Chechen and Bats languages. Due to the fact that the vowel system of the Chechen language is more complex in comparison to that of Ingush and Bats thanks to secondary vowels, it was a common concept in the Nakh linguistics to believe that the Bats language kept the ancient state of the language better. However, as our research has shown, many phonetic features of the Bats language are relatively recent, at that, some phonetic discrepancies between it and Chechen/Ingush are not only results of independent development of the language, but were also caused by a strong influence of Georgian onto Bats. The research allows us to conclude that it was the Bats language, where the following phonetic shifts took place: Gradual shift of rounded vowels to approximants and than to bilabial consonants [o/u/ou/uo >w/v >p/b], substitution – appearance and vanishing of phonemes, changes in the syllabic structure of root morphemes, ejectivation of consonants. In comparison to the Bats language, the Chechen language underwent such changes as palatalization and gemination of consonants, consonant shift (vocalization and glottalization of unvoiced pharyngeal spirant [h’>’’] ), shift of back-velar glottocclusive q’ to the laryngeal occlusive (q’>’- glottal plosive).
Keywords: Nakh languagesisoglossesconsonantism systemglottalization of consonants
Bats language has no written form and is a part of the Nakh branch of Ibero-Caucasian family, however, according to available historical data, Batsbi people (Ts’ova-Tushetians) inhabited the territory of Georgia since the 15th century and had not contacts with either Chechens or Ingushs for the several recent centuries. According to Chrelashvili (1999), “The Bats language is used for day-to-day communication inside family” (p. 198). Nowadays, the Bats language is endangered, as only elderly people use it. Despite strong influence from Georgian, all the primordial vocabulary of Bats tracing its origin to the Proto-Nakh language have been preserved and comprises at least 70% of the main vocabulary, only names of new objects of material culture underwent changes.
Phonetic processes of this type reflect divergent processes and usually draw attention from comparative linguists. At the same time, as our research has shown, there is a certain number of sporadic facts of this type that were not reflected in previous descriptions of Chechen or Bats languages. Until now, the topical literature emphasized data supporting a common opinion that the Bats language better preserved initial archaic forms of Proto-Nakh language, and thus may fill the gap of absent most ancient monuments of the Nakh languages.
Work of Ireziev (2013) are dedicated to such phonetic phenomena of the Nakh languages as transformation of root vowels under the influence of following vowels. According to Ireziev (2013), “forms of Present in Ingush are formed from archaic Bats stems: ing.. lawa>low>luw "(he) wants"; dawa>dow>duw "(he) sows” (p. 342).
The scientific foundation of this research has been formed by “principles of linguistic change” (Labov, 2001) and "sociology of language" of Labov (2007); it “studies social factors with a wide range of actions and their interactions with languages and dialects" (p. 353). His other concept, that of "transmission of language from adults to children, inter-penetration and increment" (Labov, 2007, p. 356) is also relevant.
This work contains analysis of those phonetic discrepancies in consonant systems of the Chechen and Bats languages, which were not covered in depth in the work of Desheriev (1953) or where the authors disagree with his conclusions.
In the preface to his monograph
- devocalization of voiced consonants preceding devoiced fricatives in the beginning of a word (meaning preservation of grammatic class [b] marker) in front of Bats words pšel "cold", pst’u "woman, psarlo "evening", contradicting our conclusions);
- devoicing of voiced sibilants and their transformation into devoiced affricative supraglottal sibilants;
- transformation of g and k in the end of the word into supraglottal k’ sound;
- reduction, especially that of final vowels;
- nasalization of vowels by means of weakening final open syllable with with
- loss of sounds.
In a case where archetypes of cognate Dagestani languages do not match Nakh forms, we extend the reconstruction of the initial word form by involving comparison with common, in our opinion, roots from various branches of the
When describing the noted phonetic transition
Appearance of occlusive labial phonemes
Besides, a confirmation of the noted fact of the phonetic shift is a presence of variant pronunciation of the noted words in the Bats language, which reflect the situation without phonetic changes and closer to Chechen stems by their morphological structure (cf.: "bats.
A feature of the Chechen language is predominance of the
Purpose of the Study
The propose of the study is to identify and compare those regular phonetic discrepancies in the common roots of the Chechen and Bats languages, which were left outside of the scope of previous works on the subject, or where the authors disagree with previous analysis.
The phonetic processes in cognate languages are identified and analyzed with a comparative method. The empirical part of the work uses the inductive analysis.
Phonetic changes in Chechen-Bats isoglosses, typical of the Bats language
chech. [ou/uo/ow/ov> bats. op/ep/ob/eb]
qeblar/qoləar ‘to throw over’ < q
In the following words the phonetic changes followed the analogy principle, while their initial forms lack labialized vowels that are transformed to bilabial occlusive consonants, .
bats. matx ‘sun’ < chech.malx/ing. malx (Dag. *bargh);
bats ;detx ‘cry (imperative)’ < chech.delx ’cry (imperative)’;
jetx ‘six’ < jalx/ ing. jalx (Dag. *ar(l)g);
ditx ‘meat’ < chech. dilx ‘body’/ing. dulx (dux) ‘meat’ (Dag. *ilgh);
letxar ‘to jump’ < chech. lelxan/ ing. lelxa;
bats. botx ‘work’ < chech. buolx ‘work’ (cf.: fr.
bats. pst’uin ‘feminine’ < chech. stiḕn/ing. sesaga/qal-nӓxa;
bats. pšeldar ‘to cool’ < chech. šel-dan.
bats. pšel ‘cold’ < chech. šieluo/šijla, ing. šijla ([PrN.*šel] cf.: Dag.: [*mVl(r)k].
The archetype of the word ‘cold’ ([PrN.*šel], reconstructed for Dagestani languages may be traced to another synonymic formation [*mil(r)k]; this root morpheme is preserved in the Chechen language in a collocation milla vallan ‘to freeze to death, to be frozen stiff’. ([PrN.*šel], cf.: fr.
6.1.4. Transformation of a voiced dental occlusive phoneme d into an unvoiced ejective (non-ejective) phoneme t’ (t) of the same location and manner of production:
bats. k’ort’ar ‘to annoy’ < chech. k’orda-dan [t’<d];
bats. as vui
bats. t’at-dar ‘to get wet’ <chech. t’ada-dan [t’<d]/ing. t’oadade;
šwet’ ‘lash’ < chech. šadd/ing. šodd [wet’<dd];
k'at'dar ‘to soften’ < chech. k'addan/ing. k’ӓdde [t’>d];
k'at'en ‘soft’ <chech. k’edan/ing. k’ӓda [t’>d];
bot’ ‘dough’ < chech. buod/ing. bod [t’>d]
vat’ar ‘to run’ < vadan.
6.1.5. Loss of initial laryngeal unvoiced spirant h in the Bats language:
6.1.6. Simplification of Bats word stem in comparison to Chechen isoglosses:
bats. xk’o ‘summer’ – chech.
bats. txa ‘today’ – chech. tax
bats. qā ‘tomorrow’ – chech. qā
bats. qa ‘pig’ – chech.
bats. barg ‘things’ – chech. barg
k’nat (metathesis) ‘boy’ – chech. k’ant/ing. k’
6.1.7. Acquired ejectivity of Bats language sounds where there is no ejectivity in Chechen isoglosses:
[t’ >t (k’>k)]
bats. best’ar/dest’ar ‘to swell’ < chech. bestan/destan;
bats. joxk’ar/axk’ar ‘to sell’ < chech. joxkan/doxkan;
mot’t’ ‘tongue’ < muott;
jexk’ ‘crest’ < jexk;
daxk’ ‘mouse’ < daxk.
6.1.8. Loss of dorsal sonorant [j] in the beginning of a word where the sound is intact in the Chechen language [jiš>iš].
chech. jiš ‘voice, song’ > bats. iš ‘voice, motif’;
chech.jiš alan ‘to sing a song’ > bats. iš jaqar ‘to make a sound; voice’;
chech.jiš xalan ‘to lose one's voice’ > bats. iš xalar ‘to lose one's voice’;
chech. stomma az ‘bass’ > bats. stamin iš ‘bass’.
6.2. Phonetic processes in the consonant system of the Chechen language:
6.1.2. Palatalization of velar occlusive g before n, j [g>j] and its transformation to j:
bats. gaga’o ‘belly’ > gaj ‘belly’/ing. gijg [g>j];
6.2.2. Transformation of back-velar occlusive ejective q’ to laryngeal voiced occlusive in the Chechen language (’ - glottal stop):
bats. daq’ar ‘food’ – chech. da’ar (ср.: arab. دقيق daq'iiq'un ‘flour’);
bats. toq’ar ‘to grab’ - chech. to’an;
bats. toq’-ditar ‘to content, settle for’ - chech. to’ijtan.
6.2.3. Pharyngeal fricative unvoiced phoneme h’ is transformed to a voiced pharyngeal ejective phoneme [’’] ( [’’] Double apostrophe denotes a voiced pharyngeal ejective phoneme.) :
bats. voh’ ‘son’ - chech. vuo’’ (ing. vuo’’);
bats. joh’ ‘daughter’ - chech. juo’’(ing. juo’’);
bats. bah’o ‘nick, barb’ - chech. ba’’;
bats. dah’ar ‘to castrate’ - chech. da’’ar.
6.2.4. Loss of initial dental occlusive sound t in iterative verbs or verbs of repeated action:
bats. tet’ar ‘to cut, tear’ > ‘iet’an/ ing. teda.
6.2.5. Gemination of consonants in some infinitives of Chechen verbs, unlike those of the Bats language ”. This phonetic process the authors have already described in another work (Tokaeva, 2014):
bats. detəar ‘to pour’ – chech. duottan; bats. diblar/diləar ‘to put’ – chech. dillan; motəar ‘to seem, to think’ – chech. muottan; bats. qeblar/qaləar "to cover, to dress" - chech. quollan [eb<uo].
Consequently, this research identified significant phonetic changes that mostly consider groups of consonant phonemes and sonorants and that happened in the Chechen and Bats languages as a result of their independent development.
1. In the phonetic system of the Bats language, the following phonetic changes dominate: transition of phonemes
2. The Chechen language underwent small changes in consonant system in comparison to the Bats language: palatalization and gemination of consonants, consonant shift (voicing and ejectivation of unvoiced pharyngeal spirant), loss of initial dental t,. Transformation of back-velar ejective q’ into laryngeal occlusive (q’>’- glottal stop).
The languages in question also have less regular or one-off phonetic shifts, study of which is beyond the scope of this article.
The cause of most of the observed phonetic process is largely the influence from the Georgian language that resulted in changes in stress and other prosodic parameters, such as melodics, rhythm, intensity, tempo.
The authors hope that this humble work will spark interest in young scientists and thus facilitate further research into the endangered Bats language that lacks a written form.
- Anthony, D. W. (2008). A New Approach to Language and Archeology: The Usatovo Culture and the Separation of Pre-Germanic. The Journal of Indo-European studies, 36, 1–51.
- Bernshtein, S. B. (2005) Comparative Grammar of Slavic Languages. Moscow: Nauka.
- Chrelashvili, K.T. (1999). Bats Language. Moscow: Languages of the World: Caucasian Languages.
- Desheriev, Iu. D. (1953). Bats Language. Moscow: Academy of Science of the USSR.
- Ireziev, S. -Kh. (2013). Peculiarities of contact assimilation of vowels in the structure of verb stem in Chechen and Ingush languages (with additional data from Chechen dialects). In Proceedings of the Annual Summary conference of faculty of the Chechen State University (pp. 341–345). Grozny: Chechen State University Press.
- Kadagidze, D., & Kadagidze, N. (1984). Ts’ova-Tushetian-Georgian-Russian Dictionary. Tbilisi: Metsniereba.
- Labov, W. (2001). Principles of linguistic change, vol. 2, Social factors. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.
- Labov, W. (2007). Transmission and diffusion. Language, 83, 344–387.
- Meillet, A. (2008). Introduction to Comparative Studies of Indo-European Languages. Moscow: LIBRIKOM.
- Prokosch, E. (2010). Comparative Grammar of Germanic Languages. Moscow: LIBRIKOM.
- Serebrennikov, B. A. (2005). Probabilistic Substantiations in Comparative Studies. Moscow: Komkniga.
- Tokaeva, A. S. (2014). Phonetic shifts and peculiarities of linguistic means usage for word formation in Chechen and Bats languages. In Materials of the International Scientific conference (pp. 258–263). Grozny: Chechen State University Press.
- Tokaeva, A. S. (2017). Some problems in verbal word formation and morphology in Chechen and Bats languages. Annals of the Chechen State University, 2(6), 87–94.
- Wenhua, J. (2012). Variation and change in Chinese Korean: The case of vowel “y”. Language variation and change, 24(1), 79–106. DOI:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
21 January 2020
Print ISBN (optional)
Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
Cite this article as:
Tokayeva*, A., Usmanov, T., Arsaliyeva, E., & Ilyasova, R. (2020). Approach To Phonetic Changes In Common Isoglosses Of Chechen And Bats Languages. 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. 3130-3137). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.422