Abkhaz alphabet


Abkhaz alphabet

Infobox Writing system
name = Abkhaz Alphabet
type = Alphabet
time = 1865 - present
languages = Abkhaz
fam1 = Phoenician alphabet
fam2 = Greek alphabet
fam3 = Glagolitic alphabet
fam4 = Cyrillic alphabet
creator = Peter von Uslar, Aleksej Chochua

The Abkhaz alphabet is an alphabet for the Abkhaz language which consists of 62 letters.

Abkhaz did not become a written language until the 19th century. Hitherto, Abkhazians, especially princes, had been using the Georgian language and alphabet for issuing official documents. The Abkhaz word for alphabet is анбан (anban), which was borrowed from Georgian ანბანი (anbani).

The first dedicated Abkhaz alphabet was created in 1862 by the Russian general Peter von Uslar. It had 37 letters and was based on the Cyrillic script. In 1909, it was expanded to 55 letters by Aleksey Chochua to adjust to the extensive consonantal inventory of Abkhaz.

In 1926, during the "korenizatsiya" policy in the Soviet Union, the Cyrillic alphabet was replaced by a Latin-based alphabet devised by Nikolay Marr. It featured 77 letters and was called the "Abkhaz analytical alphabet". In 1928, this was replaced by another Latin-based alphabet. (See illustration at right.) From 1938 to 1954 the Abkhaz language was again written in the Georgian alphabet.

Since 1954, the Abkhaz language has been written in a new 62-letter adaptation of the Cyrillic alphabet (see chart below; there are additional digraphs for the Bzyp and Sadz dialects). Of these, 38 are graphically distinct; the rest are digraphs with <Unicode|ь> and <Unicode|ә> which indicate palatalization and labialization, respectively. Unusually, the Cyrillic plosive letters К П Т represent ejective consonants; the non-ejectives (pulmonic consonants) are derived from these by means of a hook at the bottom of the letter. In the case of the affricates, however, the plain letter are pulmonic, and the derived letters ejective.

See also

* Writing system
* List of writing systems
* Alphabet
* Cyrillic alphabet


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