Learning Circassian.

A couple of days ago we were learning Avar, today it’s Circassian. From a Window on Eurasia post, Can the Circassian Language and the People who Speak It Be Saved?:

But that has not stopped Circassian activists from searching for means of salvation, and two interesting developments surfaced this week. First of all, the Adygey language has now become a participant in the international language-learning program Book2 (natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=8349).

That program allows Circassians and others as well to study Circassian in any of the 49 other languages in this program, including English, Turkish, Arabic and Russian. (The Natpress portal provides links to these programs for those who would like to begin.) The Circassian program was developed in the North Caucasus and is directed at the diaspora population.

The link for English-speakers is here, and it still seems miraculous to me to be able to click on an audio button and hear words said by native speakers. Thanks, Paul! (He says “You could learn Circassian over the winter ;-)” — maybe I’ll give it a try, so I can read the Nart sagas.)


  1. The longest Circassian word



  2. Oh my word! (My first thought, after glancing at the “longest Circassian word.”

  3. SF Reader : What does it mean, please ?

  4. Russian text says “I can’t get out of it”

  5. Адыгейский язык
    Полисинтетизм и богатство согласных


  6. История адыгейского языка


  7. Great resources, thanks!

  8. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Have any of you met any Circassians? I have, because the family who moved into our flat in Birmingham when we left for Marseilles were Jordanian by nationality but, they said, Circassian by origin and culture. The wife was the whitest person I’ve ever seen (not counting albinos), and I was reminded of what I’d often read, that the Ottoman wealthy liked Circassian slaves as they were so white. I don’t remember if they said they spoke Circassian at home, but probably they did.

  9. David Eddyshaw says

    In the far-off days when I was a teenage neurosurgeon, I used to work with a Circassian, who spoke the best English I have ever heard from someone who wasn’t actually a L1 speaker; also Turkish and Arabic, as he was part of the diaspora caused by the Russian invasions. (“Best” in the sense “completely indistinguishable from a native.”)

    What he didn’t speak was Circassian; his grandmother was the last of his family who did. (His somewhat unsentimental opinion was that it sounded like someone with a bad cough. Possibly his grandmother did have a bad cough, of course.)

    He was not blond, but he looked pretty much like a typical Indigenous Brit, and in no particular danger of being stopped-and-searched by our industrious Metropolitan Police.

  10. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    In about 1962 I met a young woman at a party who was indistinguishable in accent and manner from a young Englishwoman who’d been to Roedean or somewhere similar. (She was also very pretty and was surrounded by men all evening.) She turned out to be a Hungarian refugee who had come to English in 1956 speaking no English. Some people can learn to speak a foreign language like a native in a remarkably short time.

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