Lezgi Sounds

This page contains a presentation of Lezgi phonemes. For those who don't know - phonemes are the smallest distinctive units of speech. For simplicity's sake let's call them just sounds. Now, you may think that there are exactly as many sounds in Lezgi as there are letters (or letter combinations) in Lezgi Cyrillic. This is not so. Lezgi Cyrillic comes very close to accurately representing Lezgi speech, but there are times when it is at loss. Consider for instance this word-pair: чил /chil/ 'earth' and чил /cchil/ 'net'. In the Lezgi Cyrillic script they are written exactly the same, but they are two different and differently pronounced words!

Without further ado, let's see the list. [square brackets] mark X-SAMPA; /slants/ mark Lezgi Latin orthography used elsewhere on this site; Cyrillic is how the sound is represented in the Lezgi Cyrillic script. Sorry for all the tech-speak, the version for people who are not deep into language geekery will be created later.

  front   back  
  non-rounded rounded non-rounded rounded
high [i] /i/ и [y] /y/ уь   [u] /u/ у
mid [e] /e/ е; э      
low [{] /ae/ я   [A] /a/ а  


  labial dental dental-labialized velar velar-labialized uvular uvular-labialized
voiced [b] /b/ б [d]  /d/ д   [g] /g/ г [g_w] /gw/ гв    
aspirated [p_h]  /p/ п [t_h] /t/ т [t_h_w] /tw/ тв [k_h] /k/ к [k_h_w] /kw/ кв [q_h] /qh/ хъ [q_h_w] /qhw/ хъв
unaspirated [p] /pp/ п [t] /tt/ т [t_w] /ttw/ тв [k]  /kk/ к [k_w] /kkw/ кв [q] /q/ къ [q_w] /qw/ къв
ejective [p_>] /p'/ пI [t_>] /t'/ тI [t_>_w] /t'w/ тIв [k_>] /k'/ кI [k_>_w] /k'w/ кIв [q_>] /q'/ кь [q_>_w] /q'w/ кьв

Affricates and fricatives:
    labial dental dental-labialized postalveolar velar uvular uvular-labialized
affricate aspirated   [ts_h] /c/ ц [ts_h_w] /cw/ цв [tS_h] /ch/  ч      
  unaspirated   [ts] /cc/ ц [ts_w] /ccw/ цв [tS] /cch/ ч      
  ejective   [ts_>] /c'/ цI [ts_>_w] /c'w/ цIв [tS_>] /ch'/ чI      
fricative voiced   [z] /z/ з [z_w] /zw/ зв [Z] /zh/ ж   [R] /gh/ гъ [R_w] /ghw/ гъв
  voiceless [f] /f/ ф [s] /s/ с [s_w] /sw/ св [S] /sh/ ш [x] /xh/ хь [X] /x/ х [X_w] /xw/ хв

All the rest:
nasals [m] /m/ м [n] /n/ н
liquids [l] /l/ л [r] /r/ р
glides [w] /w/ в [j] /j/ й
laryngeals [h] /h/ гь [?] /'/ ъ


That would be it for the sounds of the standard Lezgi. Dialects, however, are a slightly different matter, as some of them have sound systems quite different from the standards.

Here you can go back to the main language page.

I owe this page, as I owe everything, to K.D. , whose smile makes the impossible happen