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Index / Languages / Caucasian /
Laz: lazuri nena
Georgian: čanuri ena

Caucasian Kartvelian language of the Zan branch spoken by 50,000 of the Laz people (2009 estimate) in Turkey on the Black Sea coast, with Rize housing the the largest Laz speaking community. There is also small Laz speaking communities in Georgia.
Laz is sometimes classified as a dialect of the Svan language, Mingrelian being the other dialect. Mingrelian is a fairly large language, 1989 estimate gives 500,000 living in Georgia. Yet, due to 500 years of seperation, the two dialects are no longer inherently intelligible with each other. Laz is also related to Georgian.
Most of the Laz people no longer speak the Laz language, being replaced by Turkish. In principle, all Laz speakers have Turkish as second language.
Laz in Turkey use the Latin alphabet, but is largely an unwritten language.

By Tore Kjeilen