- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
98

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
98
The figures given show only the approximate dis
tribution. The peoples named speak wholly differing
tongues, but each really represents a group of tribes
often speaking such different dialects that they
can hardly understand one another. According to
Samursky there are thirty-two different languages
and dialects in Daghestan. The Lesghian peoples
make up the mountain tribes in Daghestan proper.
The Turkish- (Tatar-) speaking Kumyks dwell on
the very edge of the north-east slopes of the
mountainSj and on the flat land along the Caspian,
from the river Rubas, south of Derbent, to north
of Petrovsk towards the river Sulak. On the flat
land farther north dwell the Turkish Nogaians, and
in between along the Terek are Terek Cossacks.
The multitude of tongues gives rise, of course, to
many difficulties. Five chief ones are usually named
besides Russian. They are: Turkish, Kumykian,
Lakian (Kasimukhian), Daghinian, and Avarian.
The school instruction is in the first two years given
in the mother-tongue, but after this the children
have to learn Turski-Kumykian or Russian. In the
higher school, after three years Russian is com
pulsory, and also Kumykian. But both Russian and
Turski-Kumykian are far removed from the other
languages spoken in the land, besides which,
Russian is hated by the people because of the
Tsarist governmenfs ruthless policy and russi
fication. There is, moreover, the opposition of the
Mohammedan clergy to the giaour tongues. There
are now published a Russian, a Kumyk, a Lakian,
and an Avar newspaper. The official language in

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