Tsakhur is spoken by some 13.000 people who dwell in about 30 villages or settlements at the headwaters of the river Samur (valley of Gorgin Magal) in Southern Daghestan. An important group of Tsakhur speakers can also be found in Northern Azerbajdzhan (along the two tributaries of the Agri-Chay river (Katekh-Chay and Kurmukh-Chay)). "Tsakhur" is the somewhat disputed) name for a dialect continuum, that is named for the village of Tsakhur (in the Samur valley). Together with Rutul, the language forms the western branch of the Samur languages, itself being a subgroup of South East Caucasian (Lezgian). Though Tsakhur is only sporadically written (a new "written language" has recently been reintroduced), it is quite vivid in ordinary life (competing especially with Azeri).
Tsakhur is a "typical" Lezgian language, operating on a system of semantic ergativity and noun classification, based on extensive case marking and a complex verbal paradigms. Though Tsakhur is heavily agglutinating, inflectional features can often be observed. As opposed to some other Lezgian languages, Tsakhur shows a tendency towards personal agreement (restricted, however, to the first person), ergative case marking of personal pronouns, and the development of focus particles.
The booklet informs on the basic structure of Tsakhur (phonology, morphology, and syntax), which is (at least partly) explained on the basis of internal and external reconstruction. The material stems either from written sources or from own field notes. A sample text together with an interlinear interpretation helps to illustrate the linguistic structure of the language.
ISBN 9783895861505. Languages of the World/Materials 133. 72pp. 1997.