Rare Language Fact File: Archi

Native to: Southern Dagestan, Russia

Number of native speakers:  970

Spoken by:  The Archi people

Learn some: Greeting in Archi is straightforward: warchami is a general way to say hello to anyone, no matter the time of day.

Interesting facts:

  • Archi is so grammatically complex, there are more than 1.5 million possible forms from each verb root (eg in English, there are fewer than ten)!
  • It also has 26 vowel sounds and between 74 and 82 consonants, including a consonant sound that is not heard in any other language on Earth.
  • The Archi live approximately 2,000km above sea level, in the mountains. Their way of life – shepherding and weaving – has persevered and so has their language, despite efforts to force them to use Russian and larger neighbouring languages. They practise a blend of Sunni Islam and more ancient ‘folk’ forms of the religion.

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