Table of Contents


This grammar, like the rest of the site, is a slow moving work in progress. There are bound to be mistakes or dialetical differences – if there is anything you would like to add, correct, or clarify, please send me an email at hello [@] or open a post on GitHub, where the project is maintained. I hope you enjoy or get something useful out of this page!

A Brief Intro to Avar Cyrillic

Avar, written in Cyrillic, as most material is, uses one novel letter not found in the standard Russian alphabet, the palochka:Ӏ (or stick). It is known as a çubuq by Azeri-speaking Avars. The palochka, along with ъ and ь modify other letters, forming digraphs.

The digraphs are as follows:

ъ ь ӏ
гъ гь гӏ
кь кӏ
лъ лӏ
хъ хь хӏ

Additionally, like in Russian, the letters ю and я represent two sounds, ю = йу, and я = йа. This is important to remember when reading further down in the grammar, as female class markers will use й, which may not be written explicitly in the word (as it is part of ю or я).

Note that the palochka only has one form (i.e. no lower or upper-case distinction). In casual text, it is often written as a 1 (one), or more rarely, as an uppercase latin I.

Class Markers

Class markers are an important concept in Avar. There are 4 class markers that correspond generally to the "real" gender of the noun or subject.

You can see examples of this in вас:boy versus яс:girl (йас).

Since the location of these do not change, they will be represented with a capital Б if a grammatical property varies with respect to class. This type of marking varies wildly across published literature. You may see CM (for class marker), w (transliteration of в), among others.


As with most languages that do not have a large body of literature aimed at lay people, there is not a common set of vocabulary used to describe phenomenon in the language. This section aims to be as consistent as possible, but more formal linguistic publications may differ in how different forms are referred.


Each noun has two stems for singular and for plural: a absolutive stem (ABS) and an ergative stem (ERG). While Rudnev (p. 20) describes some rules to derive these stems, the variability means that it is likely easier for a learner to simply memorize all four variations of the noun: singular absolutive, singular ergative, plural absolutive, and plural ergative.

Note that the absolutive stem is also referred to as direct (DIR) and the ergative stem as oblique (OBL). Indeed, for class 3 nouns below, you'll see that there is variation in the ERG stem when used with locatives that is not seen in Class 1 or Class 2 nouns.


There are four main cases, ABS, ERG, DAT, and GEN, plus a very large number of locative cases, as described in its own section below.

Nouns are divided into 3 declension classes:

ABS (absolutive)
the default dictionary form; the subject of intransitive verbs and the object of transitive verbs
ERG (ergative)
the subject of transitive verbs, the instrument with which something is done, reason (e.g. "because of"), time an action is done. Palancar 2009 in Rudnev 2015 says "Avar displays an ERG/INST syncretism".
DAT (dative)
"marks the experiencer with a restricted set of affective predicates, and it expresses goals and goal-like functions, recipients, and beneficiaries"Forker 6
GEN (genitive) -у/ул
marks possession

The plural form must be learned along with the singular form.

Example plural suffixes: ал/(а)би/заби (for people and professions)/зал/дул (appears to cause vowel change)/ул (appears to cause vowel change).

Examples below are taken from Forker. See Table 4 on page 5 for more details.

Class 1

Class 1 nouns are mostly masculine human nouns. The LOC forms use ERG as the stem. The ERG stem is formed by suffixing one of с/ас/яс to the ABS stem.


case form
ABS вас
ERG васас
GEN васасул
ABS.PL васал

Class 2

Class 2 nouns are all female human nouns and many neuter nouns. The LOC forms use ERG as the stem. The ERG stem is formed by suffixing one of лъ/алъ/ялъ to the ABS stem.


case form
ABS яс
ERG ясалъ
GEN ясалъул
ABS.PL ясал

Class 3

Class 3 nouns are every other noun not found in classes 1 and 2. The LOC forms does not use ERG as the stem, but has a completely different stem which must be memorized independently. The ERG stem is formed by suffixing one of са/аса to the ABS stem.


case form
ABS цер
ERG цараца
GEN царал
ABS.PL цурдул

Unfortunately, does not show the LOC stem.

Locative Cases

Location is a combination of where the direction is occurring (e.g. under something) and the directon in which it is occurring (e.g. away). Thus, combinatorially, there are 20 different LOC suffixes.

The 5 locational suffixes:

SPR (super-) -да
APUD (apud-) -хъ
at, by, close to
INTER (inter-) -лъ
in a substance
SUB (sub-) -кь
IN (in-) -Б/с

The 4 directional markers that are appended to the locative suffixes:

Essive) ø
at/no movement
to (if the locative suffix has a vowel, it is dropped)
Ablative -а/са
Translative -an/san

Thus, you can combine the two, giving forms like the superessive (-да), superlative (-де), superablative (-даса), supertranlative (-дасан). Are these titles actually used? No idea.

Some of these locative tenses have grammatical meanings as well and may also be required as the case of some indirect objects of intransitive verbs. Ex. балагьизе:look at has an indirect object in APUD-essive case or SPR-essive.


Unfortunately, the declension information from is not always ordered the same way or represents the same information. See, for instance, the difference between вас and офицер – since an officer can be either gender, it goes ERG M, ERG F, GEN M, GEN F, ABS PL.

I'm not sure what it means when there are only two responses. It seems like it may mean there is no plural? e.g. just ERG and GEN. They all seem to end the same:

хІамиохцер apparently means "two-year-old donkey." AKA, the common evening primrose.

къватІасохцер is actually called the squiriting cucumber. Which is kind of gross tbh.


There are no distinct personal pronouns for 3SG or 3PL – they are the same as the demonstratives, see that section for more information on how to form in the different cases.

1PL has two forms, exclusive (not including the speaker) and inclusive (including the speaker). Dialects may vary between муж (southern dialects) and нуж (northern) for 2PL.Authier, YouTube, ~44:00

1SG дун дир дица дие дида
2SG мун дур дуца дуе дуда
3SG дов (m), дой (f), доб (n)
1PL.EXCL ниж нижер нижеца нижейе нижеда
1PL.INCL ниль нильер нилъеца нилъейе нилъеда
2PL нуж нужер нужеца нужейе нужеда
3PL дол
  1. Павел буго дир цӏар.
    Pavel is my name
    Rudnev 32


These agree with the modified noun.

доБ also can vary with respect to height, with доБ implying the same level:

Similarly, you can see this variation in:

In additional cases:

гьаниБ гьаниБе гьаниса
гьениБ гьениБе гьениса
доБа доБе доБаса

See Forker, pg 8, table 7 for another declension table.

"Determiners, although possessing full declension paradigms in both singular and plural, always appear in their absolutive form when modifying a noun phrase regardless of the case marking on the noun, their [non-absolutive] forms being reserved for standalone uses."Rudnev 22

See Forker pg8, table 7 for more declension examples.


Adjectives preceed the noun and agree with the noun's class marker. This class marker is prefixed (? Forker 17) and suffixed to the word.

Thus льикав вас:the good boy and льикай яс:the good girl.


Rudnev Apx B has a lot of nice diagrams
Rudnev 36, "in the overwhelming majority of cases, verbs with consonant initial stems systematically fail to display agreement" except for ha- to do. Most stems that begin with a vowel will contain an agreement marker

Zhiguli says there are about 8 conjugation paradigms

Some verbs (Rudnev translit)

ha-CM to do
CM-oł' to like
CM-ix to see
ła to know
qwa write
ł'e give
c'al read

3 differt Opt

Perfect - converb + to be
Progressive - present participle + to be (PRS/PST)

Masdar (CM)-root-thematic vowel

Verbs on are given in the INF form, with the neutral class marker (б).


entry stems tenses
бихьизе бихьула PRS
бихьила FUT
бихьана PST
бихье IMP

Avar does not have person agreement, only gender and number agreement. Forker 9

-ula/ola/la/una, NEG -ro

-ila/ela/la/ina, NEG -ro

-ana/una/na, NEG č'o/ič'o/inč'o

some verbs from Forker
c'alize:read/study, masdar c'ali
Bač'ine:come, masdar Bač'in
łaze:know, masdar łaj

PERF Conv. + PRS copula
c'alun bugo oxumuşam

PERF conv. + AOR copula

Compound PRS (ongoing situations/activities) (PRS Progressive)
PRS part + PRS copula

Compound AOR (ongoing situations but... in the past) (Imperfect?)
PRS part + AOR copula

Compound FUT (ongoing situations but... in the future)
PRS part + FUT copula

Prospective FUT (things about to happen)
INF + PRS copula

PERF conv. is -un/n (dep. ending in C or V)
IMPF. conv. PRS + go
PRS part. is ule/une/le + CM? the table in Forker doesn't match the list on Forker 13.
AOR part. ara/ra + CM

Intransitive = -a, transitive = -e, end in V = -j


-ja-CM (matches with addressee)

HORT (encouragement/discouragement)



ani/uni/ni NEG č'oni/ič'oni/inč'oni

Unreal COND (if he would/would have x'd)
PRS/PST part. + ani

Concessive (although x, y; even if x, y)
ani/uni/ni + gi NEG č'oni/ič'oni/inč'oni + gi

Things with Conv (Forker 13, 14)

immediately when PST part. + go
before/until FUT + lde
until/when INF + ?an
when/while Masdar + dal
after/since PST part (no CM) + ldas:a
at the same time Masdar + gun
where/how uqe/qe/owqe
because PRS/PST part. + łuq/łul/łidal

To Be (PRS)

Stem, rudnev CM-uk'
CM-uk'ana PST
CM-uk'ina FUT

Irregular in the present tense.

гуро or heč'o NEG PRS (???)

Other tenses (zhiguli)

past tense:
вукIана, йикIана, букIана, рукIана
вукIина, йикIина, букIина, рукIина


-чӏо PST, but attached to the masdar form. (Rudnev 44)

guro/heč'o are also PRS copula/auxiliary NEG

To Know

Charachidzé and give the infinitive as лъазе, which is /ɬ/ rather than /ʃ/. My transcription, could reasonably be that, based likely on mishearing. I'm not sure what the transcription errors in the ending mean, since there shouldn't be changes based on person. Or what the 2nd person plural is.

şana mūjul

şane guru:I don't know
şana gura:you don't know

To Go

dūn k'aro
mūj k'ala

Little boy also said something like k'ola for I go, dūn k'ola ma'ardi, I am going to the mountain. ma'ar:mountain.

Question Words

(from Zhiguli
the class markers in the words щиб and киб)

щиВ - who?
щиб - what? (sing.)
щал - what? (pl.)
киВ - where? (can be delined in DAT and ABL)
щай - why?
кида - when?
кин - how?
čan how many
ki?an how much
kinaB which
kiBe to where
kisa from where

Question words cause the verbal forms to change: (Zhig.)

Дов кив вугев? Where is he?
Дой кий йигей? Where is she?
Доб киб бугеб? Where is it?
Дол кир ругел? Where are they?

who (m. or f.)

Rudnev 48, verbs of questions should be in participle form


Forker 18

ordinal -abileb


Forker 19
t’ad ‘on, above, up’, ʁortƛʼ ‘down, under’, ask’o-b ‘near, close’, žani-b ‘inside’ (also inter-series), ce-b-e ‘before, in front’, naqa ‘behind, after’, xadu-b ‘behind, after, back’, req’on ‘according to’, and cadaq ‘together with’

Sentence Structures

Word Order

Rudnev, 18
basic: Subj > IO > DO > Verb


Possession is indicated by the possessor in GEN and the verb "to be".


"the standard of comparison in comparative constructions takes the SPR-ablative" (Forker p6), thus -da+sa

The object of a comparison is marked with ELL. wacasdasa jac łik'aj jigo -- sister is better than brother-ELL


kansa vugu?:how are you?
şiksa:I'm good
X k'sa bu ge?:where is X?
şot şe?:how much for the bill? (şot:azeri)
a ha nu:yes
turtsa şe:what's your name? (şe may be 'how'?) Ramil says lit. "whose son are you?" (-sa == -са ABL)
xar şi baat hheekee:whatever

Bibliography - dictionary

Other Notes

лъимер is (n) class
ль is either laternal affricate or lateral fricative, which is not distinguished in writing (Rudnev)

A slow translation of that one Avar video

Ӏ: palochka
йу = ю
йа = я

a capital В equals в/й/р based on noun class of subject.

ВорчӀами: good morning
лъикI щвараВ: welcome home
лъикI ВуссараВ/ЮссараЙ: welcome back
лъикI ВатараВ/ЯтараЙ: "glad to be in good health"
лъикI: good

хІал: state, mood, well-being
Щиб хӀал бугеб?: How do you feel?
бугеб Char. 118, pres. part. of to be
Баркала, квеш гьечIо: Thanks, not bad
квеш:bad, гьечІо:is not (see 6.3 for more declensions of гьечІо )
лъикI руго: It's well
руго - Вуго:to be

Нуж(го) кин ругел?: How are you? (the го is not said in the audio)
Нужго: Нуж:2pl + -го:REFL (d'ipséité), yourself (4.3)
ругел:pretty sure this is the neutral version of бугеб, that is the pres. part.