Bats (also Batsi, Batsbi, Batsb, Batsaw, Tsova-Tush) is the endangered language of the Bats people, a North Caucasian minority group and is part of the Nakh family of Northeast Caucasian languages. It had 2,500 to 3,000 speakers in 1975.
|Native to||North Caucasus|
|Region||Zemo-Alvani in Kakheti|
far fewer than 3,000 active (2007)
There is only one dialect. It exists only as a spoken language, as Bats people use Georgian as their written language. The language is not mutually intelligible with either Chechen or Ingush, the other two members of the Nakh family.
Tusheti, the northeastern mountainous region of Georgia, is home to four tribes that consider themselves Tushetians: the Batsbi - also known as Tsovatush; the Gometsari; the Piriqiti; and the Chagma-Tush. Tsovatush people make up 50% of Tushetians. As of today only several hundred Tsovatush people speak Batsbur Mott' – (Bats language), whereas the other tribes (Gometsari, Piriqiti and Chagma-Tush) have lost the language. Evidence from toponymics indicates that the other three Tushetian tribes formerly spoke Bats, suggesting that all Tushetians once did and over time the Georgian language replaced Bats.
Here are a few examples of the Bats language as spoken by the Gometsari, Piriqiti and Chagma-Tush tribes:
Omalo – name of a village. Bats, "Won't give up." O-(it) ma-(not) lo-(given or given up).
Tcokalta – name of a village. Bats, "fox mountain". Tcokal - (Fox) ta- (Mountain).
Maqalati – during festivals the term is used to describe people (with wooden swords) serving the guests - they are the hosts and peacekeepers. "Standing above" in Bats, like an overseer/peacekeeper. Maqa – above or over latt – stand.
Dalaoba – Dalla – Bats, God.
Qokebi – Qoki – Bats, foot, foot wear".
The Bats language helps shed light to the history of the Tushetian mountains. The mountainous terrain preserved the culture and traditions of Tushetians, but the history of isolation makes it more difficult to document them as only a few records exist.
Bats has a typical triangular five-vowel system with short–long contrast (except for u, which has no long form). Bats also has a number of diphthongs, ei, ui, oi, ai, ou, and au. All vowels and diphthongs have nasalized allophones that are the result of phonetic and morphophonemic processes; this is represented by a superscript n, as in kʼnateⁿ boy-GEN.
|Mid||e [ɛ], eː||o, oː|
Bats has a relatively typical consonant inventory for a Northeast Caucasian language. Unlike its close relatives, Chechen and Ingush, Bats has retained the lateral fricative /ɬ/. Also notable is the presence of two geminate ejectives, tːʼ and qːʼ, which are cross-linguistically rare.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2012)
The first grammar of Bats – Über die Thusch-Sprache – was compiled by the German orientalist Anton Schiefner (1817–1879) making it into the first grammar of an indigenous Caucasian languages based on sound scientific principles.
Traditional analyses posit that Bats has eight noun classes, the highest number among the Northeast Caucasian languages—however, a more-recent analysis gives only five classes. This analysis (not unlike analyses of Lak) yields the grouping shown below:
|M||v||b||male humans||mar "husband" |
|F||j||d||female humans||nan "mother" |
|D||d||d||various||bader "child" |
|Bd||b||d||animals||carkʼ "tooth" |
|J||j||j||various||pħu "dog" |
|*Bd/J||b||j||body parts (15 nouns)||bak "fist" |
|*D/J||d||j||body parts (4 nouns)||batʼr "lip", larkʼ "ear" |
tʼotʼ "hand", čʼamaǧ "cheek"
|*B/B||b||b||only 3 nouns||borag "knit slipper" |
kakam "autumn wool"
Under this analysis, the additional three classes are examples of inquorate gender, where the number of items displaying this behavior are insufficient to constitute an independent grouping. Furthermore, they can be explained as inflecting one class in the singular, and another in the plural, e.g. the B/B group agrees as if it belonged to the Bd class in the singular but the male human class in the plural.
Like most of its relatives, Bats' numerals are vigesimal, using 20 as a common base. This is mainly evident in the construction of higher decads, so that 40 šauztʼqʼ formed from 2 × 20 and 200 icʼatʼqʼ is 10 × 20. When modifying nominals, the numeral precedes the noun it modifies.
In Bats, as in its closest relatives Chechen and Ingush, the number Dʕivʔ "four" actually begins with a noun-class marker, represented by D (by default, or another capital for the other classes). This marker will agree in class with the class of the nominal which the number modifies, even if that nominal is not overtly expressed and is only apparent through pragmatic or discursive context, as in Vʕivʔev "four (males)". This is seen in the word "four" itself as well as its derivatives.
Bats has explicit inflections for agentivity of a verb; it makes a distinction between as woʒe I fell down (i.e. through no fault of my own) and so woʒe I fell down (i.e. and it was my own fault).
- "UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in danger". www.unesco.org. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
- "Batsbi alphabet, pronunciation and language". Omniglot.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
- HG1994[full citation needed]
- Hauk, Bryn; Hakim, Jacob (Summer 2019). "Acoustic properties of singleton and geminate ejectives in Tsova-Tush" (PDF). ICPhS 2019 Conference Proceedings.
- Holisky, Dee Ann and Gagua, Rusudan, 1994. "Tsova-Tush (Batsbi)", in The indigenous languages of the Caucasus Vol 4, Rieks Smeets, editor. Caravan Books, pp. 147-212
- Kevin Tuite (2007). The rise and fall and revival of the Ibero-Caucasian hypothesis, pp. 7-8. Historiographia Linguistica, 35 #1.