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Writing Systems for the Archi Language


Until recently, Archi was an unwritten language, i.e., it did not have a widely adopted writing system that could be of use to its native speakers. The phonetic system of Archi is very rich, and the writing systems that are familiar to Archi speakers (Russian cyrillic and Avar cyrillic) are not sufficient for recording all sounds of the language.

Scholarly publications prior to 2006 used several Latin-based transcriptions (see for ex. [Kibrik et al. 1977] — the notation used in this dictionary is given in the comparative table below under the label "1977"; [Kibrik, Kodzasov 1990]), but they were too difficult for the Archi speakers to learn and therefore remained inaccessible to them.

New developments

In 2006, a new writing system based on Avar Cyrillic ("MGU-cyr") was developed and subsequently used in the publication of the Archi-Russian-English Dictionary by the Surrey Morphological Group. The last revision of this orthography in October 2007 restored the distinction /. However, the main form of transcriptioin used in the dictionary is a latin-based orthography ("Surrey") close to the IPA.

Our materials use a different latin-based orthography ("MGU-lat"), specially adapted for Daghestanian languages. It was also developed in 2006, continuing the tradition of the unified transcription for the languages of the Caucasus that had been developed by the Kibrik-Kodzasov group (Kibrik, Kodzasov 1988; 1990).

A Comparative Chart

This chart shows four variants of Archi orthography "MGU-cyr", "MGU-lat", "1977" and "Surrey": [PDF, 70 Kb].


This table [PDF, 70 Kb] gives examples for all letters of the Archi Cyrillic alphabet. A second table shows the letters that are in the Archi alphabet but not in the Avar Cyrillic [PDF, 50 Kb].


  • Kibrik et al. 1977— A. E. Kibrik, S. V. Kodzasov, I. P. Olovyannikova, D. S. Samedov. The Archi language. Texts and Dictionaries. Moscow, 1977.
  • Kibrik, Kodzasov 1988 — A. E. Kibrik, S. V. Kodzasov. Comparative studies of Daghestanian languages. Verb. — ., 1988. 226 pp.
  • Kibrik, Kodzasov 1990 — A. E. Kibrik, S. V. Kodzasov. Comparative studies of Daghestanian languages. Noun. Phonetics. — .: MGU, 1990. 364 pp.