Abkhaz (аҧсуа бызшәа)

Abkhaz is a Northwest Caucasian language spoken mainly in Abkhazia, an autonomous republic in Georgia. There are also Abkhaz speakers in the Republic of Adjara in Georgia, and in Turkey, Russia, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. In 2015 there were about 190,110 speakers of Abkhaz, including 129,000 in Georgia, and 44,000 in Turkey. According to the 2010 census, there were 6,786 Abkhaz speakers in Russia.

Abkhaz is also known as Abkhazian or Abxazo. Dialects include Abzhywa or Abzhui, which is spoken in the Caucasus; Bzyb or Bzyp, which is spoken in the Caucasus and Turkey; and Sadz, which is spoken in Turkey. The literary language is based on the Abzhywa dialect. Abkhaz is related to Abaza, Adyghe, Kabardian and Ubykh.

Abkhaz at a glance

  • Native name: Аԥсуа бызшәа (Aṕsua byzša̋a) [apʰswa bɨzʃʷa]
  • Language family: Northwest Caucasian, Abazgi
  • Number of speakers: c. 190,110
  • Spoken in: Abkhazia and Adjara in Georgia, and in Turkey, Russia, Syria, Jordan and Iraq
  • First written: 17th century
  • Writing systems: Cyrillic, Latin and Georgian alphabets
  • Status: official language in the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, Georgia

Abkhaz was first documented in the 17th century by Evliya Çelebi, a Turkish traveller who used the Arabic script. In 1862 Baron Peter von Uslar, a Russian soldier-linguist, devised a way of writing Abkhaz with the Cyrillic alphabet based on the Bzyp dialect. In the 1920s a way of writing Abkhaz with the Latin alphabet was devised by Nikolai Marr, a Russian/Georgian linguist, and used between 1926 and 1928. Abkhaz was written with a version of the Georgian alphabet between 1938 and 1953.

The current Cyrillic-based system, which has been in use since 1954, is considered somewhat cumbersome with its 14 extra letters for consonants and its inconsistencies. Recently there have been suggestions that a new Latin-based spelling system should be created.

The first novel in Abkhaz was written by Dârmit' Gulia (1874-1960), who is regarded as the Father of Abkhaz Literature. He also founded the first Abkhaz newspaper, wrote poety, plays, translations, historical and ethnographical writings and lectured on Abkhaz at Tbilisi University.

The transliteration system used in the alphabet charts and for the sample text is the 1995 ISO 9 system. Other transliteration systems are available.

Abkhaz Cyrillic alphabet

Abkhaz Cyrillic alphabet

Abkhaz Georgian alphabet (1938-1953)

Abkhaz Georgian alphabet

Abkhaz Latin alphabet (1928-1938)

Abkhaz Latin alphabet

Hear Abkhaz letters and words

Download an Abkhaz alphabet chart (Excel)

Sample text (Cyrillic alphabet)

Дарбанзаалак ауаҩы дшоуп ихы дақәиҭны. Ауаа зегь зинлеи патулеи еиҟароуп. Урҭ ирымоуп ахшыҩи аламыси, дара дарагь аешьеи аешьеи реиԥш еизыҟазароуп.

Sample text (Georgian alphabet)

დარбანზაალაკ აუაჳჷ დშოუპ იხჷ დაქჿითნჷ. აუაა ზეგჲ ზინლეი პატულეი ეიყაროუპ. ურთ ირჷმოუპ ახშჷჳი ალამჷსი, დარა დარაგჲ აეშჲეი აეშჲეი რეიფშ ეიზჷყაზაროუპ.


Dаrbаnzааlаk аuаòy dšoup ihy dаķãiţny. Auаа zegʹ zinlei pаtulei eik̄аroup. Urţ irymoup аhšyòi аlаmysi, dаrа dаrаgʹ аešʹei аešʹei reipš eizyk̄аzаroup.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample of spoken Abkhaz

Information about Abkhaz | Phrases | Numbers


Information about Abkhaz language and people

Information about Abkhazia and Abkhaz

Online Abkhazian lessons

Abkhazian phrases

Online Abkhaz dictionary

Free Abkhaz fonts

Northwest Caucasian languages

Abaza, Abhkaz, Adyghe, Kabardian, Ubykh

Languages written with the Georgian alphabet

Abkhaz, Batsbi, Georgian, Laz, Mingrelian, Svan

Languages written with the Cyrillic alphabet

Abaza, Abkhaz, Adyghe, Aghul, Akhvakh, Aleut, Altay, Alyutor, Andi, Archi, Assyrian / Neo-Assyrian, Avar, Azeri, Bagvalal, Balkar, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bezhta, Botlikh, Budukh, Bulgarian, Buryat, Chamalal, Chechen, Chelkan, Chukchi, Chulym, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Dargwa, Dolgan, Dungan, Enets, Erzya, Even, Evenki, Gagauz, Godoberi, Hinukh, Hunzib, Ingush, Interslavic, Itelmen, Juhuri, Kabardian, Kalderash Romani, Kalmyk, Karaim, Karakalpak, Karata, Kazakh, Ket, Khakas, Khanty, Khinalug, Khwarshi, Kildin Sámi, Komi, Koryak, Krymchak, Kryts, Kubachi, Kumandy, Kumyk, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lak, Lezgi, Lingua Franca Nova, Ludic, Macedonian, Mansi, Mari, Moksha, Moldovan, Mongolian, Montenegrin, Nanai, Negidal, Nenets, Nganasan, Nivkh, Nogai, Old Church Slavonic, Oroch, Orok, Ossetian, Pontic Greek, Russian, Rusyn, Rutul, Selkup, Serbian, Shor, Shughni, Siberian Tatar, Slovio, Soyot, Tabassaran, Tajik, Talysh, Tat, Tatar, Tindi, Tofa, Tsakhur, Tsez, Turkmen, Tuvan, Ubykh, Udege, Udi, Udmurt, Ukrainian, Ulch, Urum, Uyghur, Uzbek, Veps, Votic, Wakhi, West Polesian, Yaghnobi, Yakut, Yazghulami, Yukaghir (Northern / Tundra), Yukaghir (Southern / Kolyma), Yupik (Central Siberian)

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 26.09.21


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