On the Roles of Turkic in the Caucasus Area



In this chapter I shall discuss briefly the roles of the Turkic varieties in the Caucasus area in order to illustrate some processes in historical contact linguistics. The term ‘Turkic’ will be used for ‘Turkic-speaking’, without any genetic or cultural implications. The general term ‘code’ refers to a language or a variety of a language. The following kinds of Turkic are found in the area today:

Azeri or Azerbaijanian (azeerbayĵanĵa) is mainly spoken in the Republic of Azerbaijan and in Iran, by at least 20 million people, and there is a sizeable Azeri-speaking population in the south-eastern part of Georgia. Scattered speaker groups are found in Armenia, Daghestan and Nakhichevan. The linguistic borderline between Azeri and Turkish runs through East Anatolia. For Azeri dialects, see Caferglu and Doerfer (1959: 281).

Kumyk (qumugča) is spoken by about 280,000 people north of the Azeri area, in the lowlands on the north-easternmost fringe of Daghestan. The area extends from Derbend in the south to Achi-Su in the north, close to the lower course of the Terek river. In the south, the area is confined to a narrow strip; the middle part is interrupted by a Dargi-speaking zone. Dialects include Boinaq, Khasavyurt and Khaidaq (Benzing, 1959: 392).


Relative Clause Eleventh Century Primary Code Century Onward Vowel Harmony 
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