kartvelian historical morphology, such as quantitative and qualitative vowel alternations and the evolution of the case system.
ISBN 9783895861543. Languages of the World/Materials 139. 58pp. 2 maps. 1997.