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HandWiki. Proto-Circassian. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 April 2024).
HandWiki. Proto-Circassian. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 24, 2024.
HandWiki. "Proto-Circassian" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 24, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 04). Proto-Circassian. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Proto-Circassian." Encyclopedia. Web. 04 November, 2022.

Proto-Circassian (or Proto-Adyghe–Kabardian) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Adyghean and Kabardian languages.

proto-adyghe–kabardian proto-circassian kabardian

1. Phonology

The Circassian dialects family tree.
The major differences in the Circassian dialects.

1.1. Consonants

The consonant system is reconstructed with a four-way phonation contrast in stops and affricates, and a two-way contrast in fricatives.

Western Circassian Eastern Circassian
Shapsug Bzhedug Chemgui Abzakh Proto
Besleney Kabardian
*b ⟨б⟩ *b ⟨б⟩ b ⟨б⟩ *b ⟨б⟩ b ⟨б⟩
*p ⟨п⟩ *p ⟨п⟩ p ⟨п⟩ *b ⟨б⟩ b ⟨б⟩
* ⟨пʰ⟩ * ⟨пʰ⟩ ⟨пʰ⟩ p ⟨п⟩ *p ⟨п⟩ p ⟨п⟩
* ⟨пӏ⟩ * ⟨пӏ⟩ ⟨пӏ⟩ * ⟨пӏ⟩ ⟨пӏ⟩
*d ⟨д⟩ *d ⟨д⟩ d ⟨д⟩ *d ⟨д⟩ d ⟨д⟩
*t ⟨т⟩ *t ⟨т⟩ t ⟨т⟩ *d ⟨д⟩ d ⟨д⟩
* ⟨тʰ⟩ * ⟨тʰ⟩ ⟨тʰ⟩ t ⟨т⟩ *t ⟨т⟩ t ⟨т⟩
* ⟨тӏ⟩ * ⟨тӏ⟩ ⟨тӏ⟩ * ⟨тӏ⟩ ⟨тӏ⟩
*ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ *ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ *ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩
* ⟨кь⟩ * ⟨кь⟩ ⟨кь⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ *ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩
*kʲʰ ⟨кʰь⟩ *kʲʰ ⟨кʰь⟩ kʲʰ ⟨кʰь⟩ t͡ʃʰ ⟨чʰ⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ * ⟨кь⟩ ⟨кь⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩
*kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ *kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ *kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩
*ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩ *ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩ ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩ *ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩ ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩
* ⟨ку⟩ * ⟨ку⟩ ⟨ку⟩ *ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩ ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩
*kʷʰ ⟨кʰу⟩ *kʷʰ ⟨кʰу⟩ kʷʰ ⟨кʰу⟩ ⟨ку⟩ * ⟨ку⟩ ⟨ку⟩
*kʷʼ ⟨кӏу⟩ *kʷʼ ⟨кӏу⟩ kʷʼ ⟨кӏу⟩ *kʷʼ ⟨кӏу⟩ kʷʼ ⟨кӏу⟩
*q ⟨къ⟩ *q ⟨къ⟩ q ⟨къ⟩ *q ⟨къ⟩ q ⟨къ⟩
* ⟨кʰъ⟩ * ⟨кʰъ⟩ ⟨кʰъ⟩ q ⟨къ⟩ *q͡χ ⟨кхъ⟩ q͡χ ⟨кхъ⟩
* ⟨къу⟩ * ⟨къу⟩ ⟨къу⟩ * ⟨къу⟩ ⟨къу⟩
*qʷʰ ⟨кʰъу⟩ *qʷʰ ⟨кʰъу⟩ qʷʰ ⟨кʰъу⟩ ⟨къу⟩ *q͡χʷ ⟨кхъу⟩ q͡χʷ ⟨кхъу⟩
*d͡z ⟨дз⟩ *d͡z ⟨дз⟩ d͡z ⟨дз⟩ *d͡z ⟨дз⟩ d͡z ⟨дз⟩
*t͡s ⟨ц⟩ *t͡s ⟨ц⟩ t͡s ⟨ц⟩ *d͡z ⟨дз⟩ d͡z ⟨дз⟩
*t͡sʰ ⟨цʰ⟩ *t͡sʰ ⟨цʰ⟩ t͡sʰ ⟨цʰ⟩ t͡s ⟨ц⟩ *t͡s ⟨ц⟩ t͡s ⟨ц⟩
*t͡sʼ ⟨цӏ⟩ *t͡sʼ ⟨цӏ⟩ t͡sʼ / ⟨цӏ / сӏ⟩ t͡sʼ ⟨цӏ⟩ *t͡sʼ ⟨цӏ⟩ t͡sʼ ⟨цӏ⟩
*d͡ʑʷ ⟨джъу⟩ *d͡ʑʷ ⟨джъу⟩ ʑʷ ⟨жьу⟩ ʒʷ ⟨жъу⟩ d͡zʷ ⟨дзу⟩ ʒʷ ⟨жъу⟩ *v ⟨в⟩ v ⟨в⟩
*t͡ɕʷ ⟨чъу⟩ *t͡ɕʷ ⟨чъу⟩ t͡ɕʷ ⟨чъу⟩ t͡sʷ ⟨цу⟩ t͡ɕʷ ⟨чъу⟩ *v ⟨в⟩ v ⟨в⟩
*t͡ɕʰʷ ⟨чъʰу⟩ *t͡ɕʰʷ ⟨чъʰу⟩ t͡ɕʰʷ ⟨чъʰу⟩ t͡sʷ ⟨цу⟩ t͡ɕʷ ⟨чъу⟩ *f ⟨ф⟩ f ⟨ф⟩
*d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ *d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩ *d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩
*t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ *t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩
*t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ *t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ *d͡ʐ ⟨джъ⟩ d͡ʐ ⟨джъ⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩
*t͡ʃʰ ⟨чʰ⟩ *ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩
*t͡ʂʰ ⟨чʰъ⟩ *ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩
*t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ *t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ ɕʼ / ʔʲ ⟨щӏ / ӏ⟩ *t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩
*t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ *t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ ɕʼ / ʔʲ ⟨щӏ / ӏ⟩ *t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩
*z ⟨з⟩ *z ⟨з⟩ z ⟨з⟩ *z ⟨з⟩ z ⟨з⟩
*s ⟨с⟩ *s ⟨с⟩ s ⟨с⟩ *s ⟨с⟩ s ⟨с⟩
*ʑ ⟨жь⟩ *ʑ ⟨жь⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩ ʑ ⟨жь⟩ *ʑ ⟨жь⟩ ʑ ⟨жь⟩
*ɕ ⟨щ⟩ *ɕ ⟨щ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩ *ɕ ⟨щ⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩
*ɕʼ ⟨шӏ⟩ *ʃʼ ⟨шӏ⟩ ʃʼ ⟨шӏ⟩ *ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩ ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩
*ʑʷ ⟨жъу⟩ *ʑʷ ⟨жъу⟩ ʑʷ ⟨жьу⟩ ʒʷ ⟨жъу⟩ *v ⟨в⟩ v ⟨в⟩
*ɕʷ ⟨шъу⟩ *ɕʷ ⟨шъу⟩ ɕʷ ⟨щу⟩ ʃʷ ⟨шъу⟩ *f ⟨ф⟩ f ⟨ф⟩
*ɕʷʼ ⟨шӏу⟩ *ʃʷʼ ⟨шӏу⟩ ʃʷʼ ⟨шӏу⟩ * ⟨фӏ⟩ ⟨фӏ⟩
*ʒ ⟨ж⟩ *ʒ ⟨ж⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩ *ʒ ⟨ж⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩ ʑ ⟨жь⟩
*ʐ ⟨жъ⟩ *ʐ ⟨жъ⟩ ʐ ⟨жъ⟩ *ʐ ⟨жъ⟩ ʐ ⟨жъ⟩ ʑ ⟨жь⟩
*ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩
*ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ *ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ *ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩
*ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ *ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩
*ʂʰ ⟨шʰъ⟩ *ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ *ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ ɕ ⟨щ⟩
*ɮ ⟨л⟩ *ɮ ⟨л⟩ ɮ ⟨л⟩ *ɮ ⟨л⟩ ɮ ⟨л⟩
*ɬ ⟨лъ⟩ *ɬ ⟨лъ⟩ ɬ ⟨лъ⟩ *ɬ ⟨лъ⟩ ɬ ⟨лъ⟩
*ɬʼ ⟨лӏ⟩ *ɬʼ ⟨лӏ⟩ ɬʼ ⟨лӏ⟩ *ɬʼ ⟨лӏ⟩ t͡ɬʼ ⟨тлӏ⟩ ɬʼ ⟨лӏ⟩
*ɣ ⟨г⟩ *ɣ ⟨г⟩ ɣ ⟨г⟩ *ɣ ⟨г⟩ ɣ ⟨г⟩
*x ⟨х⟩ *x ⟨х⟩ x ⟨х⟩ *x ⟨х⟩ x ⟨х⟩
* ⟨ху⟩ *f ⟨ф⟩ f ⟨ф⟩ * ⟨ху⟩ ⟨ху⟩
*ʁ ⟨гъ⟩ *ʁ ⟨гъ⟩ ʁ ⟨гъ⟩ *ʁ ⟨гъ⟩ ʁ ⟨гъ⟩
*ʁʷ ⟨гъу⟩ *ʁʷ ⟨гъу⟩ ʁʷ ⟨гъу⟩ *ʁʷ ⟨гъу⟩ ʁʷ ⟨гъу⟩
*χ ⟨хъ⟩ *χ ⟨хъ⟩ χ ⟨хъ⟩ *χ ⟨хъ⟩ χ ⟨хъ⟩
*χʷ ⟨хъу⟩ *χʷ ⟨хъу⟩ χʷ ⟨хъу⟩ *χʷ ⟨хъу⟩ χʷ ⟨хъу⟩
*ħ ⟨хь⟩ *ħ ⟨хь⟩ ħ ⟨хь⟩ *ħ ⟨хь⟩ ħ ⟨хь⟩
*m ⟨м⟩ *m ⟨м⟩ m ⟨м⟩ *m ⟨м⟩ m ⟨м⟩
*n ⟨н⟩ *n ⟨н⟩ n ⟨н⟩ *n ⟨н⟩ n ⟨н⟩
*r ⟨р⟩ *r ⟨р⟩ r ⟨р⟩ *r ⟨р⟩ r ⟨р⟩
*w ⟨у⟩ *w ⟨у⟩ w ⟨у⟩ *w ⟨у⟩ w ⟨у⟩
*j ⟨й⟩ *j ⟨й⟩ j ⟨й⟩ *j ⟨й⟩ j ⟨й⟩
*ʔ ⟨ӏ⟩ *ʔ ⟨ӏ⟩ ʔ ⟨ӏ⟩ *ʔ ⟨ӏ⟩ ʔ ⟨ӏ⟩
*ʔʷ ⟨ӏу⟩ *ʔʷ ⟨ӏу⟩ ʔʷ ⟨ӏу⟩ *ʔʷ ⟨ӏу⟩ ʔʷ ⟨ӏу⟩

1.2. Aspirated Consonants to Plain

In the Proto-Circassian there was a series of aspirated consonants that survived in the Shapsug and Bzhedugh dialect while they became plain consonants in the other dialects.

  • ⟨пʰ⟩ → p ⟨п⟩
  • ⟨тʰ⟩ → t ⟨т⟩
  • kʲʰ ⟨кʰь⟩ → t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩
  • kʷʰ ⟨кʰу⟩ → ⟨ку⟩
  • ⟨кʰъ⟩ → q ⟨къ⟩
  • qʷʰ ⟨кʰъу⟩ → ⟨къу⟩
  • t͡sʰ ⟨цʰ⟩ → t͡s ⟨ц⟩
  • t͡ɕʰʷ ⟨чʰу⟩ → t͡ɕʷ ⟨чу⟩
  • ʃʰ ⟨шʰ⟩ → ʃ ⟨ш⟩
  • ʂʰ ⟨шʰъ⟩ → ʂ ⟨шъ⟩
Word Proto
noise pʰa ⟨пʰэ⟩ pʰa ⟨пʰэ⟩ pa ⟨пэ⟩ pa ⟨пэ⟩
sharp pʰaːɣa ⟨пʰагэ⟩ pʰaːɣa ⟨пʰагэ⟩ paːɣa ⟨пагэ⟩ paːɣa ⟨пагэ⟩
pillow ʂħaːntʰa ⟨шъхьантʰэ⟩ ʂħaːtʰa ⟨шъхьатʰэ⟩ ʂħaːnta ⟨шъхьантэ⟩ ɕħaːnta ⟨щхьантэ⟩
wool t͡sʰə ⟨цʰы⟩ t͡sʰə ⟨цʰы⟩ t͡sə ⟨цы⟩ t͡sə ⟨цы⟩
brother t͡ʃʰə ⟨чʰы⟩ ʃʰə ⟨шʰы⟩ ʃə ⟨шы⟩ qʷaʃ ⟨къуэш⟩
lame ɬaːʃʰa ⟨лъашʰэ⟩ ɬaːʃʰa ⟨лъашʰэ⟩ ɬaːʃa ⟨лъашэ⟩ ɬaːʃa ⟨лъашэ⟩
thigh kʰʷa ⟨кʰо⟩ kʰʷa ⟨кʰо⟩ kʷa ⟨ко⟩ kʷa ⟨куэ⟩
grave qʰa ⟨кʰъэ⟩ qʰa ⟨кʰъэ⟩ qa ⟨къэ⟩ q͡χa ⟨кхъэ⟩
pig qʷʰa ⟨кʰъо⟩ qʷʰa ⟨кʰъо⟩ qʷa ⟨къо⟩ q͡χʷa ⟨кхъуэ⟩

1.3. Plain Voiceless Consonants to Voiced

In the Proto-Circassian there was a series of tense consonants that became voiced in the eastern dialects.

  • p ⟨п⟩ → b ⟨б⟩
  • t ⟨т⟩ → d ⟨д⟩
  • t͡s ⟨ц⟩ → d͡z ⟨дз⟩
  • t͡ɕʷ ⟨цу⟩ → v ⟨в⟩
  • ⟨кь⟩ → ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ / d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩
  • ⟨ку⟩ → ɡʷ ⟨гу⟩
  • t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ → d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ / ʒ ⟨ж⟩
  • t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ → d͡ʐ ⟨джъ⟩ / ʒ ⟨ж⟩
Word Proto
Baslaney Kabardian
we ta ⟨тэ⟩ ta ⟨тэ⟩ da ⟨дэ⟩ da ⟨дэ⟩
leader tħamaːta ⟨тхьэматэ⟩ tħamaːta ⟨тхьэматэ⟩ tħamaːda ⟨тхьэмадэ⟩ tħamaːda ⟨тхьэмадэ⟩
fish pt͡saʐəja ⟨пцэжъые⟩ pt͡saʐəja ⟨пцэжъые⟩ bd͡zaʐej ⟨бдзэжъей⟩ bd͡zaʑej ⟨бдзэжьей⟩
glass aːpkʲ ⟨апкь⟩ aːpt͡ʃ ⟨апч⟩ ʔaːbɡʲ ⟨абгь⟩ ʔaːbd͡ʒ ⟨абдж⟩
chicken kʲat ⟨кьэт⟩ t͡ʃatə ⟨чэты⟩ ɡʲad ⟨гьэд⟩ d͡ʒad ⟨джэд⟩
night t͡ʃaɕ ⟨чэщ⟩ t͡ʃaɕə ⟨чэщы⟩ d͡ʒaɕ ⟨джэщ⟩ ʒaɕ ⟨жэщ⟩
village t͡ʃəɮa ⟨чылэ⟩ t͡ʃəɮa ⟨чылэ⟩ d͡ʒəɮa ⟨джылэ⟩ ʒəɮa ⟨жылэ⟩
cow t͡ʃam ⟨чэм⟩ t͡ʃamə ⟨чэмы⟩ d͡ʒam ⟨джэм⟩ ʒam ⟨жэм⟩
tree t͡ʂəɣ ⟨чъыг⟩ t͡ʂəɣə ⟨чъыгы⟩ d͡ʐəɣ ⟨джъыг⟩ ʒəɣ ⟨жыг⟩
mouse t͡səʁʷa ⟨цыгъо⟩ t͡səʁʷa ⟨цыгъо⟩ d͡zəʁʷa ⟨дзыгъуэ⟩ d͡zəʁʷa ⟨дзыгъуэ⟩
short kʲʼaːkʷa ⟨кӏьако⟩ t͡ʃʼaːkʷa ⟨кӏако⟩ kʲʼaːɡʷa ⟨кӏьагуэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːɡʷa ⟨кӏагуэ⟩
wheat kʷat͡s ⟨коц⟩ kʷat͡sə ⟨коцы⟩ ɡʷad͡z ⟨гуэдз⟩ ɡʷad͡z ⟨гуэдз⟩

1.4. Velar Consonants to Palato-Alveolar

In the Proto-Circassian language there exist a palatalized voiced velar stop [ɡʲ] ⟨гь⟩, a palatalized aspirated voiceless velar stop [kʰʲ], a palatalized voiceless velar stop [kʲ] ⟨кь⟩ and a palatalized velar ejective [kʲʼ] ⟨кӏь⟩. The consonants гь [ɡʲ], кь [kʲ] and кӏь [kʲʼ] survive in the Shapsug dialect, in the Besleney dialect and in the Kabardian Uzunyayla dialect.[1] In other Circassian dialects they were merged with the palato-alveolar consonants дж [d͡ʒ], ч [t͡ʃ] and кӏ [t͡ʃʼ] respectively.[2][3][4]

  • ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ → d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩
  • kʲʰ ⟨кʰь⟩ → t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩
  • ⟨кь⟩ → t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ / ɡʲ ⟨гь⟩ / d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩
  • kʲʼ ⟨кӏь⟩ → t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩
Word Proto
Shapsug Bzhedug
Baslaney Kabardian
to cough pskʲʰan ⟨пскʰьэн⟩ pskʲʰan ⟨пскʰьэн⟩ pst͡ʃan ⟨псчэн⟩ pskʲan ⟨пскьэн⟩ pst͡ʃan ⟨псчэн⟩
game ɡʲaɡʷ ⟨гьэгу⟩ ɡʲaɡʷ ⟨гьэгу⟩ d͡ʒaɡʷ ⟨джэгу⟩ ɡʲaɡʷ ⟨гьэгу⟩ d͡ʒaɡʷ ⟨джэгу⟩
shirt ɡʲaːna ⟨гьанэ⟩ ɡʲaːna ⟨гьанэ⟩ d͡ʒːna ⟨джанэ⟩ ɡʲaːna ⟨гьанэ⟩ d͡ʒːna ⟨джанэ⟩
glass aːpkʲ ⟨апкь⟩ aːpkʲ ⟨апкь⟩ aːpt͡ʃ ⟨апч⟩ ʔaːbɡʲ ⟨абгь⟩ ʔaːbd͡ʒ ⟨абдж⟩
chicken kʲat ⟨кьэт⟩ kʲat ⟨кьэт⟩ t͡ʃatə ⟨чэты⟩ ɡʲad ⟨гьэд⟩ d͡ʒad ⟨джэд⟩
short kʲʼaːkʷa ⟨кӏьако⟩ kʲʼaːkʷa ⟨кӏьако⟩ t͡ʃʼaːkʷa ⟨кӏако⟩ kʲʼaːɡʷa ⟨кӏьагуэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːɡʷa ⟨кӏагуэ⟩
rope kʲʼaːpsa ⟨кӏьапсэ⟩ kʲʼaːpsa ⟨кӏьапсэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːpsa ⟨кӏапсэ⟩ kʲʼaːpsa ⟨кӏьапсэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːpsa ⟨кӏапсэ⟩

1.5. Affricate to Fricative

In the Abzakh and the Kabardian dialects, the affricate postalveolar consonants became fricative.

  • d͡ʒ ⟨дж⟩ → ʒ ⟨ж⟩
  • t͡ʃ ⟨ч⟩ → ʃ ⟨ш⟩ / ʒ ⟨ж⟩
  • t͡ʃʼ ⟨кӏ⟩ → ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩
  • t͡ʂ ⟨чъ⟩ → ʂ ⟨шъ⟩ / ʒ ⟨ж⟩
  • t͡ʂʼ ⟨чӏ⟩ → ɕʼ ⟨щӏ⟩
Word Proto
Abzakh Baslaney Kabardian
fox baːd͡ʒa ⟨баджэ⟩ baːd͡ʒa ⟨баджэ⟩ baːʒa ⟨бажэ⟩ baːd͡ʒa ⟨баджэ⟩ baːʒa ⟨бажэ⟩
village qʷaːd͡ʒa ⟨къуаджэ⟩ qʷaːd͡ʒa ⟨къуаджэ⟩ qʷaːʒa ⟨къуажэ⟩ qʷaːd͡ʒa ⟨къуаджэ⟩ qʷaːʒa ⟨къуажэ⟩
village t͡ʃəɮa ⟨чылэ⟩ t͡ʃəɮa ⟨чылэ⟩ ʃəɮa ⟨шылэ⟩ d͡ʒəɮa ⟨джылэ⟩ ʒəɮa ⟨жылэ⟩
night t͡ʃaɕ ⟨чэщ⟩ t͡ʃaɕə ⟨чэщы⟩ ʃaɕə ⟨шэщы⟩ d͡ʒaɕ ⟨джэщ⟩ ʒaɕ ⟨жэщ⟩
cow t͡ʃam ⟨чэм⟩ t͡ʃamə ⟨чэмы⟩ ʃamə ⟨шэмы⟩ d͡ʒam ⟨джэм⟩ ʒam ⟨жэм⟩
new t͡ʃʼa ⟨кӏэ⟩ t͡ʃʼa ⟨кӏэ⟩ ʃʼa ⟨шӏэ⟩ t͡ʃʼa ⟨кӏэ⟩ ɕʼa ⟨щӏэ⟩
winter t͡ʃʼəmaːxʷa ⟨кӏымахо⟩ t͡ʃʼəmaːfa ⟨кӏымафэ⟩ ʃʼəmaːfa ⟨шӏымафэ⟩ t͡ʃʼəmaːxʷa ⟨кӏымахуэ⟩ ɕʼəmaːxʷa ⟨щӏымахуэ⟩
young-man t͡ʃʼaːɮa ⟨кӏалэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːɮa ⟨кӏалэ⟩ ʔʲaːɮa ⟨ӏелэ⟩ t͡ʃʼaːɮa ⟨кӏалэ⟩ ɕʼaːɮa ⟨щӏалэ⟩
to sleep t͡ʂəjan ⟨чъыен⟩ t͡ʂəjan ⟨чъыен⟩ ʂəjan ⟨шъыен⟩ d͡ʐajən ⟨джъеин⟩ ʒajən ⟨жеин⟩
tree t͡ʂəɣ ⟨чъыг⟩ t͡ʂəɣə ⟨чъыгы⟩ ʂəɣə ⟨шъыгы⟩ d͡ʐəɣ ⟨джъыг⟩ ʒəɣ ⟨жыг⟩
to run t͡ʂan ⟨чъэн⟩ t͡ʂan ⟨чъэн⟩ tʂan ⟨шъэн⟩ d͡ʐan ⟨джъэн⟩ ʒan ⟨жэн⟩
area t͡ʂʼəpʼa ⟨чӏыпӏэ⟩ t͡ʂʼəpʼa ⟨чӏыпӏэ⟩ ʃʼəpʼa ⟨шӏыпӏэ⟩ t͡ʂʼəpʼa ⟨чӏыпӏэ⟩ ɕʼəpʼa ⟨щӏыпӏэ⟩
iron ʁʷət͡ʂʼə ⟨гъучӏы⟩ ʁʷət͡ʂʼə ⟨гъучӏы⟩ ʃʼəpʼa ⟨гъушӏы⟩ ʁʷət͡ʂʼə ⟨гъучӏы⟩ ɕʼəpʼa ⟨гъущӏы⟩

1.6. Labialized Voiceless Velar Fricative

Proto-Circassian had a labialized voiceless velar fricative [xʷ] which survived in the eastern dialects while it became a voiceless labiodental fricative [f] in the western dialects.

  • ⟨ху⟩ → f ⟨ф⟩
Word Proto
Western Eastern
human t͡sʼəxʷ ⟨цӏыху⟩ t͡sʼəf ⟨цӏыф⟩ t͡sʼəxʷ ⟨цӏыху⟩
white xʷəʑ ⟨хужь⟩ fəʑə ⟨фыжьы⟩ xʷəʑ ⟨хужь⟩
hot xʷaːba ⟨хуабэ⟩ faːba ⟨фабэ⟩ xʷaːba ⟨хуабэ⟩
day maːxʷa ⟨махо⟩ maːfa ⟨мафэ⟩ maːxʷa ⟨махуэ⟩

1.7. Labialized Postalveolar

Proto-Circassian had a series of labialized postalveolar consonants (t͡ɕʷ, ʑʷ, ɕʷ and ɕʷʼ). These consonants survived in the western dialects while they became labiodental consonants in the eastern dialects.

  • t͡ɕʷ ⟨цу⟩ → v ⟨v⟩
  • ʑʷ ⟨жъу⟩ → v ⟨v⟩
  • ɕʷ ⟨шъу⟩ → f ⟨ф⟩
  • ɕʷʼ ⟨шӏу⟩ → ⟨фӏ⟩
Word Proto
Western Eastern
ox t͡ɕʷə ⟨цу⟩ t͡ɕʷə ⟨цу⟩ və ⟨вы⟩
shoe t͡ɕʷaːqa ⟨цуакъэ⟩ t͡ɕʷaːqa ⟨цуакъэ⟩ vaːqa ⟨вакъэ⟩
star ʑʷaːʁʷa ⟨жъуагъо⟩ ʑʷaːʁʷa ⟨жъуагъо⟩ vaːʁʷa ⟨вагъуэ⟩
stone məʑʷa ⟨мыжъо⟩ məʑʷa ⟨мыжъо⟩ məva ⟨мывэ⟩
narrow zaʑʷə ⟨зэжъу⟩ zaʑʷə ⟨зэжъу⟩ zavə ⟨зэвы⟩
you (pl.) ɕʷa ⟨шъо⟩ ɕʷa ⟨шъо⟩ fa ⟨фэ⟩
honey ɕʷaw ⟨шъоу⟩ ɕʷaw ⟨шъоу⟩ faw ⟨фо⟩
wife ɕʷəz ⟨шъуз⟩ ɕʷəz ⟨шъуз⟩ fəz ⟨фыз⟩
black ɕʷʼət͡sʼa ⟨шӏуцӏэ⟩ ɕʷʼət͡sʼa ⟨шӏуцӏэ⟩ fʼət͡sʼa ⟨фӏыцӏэ⟩
fire машӏо ⟨maːɕʷʼa⟩ машӏо ⟨maːɕʷʼa⟩ мафӏэ ⟨maːfʼa⟩
dirty ɕʷʼajə⟨шӏои⟩ ɕʷʼajə⟨шӏои⟩ fʼaj ⟨фӏей⟩

2. Grammar

2.1. Numbers

English Proto-Circassian Ubykh Western Circassian Kabardian Baslaney
IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic IPA Cyrillic
One зы za зэ зы зы зы
Two tʷʼə тӏу tʼqʷʼa ткъӏуа tʷʼə тӏу tʷʼə тӏу tʼəw тӏу
Three ɕə щы ʂa шъа ɕə щы ɕə щы ɕə щы
Four pt͡ɬʼə птлӏы pʼɬʼə плӏы pɬʼə плӏы pɬʼə плӏы pt͡ɬʼə птлӏы
Five txʷə тху ɕxə щхы tfə тфы txʷə тху txʷə тху
Six хы фы хы хы хы
Seven bɮə блы blə бльы bɮə блы bɮə блы bɮə блы
Eight и ʁʷa гъуа и и и
Nine bʁʷə бгъу bʁʲə бгъьу bʁʷə бгъу bʁʷə бгъу bʁʷə бгъу
Ten pʃʼə пшӏы ʑʷə жъуы pʃʼə пшӏы pɕʼə пщӏы pʃʼə пшӏы

3. Schleicher's Fable

Schleicher's fable in Proto-Circassian:

χʷǝ č́ʷara-gjǝ

χʷǝ ja laśʷam mә q́ˤ:an

č́ʷara pǝʎ́an;

mǝ χwanǝta k:ʷǝm q:irǝ,

mǝ čʷǝχʷa čʷam,

mǝ ć̣ǝm pasa mǝš́ʷrǝ.

χʷǝ č́ʷara q̇́ˤan:

"źǝʁʷǝ sā ǵʷǝ,

q:ać̣am ć̣arǝ č́ʷara ḳ́ʷarǝ."

č́ʷara q̇́ˤan: "q:́ˤʷa χʷǝ!

źǝʁʷǝ š́a ǵʷǝ ć̣arǝ,

q:ać̣a, ł́a, č́ʷara laśʷam

ʎ́ʷa ḳ́ač̣ʷǝm čǝ-wǝ,

χʷiara-gjǝ laśʷam mә q́ˤ:a."

nǝ q:́aˤʷasa χʷǝ rǝq:ʷada q:ˤʷan.


  1. Консонантная система уляпского говора в сопоставлении с аналогами других диалектов адыгских языков (in Russian)
  2. Палатализация (смягчение) и аффрикатизация согласных (in Russian)
  3. Переднеязычные мягкие шипящие аффрикаты дж, ч, к1 (in Russian)
  4. Studia Caucasologica I page 11 (in English)
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Update Date: 04 Nov 2022