Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Abaza language (Абаза Бызшва/Abaza Byzšwa) is a language of the Caucasus mountains in the Russian autonomous republic of Karachay-Cherkessia. It consists of two dialects, the Ashkherewa dialect and the T'ap'anta dialect, which is the literary standard.
Abaza, like its relatives in the family of Northwest Caucasian languages, is highly agglutinative and has a large consonantal inventory (63 phonemes) coupled with a minimal vowel inventory (two vowels). It is very closely related to Abkhaz, but it preserves a few phonemes which Abkhaz lacks, such as a pharyngeal voiced fricative. Work on Abaza has been carried out by W. S. Allen, Brian O'Herin, and John Colarusso.
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