Atlas of Rutul dialects

This website presents the results of a dialectological survey of twelve Rutul villages located in the Rutulsky district and Akhtynsky district of the Republic of Daghestan, Russian Federation. These settlements are Amsar, Dzhilikhur, Ikhrek, Kala, Khnov, Kiche, Kina, Kufa, Luchek, Myukhrek, Rutul, Shinaz.

The Rutul language (ISO 639–3 rut; glottocode rutu1240) belongs to the Lezgiс branch of the Nakh-Daghestanian (East Caucasian) language family. The majority of speakers (approximately 33 000, according to the latest census of 2020) live in Daghestan.

The dialectological survey was carried out in July 2022 by a group of linguists from HSE University. Speakers of various Rutul dialects were interviewed using the same questionnaire compiled by the research team. The questionnaire was partly based on the existing descriptions (Ibragimov 2004, 1978; Alekseyev 2016, 1994; Alisultanov, Sulejmanova 2019; Ismailova 2011; Islamov 2014; Alisultanov, Islamov 2022; Maxmudova 2002; Ibragimova 2009; Authier n.d.-b, n.d.-a; Dirr 1912; Džamalov 2006) of the varieties of Rutul. Nevertheless, in addition to documentation and quantitative assessment of the established parameters of dialectal variation, we also aimed at identifying new, previously unreported regional variants.

For each phenomenon selected for the comparison, several Russian stimuli were compiled. Translations of these sentences by two, three, or four speakers in each of the villages in the survey were recorded and transcribed. We are investigating dialectal differences at all levels of language structure, including lexicon, phonetics, morphology, and syntax.

Our aim was a systematic mapping of dialectal variation of Rutul in a set of pre-selected parameters. As expected, in many cases, variation in the realization of a phenomenon was attested. The variation could be observed not only between villages, but also between villagers (different speakers from the same village) and also at the intra-speaker level (in the data recorded from an individual speaker). Such cases are reflected on the map as circles containing sectors of different colors. The relative frequency of variations is not reflected on the maps.

Reporting dialectal differences in the Atlas is based exclusively on the data obtained in our elicitations. Therefore, it is possible that a certain feature value is absent from our data for a village while it has been reported for the same village in the literature. In other words, the Atlas is only a partial reflection of the dialectal diversity of Rutul.


The authors of the project express their deep gratitude to the residents of Rutul villages for their hospitality and willingness to translate, explain, and help.

How to cite

A. Alekseeva, N. Beklemishev, M. Daniel, N. Dobrushina, K. Filatov, A. Ivanova, T. Maisak, M. Melenchenko, G. Moroz, I. Netkachev, I. Sadakov. Atlas of Rutul dialects. Moscow: Linguistic Convergence Laboratory, HSE University.

Financial support

This project supported by the Linguistic Convergence Laboratory. This work is an output of a research project implemented as part of the Basic Research Program at the HSE University.


Alekseyev, M. (1994). Rutul. In R. Smeets (Ed.), The North East Caucasian Languages (pp. 213–258). Delmar, NY: Caravan Press.
Alekseyev, M. (2016). Rutul. In P. O. Müller, I. Ohnheiser, S. Olsen, F. Rainer (Eds.), An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe (pp. 3536–3545). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Alisultanov, A. S., Islamov, R. (2022). Xnovskij (xinanaad) govor rutulʹskogo jazyka [khnov (khinanaad) lect of rutul]. Maxačkala: Alef.
Alisultanov, A. S., Sulejmanova, T. A. (2019). Russko-rutulʹskij slovarʹ [russian-rutul dictionary]. Maxačkala: Alef.
Authier, G. (n.d.-a). Ikhrek Rutul.
Authier, G. (n.d.-b). Mukhad Rutul.
Dirr, A. (1912). Rutulʹskij jazyk (sbornik materialov dlja opisanija mestnostej i plemen kavkaza XLII) [rutul language (collection of materials for description of areas and tribes of the caucasus XLII)]. Tiflis.
Džamalov, K. È. (2006). Rutulʹsko-russkij slovarʹ (ixrekskij dialekt) [rutul-russian dictionary (ikhrek dialect)]. Moscow: Èkon-Inform.
Ibragimov, G. (1978). Rutulʹskij jazyk [rutul language]. Moscow: Nauka.
Ibragimov, G. (2004). Rutulʹskij jazyk. Sinxronija i diaxronija [rutul language. Synchrony and diachrony]. Maxačkala: Narody Dagestana.
Ibragimova, L. (2009). Mjuxrekskij dialekt rutulʹskogo jazyka [myukhrek dialect of rutul] (PhD thesis). Dagestanskij gosudarstvennyj pedagogičeskij universitet, Maxačkala.
Islamov, R. (2014). Xnovskij govor borčinsko-xnovskogo dialekta rutulʹskogo jazyka: Fonetika, morfologija, leksika [khnov variety of the borch-khnov dialect of rutul: Phonetics, morphology, lexicon] (PhD thesis). Dagestanskij gosudarstvennyj universitet, Maxačkala.
Ismailova, È. I. (2011). Russko-rutulʹskij slovarʹ [russian-rutul dictionary]. Maxačkala: IJaLI DNC RAN.
Maxmudova, S. (2002). Grammatičeskie klassy slov i grammatičeskie kategorii rutulʹskogo jazyka [grammatical word classes and grammatical categories of rutul]. Moscow: Sovetskij pisatel´.