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Index / Languages / Caucasian / Circassian /
Kabardian: Adighabze

Kabardian by country
Figures in 1000.
62 1.0%
Saudi Arabia
25 0.1%
40 0.2%
1,000 1.3%
1,100 0.2%
*) Calculated for the total population of North Africa and the Middle East, approx. 460,000,000.

North Caucasian Circassian language spoken by about 600,000 in the Middle East (2009 estimate), most living in Turkey. The homeland of theirs is in today's Russia, in the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, but only 450,000 live there.
The largest community of Kabardian speakers are around Kayseri. Around Turkey, there are about 1,000 villages where only Circassian languages are spoken, whether it be Kabardian or Adyghe.
Kabardian has an unusual high number of consonants, counting 47 or 48. Of these, 22 or 23 are fricatives (sounds made by forcing air through a narrow opening in the mouth). There is a clear phonemic distinction between ejective affricates and ejective fricatives. There is only 3 vowels. The sentences have a basic Subject-Object-Verbal structure.
It is today a written language, in Russia the Cyrillic alphabet is used, in Turkey the Latin. There are two main dialects, one normative, the other called Besleney. Besleney is also close to several dialects of Adyghe. Kabardian speakers may actually refer to their own tongue as Adighabze, meaning "Adyghe language".
There is a weekly 30 minute programme in Kabardian on the Turkish state TV-station TRT.

By Tore Kjeilen