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From:Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Date:Sunday, August 1, 2004, 20:47
In case somebody would be interested, here are some
features of Abkhaz grammar I picked up (deciphering
from Russian) on the site John Quijada mentioned. As
usually, I'm mainly interested in concepts, rather
than in pronunciation, lexicon or others.

- there are no genders in Abkhaz, but classes :
animate # inanimate. Animate meaning in fact only
"human". Man and woman are subclasses of animate.
Inanimate is something like neuter.

- personal pronouns : you (a woman) is different from
you (a man) (uara # bara); but only in singular

- the person is marked at the beginning at the verb,
not at the end. It is redundant with the subject
pronoun. Ex : sara stsoit = I go, bara btsoit = you (a
woman) go

- some verbs are considered as "dynamic" and other as
"static", and their conjugations differ.

- the verb has an 'indeterminate' form, which is used
in the dictionary. Ex: a-tsa-ra. The prefix a- and the
suffix -ra disappear in the conjugation (stem = 'tsa')

- the morpheme symbolizing the person is also used as
a noun prefix to indicate possession: ala = dog, sla =
my dog

- like in Russian, the present of a verb can also have
a value of present-future (but there is a future too).

- imperative is obtained by using the bare stem,
without a suffix. "B-tsa !" = "Go ! (you, woman)

- interrogative is obtained by adding one of both
suffixes "-ma" or "-da". The suffix "-da" is used when
the question is of the the type : Who ? Whom ? To whom
? (person implied). (Also suffixed particle -i, see

- object pronoun is also included in the verbal form.
It comes in 1st position, then the subject. Ex:
u-z-boit = you (a man) - I - see (=I see you);
sy-b-boit = me - you (a woman) - see (=you see me)

- it is even possible to have 3 pronouns (short forms)
in the verbal form. i-l-by-rboit = "that - to her -
you (a woman) - show" (verbal canonic form = a-rba-ra)
= you show it to her

- interrogative words like "when ?", "where ? ", also
may be included in the verbal form. "S-aba-u-be-i ?" =
"Where did you see me ?" (me + where + you + see +
(past?) interrogative particle)

- there is a perfective past, an imperfective past,
and an indeterminate past

- negation is also included in the verbal form, as an
affix. The place of the affix depends on the verbal

- numbers also make a distinction between animate /
inanimate, but not between man / woman. The language
uses a 20-base.

Well, I found all this very interesting. It's very
likely quite a short introduction to Abkhaz grammar,
and the fun is still to begin, I believe. They
somewhere indicate how to say "I love you", which is
usually quite helpful (where's that page again ?), but
don't forget to make the distinction between you (a
woman) and you (a man). I don't know how they address
left-handed bearded gay Lituanians neither, but there
is an e-mail, in case of need :

--- John Quijada <jq_ithkuil@...> wrote:

> Sorry, the closest I could find was a fascinating > site for learning the > closely related Abkhaz language (native term: > Apswa). It has lots of sound > files for Abkhaz phonemes mapped to individual > letters of the Abkhaz > alphabet. Many of these sounds are found in Ubykh as > well. Unfortunately, > the site is in Russian, and there are no phonetic > descriptions of the > sounds other than what can be inferred from the > absurd modifications to the > Cyrillic alphabet used in Abkhaz. The URL is > >
===== Philippe Caquant "High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs) __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - Send 10MB messages!