Abkhaz (аҧсуа бызшәа)
Abkhaz is a North West Caucasian language related to Abaza,
Adyghe, Kabardian and
Ubykh. About 100,000 people speak Abkhaz in Abkhazia,
an autonomous republic within Georgia. There are also Abkhaz speakers, perhaps
hundreds of thousands, in Turkey, the republic of Adjara in Georgia, Syria,
Jordan, Germany and the USA.
There are two main dialects of Abkhaz: the northern Bzâp dialect and the southern
Abz'âwa dialect, upon which literary Abkhaz is based.
Abkhaz first appeared in writing in 1862/3 in the Cyrillic alphabet using a spelling
system based on the Bzâp dialect and devised by the Russian soldier-linguist
Baron Peter von Uslar. Other spelling systems using the Georgian, Latin, and Cyrillic
alphabets appeared during the 20th century. The current Cyrillic-based system, which
has been in use since 1954, is considered somewhat cumbersome with its 14 extra
letters for consonants and its inconsistencies. Recently there have been suggestions that a new
Latin-based spelling system should be created.
The first ever novel in Abkhaz was written by Dârmit' Gulia (1874-1960), who is
regarded as the Father of Abkhaz Literature. He also founded the first Abkhaz newspaper,
wrote poety, plays, translations, historical and ethnographical writings and lectured on
Abkhaz at Tbilisi University.
Abkhaz alphabet and pronunciation
Sample text in Abkhaz
ауаҩы дшоуп ихы
Darbanzaalak auaòy dšoup ihy daķãiţny.
Auaa zeg' zinlei patulei eik̄aroup. Urţ irymoyp axšyòi
alamysi, dara darag' aeš'ei aeš'ei reiṗš eizyk̄azaroup.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Video in Abkhaz
Information about Abkhaz language and people
Teach Yourself Abkhazian - online lessons
Online Abkhaz dictionary
Free Abkhaz fonts
Northwest Caucasian languages
Other languages written with the Cyrillic alphabet