Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

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Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-04-20, 13:27

The purpose of this thread is to gauge whether there's any interest in learning a bit about Lezgi among the Unilang general public or not.

Lezgi (or Lezgian or Lezgin or...) is a North-East Caucasian language spoken by >500k people (extrapolating from unreliable census data on ethnicity), whose homeland is a mountainous area of about 5000 sq km. located on both sides of Azerbaijan-Daghestan (Russia) border. In terms of reality on the ground this makes it a big language spoken by an important ethnic group (so important than in XIX cent. all Daghestani peoples were called 'Lezgis'). It is also spoken elsewhere - big towns of Russia and Azerbaijan, in post-Soviet Central Asia, in and around the Turkish town Balikesir etc. etc.

Like its peers (vortarulo's Tsez is a distant cousin), Lezgi is ergative, has ejectives and lots of nominal cases and is generally quirky if you look at it from an Indo-European angle.

It's written in adapted Cyrillic script, but my guess is most of the speakers are not literate in it (they are usually schooled in Russian or Azerbaijani). It's co-official in Daghestan and recognised as a minority language in Azerbaijan.

It's been years now since I've been working on Lezgi. I can't really speak it, but know a fair bit about it and have created some resources: a website and a blog.

Now, if there's any interest (I guess not, given that other Caucasian languages generally fail to elicit enthusiasm here), I can think of something (uhm, lessons? Q&As?) to do in this thread. Let me know.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby ''' » 2009-04-21, 5:43

Oh I'm a fan of Caucasian languages, abkhaz avar georgian chechen tsez ubykh are on my list, but not very high up owing to poor resources and the fact that I'm focusing on other languages atm.

I'd be interested to learn about Lezgi, but I'd not be seriously trying to learn it atm.
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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby zhiguli » 2009-04-21, 6:20

Put me down as "interested" as well. Though you're right about Caucasian languages not being terribly popular here, even poor Georgian, the largest and best documented of them, gets short shrift.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-04-21, 11:42

Thanks for signing up, guys. Any particular fields of interest? If you (and any other takers) don't have other suggestions, I'll start by posting a few words about phonology and orthography next week (or maybe earlier, but I prefer promises that I can keep). Meanwhile, feel free to browse the site and the blog (and if you do, tell me what do you think).

Edit: On my blog I'm running an introduction to the Lezgi Cyrillic. You may find it marginally useful even if you're already familiar with the script - I tried to smuggle in some information on grammar as well.

Сагърай хванахваяр!
Saghraj xwanaxwajar!
Bye, mates!

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby ''' » 2009-04-22, 5:54

Well as most know I'm a big grammar/inflection fan.
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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-04-22, 8:25

In that case take a look at a page on Lezgi nominal case system.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby ''' » 2009-04-22, 18:33

O very pretty, but why is there no indirective case? It's the only one missing. Very important case if you ask me...
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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-04-22, 18:55

Strange, isn't it? What happens is that the dative serves the purpose indirective would have served had it existed.
Another point is that many of the case-forms are half-dead, used only in their secondary meanings (ie. adverbial-like or as arguments of a handful of verbs only). The locative meanings are most often expressed by postpositions.

ADDED:
Actually that's the benefit of trying to learn a bit of language as opposed to browsing a grammar or list of verbal/nominal forms. The latter may leave you with a very misleading (even if technically correct) impression.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby zhiguli » 2009-04-22, 21:51

how about something about verbs, tenses, negation etc? i went to lezgin.boxmail.biz but it's exactly those pages that aren't working.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby ''' » 2009-04-24, 5:51

are you sure your conjugation tables are correct? You said the plural of буба is бубаяр and that the plural ergative is the plural absolutive +и so why is the plural ergative бубайри and not бубаяри?
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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-04-24, 8:19

The tables aren't worth much. They are correct (ie. the endings given are correct), but they don't take into account certain phonological phenomena. Elision of (some) unstressed vowels is one of them. I don't remember off-hand if there are any cases of retaining the vowel of the plural marker in oblique cases.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-05-03, 19:20

Oh well, so I didn't keep my promise after all. Anyway:

1. The "How to read Lezgi" course over at my blog is now finished (unless I've omitted somthing)

2. Also from my blog:

my blog wrote:I'll just show you some things, withholding any comments until you ask some questions.

I. The subject (or the doer/experiencer).

Руш кIвализ хтана. The girl returned home.
Гада кIвализ хтанач. The boy didn't return home.
Гада кIвале авач. The boy is not home.
Рушаз гада акуна. The girl saw the boy.
Гададиз руш акунач. The boy didn't saw the girl.
Бубади гада кIвализ ракъурна. Father sent the boy home.
Гадади рушаз ич гана. The boy gave the apple to the girl.
Руша гададиз ич ганач. The girl didn't give the apple to the boy.

II. Participles. Do you know any other language which makes the following possible?

рушаз ич гайи гада - the boy who gave the apple to the girl
гадади ич гайи руш - the girl whom the boy gave the apple
гадади рушаз гайи ич - the apple which was given by the boy to the girl


3. From my website this time. Slants = my romanisation scheme.
Vowels:

high [i] /i/ и [y] /y/ уь [u] /u/ у
mid [e] /e/ е; э
low [{] /ae/ я [A] /a/ а

Notes:

* /a/ has two allophones: [A] and [V]; the former prevails in closed (esp. before uvulars and /r/) the latter in open syllables
* /a/ is also very often rounded after labialized consonants, which may then lose labialization. Thus, /k'wach/ 'foot' is pronounced [k_>_wQtS_h] or even [k_>QtS_h]
* /e/ is open (ie. [E]) in stressed syllables
* if a /vowel plus /n// sequence is not followed by a vowel, the /n/ may be deleted and the vowel nasalized. Thus /zun/ 'I' can be pronounced [zun] or [zu_~]

Stops:

voiced [b] /b/ б [d] /d/ д [g] /g/ г [g_w] /gw/ гв
aspirated [p_h] /p/ п [t_h] /t/ т [t_h_w] /tw/ тв [k_h] /k/ к [k_h_w] /kw/ кв [q_h] /qh/ хъ [q_h_w] /qhw/ хъв
unaspirated [p] /pp/ п [t] /tt/ т [t_w] /ttw/ тв [k] /kk/ к [k_w] /kkw/ кв [q] /q/ къ [q_w] /qw/ къв
ejective [p_>] /p'/ пI [t_>] /t'/ тI [t_>_w] /t'w/ тIв [k_>] /k'/ кI [k_>_w] /k'w/ кIв [q_>] /q'/ кь [q_>_w] /q'w/ кьв

Affricates and fricatives:

aspirated [ts_h] /c/ ц [ts_h_w] /cw/ цв [tS_h] /ch/ ч
unaspirated [ts] /cc/ ц [ts_w] /ccw/ цв [tS] /cch/ ч
ejective [ts_>] /c'/ цI [ts_>_w] /c'w/ цIв [tS_>] /ch'/ чI
fr vd [z] /z/ з [z_w] /zw/ зв [Z] /zh/ ж [R] /gh/ гъ [R_w] /ghw/ гъв
vless [f] /f/ ф [s] /s/ с [s_w] /sw/ св [S] /sh/ ш [x] /xh/ хь [X] /x/ х [X_w] /xw/ хв

All the rest:

nasals [m] /m/ м [n] /n/ н
liquids [l] /l/ л [r] /r/ р
glides [w] /w/ в [j] /j/ й
laryngeals [h] /h/ гь [?] /'/ ъ

Notes:

* /l/ is [5] after a back vowel at the end of a syllable and [l] elsewhere
* /w/ can be realized as [v] (esp. word-initially) or [B]
* pre-tonic /i/ syncope, may result in palatalization of the preceding consonant. Palatalized consonants occur also in careful pronunciation of Russian loanwords.

That would be it for the sounds of the standard Lezgi. Dialects, however, are a slightly different matter, as some of them have sound systems quite different from the standards.

* Axceh dialect group has the high back unrounded vowel /M/ corresponding to standard /u/ in non-labializing stems.
* /dz/ and /dZ/ occur in Kyre dialect group and also in some dialects of the Quba group; in the Axceh dialect group and the standard language these fell together with /z/ and /Z/. In the non-merging dialects /dz/ is marginal, occuring only in a handful of words, whereas /dZ/ is quite frequent, occuring in many Arabo-Perso-Turkic loanwords
* Several dialects (e.g. St'ur dialect of Quba dialect group) have /X\/ and /?\/ in Arabic loans. Q'urah dialect has /?\/ in native words in place of standard /R/
* Jark'i dialect has the voiced velar fricative /G/
* Gyne dialect has the uvular voiced stop /G\/
* Some dialects have the postalveolar labialized obstruent series: /tS_w/ /tS_h_w/ /tS_>_w/ /S_w/ /Z_w/; in some cases this series appears at the expense of the dental labialized one; in some cases the two co-exist
* Lastly, some dialects have lost the labialized consonants altogether (vowel rounding compensates for this loss).

That be it for now. Sorry if it's a bit messy. Anything unclear?

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby ''' » 2009-05-06, 9:34

Do you do IPA 'cos I don't read Sampa and it messes with you.
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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2009-05-06, 12:08

I don't :) That is, I do, but inserting the symbols is such a hassle and besides, I can't read IPA on this computer (work).
C'mon, between X-SAMPA and Lating transliterations there should be enough hints.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby Nukalurk » 2009-05-06, 12:10

Does the implemented IPA converter doesn't work anymore?

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby zhiguli » 2009-05-14, 21:22

just noticed the post on verbs, thanks for that. look forward to more...

and here is a link (maybe you know it) with old soviet cartoons dubbed into various dagestani languages, including lezgi. perhaps it is the only place on the net (other than some religious sites) where you can actually hear lezgi being spoken.

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Re: Lezgi (Лезги чIал)

Postby peterlin » 2010-09-29, 4:28

Yeah, thread necromancy...

I've moved my blog to a new place some two months ago and been updating it semi-regularly ever since. There's new phrasebooky stuff plus some new information on verbs.


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