It should be Lezgi and not Lezgian

You may have (and should have) noticed that this version of my site when referring both to the language and the people uses only and exclusively the term Lezgi instead of the term Lezgian which was preferred previously. This change has its reasons, which I give below.

The word Lezgian seems to be preferred by many of the researchers and scholars writing about the Lezgi language. In particular, Martin Haspelmath's wonderful book has been entitled "A grammar of Lezgian".

The form Lezgian seems very natural since it ends with a familiar -(a)n suffix commonly used for creating names of ethnicities and languages (compare e.g. Armenian, Georgian or Italian).

It is for these reasons I used to use it. However, after some thought-inspiring debates with my Bakuvian Lezgi friends (hiya, lads and lassies !) I have realised that there are some reasons not to use it. The reasons are two: one is not strong, the other one is more serious. Here they go:

The first reason (the not strong one) is that the -(a)n suffix is only added to placenames. Georgian comes from Georgia, Italian from Italy and so on and so forth. Were there a land called Lezgia, it would be fine to call her people and language Lezgian. But there is no such land, period. In fact, it's the other way around - the area where Lezgis live - Lezgistan gets her name from the people, not vice versa.

The second reason is simple but serious - why not call the Lezgis the way they call themselves? I mean, the word Lezgi is short, pronounceable and fits the English well. Why not be courteous to the people and use their word ? Hell, they know best what they should be called.

Remember ! - 'Tis Lezgi, Lezgi, Lezgi !
Now go back to the main Lezgi page.

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