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Laz language


Laz language

Lazuri, ლაზური
Native to Georgia
Ethnicity Laz people
Native speakers
22,000  (2007)[1]
Latin script
Georgian script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lzz
Glottolog lazz1240[2]

The Laz language (ლაზური ნენა, lazuri nena;

  • (Turkish)
  • (Turkish)
  • (Turkish) Laz Cultur – Information about Lazs, Laz Language, Culture, Music
  • (Turkish) Laz Cultur – Information about Lazs, Laz Language, Culture, Music
  • (Turkish) Laz Cultur – Information about Lazs, Laz Language, Culture, Music and Laz Diaspora
  • Lazuri Nena – The Language of the Laz by Silvia Kutscher.
  • Laz-Turkish full dictionary in word format
  • Samples of Laz Language in English, Dutch and Turkish,Arzu Barské on Yahoo! GeoCities
  • Laz history and language, Lazlar, Yilmaz Erdogan on Yahoo! GeoCities
  • Laz Georgian-Latin and Latin-Georgian converter

External links

  • Kojima, Gôichi (2003) Lazuri grameri Chiviyazıları, Kadıköy, İstanbul, ISBN 975-8663-55-0 (notes in English and Turkish)


  1. ^ Laz at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Laz". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Laz".  
  5. ^ (cf. Pisarev in Zapiski VOIRAO [1901], xiii, 173-201)
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b Extension consonnant for the Latin version of the Latin alphabet, often represented with the digit three (3) (currently missing from Unicode ?) ; the Cyrillic letter ze (З/з) has been borrowed in newspapers published in the Socialist Republic of Georgia (within USSR) to write the missing Latin letter ; modern orthographies used today also use the Latin digraphs Ts/ts for З/з and Ts’/ts’ for З’/з’.


See also

  • Ho (ჰო) – yes
  • Va (ვა), Var (ვარ) – no
  • Ma (მა) – I
  • Si (სი) – you
  • Skani (სქანი) – your
  • Çkimi (ჩქიმი), Şǩimi (შკიმი) – my
  • Gegacginas / Xela do ǩaobate (გეგაჯგინას/ხელა დო კაობათე) – Hello
  • Ǩai serepe (კაი სერეფე) – Good night
  • Ǩai moxtit (კაი მოხთით) – Welcome
  • Didi mardi (დიდი მარდი) – Thanks
  • Muç̌ore? (მუჭორე?) – How are you?
  • Ǩai vore (კაი ვორე), Vrosi vore (ვროსი ვორე) – I'm fine
  • Dido xelabas vore (დიდო ხელაბას ვორე) – I'm very happy
  • Ma vulur (მა ვულურ) – I'm going
  • Ma gamavulur (მა გამავულურ) – I'm going outside
  • Gale (გალე) – Outside
  • Ma amavulur (მა ამავულურ) – I'm going inside
  • Doloxe (დოლოხე) – Inside
  • Ma gevulur (მა გევულურ) – I'm going down
  • Tude (თუდე) – Down, under
  • Ma eşevulur (მა ეშევულურ) – I'm going up
  • Jin (ჟინ) – Up
  • Sonuri re? (სონური რე?) – Where are you from?
  • Ťrapuzani (ტრაფუზანი) – Trabzon
  • Turkona (თურქონა), Turkie (თურქიე) – Turkey
  • Ruseti (რუსეთი) – Russia
  • Giurcistani (გიურჯისთანი), Giurci-msva (გიურჯი-მსვა) – Georgia, Place of Georgian
  • Oxorca (ოხორჯა) – woman
  • Ǩoçi (კოჩი) – man
  • Bozo (ბოზო), ǩulani (კულანი) – girl
  • Biç̌i (ბიჭი) – boy
  • Sup̌ara (სუპარა) – book
  • Megabre (მეგაბრე) – friend
  • Qoropa (ყოროფა) – love
  • Mu dulia ikip? (მუ დულია იქიფ?) – What is your job?
  • Lazuri giçkini? (ლაზური გიჩქინი?) – Do you know Laz?
  • Mu gcoxons? (მუ გჯოხონს?), – What is your name?
  • Ma si kqorop (Hopa dialect) (მა სი ქყოროფ) – I love you


  • All nouns end with a vowel.
  • More extensive verb inflection, using directional prefixes.
  • Substantial lexical borrowings from Greek and Turkic languages.

Some distinctive features of Laz among its family are:


The Laz verb is inflected with suffixes according to person and number, and also for Grammatical tense, aspect, mood, and (in some dialects) evidentiality. Up to 50 verbal prefixes are used to indicate spatial orientation/direction. Person and number suffixes provided for the subject as well as for one or two objects involved in the action, e.g. gimpulam = "I hide it from you".

Like many languages of the Caucasus, Laz has a rich consonantal system (in fact, the richest among the South Caucasian family) but only five vowels (a,e,i,o,u). The nouns are inflected with agglutinative suffixes to indicate grammatical function (4 to 7 cases, depending on the dialect) and number (singular or plural), but not by gender.

Linguistic features

Alphabets Transcriptions
Mkhedruli (Georgia) Latin (Turkey) Latin IPA
a a ɑ
b b b
g g ɡ
d d d
e e ɛ
v v v
z z z
t t t
i i i
ǩ (or kʼ)
l l l
m m m
n n n
y y j
o o ɔ
p̌ (or pʼ)
j ž ʒ
r r r
s s s
ť (or tʼ)
u u u
p p p
k k k
ğ ɣ ɣ
ş š ʃ
ç č t͡ʃ
ʒ (or з or ts)[7] c t͡s
ž (or zʼ) ʒ d͡z
ǯ (or зʼ or tsʼ)[7] ċ t͡sʼ
ç̌ (or çʼ) čʼ t͡ʃʼ
x x x
c ǯ d͡ʒ
h h h
f f f

Laz is written in Mkhedruli script and in an extension of the Turkish alphabet.

Writing system

English Atina Arťaşeni Arkabi Xopa–Batumi
I love malimben / მალიმბენ maoropen / მაოროფენ p̌orom / პორომ p̌qorop / პყოროფ
You love galimben / გალიმბენ gaoropen / გაოროფენ orom / ორომ qorop / ყოროფ
S/he-It loves alimben / ალიმბენ aropen / აოროფენ oroms / ორომს qorops / ყოროფს
We love malimberan / მალიმბერან maoropenan / მაოროფენან p̌oromt / პორომთ p̌qoropt / პყოროფთ
You love galimberan / გალიმბერან gaoropenan / გაოროფენან oromt / ორომთ qoropt / ყოროფთ
They love alimberan / ალიმბერან aoropenan / აოროფენან oroman / ორომან qoropan / ყოროფან

The last two are often treated as a single Atinan dialect. Speakers of different Laz dialects have trouble understanding each other, and often prefer to communicate in the local official language.

  • Xopuri (ხოფური), spoken in Hopa and Ajaria;
  • Viǯur-Arkabuli (ვიწურ-არქაბული), spoken in Arhavi and Fındıklı;
  • Çxaluri (ჩხალური), spoken in Düzköy (Çxala) village in Borçka;
  • Atinuri (ათინური), spoken in Pazar (former Atina);
  • Arťaşenuri (არტაშენური), spoken in Ardeşen.

Laz has five major dialects:

Laz dialects

In 2004, Dr. Mehmet Bekâroğlu, the deputy chairman of Felicity Party in Turkey, sent a notice to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) declaring that his mother tongue is Laz and demanding broadcasts in Laz. The same year, a group of Laz intellectuals issued a petition and held a meeting with TRT officials for the implementation of Laz broadcasts. However, as of 2008, these requests have been ignored by authorities.

In recent times, the Laz folk musician Birol Topaloğlu has achieved a certain degree of international success with his albums Heyamo (1997, the first album ever sung entirely in the Laz language) and Aravani (2000). The Laz rock and roll musician Kazım Koyuncu performed rock and roll arrangements of Laz traditional music from 1995 until his death in 2005.

Laz speakers themselves basically regard the language as a means of oral communication. The families that still speak Laz only do so among adults in informal situations, with Turkish or Georgian being used in all other contexts. This means that the younger generations fail to fully acquire the language and only gain a passive knowledge of it.

In Turkey, Laz has been a written language since 1984, when an alphabet based on the Georgian. Turkish has had a notable influence on the vocabulary of Laz.

Between 1930 and 1938, Zan (Laz and Mingrelian) enjoyed cultural autonomy in Georgia and was used as a literary language, but an official standard form of the tongue was never established. Since then, all attempts to create a written tradition in Zan have failed, despite the fact that most intellectuals use it as a literary language.

Laz is unique among the South Caucasian languages in that most of its speakers live in Turkish to communicate with each other.

Laz has no official status in either Turkey or Georgia, and no written standard. It is presently used only for familiar and casual interaction; for literary, business, and other purposes, Laz speakers use their country's official language (Turkish or Georgian).

A Laz newspaper in 1928
A Laz book "Mothertongue"

Social and cultural status

Today most Laz speakers live in Northeast Turkey, in a strip of land along the shore of the Black Sea: in the Ajaria. Laz are also present in Germany where they have migrated from Turkey since the 1960s.

The ancient kingdom of Colchis was located in the same region the Laz speakers are found in today, and its inhabitants probably spoke an ancestral version of the language. Colchis was the setting for the famous Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts.

The oldest known settlement of the Lazoi is the town of Lazos or “old Lazik” which Arrian puts 680 stadia (about 80 miles) south of the Sacred Port (Novorossiisk) and 1,020 stadia (100 miles) north of Pityus, i.e.somewhere in the neighbourhood of Tuapse. Kiessling sees in the Lazoi a section of the Kerketai, who in the first centuries of the Christian era had to migrate southwards under pressure from the Zygoi. The same author regards the Kerketai as a“Georgian” tribe. The fact is that at the time of Arrian(2nd century A.D.), the Lazoi were already living to the south of um. The order of the peoples living along the coast to the east of Trebizond was as follows: Colchi (and Sanni); Machelones; Heniochi; Zydritae; Lazai, subjects of King Malassus, who owned the suzerainty of Rome; Apsilae; Abacsi; Sanigae near Sebastopolis.[6]

The Georgian language, along with its relatives Mingrelian, Laz, and Svan, comprises the Kartvelian (South Caucasian) language family. The initial breakup of Proto-Kartvelian is estimated to have been around 2500–2000 B.C., with the divergence of Svan from Proto-Kartvelian (Nichols, 1998). Assyrian, Urartian, Greek, and Roman documents reveal that in early historical times (2nd–1st millennia B.C.), the numerous Kartvelian tribes were in the process of migrating into the Caucasus from the southwest. The northern coast and coastal mountains of Asia Minor were dominated by Kartvelian peoples at least as far west as Samsun. Their eastward migration may have been set in motion by the fall of Troy (dated by Eratosthenes to 1183 B.C.). It thus appears that the Kartvelians represent an intrusion into the Georgian plain from northeastern Anatolia, displacing their predecessors, the unrelated Northwest Caucasian and Vainakh peoples, into the Caucasian highlands (Tuite, 1996b; Nichols, 2004).

Geographical distribution

[6] in which the harmony of the vowels is much neglected.[5] Laz is one of the four



  • Classification 1
  • Geographical distribution 2
    • Social and cultural status 2.1
    • Laz dialects 2.2
  • Writing system 3
  • Linguistic features 4
  • Grammar 5
  • Vocabulary 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


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