Unification Of Declension Types In The Dialects Of The Rutul Language


The article formulates general provisions resulting from the analysis of declension systems in five dialects (Mukhad, Borchin-Khnov, Ihrek, Mukhrek and Shinaz) of the Rutul language, which belongs to the Lezghin group of the Nakh-Dagestan language family. Based on the analysis of the factual material, general and specific features in the areal units of the Rutul language have been revealed. It has been determined that dialects of the Rutul language show similarities in the indirect base, relying on a single principle that covers all nouns and substantives and reduces the number of declension types to two while preserving the opposition of indirect case forms. Determinatives that vary in dialects when formalizing the indirect stem of nouns are limited to the standard inventory represented by four consonant components – -. It has been established that dialectal differences in the use of the determinativeswhen forming the indirect basis of I and II singular substantives are phonetic. When declining III and IV class singular substantives in the Mukhad, Mukhrek, Shinaz and Borchin-Khnov dialects, the determinativeforms an indirect basis; in the Mukhrek dialect, the infix -is used; in the Ikhrek dialect, the determinative -- is used. The inventory of determinatives и -- that form the plural forms of nouns and substantives is the same in the dialects but the principle underlying their application is not the same. Thus, an analysis of the dialectal material has identified general and specific features of individual areal units.

Keywords: The Rutul language, dialects of the Rutul language, declension in the Rutul language


The Rutul language belongs to the Lezghin group of the North Caucasian language family. There are five dialects – Mukhad, Borchin-Khnov, Ihrek, Mukhrek and Shinaz. The literary language is formed on the basis of the Muhad dialect.

The relevance of the research is due to the presence of different points of view on the number of types of declension in scientific descriptions of the Rutul language. Clarification of the declension features of nouns, pronouns, substantives and masdar will allow us to establish the level and direction of historical development of the case system of the Rutul language and solve controversial issues of Dagestan linguistics.

Problem Statement

The issues of declension in the Rutul language were analyzed by E.F. Deiranishvili, G.Kh. Ibragimov, S.M. Makhmudova and M.O. Ibragimova (Tairova).

Dzheiranishvili (1983) singled out one type of declension in the Rutul language, arguing that "special distinctions are not revealed in the declension system of the names of persons and things, monosyllabic and polysyllabic stems with vowels or consonants (a significant difference is revealed only due to phonetic changes)" (p. 90). We agree with his statement, but characterizing the declension of the Rutul language, we will distinguish between the types of declension, taking into account the ways of formalizing the indirect basis.

Ibragimov (2004) distinguishes four types of declension for singular nouns, and two types for plural nouns. The researcher argues for the selection of four types of declension by differences in the form of the initial basis of indirect cases. "The first type of declension is characterized by a nominative (direct) stem, the second type – by an ergative stem, the third type – by a genitive stem, and, the fourth type – by a nominative stem complicated by a determinative stem" (p. 112).

The presence of the first and fourth types of declension is out of question, but the facts do not allow us to confirm the existence of the second and third types of declension. In the areal units of the Rutul language, the indirect case forms are not formed from the stem of the ergative case, as it happens in the languages ​​of the Lezghin group (in particular, in Lezgi and Tabasaran).

Ibragimov (2004) refers the following examples to the third type of declension: NOM – NOM – зизаь «roebuck berry», балта «axe», ERG – зизаь-д-ираь, балтыд-ираь. The researcher considers the reduplication of the case affix in the genitive case to be a secondary phenomenon – the result of the alignment of the indirect stem. We believe that the above examples demonstrate the type of declension with determinatives; therefore, the formant -д- is not an indicator of genitive. It is an indirect stem marker. The presence of the determinative -д- in the Dagestan languages ​​has been confirmed by linguists. Thus, Bokarev (1960) argues that “most often, the determinative is д, but also л, р, н, т, й and some others” (p. 47).

When describing the fourth type of declension, Ibragimov (2004) singles out one determinative -al- in the Rutul language.

In the plural, Ibragimov (2004) differentiates the declensions in accordance with the category of animate-inanimate: in the case forms of animate names between the stem and the affix of the case, he reveals the pronominal formant of the plurality -ш-, in inanimate names – the class formant of the plurality -м ... In our opinion, at the present stage of the development of the Rutul language, -ш- and -м- are determinants of the indirect basis; with a deep diachronic study of these indicators, one can find grounds for classifying them as pronominal or class formants of plurality (Makhmudova, 2001).

When studying individual issues of interdialect asymmetry in declension and case composition, we used the material of related languages ​​of the Lezghin group, which received a scientific interpretation in the works by Ganenkov (2008, 2015), Daniel and Ganenkov (2012), Ibragimov (1990), Lander (2008, 2011), Maisak (2016).

An analysis of the literature on the topic under study allows us to state that when identifying types of declination, linguists rely on various principles, sometimes contradictory ones. The study of declined forms in five dialects of the Rutul language will allow unifying and minimizing the principles of distinguishing types of declension.

Research Questions

The subject of the article is a description of the declension systems of nouns, pronouns, substantives and masdar in five dialects of the Rutul language in a comparative aspect.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the research is to unify the principles of distinguishing types of declension in the Rutul language by identifying the features of declension of nouns, pronouns, substantives, and masdar in its dialects by comparing the inventory of case markers and determinatives that form an indirect basis.

Research Methods

When collecting factual materials, the method of field research was used: dialect speech recording using technical means and subsequent decoding, selection for published texts in the Rutul language; descriptive, comparative-historical and structural methods; internal reconstruction, comparison of areal units that exist synchronously in the language.


The modern literary Rutul language develops on the basis of the Muhad dialect with the involvement of the vocabulary of the Borchinsk-Khnov, Ihrek, Mührek and Shinaz dialects.

Areal units of the Rutul language have a developed system of case forms of masdar names, expressing a relationship to other names or the predicate in the utterance. In the Muhad dialect of the Rutul language, there are 4 general grammatical, 2 intermediate and 11 local cases. The number of cases in other areal units varies in the direction of decreasing their number, due to the absence of the comparative and the Sub series cases in certain dialects.

In the Shinaz and Mührek dialects, the comparative did not form as an independent case, which brings them closer to the Tsakhur language.

The number of local cases in dialects varies: in the Muhad dialect there are 11 local cases, united in six series as part of a single essential / lativa and elative (the Sub is flawed, since the subelative formally coincided with the contalative); in Shinaz, Ihrek, and Mührek, the Sub and the Post are not distinguished; they have the same affixes for the semantics “under the landmark” and “behind the landmark”. Of all dialects, the subelative was found only in Borchinsk-Khnov.

The dominant type of declension in the language is declension with determinatives, which has a wide field of functions in many Dagestan languages. Case affixes are attached only to some nouns in the singular and masdar.

In all areal units, determinatives are limited to four consonant components presented in the Rutul language which can be interchanged when formalizing the indirect stem of nouns singular. The opposition of two different insertion elements - and is revealed in the Muhad and Khnov dialects of the Borchinsk-Khnov dialect:

Muhad dialect: NOM –nit; ERG –; GEN –; DAT –;

Khnov dialect: NOM –nit; ERG –; GEN –; DAT –

Similar cases of variation in the insertion elements - and are also detected between the Muhad and Shinaz dialects:

Muhad dialect: NOM – stone; ERG –; GEN –; DAT –;

Shinazi dialect: NOM – stone; ERG –; GEN –; DAT –

In the plural, the determinativeis added to the stems of animate nouns (I, II and III grades), the determinative -- is added to the stems of inanimate nouns (IV grade).

The structure of case forms is complicated by determinants characteristic of the indirect stem of both the singular and the plural. Cases of the presence of four-, five-element structures in the declination paradigms are revealed:

  • ич-ир-м-ыд
  • тим-би-ш-ихьван

with those

  • даны-й-ма-ш-ис
  • хыди-й-ма-ш-ихъаъ
  • than friends, instead of friends

In all dialects of the Rutul language the declension of plural nouns is differentiated on the basis of animate / inanimate. The declination of substantives, both singular and plural, is differentiated according to the criterion of rationality / unreasonableness (Tairova, 2011).

A deviation from the general rules is observed when declining personal and reflexive pronouns: when they change by cases in the singular, the type of declension characterized by an ergative basis for the design of cases is revealed:

Muhad dialect: NOM – «я», «you»; ERG – DAT –etc;

Borchinsko-Khnov dialect: NOM – «I», «ты»; ERG –; DAT –etc;

ihrek dialect: NOM – «я», «you»; ERG –; DAT – etc;

Mührek dialect: NOM – «я», «you»; ERG –; DAT – etc;

Shinazi dialect: NOM – «я», «you»; ERG –; DAT – etc;

  • In the Muhad dialect, the nominative and ergative forms of declension of personal plural pronouns coincide, while in other areal units they are marked with specific affixes (Ibragimova, 2019):
  • Muhad dialect: NOM – е «we», ве «youы»; ERG – е, ве
  • Mührek dialect: NOM – жи «we», жу «you»; ERG – жаь-д, жваь-д
  • Shinazi dialect: NOM – жи «we», жу «you»; ERG – жи-йэ, жу-йэ
  • Khnov dialect: NOM – йуIхъуIмбы «we», вуIхънар «you»; ERG – йиджнев-ир, вуIхъ-джаь
  • In the Ihrek and Borchin dialects, the pronoun "we" distinguishes between the forms of the inclusive and the exclusive: NOM – йи/ жи «we», жу «you»; ERG – йе-тти/ же-тти, жу-йэ;

Borchin dialect: NOM – йанур/ йухъIнаьр «we», ви «you»; ERG – йану-джаь/ йухъ-чаь, ви-дж.

When declining the singular of I, II classes, insertion elements -ний- (in the Muhad dialect), --ну-/ни – (in the Ihrek dialect), -на- (in the Shinaz and Borchin-Khnov dialects), -ну (for the Myhrek dialect) are used. The Ihrek dialect manifests its originality. It is the only dialect in which class I substantives are opposed to class II, III and IV substantives by the indirect bases: the indirect base of the I class is formed by the insertion element -н-, the indirect base of the II, III and IV classes is formed by -ни-.

The indirect basis of the singular number of classes III and IV in all dialects, except for Ihrek, is formed by the insertion element -д-, in the Myukhrek dialect the formant -й- is also used. In the Ihrek dialect, the insertion element -ни- is used to form the cases of class III and IV substantives.

An analysis of the determinatives -ш- and -м-, attaching to the bases of plural substantives of I, II classes and plural substantives of III, IV classes made it possible to reveal the uniformity in their use.

In the Tsakhur language, the determinative -ш- attached to the bases of the I and II class substantives formally coincides with the marker in the dialects of the Rutul language, but the insertion element -чи- attached to the bases of III and IV class substantives is different from the Rutul marker – м- used in similar forms.

Thus, the inventory of determinatives, revealed in the structure of the plural forms of nouns and substantives in the dialects of the Rutul language, is the same, but the principle underlying their application is not the same.

An analysis of the case inventory of the Rutul language testifies to the diversity of structural variations in the case forms due to the specifics of the grammatical system of the language. In the dialects, complex forms were identified. In this forms, the formant -ды combining the semantics of the affix genitive, attributivizer and interfix with the formal function of combining morphemes was identified (Makhmudova, 2001). For example, in the Muhad dialect, there is a comparative form in which up to 6 different markers are appended to the root:



The diversity of structures of the formative elements of the case system in the Rutul language is combined with the difference in their functions: these structural elements can be considered as multifunctional units capable of expressing the semantics of several cases – ergative, genitive, dating, essives / lativs, elatives, etc.


Thus, the analysis of the dialectal material of the Rutul language made it possible to present the general and specific features manifested at the level of individual territorial-linguistic units of the Rutul language in the declension of names, pronouns, substantives and masdar; in the determinants of the indirect basis differentiating the types of declension. The analysis of areal units contributed to the identification of a single principle for the formation of indirect stems, covering all names and masdar and reduced the number of declension types to two while preserving the opposition of indirect case forms. Only personal and reflexive pronouns of four dialects do not fit into this harmonious declension system with two bases (the direct and indirect bases containing determinatives).


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Ibragimova, M. O. (2021). Unification Of Declension Types In The Dialects Of The Rutul Language. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization - ISCKMC 2020, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 644-650). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.88