Lak (Лакку маз)

Lak is a Nakh-Daghestanian or Northeast Caucasian language spoken in the Dagestan Republic in the Russian Federation. According to the 2010 census, there are about 146,000 speakers of Lak, which is also known as Lakh, Laki or Kazikumukhtsy. It is closely related to Dargwa.

Lak at a glance

  • Native name: Лакку маз [lakːu maz]
  • Linguistic affliation: Northeast Caucasian
  • Number of speakers: c. 146,000
  • Spoken in: Republic of Dagestan, Russian Federation
  • First written: 15th century
  • Writing system: Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin and Georgian scripts
  • Status: recognised provincial language in the Republic of Dagestan

The standard version of Lak is based on the Kumukh dialect, which is spoken in the village of Kumukh, which is Гъумук (Ğumuk) in Lak, and Кумух in Russian. Other dialects include Vitskhi, Arakul, Balkhar, Shadni, Shalib, Vikhli, Kuli and Kaya.

Since 1994 Lak has been recognised as a state language of Dagestan, along with Russian and several other languages. It is used as a medium of instruction in primary schools, and taught as a subject in secondary schools. There is a newspaper in Lak, and it also used on the radio.

From the 15th century until 1928 Lak was written with a version of the Arabic alphabet. In 1928 the Latin alphabet was adopted, and since 1938, a version of the Cyrillic alphabet has been used to write Lak. The Georgian alphabet has also been used to write Lak.

Lak was first documented in 1864 by Baron Peter von Uslar (Пётр Карлович Услар), a Russian linguist and ethnographer. He published a grammar of Lak in which he proposed a way to write Lak with the Cyrillic alphabet in 1890.

Arabic alphabet for Lak (15th century - 1928)

Arabic alphabet for Lak

Latin alphabet for Lak (1928-1938)

Latin alphabet for Lak

Cyrillic alphabet for Lak (1938 - present)

Lak Cyrillic alphabet and pronunciation

Hear how to pronounce the Lak letters:

Georgian alphabet for Lak

Georgian alphabet for Lak

Download alphabet charts for Lak

Sample text in Lak

Sample text in Lak

ЦулчӀа хъинну ккашилну бивкӀун бур. Ав бансса зад дириллай къадиркӀун дур. Га неххайн лавгун бур. ЦулчӀа, гьархъалттил ухчанттилу бивкӀумунил дурну, багьну бур. МикӀ гъагъан увксса гьарайзу Аьли, га бакӀрайн багьну, хъинну ххари хьуну ур. ЦулкӀлул лу пар-пар тӀий хъахъисса, кӀукӀлусса бивкӀун бур. «Вания ттула рахӀулул дарвач банна», — куну бур Аьлил. Ганал га, магъ дургьуну гьаз бувну, гьарахъалттил ппалав бувтун бур, цувамагу гьанзулттуйн микӀ гъагъан лавгун ур. Зана хьуну учӀайхту, Аьли ппалав левчуну ур. Ххал барча, цулчӀа бакъа. Га махӀаттал хьуну ур, хъап-шап тӀий майданнив увккун ур. Ургарча, цала хъун ажаригу бакъа. ЦулкӀлул хӀилла Аьлин дахьа гикку дурчӀуну дур.

Source: Определитель языков мира по письменностям. Академия наук СССР. Москва – 1965.

Information provided by Wolfram Siegel, Wolfgang Kuhl and Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample videos in and about Lak

Information about Lak | Numbers


Information about the Lak languageЛакский_языкЛакская письменность

Лакский Дом/Lak House - information about the Lak people (in Russian and English)

Dagestanskaya pravda - Online newspaper in Lak

Northeast Caucasian languages

Aghul, Akhvakh, Andi, Archi, Avar, Bagvalal, Batsbi, Bezhta, Botlikh, Budukh, Caucasian Albanian, Chamalal, Chechen, Dargwa, Godoberi, Hinukh, Hunzib, Ingush, Karata, Khinalug, Khwarshi, Kryts, Kubachi, Lak, Lezgian, Rutul, Tabassaran, Tindi, Tsakhur, Tsez, Udi

Languages written with the: Arabic, Cyrillic, Georgian and Latin alphabets

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