From LING073
Jump to: navigation, search

Parts of Speech

Adyghe is a polysynthetic language, with heavily inflected nouns and verbs, as well as a system of prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs.


Nouns in Adyghe are inflected for case, number, and definiteness. A noun in the definite is conjugated slightly differently from a noun in the indefinite, as the definite requires the addition of /-r/ in the absolutive and /-m/ in the oblique and instrumental. There is some disagreement as to whether or not the definite and indefinite inflections should be considered two different declensions or not. Furthermore, the high variation among dialects of Adyghe means that the oblique is sometimes marked in the indefinite, and sometimes not.


There's a shorter tag for instrumental. -JNW

Nouns and adjectives can be marked for four cases: absolutive, oblique/ergative, instrumental, and adverbial. Absolutive, sometimes called nominative, marks the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb, while the oblique or ergative case marks the subjects of transitive verbs. The instrumental case can be used with a variety of prepositions, while the adverbial case, as the name suggests, gives nouns and adjectives adverbial roles.

Example: «кӏалэ» (boy)

кӏалэ<n><def><abs><sg> ↔ кӏалэр

кӏалэ<n><def><erg><sg> ↔ кӏалэм

кӏалэ<n><def><inst><sg> ↔ кӏалэмкӏэ

кӏалэ<n><def><advl><sg> ↔ кӏалэу

кӏалэ<n><def><abs><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэр

кӏалэ<n><def><erg><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэм

кӏалэ<n><def><inst><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэмкӏэ

кӏалэ<n><def><advl><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэу

кӏалэ<n><indef><abs><sg> ↔ кӏалэ

кӏалэ<n><indef><erg><sg> ↔ кӏалэ

кӏалэ<n><indef><inst><sg> ↔ кӏалэкӏэ

кӏалэ<n><indef><advl><sg> ↔ кӏалэу

кӏалэ<n><indef><abs><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэ

кӏалэ<n><indef><erg><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэм

кӏалэ<n><indef><inst><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэкӏэ

кӏалэ<n><indef><advl><pl> ↔ кӏалэхэу

Example: «шы» (horse)

шы<n><def><abs><sg> ↔ шыр

шы<n><indef><erg><sg> ↔ шы

шы<n><def><abs><pl> ↔ шыхэр

шы<n><indef><erg><pl> ↔ шыхэ


Example: «шъхьэ» (head)

шъхьэ<n><def><abs><sg> ↔ шъхьэр

шъхьэ<n><indef><erg><sg> ↔ шъхьэ

шъхьэ<n><def><abs><pl> ↔ шъхьэхэр

шъхьэ<n><indef><erg><pl> ↔ шъхьэхэ


Example: «ощы» (axe)

ощы<n><def><abs><sg> ↔ ощыр

ощы<n><def><erg><sg> ↔ ощым

ощы<n><def><inst><sg> ↔ ощымкӏэ

ощы<n><def><advl><sg> ↔ ощэу



Adyghe nouns can be marked for alienable and inalienable possession. Alienable possession is marked more or less regularly by the insertion of the possession marker "и" between the possessive prefix and the root.

Inalienable possession: Example: «шъхьэ» (head)

шъхьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px1sgi> ↔ сшъхьэ

шъхьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px2sgi> ↔ пшъхьэ

шъхьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px3sgi> ↔ ышъхьэ

шъхьэ<n><def><abs><pl><px1pli> ↔ тшъхьэхэр

шъхьэ<n><def><abs><pl><px2pli> ↔ шъушъхьэхэр

шъхьэ<n><def><abs><pl><px3pli> ↔ ашъхьэхэр

Example: «нэ» (eye)

нэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px1sgi> ↔ сынэ

нэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px2sgi> ↔ унэ

нэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px3sgi> ↔ ынэ

нэ<n><indef><abs><pl><px1pli> ↔ тынэхэр

нэ<n><indef><abs><pl><px2pli> ↔ шъунэхэр

нэ<n><indef><abs><pl><px3pli> ↔ анэхэр

Also: «гу» (heart)

гу<n><indef><abs><sg><px1sgi> ↔ сыгу

гу<n><indef><abs><sg><px1pli> ↔ тыгу

Alienable possession: Example: «шы» (horse)

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px1sga> ↔ сишы

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px2sga> ↔ уишы

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px3sga> ↔ ишы

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px1pla> ↔ тишы

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px2pla> ↔ шъуишы

шы<n><indef><abs><sg><px3pla> ↔ яшы

Example: «хьэ» (dog)

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px1sga> ↔ сихьэ

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px2sga> ↔ уихьэ

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px3sga> ↔ ихьэ

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px1pla> ↔ тихьэ

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px2pla> ↔ шъуихьэ

хьэ<n><indef><abs><sg><px3pla> ↔ яхьэ

Pronoun and Demonstratives

Adyghe possesses an incomplete set of pronouns, in that a 3rd person pronoun does not exist per se; a demonstrative is used instead. As a result, the first and second person pronouns have acquired endings based on the demonstrative paradigm in some varieties of Adyghe.


person <abs> <obl> <inst> <advl>
1SG сэ сэ/сэщ сэркIэ сэрэу
2SG о о/ощ оркIэ орэу
3SG - - - -
1PL тэ тэ/тэщ тэркIэ тэрэу
2PL шъо шъо/шъощ шъоркIэ шъорэу
3PL - - - -

Demonstratives: Adyghe deictic demonstratives have three levels of deixis: (1) this here (near me), (2) that there (by you/visible) and (3) that yonder (invisible). The demonstratives without nominal endings can be placed before nouns and used as demonstrative determiners.

case (1) (2) (3)
<abs> мыр мыхэр мэур мэухэр ар ахэр
<obl> мыщ мыхэм мэущ мэухэм ащ ахэм
<inst> мыщкӏэ мыхэмкӏэ мэущкӏэ мэухэмкӏэ ащкӏэ ахэмкӏа
<advl> мырэу мыхэу мэурэу мэурэу арэу ахэрэу


The Adyghe verb system is complex and is the central component of Adyghe sentential structure. Grammatical subjects are marked with prefixes on the verbal root (and otherwise by suffixes on the nouns, as discussed above). Other information is indicated through prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes include preverbs and object markers, while suffixes include tense, aspect, and modal information (also negation).

Verbs in Adyghe belong to two overarching classes, stative and dynamic, and within those groups can be classed as transitive or intransitive. Stative verbs represent a state, while dynamic verbs are used to express a change effected on some object. The pronominal prefixes marking the grammatical subject belong to three different "rows" based on the relationship of the pronoun to the verb. First-row prefixes mark the subjects of transitive verbs, while second- and third-row prefixes mark the indirect and direct objects of intransitive verbs.

Transitive verbs have transitive marker “ы” which disappears in certain contexts. Dynamic verbs in the present have dynamic marker “э” (underlying "уэ", but the {у} drops out when it is an affix).

Subject/pronominal affixes:

1st row 2nd row 3rd row
Dynamic Stative Dynamic Stative Dynamic Stative
1SG сэ- сы- сэ-/зэ- сы-/зы- сэ-/зэ- сы-/зы-
2SG о- у-
3SG ма/мэ- ы/и/е-
1PL тэ- ты-
2PL шъо- шъу-
3PL ма- -х
"those who see you"


Adjectives are not inflected differently from nouns. Syntactically, a noun is followed by the adjective that modifies it. In this case, the case endings are affixed to the adjective and not the noun.


Prepositions can stand on their own or affixed to other words. When standing on their own, prepositions can take prefixes indicating person and number.

Example: «даж» (with, at)

даж<p1><sg> ↔ садаж

даж<p2><sg> ↔ уадаж

даж<p3><sg> ↔ даж

даж<p1><pl> ↔ тадаж

даж<p2><pl> ↔ шъуадаж

даж<p3><pl> ↔ адаж

Don't forget to add this to the appropriate wiki category. -JNW