Some Representation Issues Of Category Of Quantity In Kabardino-Circassian Language


The subject of this article analysis is a sufficiently meaningful and poorly studied area of the Adyghe language picture of the world - representation of the category of quantity in modern Kabardino-Circassian language. The category of quantity as one of the most important categories of human thinking requires a multi-system and broad-spectrum analysis. The category of quantity, numerical relations, characteristics of functioning and semantics of numbers and lexical units with quantitative relation are the research subject of various humanitarian sciences and natural sciences areas. This article is an attempt to comprehensively study the features of the category of quantity functioning and the ways of its transfer to modern Kabardino-Circassian language. Main features of the grammatical category of numbers, features of the quantitative semantics of numerals are established. As the analysis of language units has shown, it is possible to select several semantic fields with a value of quantity in Kabardino-Circassian language. Lexical units with quantitative semantics include parametric expressions denoting measure, weight, size, etc. in Kabardino-Circassian language. The overall result of the work is reduced to the fact that the category of quantity is expressed by the grammatical category of number in an affixal way, by lexical units with a meaning of quantity in Kabardino-Circassian language. In Kabardino-Circassian language the semantics of quantity can be expressed by various parts of speech, used in the singular or plural. There are cases of the absence of quantitative semantics in lexical units with a composite numerical or quantitative component in Kabardino-Circassian language.

Keywords: Kabardino-Circassian languagesemanticsnumeralscategory of quantitycategory of number


The priority direction of modern linguistic science is the study of not only linguistic processes and phenomena, but also a comprehensive, multifaceted study of cultural, ethno-linguistic, social factors of language functioning. Ontological categories, concepts and basic meaningful units of the linguistic picture of the world are of particular importance in this approach. Certainly, these categories include the category of number and the category of quantity, as concepts inseparably connected with each other.

First attempts to study the category of quantity refer to the ideas of antique philosophy. Aristotle attributed the number to the basic philosophical concepts. In his “Metaphysics” we read the following explanation of the concept of quantity: under such a quantity we understand the multitude that we are able to count, and the value if it can be measured; the multitude is capable of being divided into discontinuous parts, and what is divided into continuous parts is named the value (Aristotle, 2006). The ideas of numerical philosophy are further developed in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages a penetration of numerical consciousness is associated with the fact that during this period there was not a single source of inspiration without being permeated by numerical philosophy (Hopper, 2000). The German philosopher E. Cassirer distinguishes the concept of quantity in mythological and scientific thinking. The inability to draw a clear distinction between the whole and its parts is specific to the mythological thinking, because the part does not only represent the whole for it, but also has this whole. For the scientific approach that takes quantity as a synthetic form of relationship, value is one of a number of parameters: singularity and multiplicity form equally necessary, strictly correlative moments in it. Combining the elements into one “whole” implies their clear separation, the distinction as elements (Cassirer, 2001).

In modern philosophy, quantity is defined as a category reflecting the whole in qualitatively homogeneous things and phenomena. It is noted that the quantitative side of the world became the subject of Mathematics research, and further philosophical ideas about quantity were associated with the results of studying those types or forms of quantity that existed in Mathematics. It is necessary to distinguish the concept of quantity in mathematics and in linguistics. When operations with quantities are carried out by mathematical formulas and expressed in numbers, they are precise and unambiguous. As soon as natural language begins to manipulate quantities, as soon as the object of quantitative assessments is the world of objects and events, ideas and concepts, properties and qualities, feelings and thoughts of a person, impressions and features, actions and misbehavior, the system of accurate measurements is loosened (Arutiunova, 2005). The category of quantity is understood as a semantic category in a language and at the same time as a grouping of various means serving to express this category.

The study of grammatical and lexical means of expressing the idea of quantity in Kabardino-Circassian language has a long history. At the present stage of development of the Adyghe linguistic science, researchers focus on various aspects of linguistic quantity.

To date, a huge number of works have been accumulated in Adyghe linguistics, which highlight the problems of expressing the grammatical category of number and grammatical, morphological features of numerals (Kumakhov & Vamling, 1995; Bizhoev, 2005; Colarusso, 2006; Matasović, 2010; Dzuganova, 2018), ethnolinguistic linguoculturological, symbolic features of numbers functioning and lexical units with a quantitative meaning (Murad, 2015; Khezheva, 2018).

Problem Statement

In Kabardino-Circassian language, the idea of quantity can be represented by grammatical form of a number, the compatibility of words with lexical units with a quantitative meaning (for example, by noun + numeral), in an affixal way. The main problem requiring scientific understanding is the identification of ways to express the category of quantity in modern Kabardino-Circassian language, a description of lexical and grammatical means of transmitting the semantics of quantity, the identification of specific features of the transmission of semantics of plurality and singularity in Kabardian-Circassian language.

Research Questions

  • What types of the category of number function in modern Kabardino-Circassian language?

  • What ways of transferring the idea of quantitative exist in Kabardino-Circassian language?

  • What are the features of the semantics of numerals in the transfer of the semantics of number?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to consider the functioning features of the category of quantity in Adyghe language awareness, to trace the main ways of transferring quantitative semantics in Kabardino-Circassian language.

Research Methods

To achieve this goal, the method of semantic and structural analysis of lexical units in Kabardino-Circassian language is used with a quantitative value.


Grammatical category of numbers in Kabardino-Circassian language: the main types and ways of their representation

In most languages, including Kabardino-Circassian, the category of quantity is considered within the framework of the problem of the number of noun forms and their meanings, as well as the number forms of other parts of speech. In modern Kabardino-Circassian language, in addition to singular and plural forms, common forms of number and a representative multitude set are used. The singular form, which is used to designate a single object, is expressed by zero affix – тхылъ “book”, ар “he”, and the plural form by the suffix of - хэ – тхылъ хэ р “books”, а хэ р “they”.

There are constructions in the meaning of which the semantics of quantity is present in Kabardino-Circassian language, however, no such numerical oppositions as: цIыхум ж е “a man speaks” and цIыхум ж а “people speak” exist. In combination with the personal singular form, these forms indicate a single object; in combination with the personal form of the plural - multiplicity of objects. Similar constructions in Kabardino-Circassian language refer to the total number . The nouns of the total number are also combined with possessive forms of the singular and plural: фызым и хьэл ( и – possessive form of the singular) “character of a woman”; фызым я хьэл ( я – possessive form of the plural) “character of women”.

Collective nouns that can be used in the form of both singular and plural are distinguished into a separate group, but the absence of the suffix of plural - хэ does not deprive them of the semantics of multitude. джэдкъаз хэ р = джэдкъаз “domestic birds”.

Representative multitude is expressed in two ways:

а) combination of personal names with the morpheme of plural -хэ. The plural form indicates a plurality of men, the representatives is a person indicated by a personal name: Анзорхэ я унэ lit.: “house of the Anzors”, that is “a house that belongs to the Anzor family”.

б) a combination of personal names with the element of “сымэ”. This combination indicates the named person among the group of people: Аслъэн сымэ “Aslan and others”, “the group, Aslan’s company” (Bizhoev, 2005).

Features of quantitative semantics of numerals

Most parts of speech are characterized by quantitative semantics; however, the center of the category of quantity should be considered as numerals in modern languages. In linguistic relation, numeral is the class of full-valued words denoting the number, amount, measure, and number-related mental categories of order in counting, multiplicity (repeatability), aggregate.

In Kabardino-Circassian language, numerals are divided into:

quantitative ( зы “one”, блы “seven”, пщIы “ten”) and etc.

ordinal ( ебланэ “seventh”, епщIанэ “tenth”) and etc.

multiple ( тхуэ “five times”, блэ “seven times”) and etc.

fractional ( тхуанэ “one fifth”, плIанэ “one fourth”) and etc.

dividing ( блырыбл “by seven”, тхурытху “by five”) and etc.

multiple-dividing ( блэрыблэ “by seven times”, тхуэрытхуэ “by five times”) and etc.

The varieties of cardinal numbers, denoting the combination of something, most often individuals are known in in Kabardino-Circassian. A means of creating a collective meaning is a conjunctional suffix -ри, -рикI: щы “three” – щырикI “all three”, плIы “four” – плIырикI “all four”.

It is advisable to allocate so-called layered numerals in particular category that are conventionally referred to the category of numerals, but have grammatical features of adjectives, due to the fact that the subject feature value prevails over the value of number in such forms: защIэ “single”, тIуащIэ “double” and etc.

It was not just an account made with the help of the names of numbers, but the processes of knowledge of the world, national self-knowledge and self-expression were carried out. The objective and universal semantics of quantity is transformed in a specific linguistic consciousness and acquires culturally determined evaluative meanings (Makerova, 2013). All indicated numerals mainly serve as a designation of a specific number: етхуанэ унэ “fifth house”, унэм и Iыхьэ плIанэ “one fourth of the house”, шибл (noun шы “horse”+ numerals блы seven) “seven horses”, унипщI “ten houses” and etc. It should be noted that the lexical units of the type шибл “seven horses”, унипщI “ten houses” and others do not function in Kabardino-Circassian language as independent lexical units. Their joint writing is due to the spelling norms of the modern Kabardino-Circassian language.

There is a considerable number of words with a numbered component fixed at the base in the lexical fund of Kabardino-Circassian language. These words are independent linguistic and linguoculturological significant units: вэрэвий ( вэн “plow”+interfix of - ры + вы “ox”+ и “eight”) “team of eight oxen harnessed in pairs into one plow”, витIмэшхьэсэ ( вы “ox”+ тIу “two”+ мэш “seeding millet”+ хьэсэ “plot of arable land”) “plot of land allocated to two united families”, вакIуэщпэкIу ( вакIуэ “plowing”+ щыпэ “first”+ кIуэн “go”) “a man plowing for the first time”, джатэпэрыжэ ( джатэ “sword”+ пэ “first”+interfix of -ры + жэн “run”) “a man first to attack”, Вагъуэзэшибл ( вагъуэ “star”+ зэш “brothers” + блы “seven”) “Big Dipper Constellation” (lit.: seven brothers of stars), бзитIщхьитI ( бзэ “tongue”+ тIу “two”+ щхьэ “head”+ тIу “two”) “two-faced” (lit.: with two tongues and with two heads).

The number of actions is transmitted in Kabardino-Circassian language by a combination of verbs and multiple numbers: тхуэ кIуэн “go five times”.

When analyzing the ways of transmitting numerals of quantitative semantics, we should pay attention to the fact that numerals lose their concrete-quantitative meaning in some cases and act as indicators of the semantics of multitude or, on the contrary, a small number. Гъуэншэдж зэпэгъуанибл “trousers with lots of holes”, lit.: (trousers with seven holes on all sides). This statement is most distinctly and clearly confirmed when analyzing the stable expressions of Kabardino-Circassian language: псалъитI я щхьэ зэтричыркъым speaks little (lit.: a couple of words will not say). жьибгъукIэ псэлъэн speak unnecessary things (lit. speak by nine mouths), витI-жэмитI унагъуэ poor household, family with low incomes (lit.: family with two oxen and two cows). In some cases, a composite quantitative, numerical component does not serve as an indicator of the quantitative semantics of a lexical unit: гуитIщхьитI “indecisive” (lit.: with two hearts and two heads, гумащIэ “kind-hearted” (lit.: with a small heart).

The lexical fund of Kabardino-Circassian language with general semantics of “quantity”

The objects of reality can exist both in a single quantity, in a multitude and in an insignificant, small quantity. The quantitative category in linguistics can be transferred by different grammatical and lexical means. The grammatical number is only one of the many ways of designation of the category of quantity in Kabardino-Circassian language. A means of transmitting the semantics of multitude and the singularity and a small number can be not only the numerals.

Lexical units with quantitative semantics can be divided into several semantic groups in Kabardino-Circassian language: lexical units with semantics of singularity, lexical units with semantics of “small quantity”, lexical units with semantics of “large quantity”, lexical units with semantics of “approximate quantity”.

It is permissible to consider lexical units with the meaning of measure, weight, size, and distance as individual categories of quantitative semantics.

The means of transmitting the semantics of singularity are lexical units with a composite component зы “one”, закъуэ “one”, “single”, “the only one”. Single and one are the beginning of a number series and, therefore, denote the smallest value. The smallest number, acquiring life forms, can exceed in value the end of an infinite digital series that goes along the line of increasing quantities and becomes invaluable (Arutiunova, 2005): Къуэ закъуэрэ нэ закъуэрэ “Both the only son, and the only eye”.

The semantics of an insignificant, small amount is transmitted by lexical units related to different parts of speech in Kabardino-Circassian language. They are represented in sufficient; the lexical unit is the semantic core of this field мащIэ “little”. Consider some examples of lexical units with the meaning of “small quantity”: жун particle “not a mite”, зымащIэ adverb “a little, little”, зытIэкIу adverb “a little, little”, зытIэкIукIэ adverb “a little bit”, мащIи-куэда adverb “none”. This semantic group includes words with the general meaning “rarely” зэзэмызэ adverb “occasionally”, зэзэмызэххэ adverb “very rarely” and etc.

The semantics of a large number is also represented by lexical units of various grammatical affiliations in Kabardino-Circassian language. The word куэд adverb “a lot” can be considered the semantic core of this field. Let us give some examples of lexical units with common semantics of “multitude”: зыкъом adverb “quite a lot”, гуэрэн noun “accumulation of somebody, something”, Iэджэ adverb “many”. As in many other cultural traditions and languages, the numerals щэ “one hundred” and мин ”one thousand” serve as indicators of a huge quantity and are used as a composite component of health wishing speech to express the wishes of longevity in Kabardino-Circassian language: Илъэсищэ гъащIэ! “Living a hundred years” , Гъэ мин гъащIэ! “Living a thousand years” (Khezheva, 2018).

The semantics of approximate number is transmitted with the help of certain lexical means of adverbs and numerals in Kabardino-Circassian language. зыбжанэ adverb “some”, зытIощырыпщI “about twenty thirty”, зыхбл “about six seven”, зыбгъупщI “about nine ten” and etc.

Affixal way of transfer of quantitative semantics in Kabardino-Circassian language.

Being a reflection of the basic laws of objective reality, the categories of quality and quantity reveal a close relationship with each other, indicating the close relationship of all phenomena of objective reality as a whole (Fediaeva, 2016).

The quantitative semantics is found in adjectives formed using synonymous suffixes of -нитIэ, -жьей, making a diminutive tint to the semantics: цIыкIу “small” цIыкIунитIэ “tiny”, цIыкIужьей “very small”.

Inclination, susceptibility to something, frequency of repeatability of something is represented by suffixes: -лэ: узылэ “often sick”, -рилэ : дыхьэшхрилэ “laughing a lot”, -ринэ : гъыринэ “much crying”, -нэд : жейнэд “much sleeping”, “loving to sleep”, -рей: дыхьэшхырей “much laughing”.

By adding the suffix -рей relative adjectives are formed from ordinal numbers, expressing the relation to the number: ебланэрей “seventh”.

Suffix -фIэ is the antonym of the suffix -ншэ and form adjectives that indicate the presence or absence of what is indicated by the manufacturing base: къарууфIэ “strong, having a lot of strength”, къаруншэ “weak, having no strength”.


The category of quantity is a complicatedly organized subsystem in the semantic system of the language. Linguists have not yet been able to reach a consensus both on the internal structure of this subsystem and on its size and borders (Kiklevich, 1998).

Summing up, it can be noted that the category of number is represented in various lexical and grammatical ways in Kabardino-Circassian language. An important means of expressing the semantics of quantity is, certainly, the grammatical category of the number. A single number, expressed by zero affix exists in Kabardino-Circassian language, the plural, which main indicator is the suffix of -хэ, representative multitude expressed by adding a suffix -хэ to the personal name and joining сымэ to the personal name of particle.

The main function of the numeral is the expression of quantitative semantics in the language in Kabardino-Circassian language. There are examples when the numerals lose their specific-quantitative semantics and act as indicators of a large, small, approximate amount in Kabardino-Circassian language. Lexical units with a composite quantitative component are found, the semantic meaning of which demonstrates the absence of quantitative semantics: гуитIщхьитI “indecisive” (lit.: with two hearts and two heads, гумащIэ “kind-hearted” (lit.: with a small heart).

By way of separate functional classes of the language category the following lexical units are usually considered in in Kabardino-Circassian language:

lexical units with the meaning of measure, weight, size, distance, including borrowings. залэ “measure of the length of the index finger width”, шэтвэр “quarter”.

lexical units with the meaning of time interval декадэ “decade”, мазэ “month”, дакъикъэ “minute”.

lexical units with general semantics of “multitude” Iэджэ “many”, куардэ “multitude”.

lexical units with general semantics of “rarely” зэзэмызэ “occasionally”.

lexical units with general semantics of “often” куэдрэ “often”.

lexical units with the meaning of approximate quantity зыхыбл “about six seven”, зытIощIырыпщI about twenty thirty, зыбжанэ “some” and etc.


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Sherieva, N., Cherkesova, Z., Bizhoev, B., & Khezheva*, M. (2019). Some Representation Issues Of Category Of Quantity In Kabardino-Circassian Language. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1599-1606). Future Academy.