Chechen, like Ingush and Bats, belongs to the Vainakh subset of North-East Caucasian languages. The ancient Caucasian languages constitute a branch of their own in the human language tree and are not related to the Semitic, Turkic or Indo-Germanic languages. The Caucasus was known to the Ancients as the mount of tongues. At least 46 languages are spoken here, making it one of the most ethnically differentiated regions in the world. Many of the peoples who have preserved their language and traditions for millennia are extremely small in size. The Caucasian linguistic family embraces the North-West Caucasian languages Abkhaz, Adyghian, Circassian and Kabardian, the North-East Caucasian languages Ingush, Chechen, Avar, Andi, Lakk, Dargwa, Lezgi and others spoken in Dagestan, and the South Caucasian languages encountered in Georgia: Svan, Mingrelian, Laz and other Kartvelian tongues. Scholars assume that the Caucasian languages are inter-related, but the evidence to prove this theory is still insufficient.

The Chechens are, nevertheless, closely related to the Ingush who live in the neighbouring republic. And also to the Bats, who moved on to the more fertile valleys of Georgia in the 16th century and became Christians. They have kept their language. The Kists, who speak an unusual Chechen dialect, migrated to the Pankissi Valley in Georgia in the first half of the 19th century. They remained Sunni Moslems.

The Chechens do not have their own alphabet like the Armenians and Georgians. After Islam was established they used Arabic script, as old gravestones testify. In the mid-1920s Latin letters were introduced, but none of these adapted systems really asserted itself. In the mid-1940s Latin was replaced by Cyrillic, which is still written in Chechnya today, although since independence there have been efforts to return to the Latin or Arabic script. The two reforms of the Soviet alphabet were successful repression mechanisms: in each case all books printed in the old script were destroyed, sapping the cultural heritage of the people.

» Chechen Alphabet
» Chechen Language Lessons: Numbers
» Chechen Language Lessons: Days, Months and Seasons
» Chechen Language Lessons: Time Phrases
» Chechen Language Lessons: Daily Speeches (Part.1)
» Chechen Language Lessons: Daily Speeches (Part.2)
» Chechen Language Lesson; Meet – Dialogue
» Fairy Tales in Chechen Language (Mp3)
» Chechen Fairy Tale: Tamashiiyn Olkhazar (Video)