Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone.: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 300
fax: +49 (0) 341 3550 - 333
A grammar of Bezhta
This project aims at the description of Bezhta. The grammar will include phonology, morphology and syntax.
Bezhta belongs to the Tsezic branch of the Nakh-Daghestanian language family, which is spoken in Russia, in the Republic of Daghestan. Bezhta has three dialects, Bezhta Proper, Tladal and Khasharkhota. The grammar is based on Bezhta Proper.
Bezhta is spoken by about 8000 people who live in the mountains in the villages Bezhta, Tladal and Khasharkhota, in some lowland districts of Daghestan and in the Daghestanian capital Makhachkala.
Bezhta has a covert gender category, realized primarily through cross-referencing of arguments on verbs, a small number of non-local cases and a rich system of local cases. Verbs have very rich morphological system of TAM, with distinct finite and non-finite forms (converbs, participles, masdar). Bezhta is a head-final language with the basic word order SOV. As generally in Nakh-Daghestanian languages, the case-marking pattern is ergative.
A grammar of Bezhta is a joint project with Bernard Comrie, Madzhid Khalilov and Zaira Khalilova.
The expected outcome of the project is a Bezhta grammar in two languages, English and Russian.