Zainab M. Alieva

G. Tsadasa Institute of Language, Literature and Art, Dagestan Federal Research Centre of the RAS, Russian Federation

The North Caucasus Institute (branch) All-Russian State University of Justice, Russian Federation


This article considers the language situation in the Tsumadinsky region of the Republic of Dagestan. In a small area of the district (total area – 1248 sq. km., inhabited by 26,021 people (2020)), different languages of different degrees of kinship belonging to two language families are closely adjacent:  the Dagestan-Nakh branch of the Caucasian family of languages includes Avar and Ando-Caesian; Russian belongs to the Indo-European language family.It should be noted that there is no titular language in the district, but its political attributes are currently endowed with Avar and, to a greater extent, Russian languages. In terms of population among the municipal districts, Tsumadinsky ranks 26th in the RD. Tsumadin polylinguistic environment has its own specific features: socio-economic conditions of origin, historical stages of development, spheres of functioning, features of interaction of Russian, Avar and non-written languages associated with their different structures. The district, like no other, has a unique linguistic situation: peoples speaking seven languages live on a relatively small territory.And in order to preserve at least what remains today of the ancestral languages, it is necessary: to create a writing system for the indigenous peoples living in the area (cf.: for the smallest ethnic groups of the peoples of Siberia and the North, they created a writing system and teach their native language to preserve it); to collect folklore and other texts about the life and life of this or that ethnic group (cf.: today, speakers of the Botlikh language have not preserved a single song in their native language, all songs are performed in Avar); to organize Sunday schools for the study of native languages, to establish the teaching of native languages via the Internet. Russian and Avar languages should be perfectly mastered, and in order to preserve the native unwritten language, it is necessary to compile trilingual translation dictionaries, for example, Russian-Avar-Chamalin or Chamalin-Avar-Russian, etc.

Keywords: Tsumadinsky district, language situation, unwritten language, Ando-Caesian languages, prospects for preservation and development, language policy

For citation: Aliyeva, Z.M. The language situation in a multilingual area (on the example of the Tsumadinsky region of the Republic of Dagestan) [online] // Sociolinguistics. 2021. No. 3 (7). Pp. 41–50. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-3-7-41-50