Talk:Ubykh language

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Seeking other Ubykh enthusiasts[edit]

I want to invite any Wikipedia user who stumbles across this page to leave a note at my user page. I'm learning Ubykh, but it's an extremely slow process, so if there's anyone else out there in Wiki-land who'd like to help, or to learn it themselves, please let me know. thefamouseccles 23:17 September 10, 2003 (UTC)

Number of consonants[edit]

I noticed, while creating the SAMPA version of the consonant chart, that the introduction states that there are 83 consonants in the inventory, but the chart only lists 71. Which is correct? I assume that, at the very least, / ’ / (glottal stop) is missing. (Then again, Korean also has ejectives with no glottal stop phoneme.) pgdudda 01:39 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)

My apologies - I was the one who wrote this article. You have made a good point - a few series of labialised consonants are missing from this chart. You assume correctly that glottal stop is missing; it is only an allophone of q' in Ubykh, and is not present phonemically. The phoneme chart in Ubykh language should now contain the 81 consonant phonemes; the vowels remain the same. There are no alveolar labialised fricatives, these having merged with the alveolopalatal labialised fricatives. Thanks for pointing out my error. thefamouseccles 22:53 May 8, 2003 (GMT)

No problem, that's why I asked. I'm curious about something, though. After revising the SAMPA version of the chart, I notice that you cite a 4 points of articulation for coronal fricatives. Might there be a distinction of apical vs. laminal, rather than 4 separate points of articulation? The difference between, say, apical palatal vs. true retroflex fricatives is quite small. pgdudda 21:15 May 10, 2003 (UTC)
True; the distinction between "alveolar" and "postalveolar" is an apical vs laminal distinction, as in English. However, the IPA chart I refer to glosses these as two separate points of articulation; I'm not sure what the phonetic distinction is, having had no formal phonetic (or linguistic, for that matter) training. If this distinction is better, by all means I will change the table. This, then, would leave Ubykh with three points of articulation for coronal fricatives. thefamouseccles 02:54 May 12, 2003 (GMT)
Hrm... are you referring to the difference between IPA /s/ and /ʃ/ in English, which does indeed involve slightly different places of articulation (the former usually apical, and the latter always laminal)? Or to IPA /s̺/ and /s̻/, a true apical vs. laminal distinction found in Basque? Just wondering...... pgdudda 01:32 May 14, 2003 (UTC)
Yes, the difference appears to be fairly much the same as in English. Bernard Comrie's The Languages Of The Soviet Union posits these phonemes as "palato-alveolar", but this is the term used for the Georgian and Avar postalveolar fricatives in this book as well, which do correspond to the English sh sound. thefamouseccles 01:45 May 16, 2003 (GMT)
After laying hands on some X-ray films of the phonemes, it appears that the lamino-alveolar coronal differs only slightly from that in English; the Ubykh one lacks the sublingual cavity typical of the English version. Acoustically, the difference is negligible, and can only be heard by an extremely good ear. thefamouseccles 22:34, September 15, 2003 (UTC)

My apologies again; after reviewing the Ubykh phonetic chart in Bernard Comrie's Languages Of The Soviet Union, it would appear that I inserted two phonemes where none exist (the alveolar labialised fricatives I posited have merged with the alveolopalatal labialised fricatives), and omitted three which do (labialised alveolar stops). This has been changed in the Ubykh language article, now reflecting the 83 consonant phonemes that Ubykh has. thefamouseccles 01:42 May 16, 2003 (GMT)

Useful link?[edit]

Hi. i stumbled & fell & dropped you this link:

in case you, havent been there before. (the author is sadly no longer with us.)

- peace

Ish ishwar 02:13, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks! I haven't much experience with the Northeast Caucasian languages, but this is certainly interesting. thefamouseccles 10:29, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Brackets and slashes[edit]

It seems phonetic [brackets] and phonemic /slashes/ are mixed up in this article. BenctPhilipJonsson 21:23, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Be bold! No-one will kill you for editing - that's what a Wiki is all about. Plus this language is something I hold very dear to my heart, and I want this page to be the best it can be. I was under the impression that the convention was square brackets for phonetic or phonemic transcriptions, and slashes for conventional orthographic representations. thefamouseccles 03:40, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Well, there is broad(er) and narrow(er) phonetic notation, and a broad notation may be practically equivalent to phonemic. But when you put something between slashes, you're making a theoretical claim, and technically you aren't tied down by phonetics at all. So, for example, if you decide that <h> and <ng> are allophonic in English, you could transcribe <hang> as /NaN/ or some such. Or you could transcribe <sky> as /sgai/, if you are claiming that it has the same stop as <guy>. So if the standard orthography is perfectly phonemic, yes, you could use it between slashes. This can be handy with historical reconstructions. You may reconstruct a phoneme for a protolanguage, but have no idea what it sounded like. In such cases people choose whichever symbol they like, and purposefully do not use the IPA, which might give a misleading impression of phonetic accuracy.
Here are the conventions:
  • [phonetic notation] (at any level of detail; no theoretical claims involved)
  • /phonemic notation/
  • |morphophonemic notation|
  • <original orthography>
The pipes represent the "underlying" form. So, for example, if you decide that the English plural suffix is underlyingly voiced (that is, essentially a z that is devoiced in some environments), the word <cats> would be a phonemic /kats/, but morphophonemically |katz|. However, the latter two bracket conventions aren't as well known as the first two. kwami 06:10, 2005 Jun 20 (UTC)
hi. just to emphasize kwami's point with an example. Historical linguist, Mark Hale, has published a paper concerning the Marshallese language where he represents the 4 vowels with pictures of a cup of coffee, a soccer ball, etc. he did this so that no one would misinterpret the vowel symbols (as there is no suitable IPA symbol for these underspecified vowels). (plus he has a sense of humor). peace – ishwar  (speak) 21:31, 2005 July 25 (UTC)


Noticed Päkhy in the refs. Does the person who added the ref know the material? I've only heard that Päkhy was spoken far to the west of the other Caucasic languages, but it appears from wikipedia that it was a local name for Ubykh. Was the Päkhy community in western Anatolia a "recent" (post-Ottoman conquest or post Russian-conquest) emigre population of Ubykh, or did they have a long history in the region? kwami 02:33, 1 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Päkhy" is simply the German name for the same people. The Ubykhs had two self-designations, tʷaχə (the native term, phonetically [t͡paχə], from thich the German form comes) and wəbəx (the designation used by the Abdzakh Adyghe, who were in very close proximity to the Ubykhs in the Caucasus; this is the source of the English and French forms of the word). The Ubykh population in Anatolia was the Ubykh people; the nation was uprooted by the Russian invasion, and moved en masse to western Turkey in 1864. So yes, I guess you could say that it is spoken far to the west of the other Caucasic languages. :) However, Ubykh's original, pre-1864 centre was northwestern Abkhazia, around Sochi, which is pretty much as far west as you can get in the Caucasus AFAIK. (I've recently read in John Colarusso's Nart Sagas of the Caucasus that the Abkhazian government, if it can get full independence from Georgia, plans to release the region for the Ubykhs to "come home to".) Just out of interest, where did you hear about the term "Päkhy"? I hadn't heard it until I was well into studying the language. thefamouseccles 01:37, 2 Nov 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. It's been several years, and I no longer remember where I came across the word. The context, however, seemed to give Pakhy as evidence that the Caucasic languages were originally more widespread than their current extent, which you've laid to rest. (Though they presumably were, of course, from other evidence.) kwami 01:53, 2 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Phonology to Phonology page[edit]

Perhaps the bulk of the Phonetics section should be moved to the Ubykh phonology page? Jorge Stolfi 22:56, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ubykh in userboxes[edit]

It is now possible to have Ubykh as one of your user languages in the Wikipedia Userboxes, thanks to Wikipedia:Babel. The relevant ISO tag is uby. Thefamouseccles 08:57, 17 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If it's a dead language, shouldn't a lot of the article switch to past tense? AEuSoes1 08:05, 7 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suppose there is a logical reason for that. However, most other pages on extinct languages (Latin, Akkadian and Sanskrit, for instance) also use present tense when giving information about the language itself - phonology, grammar and so on. Thefamouseccles 12:14, 13 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suppose there is a logical reason for (using) the present tense instead. ;) The thing is that languages, properly speaking, don't die. They cannot. A person can die and when it does, it'll be dead. When it is dead it'll remain so, certainly for good, no matter what. In this sense then, a language obviously cannot die, as it will always be (at least) a possibility that a resurrection takes place at some point in the future. Be it for academic reasons only. A certain language's users may die, even all of them, but that is something else for sure. Latin, by the way, I wouldn't even count as "dead"--it is an official language in a certain state, and there are some (in writing at least) fluent speakers around the world. Similar holds for Sanskrit, as well as for some other tongues that went extinct in the sense of there remaining (as of now!) no longer any native (or monolingual) speakers. Beings can die. Conceptual systems, like, for instance, mathematics or natural languages, cannot. They may rather enter into a state of dormancy from which they could always be resurrected, either by way of intellectual rediscovery (as mathematics would probably) or by way of locating and accumulating their remains in order to reconstruct the system, at least in part (as in the case of ancient languages). Even in the total absence of tangible remains (no written sources) one can never be certain that there'll be, at no time in the future, any perhaps ingenious way of reconstruction nevertheless. I'd therefore be in favor of retaining the descriptions in present tense in all language-related articles. Zero Thrust (talk) 02:45, 2 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image copyright problem with Image:Tevfik-82.gif[edit]

The image Image:Tevfik-82.gif is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
  • That this article is linked to from the image description page.

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --07:46, 1 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More Ubykh dialects?[edit]

I was reading an article on the Archi language and I was reading the references and I stumbled upon a document which lists a variety of different dialects of Ubykh which list more than the "Karaclar" dialect.

  1. Subeshkh
  2. KHize
  3. Wardane
  4. Pskha
  5. Sashe
  6. Mountain Ubykh

The full document is here on page 3. Also, what happened to the title of the dialect section? How come it's been changed from "Karaclar dialect" to just "Dialect"? Burned Toast (talk) 05:39, 23 December 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

True, but none of these other dialects have been attested linguistically. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:42, 11 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two vowels[edit]

According to the article, Dumézil draws attention to Ubykh and the two phonemic vowels.
But Dumézil's cited examples are using 7 or 8 different vowels.
So, what is the explanation for so many symbols and so few sounds?
He's French, and his own language uses au, aux, ault, aulx, eau, eaux, eauld, eault, etc. etc. to represent a single sound? Is that it?
Varlaam (talk) 02:57, 3 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, Ubykh uses many vowel sounds (i.e. phonetic vowels), but in all only two are contrastive in that they can make words mean different things (i.e. are phonemic). The French au, aux, etc. are purely orthographic, all representing the same exact sound (phonetic vowel). --JorisvS (talk) 08:54, 3 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok, contrastive and phonemic were not covered by my linguistics professor 30 years ago.
(My use of au and aux was just facetious.)
Thanks. I will do some more reading, Varlaam (talk) 13:50, 3 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The cited examples from Dumézil have been inappropriately re-edited to reduce the consonantal secondary features. The versions using the additional vowels should be deleted as they oversimplify the phonology and mix orthographies capriciously.

And should the 7 or 8 vowels not be listed in this article? Phonemes are all well and good, but allophones are also important. Possibly research into consonantal allophones might be uncovered; I would be happy too see some on the page. DjKarta (talk) 11:58, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are three vowels in Ubykh according to page 25 of A Grammar of Ubykh. These are /ɐ/ /ɜ/ and /ɨ/. Burned Toast (talk) 22:19, 6 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposed Ubykh alphabet[edit]

Is this alphabet here [1] correct? If yes can I add it to the article?--Adamʂa123 (talk) 18:15, 17 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Invitation to a discussion that is relevant to this page[edit]

I've reverted some recent edits to this page, and explained myself in here. The discussion concerns many articles, so I thought it would be a good idea to keep it central. I hereby invite everyone who is interested to join the discussion on Talk:Northwest Caucasian languages. Thank you

Vito Genovese 13:42, 13 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Accuracy of "Samples" transcription[edit]

The "Samples of Ubykh" transcription mentions Dumézil as the sourve. However, all other websites citing his transcription are completely different from the one found here, to give an example: The following is the Wikipedia IPA transcription of the first line of the "Eating fish makes you clever" story: "faaχʲa tʼqʷʼa-kʷabʒa kʲʼaʁə-n a-za-χʲa-ʃə-na-n a-mʁʲa-n ɡʲə-kʲa-qʼa-n" This is how and the other sources I've found transcribe it: "fạ́xʹa tˀq˚ˀá-k˚ábǯʹa kʹˀáɣə.n aza.xʹa.šʹə.na.n á-mɣʹa.n gʹə.kʹa.qˀá.n."

Is it because of a disagreement in analysis, or do they simply use different phonetic alphabets? If the latter; which phonetic alphabet do Pangloss use? (I assume it's french), and is there a source available that uses the same transcription as found on wikipedia?

Is there even a reliable source that uses the same transcription found here? (talk) 13:22, 5 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm unsure what system Dumézil was using but the two are pronounced the same. I assume he's using something similar to the Americanist system but modified for Ubyhkh slightly. There isn't an equivalent for IPA available so I think whoever added that bit moved the transcription over. Burned Toast (talk) 03:13, 31 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Extinct or not?[edit]

In February 2018 an IP editor removed the statement that the last native speaker died in 1992, without providing any reliable sources. The comment for the edit says "ubikh is still spoken my family is of ubikh decent from Jordan and we still use this language." The lead paragraph still says the language is extinct. The apparent conflict should be reconciled or the status of the language clarified. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 12:19, 23 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is plenty of evidence that Tevfik Esenç was the last "fully competent speaker" of the language, as mentioned in the source provided. This is corroborated on numerous other web pages if one googles his name. It is possible that the IP editor uses occasional Ubykh words at home, and it is also possible that s/he is a joker or troll. Mlewan (talk) 06:34, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I reverted one of the pair of changes. I didn't restore the lead paragraph because mentioning Tevfik Esenç there is redundant with the infobox right next to it (on a regular browser view, at least). Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:22, 24 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The translation in Ubykh babel template says "tʼqʷʼaakʲʼa", and I think this word means "This cleaner, cleaning crew" (jə-tʼqʷʼa-aakʲʼa-n: this-clean-doing.person-REL). According to Vogt, H. Dictionnaire de la langue Oubykh, tʼqʷʼa- (No.1896) means 'a-s-tʼqʷʼa-n: je le ménage, je l'économise'. Does "tʼqʷʼa" has another meaning without "two" or Is my analysis wrong? Мизхо (talk) 20:45, 27 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The template hasn't been updated to match Fenwick's grammar so I'd be dubious of any use of the language there and Vogt's dictionary is missing a fair number of sounds so it too would be inaccurate. The verb 'to clean' is /pʼtɕʼɜ/ and the nominalisation of a goal is /ɐkʲʼɜ/ so "this cleaner" would be /jɨ-pʼtɕʼ[ɜ]-ɐkʲʼɜ/ (the vowel /ɜ/ gets elided when /ɐ/ is present). The references here are p. 54, 73, 79 of A Grammar of Ubykh. Burned Toast (talk) 19:59, 7 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Russian or Persian loan ?[edit]

Is /wərəs/ from Russian or Persian? The article contradicts itself CecilWard (talk) 08:12, 22 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Убыхыбзэ (/wɨbɨx/)"[edit]

Something's wrong here. Anyone able to sort it out? Flapdragon (talk) 00:21, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possibly /wəbəxəbzɐ/ although I don't speak Adyghe Burned Toast (talk) 06:55, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Translation needed[edit]

I changed the example for the verb to love from "I love you" to "You loved" but it needs a translation. 2601:C6:D281:6710:2CFC:2C51:F78B:425F (talk) 22:42, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Usually when a language is extinct the box is red, I don't know how to change it, so can someone do it. Art3mist6 (talk) 15:22, 19 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]