The Info List - Kartvelian Language

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The Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
(Georgian: ქართველური ენები, Kartveluri enebi) (also known as Iberian[2] and formerly[3] South Caucasian[4]) are a language family indigenous to the Caucasus
and spoken primarily in Georgia, with large groups of native speakers in Russia, Iran, the United States, the European Union, Israel,[5] and northeastern parts of Turkey.[6] There are approximately 5.2 million speakers of Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
worldwide. The Kartvelian family is not known to be related to any other language family, making it one of the world's primary language families.[7] The first literary source in a Kartvelian language is the Georgian language inscriptions of Bir el Qutt, written in ancient Georgian Asomtavruli
script at the Georgian monastery near Bethlehem,[8] which dates back to c. 430 AD.[9] The Georgian script
Georgian script
is the writing system used to write all Kartvelian languages, though the Laz language
Laz language
in Turkey
is also written using a Latin script.


1 Social and cultural status 2 Classification

2.1 Genealogical tree 2.2 Higher-level connections

3 Comparative grammar

3.1 Regular correspondences 3.2 Noun classification 3.3 Declension 3.4 Verb

4 Examples from inherited lexicon 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 External links

Social and cultural status[edit] Georgian is the official language of Georgia (spoken by 90% of the population) and the main language for literary and business use for all Kartvelian speakers in Georgia. It is written with an original and distinctive alphabet, and the oldest surviving literary text dates from the 5th century AD—the only Caucasian language with an ancient literary tradition[citation needed]. The old Georgian script
Georgian script
seems to have been derived from Aramaic, with Greek influences.[10] Mingrelian has been written with the Georgian alphabet since 1864, especially in the period from 1930 to 1938, when the Mingrelians enjoyed some cultural autonomy, and after 1989. The Laz language
Laz language
was written chiefly between 1927 and 1937, and now again in Turkey, with the Latin alphabet. Laz, however, is disappearing as its speakers are integrating into mainstream Turkish society. Classification[edit]

Part of a series on

Georgians ქართველები



Ancient Kartvelian people

Colchians Iberians


Svans Zans


Music Media Sport Calligraphy Cinema Cuisine Dances Chokha Calendar Architecture Mythology


Writing system Dialects Grammar


Georgian Orthodox Church Christianity Catholic Church Islam Judaism Saint George Saint Nino


St George's Cross Grapevine cross Bolnisi cross Borjgali

History of Georgia

v t e

The Kartvelian language family consists of four closely related languages:[4][11][12][13][14][15]

Svan (ლუშნუ ნინ, lušnu nin), with approximately 35,000–40,000 native speakers mainly in the northwestern mountainous region of Svaneti, Georgia, and in the Kodori Gorge of Abkhazia, Georgia. Georgian-Zan (also called Karto-Zan)

Georgian (ქართული ენა, kartuli ena) with approximately 5 million native speakers, mainly in Georgia. There are Georgian-speaking communities in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel, and EU countries, but the current number and distribution of them are unknown. Zan (also called Colchian)

Mingrelian (მარგალური ნინა, margaluri nina), with some 500,000 native speakers in 1989, mainly in the western regions of Georgia, namely Samegrelo
and Abkhazia
(at present in Gali district only). The number of Mingrelian speakers in Abkhazia underwent a dramatic decrease in the 1990s as a result of heavy ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population, the overwhelming majority of which were Mingrelians. The Mingrelians
displaced from Abkhazia
are scattered elsewhere in the Georgian government territory, with dense clusters in Tbilisi
and Zugdidi. Laz (ლაზური ნენა, lazuri nena), with 22,000 native speakers in 1980, mostly in the Black Sea
Black Sea
littoral area of northeast Turkey, and with some 2,000 in Adjara, Georgia.[citation needed]

Genealogical tree[edit]








The connection between these languages was first reported in linguistic literature by Johann Anton Güldenstädt in his 1773 classification of the languages of the Caucasus, and later proven by G. Rosen, Marie-Félicité Brosset, Franz Bopp and others during the 1840s. Zan is the branch that contains the Mingrelian and Laz languages. On the basis of glottochronological analysis, Georgi Klimov dates the split of the Proto-Kartvelian into Svan and Proto-Karto-Zan to the 19th century BC,[15][16] and the further division into Georgian and Zan to the 8th century BC,[16] although with the reservation that such dating is very preliminary and substantial further study is required.[15] The older name "South Caucasian" is no longer much used, as it derives from the idea that Kartvelian is related to the Northwest Caucasian and Northeast Caucasian
Northeast Caucasian
languages, a position which is no longer maintained. Higher-level connections[edit] No relationship with other languages, including the two North Caucasian language families, has been demonstrated so far.[10] Some linguists, such as Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze, have proposed that the Kartvelian family is part of a much larger Nostratic language family, but both the concept of a Nostratic family and Georgian's relation to it are not considered likely by linguists.[17] Certain grammatical similarities with Basque, especially in the case system, have often been pointed out. However, the hypothesis of a relationship, which also tends to link the Caucasian languages with other non-Indo-European and non- Semitic languages
Semitic languages
of the Near East of ancient times, is generally considered to lack conclusive evidence.[10] Any similarities to other linguistic phyla may be due to areal influences. Heavy borrowing in both directions (i.e. from North Caucasian to Kartvelian and vice versa) has been observed; therefore it is likely that certain grammatical features have been influenced as well. If the Dené–Caucasian hypothesis, which attempts to link Basque, Burushaski, the North Caucasian families and other phyla, is correct, then the similarities to Basque may also be due to these influences, however indirect. Certain Kartvelian–Indo-European lexical links are revealed at the protolanguage level,[18] which are ascribed to the early contacts between Proto-Kartvelian and Proto-Indo-European populations.[19] Comparative grammar[edit] Regular correspondences[edit]


Proto-Kartv. Geo. Zan Svan

*ა (*a) [ɑ] a [ɑ] o [ɔ] a [ɑ]

*ე (*e) [ɛ] e [ɛ] a [ɑ] e [ɛ]

*ი (*i) [i] i [i] i [i] i [i]

*ო (*o) [ɔ] o [ɔ] o [ɔ] o [ɔ]

*უ (*u) [u] u [u] u [u] u [u]


Proto-Kartv. Geo. Zan Svan

Voiced stops *ბ (*b) [b] b [b] b [b] b [b]

*დ (*d) [d] d [d] d [d] d [d]

*გ (*g) [ɡ] g [ɡ] g [ɡ] g / ǯ [ɡ] / [d͡ʒ]

Voiced affricates *ძ (*ʒ) [d͡z] ʒ [d͡z] ʒ [d͡z] ʒ / z [d͡z] / [z]

*ძ₁ (*ʒ₁) [d͡ʐ] ǯ [d͡ʒ] ǯ / ž [d͡ʒ] / [ʒ]

*ჯ (*ǯ) [d͡ʒ] ǯ [d͡ʒ] ǯg / ʒg [d͡ʒɡ] / [d͡zɡ] ǯg / sg [d͡ʒɡ] / [sɡ]

Voiced fricatives *ზ (*z) [z] z [z] z [z] z [z]

*ზ₁ (*z₁) [ʐ] ž [ʒ] ž [ʒ]

*ღ (*ɣ) [ɣ] ɣ [ɣ] ɣ [ɣ] ɣ [ɣ]

*უ̂ (*w) [w] v [v] v [v] w [w]

Ejective stops *პ (*ṗ) [pʼ] ṗ [pʼ] ṗ [pʼ] ṗ [pʼ]

*ტ (*ṭ) [tʼ] ṭ [tʼ] ṭ [tʼ] ṭ [tʼ]

*კ (*ḳ) [kʼ] ḳ [kʼ] ḳ [kʼ] ḳ / č' [kʼ] / [t͡ʃʼ]

*ყ (*qʼ) [qʼ] qʼ [qʼ] qʼ / ʔ / ḳ [qʼ] / [ʔ] / [kʼ] qʼ [qʼ]

Ejective affr. *წ (*ċ) [t͡sʼ] ċ [t͡sʼ] ċ [t͡sʼ] ċ [t͡sʼ]

*წ₁ (*ċ₁) [t͡ʂʼ] čʼ [t͡ʃʼ] čʼ [t͡ʃʼ]

*ლʼ (*ɬʼ) [t͡ɬʼ] h [h]

*ჭ (*čʼ) [t͡ʃʼ] čʼ [t͡ʃʼ] čʼḳ / ċḳ [t͡ʃʼkʼ] / [t͡sʼkʼ] čʼḳ / šḳ [t͡ʃʼkʼ] / [ʃkʼ]

Voiceless stops and affr. *ფ (*p) [p] p [p] p [p] p [p]

*თ (*t) [t] t [t] t [t] t [t]

*ც (*c) [t͡s] c [t͡s] c [t͡s] c [t͡s]

*ც₁ (*c₁) [t͡ʂ] č [t͡ʃ] č [t͡ʃ]

*ჩ (*č) [t͡ʃ] č [t͡ʃ] čk [t͡ʃk] čk / šg [t͡ʃk] / [ʃɡ]

*ქ (*k) [k] k [k] k [k] k / č [k] / [t͡ʃ]

*ჴ (*q) [q] x [x] x [x] q [q]

Voiceless fricatives *ხ (*x) [x] x [x]

*შ (*š) [ʃ] š [ʃ] šk / sk [ʃk] / [sk] šg / sg [ʃɡ] / [sɡ]

*ს (*s) [s] s [s] s [s] s [s]

*ს₁ (*s₁) [ʂ] š [ʃ] š [ʃ]

*ლʿ (*lʿ) [ɬ] ∅ l [l]

Liquids *ლ (*l) [l] l [l] l [l]

*რ (*r) [r] r [r] r [r] r [r]

Nasals *მ (*m) [m] m [m] m [m] m [m]

*ნ (*n) [n] n [n] n [n] n [n]

Noun classification[edit] The Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
classify objects as intelligent ("who"-class) and unintelligent ("what"-class) beings. Grammatical gender
Grammatical gender
does not exist.

Noun classification scheme

Concrete Abstract

Animate Inanimate

Human and "human-like" beings (e.g. God, deities, angels) Animals Inanimate physical entities Abstract objects

Intelligent Unintelligent

"who"-class "what"-class


Grammatical case markers

Case Singular


Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan

Nominative -i -i/-e -i -i -ep-i -ep-e -eb-i -är

Ergative -k -k -ma -d -ep-k -epe-k -eb-ma -är-d

Dative -s -s -s -s -ep-s -epe-s -eb-s -är-s

Genitive -iš -iš -is -iš -ep-iš -epe-š(i) -eb-is -are-š

Lative -iša -iša N/A N/A -ep-iša -epe-ša N/A N/A

Ablative -iše -iše N/A N/A -ep-iše -epe-še(n) N/A N/A

Instrumental -it -ite -it -šw -ep-it -epe-te(n) -eb-it -är-šw

Adverbial -o(t)/-t -ot -ad/-d -d -ep-o(t) N/A -eb-ad -är-d

Finalis -išo(t) N/A -isad -išd -ep-išo(t) N/A -eb-isad -är-išd

Vocative N/A N/A -o (/-v) N/A N/A N/A -eb-o N/A

Example adjective declension Stem: ǯveš- (Min.), mǯveš- (Laz), ʒvel- (Geo.), ǯwinel- (Svan) – "old"

Case Singular


Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan

Nominative ǯveš-i mǯveš-i ʒvel-i ǯwinel ǯveš-ep-i mǯveš-ep-e ʒvel-eb-i ǯwinel-är

Ergative ǯveš-k mǯveš-i-k ʒvel-ma ǯwinel-d ǯveš-ep-k mǯveš-epe-k ʒvel-eb-ma ǯwinel-är-d

Dative ǯveš-s mǯveš-i-s ʒvel-s ǯwinel-s ǯveš-ep-s mǯveš-i-epe-s ʒvel-eb-s ǯwinel-är-s

Genitive ǯveš-iš mǯveš-iš ʒvel-is ǯwinl-iš ǯveš-ep-iš mǯveš-epe-š ʒvel-eb-is ǯwinel-är-iš

Lative ǯveš-iša mǯveš-iša N/A N/A ǯveš-ep-iša mǯveš-epe-ša N/A N/A

Ablative ǯveš-iše mǯveš-iše N/A N/A ǯveš-ep-iše mǯveš-epe-še N/A N/A

Instrumental ǯveš-it mǯveš-ite ʒvel-it ǯwinel-šw ǯveš-ep-it mǯveš-epe-te ʒvel-eb-it ǯwinel-är-šw

Adverbial ǯveš-o mǯveš-ot ʒvel-ad ǯwinel-d ǯveš-ep-o N/A ʒvel-eb-ad ǯwinel-är-d

Finalis ǯveš-išo N/A ʒvel-isad ǯwinel-išd ǯveš-ep-išo N/A ʒvel-eb-isad ǯwinel-är-išd

Vocative N/A N/A ʒvel-o N/A N/A N/A ʒvel-eb-o N/A

Verb[edit] Kartvelian verbs can indicate one, two, or three grammatical persons. A performer of an action is called the subject and affected persons are objects (direct or indirect). The person may be singular or plural. According to the number of persons, the verbs are classified as unipersonal, bipersonal or tripersonal.

Unipersonal verbs have only a subject and so are always intransitive. Bipersonal verbs have a subject and one object, which can be direct or indirect. The verb is:

transitive when the object is direct; intransitive if the object is indirect.

Tripersonal verbs have one subject and both direct and indirect objects and are ditransitive.

Verb personality table

Unipersonal Bipersonal Tripersonal

intransitive transitive intransitive ditransitive

Subject + + + +

Direct object



Indirect object

+ +

Subjects and objects are indicated with special affixes.

Personal markers

Subject set



Old Geo. Mod. Geo. Ming./Laz Svan

Old Geo. Mod. Geo. Ming./Laz Svan

S1 v- v- v- xw-

v-...-t v-...-t v-...-t xw-...-(š)d (excl.) l-...-(š)d (incl.)

S2 x/h- ∅,(h/s)- ∅ x-/∅

x/h-...-t ∅,(h/s)-...-t ∅-...-t x/∅-...-(š)d

S3 -s,-a/o,-n,-ed -s,-a/o -s,-u,-n (l)-...-s/(a)

-an,-en,-es,-ed -en,-an,-es -an,-es (l)-...-x

Object set

O1 m- m- m- m-

m- (excl.) gv- (incl.)

gv- m-...-t,-an,-es n- (excl.) gw- (incl.)

O2 g- g- g- ǯ-

g- g-...-t g-...-t,-an,-es ǯ-...-x

O3 x/h,∅- ∅,s/h/∅- ∅ ∅,x-

x/h,∅- ∅,s/h/∅-...-t ∅-...-t,-an,-es ∅,x-...-x

By means of special markers Kartvelian verbs can indicate four kinds of action intentionality ("version"):

subjective—shows that the action is intended for oneself, objective—the action is intended for another person, objective-passive—the action is intended for another person and at the same time indicating the passiveness of subject, neutral—neutral with respect to intention.

Version markers

Version Mingrelian Laz Georgian Svan

Subjective -i- -i- -i- -i-

Objective -u- -u- -u- -o-

Objective-passive -a- -a- -e- -e-

Neutral -o-/-a- -o- -a- -a-

Examples from inherited lexicon[edit]

Cardinal Numbers

  Proto-Kartv. form

Karto-Zan Svan

Proto-form Georgian Mingrelian Laz

1. one, 2. other *s₁xwa [ʂxwɑ] *s₁xwa [ʂxwɑ] sxva [sxvɑ] (other) šxva [ʃxva] (other) čkva / škva [t͡ʃkvɑ] / [ʃkvɑ] (other, one more) e-šxu [ɛ-ʃxu] (one)

one n/a *erti [ɛrti] erti [ɛrti] arti [ɑrti] ar [ɑr] n/a

two *yori [jɔri] *yori [jɔri] ori [ɔri] žiri / žəri [ʒiri] / [ʒəri] žur / ǯur [ʒur] / [d͡ʒur] yori [jɔri]

three *sami [sɑmi] *sami [sɑmi] sami [sɑmi] sumi [sumi] sum [sum] semi [sɛmi]

four *o(s₁)txo [ɔ(ʂ)txɔ] *otxo [ɔtxɔ] otxi [ɔtxi] otxi [ɔtxi] otxo [ɔtxɔ] w-oštxw [w-ɔʃtxw]

five *xu(s₁)ti [khu(ʂ)ti] *xuti [xuti] xuti [xuti] xuti [xuti] xut [xut] wo-xušd [wɔ-xuʃd]

six *eks₁wi [ɛkʂwi] *eks₁wi [ɛkʂwi] ekvsi [ɛkvsi] amšvi [ɑmʃwi] aši [ɑʃi] usgwa [usɡwɑ]

seven *šwidi [ʃwidi] *šwidi [ʃwidi] švidi [ʃvidi] škviti [ʃkviti] škvit [ʃkvit] i-šgwid [i-ʃɡwid]

eight *arwa [ɑrwɑ] *arwa [ɑrwɑ] rva [rvɑ] ruo / bruo [ruɔ] / [bruɔ] ovro / orvo [ɔvrɔ] / [ɔrvɔ] ara [ɑrɑ]

nine *ts₁xara [t͡ʂxɑrɑ] *ts₁xara [t͡ʂxɑrɑ] tsxra [t͡sxrɑ] čxoro [t͡ʃxɔrɔ] čxoro [t͡ʃxɔrɔ] čxra [t͡ʃxɑrɑ]

ten *a(s₁)ti [ɑ(ʂ)ti] *ati [ɑti] ati [ɑti] viti [viti] vit [vit] ešd [ɛʃd]

twenty n/a *ots₁i [ɔt͡ʂi] otsi [ɔt͡si] etsi [ɛt͡ʃi] etsi [ɛt͡ʃi] n/a

hundred *as₁i [ɑʂi] *as₁i [ɑʂi] asi [ɑsi] oši [ɔʃi] oši [ɔʃi] aš-ir [ɑʃ-ir]


Personal Pronouns

  Proto-Kartv. Georgian Mingrelian Laz Svan

I *me [mɛ] me [mɛ] ma [mɑ] ma(n) [mɑ] mi [mi]

You (sg.) *sen [sɛn] šen [ʃɛn] si [si] si(n) [si] si [si]

That *e- [ɛ-] e-sa [ɛ-sɑ] e-na [ɛ-nɑ] (h)e-ya [(h)ɛ-jɑ] e-ǯa [ɛ-d͡ʒɑ]

We *čwen [t͡ʃwɛn] čven [t͡ʃvɛn] čki(n) / čkə(n) [t͡ʃki(n)] / [t͡ʃkə(n)] čkin / čku / šku [t͡ʃkin] / [t͡ʃku] / [ʃku] näy [næj]

You (pl.) *stkwen [stkwɛn] tkven [tkvɛn] tkva(n) [tkvɑ(n)] tkvan [tkvɑn] sgäy [sɡæj]

Possessive Pronouns

  Proto-Kartv. Georgian Mingrelian Laz Svan

My *č(w)e-mi [t͡ʃ(w)ɛ-mi] če-mi [t͡ʃɛ-mi] čki-mi [t͡ʃki-mi] čki-mi / ški-mi [t͡ʃki-mi] / [ʃki-mi] mi-šgu [mi-ʃɡu]

Your (sg.) *š(w)eni [ʃ(w)ɛni] šeni [ʃɛni] skani [skɑni] skani [skɑni] i-sgu [i-sɡu]

His/her/its *m-is₁ [m-iʂ] m-is-i [m-is-i] mu-š-i [mu-ʃ-i] (h)e-mu-š-i [(h)ɛ-mu-ʃ-i] m-ič-a [m-it͡ʃ-ɑ]

Our *čweni [t͡ʃwɛni] čveni [t͡ʃvɛni] čkini / čkəni [t͡ʃkini] / [t͡ʃkəni] čkini / čkuni / škuni [t͡ʃkini] / [t͡ʃkuni] / [ʃkuni] gu-šgwey (excl.) [ɡu-ʃɡwɛj] ni-šgwey (incl.) [ni-ʃɡwɛj]

Your (pl.) *stkweni [stkwɛni] tkveni [tkvɛni] tkvani [tkvɑni] tkvani [tkvɑni] i-sgwey [i-sɡwɛj]

See also[edit]

Proto-Kartvelian language


^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kartvelian". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ Caucasian languages Encyclopædia Britannica ^ Bernard Laks, Origin and Evolution of Languages: Approaches, Models, Paradigms, Equinox, 2008, p. 46 ^ a b Boeder (2002), p. 3 ^ Languages of Israel ^ Ethnologue entry about the Kartvelian language family ^ Dalby (2002), p. 38 ^ Lang (1966), p. 154 ^ Hewitt (1995), p. 4. ^ a b c Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th edition (1986): Macropedia, "Languages of the World", see section titled "Caucasian languages". ^ Boeder (2005), p. 6 ^ Gamkrelidze (1966), p. 69 ^ Fähnrich & Sardzhveladze (2000) ^ Kajaia (2001) ^ a b c Klimov (1998b), p. 14 ^ a b Klimov (1994), p. 91 ^ Allan R. Bomhard, John C. Kerns. (1994) The Nostratic Macrofamily: A Study in Distant Linguistic Relationship. ^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995), pp. 774–776 ^ Gamkrelidze & Ivanov (1995), p. 768 ^ Fähnrich (2002), p. 5 ^ Fähnrich (2002), p. 5-6


Boeder, W. (2002). Speech and thought representation in the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) languages. In: Güldemann, T., von Roncador, M. (Eds.), Reported Discourse. A Meeting-Ground of Different Linguistic Domains. Typological Studies in Language, vol. 52. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, pp. 3–48.  Boeder, W. (2005). "The South Caucasian languages", Lingua, Vol. 115, Iss. 1–2 (Jan.-Feb.), Pages 5–89 Dalby, A. (2002). Language in Danger; The Loss of Linguistic Diversity and the Threat to Our Future. Columbia University Press.  Delshad, F. (2010). Georgica et Irano-Semitica (in German). Wiesbaden.  Fähnrich, H. (2002). Kartwelische Wortschatzstudien. Jena: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität.  Fähnrich, H. & Sardzhveladze, Z. (2000). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages (in Georgian). Tbilisi.  Gamkrelidze, Th. (1966) "A Typology of Common Kartvelian", Language, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan.–Mar.), pp. 69–83 Gamkrelidze, Th. & Ivanov, V. (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and a Proto-Culture. 2 Vols. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.  Hewitt, B.G. (1995). Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN 978-90-272-3802-3.  Kajaia, O. (2001). Megrelian-Georgian dictionary. Vol 1. (in Georgian). Tbilisi.  Kartozia, G. (2005). The Laz language
Laz language
and its place in the system of Kartvelian languages
Kartvelian languages
(in Georgian). Tbilisi.  Klimov, G. (1964). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages (in Russian). Moscow.  Klimov, G. (1994). Einführung in die kaukasische Sprachwissenschaft. Hamburg: Buske.  Klimov, G. (1998). Etymological Dictionary of the Kartvelian Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  Klimov, G. (1998). Languages of the World: Caucasian languages (in Russian). Moscow: Academia.  Lang, D. M. (1966). The Georgians. New-York: Praeger.  Ruhlen, M. (1987). A Guide to the World’s Languages, Vol. 1: Classification. Stanford: Stanford
University Press. 

External links[edit]

Lazuri Nena – The Language of the Laz by Silvia Kutscher. The Arnold Chikobava Institute of Linguistics, Georgian Academy of Sciences Arthur Holmer, The Iberian-Caucasian Connection in a Typological Perspective The rise and fall and revival of the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis by Kevin Tuite (Université de Montréal).

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Kartvelian languages

Georgian language

old grammar

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Laz language


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Karachay–Balkar Kumyk Urum




Azerbaijani Turkish Turkmen



Assyrian Neo-Aramaic Bohtan Neo-Aramaic

 See also: Languages of Armenia  Languages of Azerbaijan  Languages of Georgia  Languages of Russia

v t e

List of primary language families


Afro-Asiatic Austronesian Khoe Kx'a Niger–Congo Nilo-Saharan? Tuu Mande? Songhay? Ijaw? Ubangian? Kadu?


Bangime Hadza Jalaa Sandawe Kwadi? Laal? Shabo?

Sign languages

Arab BANZSL French Lasima Tanzanian Others

Europe and Asia

Afro-Asiatic Ainu Austroasiatic Austronesian Chukotko-Kamchatkan Dravidian Eskimo–Aleut Great Andamanese Hmong–Mien Hurro-Urartian Indo-European Japonic Kartvelian Koreanic Mongolic Northeast Caucasian Northwest Caucasian Ongan Sino-Tibetan Tai–Kadai Tungusic Turkic Tyrsenian Uralic Yeniseian Yukaghir Dené–Yeniseian? Altaic? Austronesian–Ongan? Austro-Tai? Sino-Austronesian? Digaro? Kho-Bwa? Siangic? Miji? Vasconic?


Basque Burushaski Elamite Hattic Kusunda Nihali Nivkh Sumerian Hruso? Miju? Puroik?

Sign languages

BANZSL French German Japanese Swedish Chinese Indo-Pakistani Arab Chiangmai–Bangkok Others

New Guinea and the Pacific

Arai–Samaia Arafundi Austronesian Baining Binanderean–Goilalan Border Bulaka River Central Solomons Chimbu–Wahgi Doso–Turumsa East Geelvink Bay East Strickland Eleman Engan Fas Kaure–Kosare Kiwaian Kutubuan Kwomtari Lakes Plain Lower Mamberamo Lower Sepik Madang Mairasi North Bougainville Pauwasi Piawi Ramu Senagi Sentani Sepik Skou South Bougainville Teberan Tor–Kwerba–Nimboran Torricelli Trans-Fly Trans–New Guinea Turama–Kikorian West Papuan Yam Yawa Yuat North Papuan? Northeast New Guinea? Papuan Gulf?


Abinomn Anêm? Ata? Kol Kuot Porome Taiap? Pawaia Porome Sulka? Tambora Wiru

Sign languages

Hawai'i Sign Language Others


Arnhem/Macro-Gunwinyguan Bunuban Darwin River Eastern Daly Eastern Tasmanian Garawan Iwaidjan Jarrakan Mirndi Northern Tasmanian Northeastern Tasmanian Nyulnyulan Pama–Nyungan Southern Daly Tangkic Wagaydyic Western Daly Western Tasmanian Worrorran Yangmanic (Wardaman)


Giimbiyu Malak-Malak Marrgu Tiwi Wagiman

North America

Algic Alsea Caddoan Chimakuan Chinookan Chumashan Comecrudan Coosan Eskimo–Aleut Iroquoian Kalapuyan Keresan Maiduan Muskogean Na-Dene Palaihnihan Plateau Penutian Pomoan Salishan Shastan Siouan Tanoan Tsimshianic Utian Uto-Aztecan Wakashan Wintuan Yokutsan Yukian Yuman–Cochimí Dené–Yeniseian? Hokan? Penutian?


Chimariko Haida Karuk Kutenai Seri Siuslaw Takelma Timucua Waikuri Washo Yana Yuchi Zuni

Sign languages

Inuit (Inuiuuk) Plains Sign Talk Others


Chibchan Jicaquean Lencan Mayan Misumalpan Mixe–Zoque Oto-Manguean Tequistlatecan Totonacan Uto-Aztecan Xincan Totozoquean?


Cuitlatec Huave Tarascan/Purépecha

Sign languages

Plains Sign Talk Mayan Others

South America

Arawakan Arauan Araucanian Arutani–Sape Aymaran Barbacoan Boran Borôroan Cahuapanan Cariban Catacaoan Chapacuran Charruan Chibchan Choco Chonan Guaicuruan Guajiboan Jê/Gê Harákmbut–Katukinan Jirajaran Jivaroan Kariri Katembri–Taruma Mascoian Matacoan Maxakalian Nadahup Nambikwaran Otomákoan Pano-Tacanan Peba–Yaguan Purian Quechuan Piaroa–Saliban Ticuna–Yuri Timotean Tiniguan Tucanoan Tupian Uru–Chipaya Witotoan Yabutian Yanomaman Zamucoan Zaparoan Chimuan? Esmeralda–Yaruro? Hibito–Cholón? Lule–Vilela? Macro-Jê? Tequiraca–Canichana?

Isolates (extant in 2000)

Aikanã? Alacalufan Andoque? Camsá Candoshi Chimane Chiquitano Cofán? Fulniô Guató Hodï/Joti Irantxe? Itonama Karajá Krenak Kunza Leco Maku-Auari of Roraima Movima Mura-Pirahã Nukak? Ofayé Puinave Huaorani/Waorani Trumai Urarina Warao Yamana Yuracaré

See also

Language isolates Unclassified languages Creoles Pidgins Mixed languages Artificial languages List of sign languages

Families with more than 30 languages are in bold. Families in italics have no living members.

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