Reading Lezgi – Step 3.3

It’s the time to collect the leftovers – that is the remaining single letters of the Lezgi alphabet. Later we’ll proceed to step 4 – the digraphs.

Here’s what’s left in store: Жж Чч Цц Шш Щщ Фф  ъ

Фф is, plain and simple, /f/. Just associate the letter with Greek ‘phi’ and you got it.

гаф – word
фикир – thought
фу – bread
фин – to go, going
физва – is going
фида – will go
фена – went
фур – hole

Чч – this one is English /ch/. It comes in aspirated and unaspirated variants, which are not differentiated in writing.

чай – tea
заз чида – I know
чам – bent
чам – (unasp.) bridesgroom
чан – (unasp.) soul, life; dear
четин – difficult
-ч – negation suffix (this becomes /-sh/ in some dialects):

Зи буба Бакудай хтанач – My father didn’t return from Baku.
Ина чай авач – There’s no tea here
Заз чидач – I don’t know

Шш is English /sh/

шак – doubt
ширин – sweet
шаз – last year
шумуд – how many?
туш – is not (negation of я)
зун Лезги туш – I am not Lezgi

Цц is /ts/ said as one sound. Like it has aspirated and unaspirated variants.

цав – sky
цал – wall
циф – cloud
яц – bull

Жж – depending on the dialect and the origin of a particular word it can be pronounced both as /j/ and /zh/ (‘s’ in ‘measure’). In some dialects only the latter pronunciation occurs.

жаваб – answer
жеда – will be, will become
жемят – society; people
жив – snow
жанавур – wolf
жув – myself; yourself
жумарт – generous, noble

Щщ occurs in Russian loans only, where it stands for /shch/ sound combo.

ъ – the use of this one marks a significant departure from Russian orthographic conventions. In Lezgi ъ, apart from its usage in many digraphs (see Part 4), stands for a glottal stop, ie. the sound in the middle of ‘uh-huh’ or in the Cockney pronunciation of ‘city’. It’s never written word-initially.

ваъ – no

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