Budukh language

Будад мез budad mez
Native to Azerbaijan
Region Quba Rayon
Ethnicity 1,000 (1990)[1]
Native speakers
200 (2010)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bdk
Glottolog budu1248[2]

Budukh or Budugh is a Samur language of the Northeast Caucasian language family spoken in parts of the Quba Rayon of Azerbaijan. It is spoken by about 200 of approximately 1,000 ethnic Budukhs.[1]

Budukh is a severely endangered language,[3][4] and classified as such by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.[5]


Gender and agreement

Authier (2010) reports that Budugh has six 'gender-number' classes:

  • human masculine,
  • human adult feminine,
  • animate (which includes animals, plants, and non-adult human females, as well as some abstract nouns),
  • inanimate,
  • nonhuman plural,
  • human plural.

Verbs normally agree with their absolutive argument (intransitive subject or transitive object) in gender. In the following examples, the verb 'beat' shows animate agreement with 'donkey' and non-human plural agreement with 'donkeys'.

Ma'lla'-cır lem ğùvotu-ri
Mullah-erg donkey animate:beat:present
'Mullah beat the donkey'
Ma'lla'-cır lemér ğùtu-ri
Mullah-erg donkey nonhumanplural:beat:present
'Mullah beat the donkeys'

Compare these examples with the following, where the verb agrees with the intransitive subject:

Ma'lla' vìxhici
Mullah masculine:go:narrative_tense
'Mullah went.'
Lem vüxhücü
donkey animate:go:narrative_tense
'The donkey went.'

Verb agreement

Budukh verbs typically agree with a single argument, the absolutive. In the agreement paradigms, the majority of verbs show no overt agreement for the masculine, neuter, and nonhuman plural. Consider the following paradigm for the verb 'keep' in the perfective (Authier 2009):


In this paradigm, /ˤa/ is a preverb which must appear with the verb root /q/ 'keep', and the agreement morphology appears between the preverb and the root. Due to historical changes, the relationships between the various members of an agreement paradigm are often more complex and show changes of vowel and/or consonant. The following perfective paradigm for 'go' shows this (with the reconstructed form shown after the *)

Avüxhü < *vi-v-xhi
N/NPLvidki < *vi-d-xhi
HPLvibki < *vi-b-xhi

Word order

Budukh is an SOV language, as seen in the following example:

Ma'lla'-cır lemér ğùtu-ri
Mullah-erg donkey nonhuman plural:beat:present
'Mullah beat the donkeys'

It has possessors before possessed nouns:

Mallá-co rij
Mullah-adlocative daughter
'the mullah's daughter'

Adjectives appear before the nouns that they modify:

q'usú Mallá'
old mullah
'the old mullah'


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