Adyghe language (адыгэбзэ, adygebze, adəgăbză) is one of the two official languages of the Republic of Adygea in the Russian Federation, the other being Russian. It is spoken by various tribes of the Adyghe nation: Abzekh, Adamey, Bzhedugh; Hatukuay, Kemirgoy, Makhosh; Natekuay, Shapsigh; Zhane, Yegerikuay, each with its own dialect. The language referred to by its speakers as Adygebze or Adəgăbză, and alternatively spelled in English as Adygean, Adygeyan or Adygei. It is also known as Circassian.
There are apparently around 125,000 speakers of the language on the native territory in Russia, almost all of them are mother-tongue speakers. In the whole world, some 300,000 speak the language. The largest Adyghe-speaking community is in Turkey, spoken by the post Russo-Caucasian war diaspora.
Adyghe belongs to the family of Northwest Caucasian languages. Kabardian is a very close relative, treated by some as a dialect of Adyghe or of an overarching Circassian language. The Ubykh, Abkhaz, and Abaza languages are also close relatives thereof.
The language was standardized after the October Revolution. Since 1938, Adyghe has used the Cyrillic alphabet. Before that, an Arabic-based alphabet was used together with the Latin.
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