The old Circassian alpabet

''I find the Circassian language to be the most beautiful sounding language I have ever heard, and whose loss would be
a tragedy not only for the Circassians as an ethno-linguistic group but also for the world of language-study.''

Prof. George Hewitt            FBA, Professor of Caucasian Languages, SOAS, London University

Circassians preserved their language despite the passage of one hundred years since the migrated and merged into the life and assumption of another country. They do not feel themselves strangers in this environment because of the religious ties which govern all. Even though all Circassians know Arabic very well and consider it their language, over 70% of them in Jordan speak their original language with their deferent tribal dialects.
The Circassian language did not developed like other languages, due to the fact that its alphabet was laid down only a few years ago. The Caucasian linguists laid down the rules of the Circassian language using Russian-Slavic symbols whith some adjustments. This language is now read and written in the Circassian republic in the soviet Russia. Books and publications are published in Circassian. This language has not been adopted in higher education due to its lack of scientific terminology.
The Circassian language is one of the most eloquent of Arian languages and it goes back to Sanskrit language (old Indian). As is the cases in other arian languages Circassian letters have several meanings; hence their implications are understood from the context. It is impossible for those who have not spoken it since childhood to master the language and to absorb the subtlety of its meanings.  

Pronunciation in English 
A (in the word 'after')
A a

a ('glass')
Э э

b (in the word 'bear')
Б б

v ('voice')
В в

g ('gain')
Г г
Close to г with labialization i.e. is accompanied with lips truncation , as under 'oo' (look) in English. Is Read closely to 'go..' in English but sounds are pronounced simultaneously and 'у' does not serve here for forming the slab
Гy гy
Close to г but more long, deep and pronounced with the vibration of the larynx lug. A bit similar to the French and to the German 'r'.
Гъ гъ

Close to гъ but labializated i.e. is accompanied with additional lips truncation, as under 'oo' ('look'). The lips are extended and rounded.

Гъу гъу
d ('dear')
Д д

j ('job')
Дж дж

Close to д and з, but the sounds meets in united sound

Дз дз

ye ('yellow')
Е е

Close to 'sh' ('shop') but pronounced with voice.


Is Pronounced as ж, but more long and softly
Жь жь

z ('zero')

ee ('bee')


y (‘today’)

c ('cat')

Labialized к. Close to combination 'coo..' ('cool'), but is pronounced together
Ку ку
Hard laryngeal sound. Close to к but accompanied with additional vocal cordses articulation, which is at the beginning of sound closed, and at the end are opened, publishing noise. Average between 'k' ('key') and 'ch' ('child') but more deep and forced.
Labializated кI
КIу кIу

Close to к, but is pronounced deeply in larynxes, "by the larynx top". The joining occurs at pronunciation and joining in larynxes between vocal cordses.

Къ къ

The labialized къ.

Къy къy

Kxъ kxъ

Kxъy kxъy

More soft than English l.   l ('leg')

Л л
Long, deaf, with no voice. A bit close to Л. The air passes through lateral slots between tongue and cheek inner face forming the intensive sound reminiscent hissing. Average between l('long') and sh ('shop').

Лъ лъ

Lateral, noisy, without aspiration. Close to лъ + vocal cordses additional articulation, which at the end of the sound are opened with noise.

m ('man')

n ('new')

o ('box')

p ('pen')
П п
Close to п + vocal cordses additional articulation forming joining, which at the end of the sound is opened with noise. The Lips under its pronunciation close tightly and tear the air, pronunciation its is accompanied the aspiration.


Is a bit similar to the English 'r' ('ring') but the tongue should touch the salient under the teethes and make a vibration. Is similar to Russian "р" or Arabian "r"

Р р

s ('seven')

t ('ten')

Close to т + vocal cordses additional articulation forming joining, which at the end of the sound is opened with noise.

TI tl

oo ('cool')
f ('fast')

Close to Ф + vocal cordses additional articulation forming joining, which at the end of the sound is opened with noise.


h ('help')

As the word (who) in English.

Close to English 'h' (heart), but pronounced softly, with lips articulation, which corresponds to pronunciation vowel and in English.

Хь хь

Has certain resemblance with English 'h' (heart), but more locked. The air blast is directed little skyward, and makes the lurinx lug to vibrate
Хъ хъ
Labialized хъ

Хъу хъу

Close to combination 'ts' ('bats'), but should be pronounced together.

Close to ц + vocal cordses additional articulation, which herewith do not publish any sound and occurs the unswitching of speech organs with noise at the end of the sound.

Цl цl

ch ('cheese')

sh ('shop')

Close to ш + the additional joining of vocal cordses, which at the end of sound are opened adding special tone.


The Vowel ы has not the analogy in English. It is close to 'ee' ('beep') but more locked and has not the articulations in the manner of sprained lips.

you ('you')

you ('young')

Laryngeal abruptive. The unswitching of close vocal cordses is formed with voice.

Labialized I

is pronounced as { j } in new {nju:}. It makes the consonant milder;
is pronounced similarly, but firmer than Ь. It separates sounds one from the other.