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By Martin Haspelmath

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The Lezgian national movement Sadwal ("Unity") was founded in 1990. Lezgians living far from Lezgistan are increasingly interested in preserving their national heritage. The territorial division of Lezgistan between Daghestan and Azerbaijan is seen as a big problem by many Lezgians. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991/92, the Lezgians found themselves in two different countries: Russia (of which Daghestan is a part) and Azerbaijan. 4. The ethnonym Lezgian The word Lezgian corresponds to the Lezgian self-designation lezgi 'Lezgian' (Russian lezginskij, lezgin).

In Azerbaijan, the Lezgians live in the Kusarskij, Kubinskij, Xudatskij, KutkaSenskij and Kunaxkentskij rayons. Further geographical details can be found on the map on the following page (adapted from Mejlanova 1964). 3. Some remarks on Lezgian history References to a Daghestanian people Legoi, Lekoi or Geloi can be found in several ancient writers (Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny the Elder). This probably refers to the Daghestanian peoples in general. Arab authors of the 9th and 10th centuries mention a kingdom Lakz in southern Daghestan.

Many words such as the following are exclusively poetic today: (20) Arabic loanwords iasad muTmin riwajat 'body' 'pious' 'story' < jasad < muTmiin < riwaayat (21) Persian loanwords bed bejadalat 'bad' . 'unjust' < bsed < bi-sedalset The strongest influence on Lezgian over the past couple of centuries has been Turkic. The Turkic influence on Daghestanian languages has two sources. On the one hand, the Turkic language Kumyk is spoken in some key areas of Daghestan, including the area of the old Daghestanian capital Temir-Xan-Sura (later renamed Bujnaksk) and the present capital Maxaikala (formerly Port-Petrovsk), and it used to serve as a language of interethnic communication in most of Daghestan (cf.

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