Brief Information

Godoberi is spoken on the territory of the Dagestan Republic – in the mountainous villages of the Botlikh District, as well as in the resettlement villages of the Khasavyurt, Tarumov and Kizlyar Districts, in the capital and other cities of the Dagestan Republic.

Traditional settlement is compact in mountainous areas.

According to the 1989 census, the Godoberi people are not recorded and are officially registered as Avars. Accoring to the 2002 census, there were recorded only 39 Godoberi people. The population of the Godoberi people based on the 2010 census is 427 people. According to the experts’ estimates by January 2020, the total number of the Godoberi people in Russia is about 8,500 people.

Godoberi has no dialect divisions; however, there are two local varieties: Godoberi Proper and Zibirkhali with some minor phonetic and lexical differences.

The main Russian endonym of the Godoberi people is godoberintsy. The Godoberi people do not have a general self-designation and call themselves by the names of localities: гъибдиди «the Godoberi people» и шалади «the Zibirkhali people».

The Godoberi people are Sunni Muslims.


Godoberi is one of the Andic languages of the Nakh-Daghestanian language family. Two local varieties are distinguished: Godoberi Proper and Zibirkhali.


Godoberi is spoken on the territory of the Republic of Dagestan.

Dialects and their distribution

Language contacts and multilingualism

The Godoberi people are in close contact with speakers of the following languages: Avar, Russian, Chechen, Chamalal, and Botlikh.

Most of the Godoberi people speak Avar, which is the regional lingua-franca in the Andic and Tsezic areas. The level of the Avar proficiency amongst the Godoberis is high.

All Godoberis are fluent in Russian, which is the language of inter-ethnic communication in Dagestan.

There is a small number of the Godoberi people who speak Botlikh and Chechen.

Traditionally, Godoberi speakers were bilingual (Godoberi-Avar), and nowadays they are trilingual (Godoberi-Avar-Russian). A few speakers know Botlikh, Chamalal, and Chechen languages.

Language functioning

Godoberi has no official status. The Constitution of the Republic of Dagestan defines Godoberi as one of the non-written languages of peoples of Dagestan.

Godoberi does not have an officially established writing system. Avar and Russian are generally used as written languages.                  

Godoberi does not have a literary variety. Godoberi people of different dialects speak their own dialects with each other.

Dynamics of language usage

Godoberi remains the primary means of communication among the Godoberi people, although some of them consider themselves Avars. Language proficiency of Avar among the Godoberi people is decreasing in favor of Russian. Nowadays due to exposure to Russian television, radio, press, internet, the Godoberi people are fluent in Russian.

The level of Godoberi proficiency is relatively high in rural areas and in compact settlements in the lowland. In rural areas, the intergenerational language transmission is still strong, even to children. However, in urban areas, language transmission to children is gradually being interrupted.

Language structure


The language has 61 phonemes – 15 vowels and 46 consonants.

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Godoberi morphology is agglutinative, with some elements of fusion.

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Godoberi is classified as the language with ergative alignment. The basic word order is SOV, but in general the word order is free.

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The main sources of loanwords are Avar, Arabic, Persian, Russian, and Turkic.

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Исследование языка

The first remarks on Godoberi is by Güldenstädt, who visited the Caucasus in 1770-1773. Some brief materials, cases, and commentaries on Godoberi are provided by R. Erkert in the book “Caucasian languages” (1895). Godoberi morphology and vocabulary is described by Dirr, in his work "Materials for the study of languages and dialect groups of the Ando-Dido group” (1909).

An important publication is by Gudava “The Godoberi language” (1967). “A grammar of Godoberi” by Kibrik et.al (1996) with texts and vocabulary describes phonology, morphology, and syntax.  

“The Godoberi language” (1973) by Saidova P. A. is a sketch which describes the phonetic and morphological system of the language. The Godoberi-Russian dictionary by Saidova  (2006) contains materials from both the Zibirkhali and the Godoberi Proper varieties.

Language experts

Radzhab M. Sirazhudinov

Author of articles on phonetics, morphology, word formation, and lexicology of the Godoberi language. Author of the monograph "Comparative analysis of adjectives in the Avar-Andic languages" (2015). Radzhab Sirazhudinov wrote a trilingual Russian-Avar-Godoberi terminological phrasebook.

Sergey G.Tatevosov

Author of multiple studies on the syntax of Godoberi.

Research centres

Dagestan State University

Radzhab Sirazhudinov, an employee of the Department of Daghestanian Languages, studies Godoberi.

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Philology

Sergey Tatevosov, an employee of the Faculty of Philology, studies Godoberi.

Core references

Grammatical descriptions: grammars, sketches

Gudava T.E. Godoberinskiy yazyk [The Godoberi language] // Languages of the peoples of the Soviet Union. Vol. 4: Iberiysko-kavkazskie yazyki. M., 1967. Pp. 307 – 321.

Saidova P.A. Godoberinskiy yazyk (Fonetika, morfologiya) [The Godoberi language (phonetics, morphology)]. Makhachkala, 1973.

Kibrik, A. 1996. Godoberi. Newcastle, UK: Lincom Europa.


Saidova P. A. Godoberinsko-russkiy slovar' [The Godoberi-Russian dictionary]. Makhachkala, 2006.

Selected papers on grammatical issues

Sirazhudinov R.M. 2015. Osobennosti osvoeniya russkikh zaimstvovaniy v godoberinskom yazyke [Pecularities of mastering Russian loanwords in the Godoberi language]. // Filologicheskie nauki. Voprosy teorii i praktiki. № 8-3 (50). Pp. 178-181.

Sirazhudinov R.M. 2018. Frazeologizmy godoberinskogo yazyka, vyrazhayushchie obraz cheloveka [Phraseologisms of the Godoberi language, expressing the person’s image]. // Mir nauki, kul'tury, obrazovaniya. № 4 (71). Pp. 543-544.


Работы по социолингвистике

Alimova B. M., Magomedov D. M. Godoberintsy [The Godoberis] // Narody Dagestana / Otv. red. S. A. Arutyunov, A. I. Osmanov, G. A. Sergeeva. — M.: «Nauka», 2002. — Pp. 191.


Corpora and text collections

There is no available electronic Godoberi corpora.

Corpora and text collections

Other electronic resources

Intercontinental Dictionary Series (IDS) project contains 1514 Godoberi words.

Data for this page kindly provided by

Radzhab Magomedgazievich Sirazhudinov (Dagestan State University, Faculty of Philology)



Saidova P. A., “The Godoberi-Russian dictionary”. Makhachkala, 2006.

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