Review of J. Nichols and A. Vagapov's Chechen-English Dictionary and of J. Nichols' Ingush-English Dictionary

Review of J. Nichols and A. Vagapov's Chechen-English Dictionary and of J. Nichols' Ingush-English Dictionary, in BSOAS

Chechen and Ingush are two closely related languages of the North Central Caucasian or (Vei)Nakh branch of the Nakh-Daghestanian (or North East Caucasian) family; the third member of the group is the unwritten and moribund Bats (Ts’ova-Tush), spoken by perhaps 3,000 people concentrated in the east Georgian village of Zemo Alvani. Both Chechen (with around 1.1 million speakers) and Ingush (with 300,000 speakers) were granted literary status by the early Soviets, and, despite a move on the part of the early post-Soviet Chechen regime to romanise the Chechen script, both continue to use Cyrillic-based orthographies, as indeed now required by a Russian Federation law of 2002.

One of the initial obstacles facing those keen to take up the challenge of tackling a Caucasian language is the difficulty (if not impossibility) of obtaining a dictionary, for even if good works exist (as in the case of A. Matsiev's 1961 Chechen-Russian Dictionary), they are often hard to obtain. The present works, arising out of Nichols' years of research into both languages, clearly fill this gap for those attracted to Nakh. The two volumes not only follow the same design but are also to a degree interlinked. And so, it is convenient to write a joint-review.

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