This weekend, I received my weekly newsletter from Quora, the platform I admire since the day I discovered. Quora is a website where you can ask and reply questions, or unexpectedly find a wise answer to a question that you didn’t even know you have been wondering. In this week’s edition, there was this intriguing sentence which has caught my attention:
What is the most grammatically complex language in the world?
Lara Novakov, an English-speaking Serbian, answered the question so well that several Linguistics academicians and professionals upvoted her answer. Here you can read her opinion on the most gramatically complex language in the world:
Ooooh! A great question. Disclaimer: I’m not a linguist, just someone who is very curious about different languages.
I would say that the Native American languages are notorious for their features and their complex grammar in general – and many would agree with me.
However, look no further from the region located between Europe and Asia – the Caucasus.
This area is home to less known, but very complicated languages such as Abkhaz, Adyghe, Georgian, Laz, Avar, Archi, Chechen etc. Out of this mix, I would surely take Adyghe, Georgian, Archi and Abkhaz as being notoriously hard languages (but not the only ones of course – there are many other languages spoken there that are on the same line with these).
For example, the Archi language spoken by the Archis in Dagestan, Russia is known for having 1,502,839 forms from a single verb root (it is a Lezgic language). Yes, that’s more than a million possible forms, you didn’t read that number wrong. It also makes a distinction between its many, and and a . It is also an (other languages with such feature are Basque which is spoken on the border of Spain and France and the Georgian language located in the neighborhood). It also has the closest number of consonants to the which went extinct in 1992 when the last known speaker of it died.
Archi got its first script to be written in back in 2006. It is a Cyrillic alphabet based on the Avar one.
Archi also inflects nouns for numbers (for 10 regular cases, as well as the 5 locative ones) and has 4 noun classes.
Absolutive (marker: -∅)
Dative (-s, -s)
This is only one of the opinions about the topic. If you want to see more of them, click here.
What about you? Do you agree with Lara? What was the most strange sounding language you have heard? Are you trying to learn a language and you think it’s more complex than others you speak?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.