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 Chechen dictionary and phrasebook

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مُساهمةموضوع: Chechen dictionary and phrasebook   الأحد 18 نوفمبر 2007, 00:27

Chechen dictionary and phrasebook. Preface

A very basic grammar

Chechen belongs to the Nakh family of languages, which forms part of the group of indigenous languages spoken in the Caucasus - unrelated to any other languages in the world.
The other members of the family are Ingush and Tsova-Tush (or Batsbi). While almost all Chechens speak Chechen as their mother tongue, the majority also speak Russian.
The name 'Chechen' isn't really Chechen at all: it was coined from the name of a village the invading Tsarist armies first encountered. The language has been written since 1923, and presently uses the Cyrillic script.
Throughout history various cultures and peoples have contributed to the vocabulary of Chechen, and mainly the Arabs and the Russians have left their imprint on present-day Chechen in this respect. Chechen was originally only a spoken language and it was subsequently put into a formal writing system by the Soviets, but it is little used in this form.
Until the beginning of this century, Arabic was used principally as the language of written communication. For obvious reasons, Russian has now taken over this role.

Word order

While totally unrelated to English - and some of the sounds may at first seem strange - the structure of Chechen is nevertheless quite simple. The verb is usually put at the end of the sentence, e.g.,
So ts'a vōōd.
'I go home.' (literally; 'I home go')

Nouns

Chechen has no words for 'the', 'a or 'an' - instead the meaning is understood from the context, e.g. stag can mean 'the man', 'a man' or just simply 'man'.
Instead of having gender - like in French or Arabic - nouns in Chechen belong to 'classes', which function in a very similar way. Each class originally consisted of nouns which shared similar characteristics: roundness, largeness, length, human, and so on. The class referring to human beings is predictable, the others are not. There are five (or six if you split the first class) such classes. Each triggers a different prefix of agreement in many adjectives and verbs (but not all).
Similar systems exist in languages across the world, such as Chinese, Japanese and Swahili. Here's a basic list showing the forms of the five Chechen noun classes. Remember that these prefixes usually occur in an accompanying verb or adjective and not in the noun itself:

e.g. (using -u 'is' and -eza 'heavy'):
Stag veza vu.The man is heavy.'
Zuda yeza yu. The woman is heavy.'
Zudari beza bu. The women are heavy.'
Beera beza bu. The child is heavy.'
Keema deza du. The boat is heavy.'
Bolkha beza bu. The work is heavy.'

Note that Class 1 is for humans only ("those with souls"), so there's no harm here in thinking in terms of 'gender', i.e. male and female; but the other classes have lost much of their original classifications and aren't so easy to pigeonhole, so they can be human, animal, vegetable or mineral!
Most nouns form their plural by simply adding -sh or -ash, e.g. linz 'lens' - linzash 'lenses'. There are some with irregular plurals, e.g. cazh 'apple' -ceezhash 'apples', stag 'man', 'person' - nakh 'people'.
Nouns take a variety of endings. The basic forms with their grammatical descriptions are as follows:

Nominative no ending
Genitive -a(n)
Dative -na
Ergative -uo/-ye/-s/-a
Instrumental -tsa
Locative -kh
Comparative -I
Allative -gaa/-ye

Plurals simply add the case endings to the plural marker -(a)sh, apart from the Genitive, which ends in -ii(n) and the Ergative, which ends in -a. The Nominative Plural can also end in -i or -ii.

As noted above for plurals, some nouns may change slightly according to the form they take (in much the same way as English gives us words like goose' and geese'), e.g. caam 'lake', cāmnash 'lakes'.
The Genitive gives us 'of, e.g. Petimatii(n) televizor = 'Petima’s television' (or 'the television of Petima').

Adjectives

True adjectives are like nouns in that they decline, but the endings are limited to -a/-an in the Nominative singular and plural, and -achu in all other cases. They always come before the noun, e.g.
q'eena 'old', q'eena stag 'old man'
zhima 'young', zhima stag 'young man'

About ten basic adjectives agree with the class of the noun they modify, including (Chechens tend to use the female y- prefix as the 'neutral' form):
yay light, yowkha hot
yeza heavy, yūq'a thick
yoqqa elder, yutq'a thin
e.g. veza k'ant 'heavy boy' (this also means 'dear boy')
yeza yakhka 'heavy box'

Adverbs

Most adverbs have one single form which never changes. Some examples:
dika(n) well, dca there
vwo(n) badly, hintsa now
hoquzah' here, qaana tomorrow

Most adjectives can be used as an adverb.

Postpositions

Chechen has postpositions, in other words like 'in', 'at' and 'behind' come after the noun and not before it as in English (although remember that you can say 'who with? as well as 'with who?' - and there's no change in meaning). They generally take the dative or nominative case.
aara out
k'yela under
chu in, into
t'āh'a after
h'alkha in front of
t'eeh'a behind
lātsna about
t'ye on
metta instead of
yuq'a in the middle of
But the sense of English prepositions is more often rendered by the 'preverbs' (see below in Verbs).

PRONOUNS

Personal pronouns take case endings. Basic forms are as follows:

SINGULAR
So I
h'o you singular
i; iza he/she/it

PLURAL
tkho we exclusive
vai we inclusive
shu you plural
ūsh, ūzash they

Note that there are two forms for the single English word 'we'. The exclusive tkho means 'us only (and not them)', while the inclusive vai means 'us all'.
Possessive pronouns are formed by using the genitive of the personal pronoun:

SINGULAR
Sa my
h'a you singular
i; iza he/she/it
tsūna his/her/its
hara this (Demonstratives)
dcaaranig that (Demonstratives)

PLURAL
tkha our exclusive
vai our inclusive
shu your plural
ūsh, ūzash they
tseera their
hworsh these (Demonstratives)
dcaaranash those (Demonstratives)


VERBS

As in English, verbs change their form according to tense only and the same form is used for all singular and plural persons. About one third of all verbs, however, will make an additional change for the "class" (and not person) of the subject, e.g.
Stag aara "v"eelira. The man went out.
Beer aara "d"eelira. The child went out.

The simple infinitive ends in -a(n), e.g. daakha(n) 'to live.' By changing endings, there are seven basic tenses, as well as a variety of compound tenses. Since Chechen has only a few hundred true verbs and cannot create any more, nouns are used with the verb dan 'to do' to create phrasal verbs.
Like nouns, some verbs may change spelling slightly according to the form they take (like English 'know' and 'knew'), e.g. mala(n) 'to drink', molu 'drinks'.
The negative is formed by putting tsa 'not' immediately before the verb. Ma 'do not' is used with commands.
Postpositions are used with verbs (and so are called 'preverbs') to add to the meaning.
dca there chu in
s'h'a here aara out
h'ala up tye on
(w)oh'a down bukha under
vowshakh each other

The verb 'to have' is usually expressed using the verb 'to be', e.g. Ts'h'ana voqqachu stega qwo' k'ant
khilla. 'An old man had three sons' - this translates literally as 'There were three boys to an old man'.

Author: Nicholas Awde

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Chechen dictionary and phrasebook   الثلاثاء 09 يونيو 2009, 19:37

thanx alot
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Chechen dictionary and phrasebook
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