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Aghul language

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Title: Aghul language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Rutul language, Tsakhur language, Lezgian language, Dargwa language, Lak language
Collection: Endangered Caucasian Languages, Languages of Azerbaijan, Languages of Russia, Northeast Caucasian Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Aghul language

агъул чӀал / Ağul ç'al
Native to Russia, also spoken in Azerbaijan
Region Southeastern Dagestan
Ethnicity Aguls
Native speakers
29,000  (2010 census)[1]
Northeast Caucasian
  • Lezgic
    • Samur
      • Eastern Samur
        • Lezgi–Aghul–Tabasaran
          • Aghul
Official status
Official language in
 Dagestan (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 agx
Glottolog aghu1253[2]

Aghul, also spelled Agul, is a language spoken by the Aguls who live in southern Dagestan, Russia and in Azerbaijan. It is spoken by about 29,300[3] people (2010 census).


  • History 1
  • Classification 2
  • Geographic distribution 3
    • Official status 3.1
    • Related languages 3.2
  • Phonology 4
    • Vowels 4.1
    • Consonants 4.2
  • Alphabet 5
  • Grammar 6
    • Case 6.1
    • Adjectives 6.2
    • Pronouns 6.3
      • Personal pronouns 6.3.1
  • Vocabulary 7
  • Writing system 8
  • Examples 9
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12



Aghul belongs to the Eastern Samur group of the Lezgic branch of the Northeast Caucasian language family.

Geographic distribution

In 2002, Aghul was spoken by 28,300 people in Russia, mainly in Southern Dagestan, as well as 32 people in Azerbaijan.[4]

Official status

Aghul is not an official language, and Lezgian is used as the literary language.

Related languages

There are nine languages in the Lezgian language family, namely: Aghul, Tabasaran, Rutul, Lezgian, Tsakhur, Budukh, Kryts, Udi and Archi.


Aghul has contrastive epiglottal consonants.[5] Aghul makes, like many Northeast Caucasian languages, a distinction between tense consonants with concomitant length and weak consonants. The tense consonants are characterized by the intensiveness (tension) of articulation, which naturally leads to a lengthening of the consonant, which is the reason why they are traditionally transcribed with the length diacritic. The gemination of the consonant does not by itself create its tension, though morphologically tense consonants do often derive from adjoining two single weak consonants. Some Aghul dialects have an especially large number of permitted initial tense consonants.[5]



Consonant phonemes of Aghul[6]
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Epi-
plain lab.
Nasal m n
Plosive voiced b d ɡ
voiceless fortis
lenis p t k q ʔ
Affricate voiced d͡ʒ d͡ʒʷ
voiceless fortis t͡sː t͡ʃː t͡ʃːʷ
lenis t͡s t͡ʃ t͡ʃʷ
ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ t͡ʃʷʼ
Fricative voiceless fortis ʃː ʃːʷ χː
lenis f s ʃ ʃʷ x χ ʜ
voiced v z ʒ ʒʷ ʁ ʢ ɦ
Trill r
Approximant l j
  • The glottal stop transcribed here is named rather ambiguously a "glottalic laryngeal" by the source.
  • Also note that the source names the epiglottal series ″pharyngeal″ indiscriminately in all the tables, also when it includes a plosive and thus clearly isn't a true pharyngeal.


А а Б б В в Г г Гъ гъ Гь гь ГьI гьI ГI гI
Д д Дж дж Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й
К к Кк кк Къ къ Кь кь КI кI Л л М м Н н
О о П п Пп пп ПI пI Р р С с Т т Тт тт
ТI тI У у Уь уь Ф ф Х х Хъ хъ Хь хь ХI хI
Ц ц ЦI цI Ч ч Чч чч ЧI чI Ш ш Щ щ ъ
I ы ь Э э Ю ю Я я



There are four core cases: absolutive, ergative, genitive, and dative, as well as a large series of location cases. All cases other than the absolutive (which is unmarked) and ergative take the ergative suffix before the their own suffix.


Independent and predicative adjectives take number marker and class marker; also case if used as nominal. As attribute they are invariable. Thus idžed "good", ergative, idžedi, etc. -n, -s; pl. idžedar; but Idže insandi hhuč qini "The good man killed the wolf" (subject in ergative case).


Personal pronouns

  Singular (Aghul) Plural (Aghul) Singular (Tokip) Plural (Tokip)
1 zun čin (ex), xin (in) či (ex), xi (in) či, xi
2 wun čun čun ču


Writing system



  1. ^ Aghul at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Aghul". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ethnologue entry for Aghul
  5. ^ a b Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996:167–168)
  6. ^ Consonant Systems of the North-East Caucasian Languages on TITUS DIDACTICA


  • Haspelmath, Martin. 1993. A grammar of Lezgian. (Mouton grammar library; 9). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. – ISBN 3-11-013735-6
  • Talibov, Bukar B. and Magomed M. Gadžiev. 1966. Lezginsko-russkij slovar’. Moskva: Izd. Sovetskaja Ėnciklopedija.

External links

  • Languages of the World report
  • UCLA phonetics lab data for Aghul
  • Aghul word lists from the UCLA phonetics lab archive
  • Aghul basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
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