Rasul O. Mutalov

Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation


The article is devoted to the problem of differentiating the Dargin languages and dialects which belong to the Nakh-Dagestanian branch of the North Caucasian languages. The relevance of the issue is in the fact that nowadays there is still no common classification, which is generally accepted by both linguists-Darginologists and specialists in the sphere of education. The Dargin linguistic area is a continuum, where neighboring idioms are closer to each other than extreme ones, and it is difficult to establish a border among them. That was the reason why Dargin idioms were considered as one language for a long period of time, even though the presence of significant differences in idioms was constantly confirmed by linguists-Caucasiologists. In recent decades the researchers have identified up to 15−17 Dargin languages by methods of lexicostatistics. However, in our opinion, this number is overestimated, and we are aimed at setting the border within the Dargin languages and dialects and establishing their exact quantity. The study approach is based on the use of lexicostatistical methods and a grammatical criterion for differentiating idioms on the basis of peculiarities’ study in phonetics and morphology. Due to the combination of both approaches it was possible for us to set the boundaries within the Dargin languages and dialects and give their new classification. As a result of the study, six Dargin languages were identified: Akusha, Megeb, Sirkhya-Tsudakhar, Kubachi, Kaitag, and Chirag. Among them, Akusha, Sirkhya-Tsudakhar and Kaitag languages are subdivided into many dialects, Kubachi has got two dialects, and Meheb and Chirag are the languages spoken only in one own villages.

Keywords: Caucasian languages, Dargin languages, lexicostatistics, classification of languages, phonology, grammatical categories, linguistic continuum, dialect

For citation: Mutalov, R.O. The classification of the Dargin languages and dialects [online] // Sociolinguistics, 2021. No. 3 (7). Pp.8–25. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-3-7-8-25