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The Kabardian language is closely related to the Adyghe? language, both members of the Northwest Caucasian language family, mainly spoken in Kabardino-Balkar Republic and Karachay-Cherkess Republic of Russia (the native territories) and in Turkey and the Middle East (the residence of the extensive post-war diaspora).

It has 47 or 48 consonant phonemes of which 22 or 23 are fricatives, depending upon whether one counts [h] as phonemic, but this is contrasted with just two phonemic vowels. It is one of very few languages to possess a clear phonemic distinction between ejective affricates and ejective fricatives.

The verb

Like all Northwest Caucasian languages, Kabardian has an extremely complex verbal system.


  • къэкIуащ, qek'wasch he came
  • дылэжьащ, dilezchasch we worked
  • уеджащ, weijasch you (singular) studied

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