Part 4.Ethnocultural development of the North-East Caucasus and noun classes of the East-Caucasian languages

The fact that noun division into «classes» in the East-Caucasian languages is generally based on the comprehension of the matter [who?] and the matter is conditioned by reality of cultural development supposes that formation of the systems of noun classes, which has been reconstructed according to the indexes of modern state should have confirmations in the results of archaeological research of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus. Therefore, the periods of formation of noun class systems in the East-Caucasian languages should correspond to the stages of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus. This correspondence gives the following opportunities:

 to determine the time and the grounds of origin of the grammatical category of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages and the following changes in its systems;
 to determine the chronological periods of the existence of its systems;
 to give the general notion of origin of ethnolinguistic variety in the North-East Caucasus and interrelation of the East-Caucasian languages.

All this gives enough grounds to determine our task as studying ethnogenesis of the native population of the North-East Caucasus, interrelation of the East-Caucasian languages and their relations with the languages of other groups of the Caucasian languages and their place among other language families.

 Russian and European scientists' interest in the new-opened languages and culture of mountainous people of the Caucasus was caused by several reasons: firstly, by the necessity to determine the place of dead languages of Front Asia and numerous languages of the Caucasus among the known language families; secondly, according to P.K.Uslar's words by expectations that «Caucasian presents» would solve theoretical problems of Indo-European linguistics; and thirdly, by the desire to explain how so many tribes speaking different languages could inhabit the Caucasian mountains though this phenomenon was not unique. There are other multilanguage regions in the world. But they are usually located in hard to reach mountainous and forest places. The interest and attention to the Caucasian multilingualism was caused by poor contents and legendary character of antique reports about the population of the region surrounded by ancient civilizations and situated close to Greek colonies on the Black sea coast of the Caucasus. By the end of the XIX century had taken root the idea that the Caucasus was populated late and most of the population living here migrated from other regions. They are either remains of transitive peoples who stayed here, or the peoples who were driven in here by aggressive neighbours. N.Marr transferred this idea into «Japhetic theory» according to which the Japhetic people emigrated to the Caucasus from Mesopotamia. In order to prove the migration theory of origin of the Caucasian people and languages the researchers found «genetic» connections of the Caucasian languages with Indo-European, Semitic, dead languages of Front Asia, Urartic, Bak and others. Thanks to them «Caucasian linguistics have got unenviable reputation of the sphere which has a number of groundless (sometimes quite fantastic) genetic constructions»... which «were mainly suggested by the researchers who either did not master the Caucasian languages or the methods of comparative research, or knew neither of them. The weakest point of all the mentioned works is that the authors did not thoroughly study the corresponding special literature, did not exactly write down the actual material, freely broke up the lexemes, incorrectly reconstructed the archetypes and sometimes used the material which was not original for the Caucasian languages, etc.» [Klimov, 1986, p. 12, 14].

The genealogical classification of the languages spoken in the Caucasus gives opportunity to divide them into two groups: the languages belonging to the families known to linguistics and those which belong to none of them — the so called «Caucasian languages». According to the similarity «the Caucasian languages» are classified into three groups1: South-Caucasian (Kartvelian), West-Caucasian (Abkhaz-Adyg) and East-Caucasian (Nakh-Dagestan). The last group included the Caucasian languages not presented in the first two groups and they were divided into subgroups. The languages were qualified as genetically relative according to the following aspects: certain structural and material similarities in them; historic evidences of relative autochthony of their speakers in the Caucasus; recognition that in the epoch of Early Bronze in the Caucasus there was common archaeological culture which reflected its language unity [Krupnov, 1964].

The relationship of the languages within these groups it is not proved scientifically but it does not cause any dispute. But the researchers differ in their views on the relationship of the languages of South-Caucasian (Kartvelian), West-Caucasian (Abkhaz-Adyg) and East-Caucasian (Nakh-Dagestan) groups among themselves. Some of them believe that the Caucasian (Iberian-Caucasian) languages present one language family and the matter is only to give concrete expression to the thesis of genetic relationship of its members, and, therefore, the language problems of any of the three groups cannot be solved without taking into consideration the data of the other groups. Other researchers consider that declaration of genetic relationship of the Kartvelian, Abkhaz-Adyg and Nakh-Dagestan languages is premature, as their intergroup relationship is not proved. That is why each group of the Caucasian languages should be examined as a separate language group and «comparative analysis and reconstruction of pre-language conditions of each of these Caucasian language groups should be held with strict observance of the principle of autonomy of these groups and considering inner regularity of their development and without orientation to the data of the history of one language group while researching the other one and vice versa» [Gamkrelidze 1971, p. 29].

For rather long period of existence of discussions about intergroup relationship of the Caucasian languages the supporters of their genetic relationship did not manage to base their arguments on facts. Moreover, the ideas on which the opinion of genetic relationship was based have lost their proving strength, as general Caucasian structural and material parallelisms are being interpreted due to typological and area interrelations, and the data of the study of the ancient history of the Caucasus testify the independence of development of its ethnocultural regions even in Stone Age and the lack of genetic connections between them for historically surveyed time.

Thankful to success of the complex research of the most ancient early agricultural society in the Caucasus that was held in the 60s of the XX century the North-East Caucasus appeared to be an independent historic and ethnographical region and its historic and ethnographical unity can be traced from the antiquity: since forming of non-nomadic agricultural structure of economy here (VII — VI millenniums BC). It was a powerful break into the ancient history of the North-East Caucasus performed by the well-known Dagestan archaeologist Magomed Gadzhievich Gadzhiev who after studying the enormous material remains from all main Dagestan regions which he had got mostly by his own long excavations could suggest «complete and innovatory conception of cultural development of the population of the North-East Caucasus on the stage of cardinal changes of primitive state» [Amirkhanov, 1992, p.3] and raise Dagestan History to the quite new level and perceive the North-East Caucasus as one of independent centres of formation and development of the most ancient in the Caucasus early agricultural society and as the region which cultural, historic and ethnocultural development has persistently gone for ten millenniums keeping its originality during the whole period from Mesolithic Age up to present days.

 To represent the correspondence of historic periods of formation of noun class systems in the East-Caucasian languages and periods of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus we should first give the summary of the complex archaeological research of the North-East Caucasus on which we base2.

The origin and formation of early agricultural societies had polycentristic character. These societies trace to different cultural complexes of Stone Age. Their similar features were caused by common regularities of their development, similarity of natural conditions and direct contacts of the speakers, which except the possibility to trace them to one common protoculture and exclude any genetic connection between them.

The powerful ethnocultural substratum which appeared in the mountainous part of the North-East Caucasus at the beginning of formation of settled agricultural way of life here has preserved its ethnocultural peculiarity for the whole period of time — from Stone Age till modern ethnographic reality. Independent archeological cultures that changed one another preserved their succession here and they differed from synchronous cultures of contiguous regions.  

Chokh culture was the basis of Aeneolithic  Age of mountainous Dagestan as a specific archeological complex, and its speakers were the ancestors of Aeneolithic tribes of the North-East Caucasus.

Early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus of Early Bronze Age was a local variant of extensive Kuro-Arak cultural community which included the territories of the Central and the East Transcaucasus, North-West Iran, East Anatolia and the East Mediterranean.

Cultural and historic development of the regions of the Caucasus has differed since hoary antiquity. Researchers note that in the Caucasus there were separate Moustier complexes even in Early Paleolithic. In Late Paleolithic and in Mesolithic appeared the following archaeological cultures: Gub — in the North-West Caucasus, Chokh — in the North-East Caucasus and Imeretin — in the East Transcaucasus. Later ethnocultural regions of the Caucasus became more stable. The Neolithic of the West Caucasus differed from early agricultural Neolithic of the North-East Caucasus. And Central, West and North-East Caucasian early agricultural Neolithic societies represent rather peculiar local phenomena. The culture of Early Bronze Age of the North-East Caucasus was rather distinguished local variant of wide Kuro-Arak cultural community in which many ancient traditions that trace to the local Aneolithic and Neolithic Age were preserved and got further development in different ways. Cultural peculiarity of the North-East Caucasus remained in Middle and Late Bronze Age, at the beginning of Iron Age and even in Early Middle Ages. There were no genetic connections between the cultures of the North-East Caucasus and of other ethnocultural regions of the Caucasus but at all times between them there have been close cultural and economic relations usual for neighbouring regions.

 During Mangishlak regression of the Caspian sea (VIII — VII millenniums BC) the tribes of gatherers and hunters whose culture was close to the Mesolithic culture of the South Caspian settled the mountainous part of the North-East Caucasus and they inhabited this land for two thousand years. In the VII —  VI millenniums BC there was a gradual transition from appropriated form of economy to productive one. And in the mountainous part of the North-East Caucasus appeared the most ancient in the Caucasus early agricultural society. The process of formation here of productive economy can be described by the most ancient in the Caucasus agricultural settlement that gave its name to the archaeological culture of mountainous Dagestan of Mesolithic and Neolithic. This settlement is the only monument in the Caucasus and Dagestan that reflects the process of formation of the Neolithic culture with productive economy, which was founded on the local Mesolithic basis. Kh.Amirkhanov distinguishes three layers in this settlement. The first two layers refer to Mesolithic and correspond to Mangishlak regression of the Caspian. The third layer refers to Neolithic and corresponds to new Caspian transgression (VI millennium BC). During the Mesolithic period Chokh culture developed rather quietly without any remarkable innovations. Traditional forms of appropriated economy satisfied food necessity of the people. In the VII — VI millenniums BC the pace of cultural and historic development of the population of mountainous Dagestan changed sharply.

In upper Neolithic layer of Chokh settlement there are a number of features which testify the beginning of transition from appropriated form of economy to productive one and establishment of settled way of life in mountainous Dagestan, e.g. artificial dwellings, ceramics, agricultural tools, cultivated cereals, cultivated sheep (perhaps, also goat) etc., and due to these facts the number of population increased and intensive demographic processes took place. «The conception of the new types of economy in Neolithic of mountainous Dagestan led to the beginning of the new epoch — the epoch of productive economy and cardinal change of the economy of the local community and its culture» [Gadzhiev, 1998, p.99].

During Aeneolithic period (V — IV millenniums BC) early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus developed on the base of the economic and cultural achievements of the previous Neolithic period. Agriculture and cattle breeding were the basis of the economy. The share of hunting in providing the population with meat was gradually reducing. Metal mastering caused radical changes in technique, technology, economy and finally in social relations in the ancient societies. The development was closely connected with the cultures of neighbouring regions of the Caucasus, Front Asia and South-East Europe. New territories were developed and the density of population increased. At that time rapidly developed the manufactures which were to meet the demands of the population in different spheres of life and culture: building, ceramics, metalworking, weaving, remaking agricultural and cattle breeding products, tools were being improved. The development of branches of economy and production created conditions for accumulation of surplus products, and in its turn for property and social differentiation of the society. Ornamental art and paintings on rocks show that spiritual life of the population became various.

In Neolithic and Aeneolithic (VI — IV millenniums BC) there formed the North-East Caucasian Community.

The Aeneolithic period of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus «is characterized by the raising of the economy of productive type and it was the time of the greatest prosperity of primitive-communal system. However, the progress of the new type of economy already concealed a threat to the society. This progress was especially bright during the next period of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus and its main features were intensification of the most important branches of productive economy, especially agriculture, conversion of home productions into crafts, active process of decay of primitive-communal system and formation of early civilization» [Gadzhiev, 1998, p.100].

In the period of Early Bronze (the second half of the IV — III millenniums BC) traditions of Aneolithic and Neolithic got further development here. Building, architecture, pottery, agricultural and cattle breeding economy show that the bearers of the culture of the North-East Caucasus in Early Bronze were the direct successors of their Aneolithic ancestors.

In early Bronze economical cultivation and peopling of nearly all natural geographical zones of the North-East Caucasus continued. Mountain slopes and tops were intensively populated. The density of population in the mountainous valleys increased. Seaside lowland was settled and in the period of Izberbash regression of the Caspian (3300 — 1800 BC) that was the longest in postglacial epoch there formed the most optimum conditions for agricultural cultivation of these lands. Agriculture developed very intensively. The increase of population and its density made it necessary to cultivate mountain slopes and this fact unites Dadestan with other world centres of terrace agriculture. The use of plough and draft animals gave opportunities to enlarge acreage under crop that led to the growth of grain stock. The main feature now was the care for grain storage. The specific gravity of cattle breeding in providing the population with meat increased and the share of large animals in it grew. Stationary form of cattle keeping developed side by side with shepherd and kept off ones.

House building and different productions made progress and turned into special trades. In seaside Dagestan burnt brick was used in house building. Such early use of this building material is known only in early town civilizations of the Ancient East (Shumer civilization in Mesopotamia, Kharrap civilization in India). Production and treatment of metal reached high professional level. Jewellery and art crafts developed. Pottery reached a high level. Potter's wheel was used here. It is known that potter’s wheel appeared and was used in the societies, which reached the threshold of civilization. Crafts supposed the commodity production. There developed change and trade. It led to accumulation of regular surplus products, to property and social differentiation of the society. And in the sphere of spiritual culture the bright feature of the early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus in early Bronze was the spreading of different cults and appearance of the supreme deity that personified fertility.

Early Bronze period in the development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus corresponds to archaeological complexes of Kuro-Arak culture of the Transcaucasus, Maikop culture of the North Caucasus and reflects the level of early agricultural development of the Middle East represented by such complexes as late Ubeid, early Uruk, Gisar I — III in Iran etc. which were at the threshold of early town civilization.

Conception and primary development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus are characterized by the same common regularities as in other ancient centres of the Caucasus and Front Asia where on the basis of the local traditions developed settled farming cultures of the so-called Front Asian type. The development of Neolithic revolution on the Front Asian model usually led to forming early class society of Early-East type. One might expect that Neolithic revolution in the North-East Caucasus would also lead to forming here early class society. But the process of development of Neolithic revolution on the Front Asian model in the North-East Caucasus is not supposed to receive the natural end3.

Progressive development of early agricultural society which took place in the Northeast Caucasus for more than three thousand years and preserved succession in each historic period (Neolithic, Aeneolithic, Early Bronze Age) was broken at the end of Early Bronze Age. At that time highly developed culture of Early Bronze Age declined: the pace of economic development went down, trades fell into decay, there were distinct features of depression, decline and regress. Cultural unity of the region broke up. And the society that rapidly developed for more than three thousand years turned out to be thrown far back in its development. At first it took place in the North of the region and later in the South. So the North-East Caucasus turned into an ethnically bright region (fig. 1). 










Fig. 1. «…Archeological cultures and monument groups of the North-East Caucasus of Middle Bronze Age

1— settlements, 2 — burials, 3 — tumuli, 4 — separate finds, 5 — Sulak group, 6 — Ginchin culture, 7 — Manas group, 8 — Velikent culture» [Gadzhiev, 1991, p. 237].

Archeological cultures of Middle Bronze Age [Ginchin culture (the last quarter of the III — the first half of the II millennium BC) in the mountainous part of East Chechen and Dagestan; Velikent culture in the central part of seaside Dagestan; Sulak culture in the middle Sulak between steppes and mountains] in comparison with Early Bronze Age were the societies with other cultural traditions and connections and with lower level of economic and cultural development. At the same time according to the archeological data of the second half of the III millennium BC «radical breaking of traditions of material culture in the tribes of the North-East Caucasus was not accompanied by the change of local population, there was only the process of differentiation inside ethnic community that was formerly united» [Magomedov 1998, p. 183].

The main reason of decline of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus is considered to be ecological and cultural and historic situation, which formed here because of drying up of the climate during the Izberbash regression of the Caspian (3300 — 1800 BC): limited opportunities of not irrigation agriculture and pressure, which mobile cattle breeding tribes from South-East Europe that was set in motion by drying up of the climate, put on the settled agricultural centres of the Caucasus.

«At the end of the III millennium BC in the North-East Caucasus the break-up of the local variant of Kuro-Arak culture of Early Bronze Age caused formation of the new extensive archaeological structure that can be called East Caucasian metacultural community. Besides Sulak, Manas and Veliken monument groups this community included Ginchin archaeological culture, which united nearly 60 known at present days monuments, burials, points of accidental finds situated in mountainous Dagestan (in the Koisu river basins — the inflows of the river Sulak) and in South-East Chechen. Ginchin culture was genetically based mainly on the Kuro-Arak one. But archaeological cultures of contiguous regions, especially Alazan-Beden culture of East Georgia, also influenced the formation of Ginchin culture.

In the development of Ginchin culture there were two consecutive phases: the first (early) phase lasted in the XXIII–XVIII centuries BC, and the second (late) phase — the XVII — XV centuries BC. According to archaeological division of the Bronze Age into periods in the North-East Caucasus the first phase of Ginchin culture included transitional period from Early to Middle Bronze Age (the last quarter of the III millennium BC) and nearly the first half of Middle Bronze Age (XX — XVIII centuries BC); the second phase of Ginchin culture refers to the second half of Middle Bronze Age (XVII — XVI centuries BC) and the beginning of transitional period from Middle to Late Bronze Age (XV century BC)...

Taking into account peculiarities of material culture of monuments of different physical and geographical regions researchers distinguish two local variants of Ginchin culture: 1) North-West (Ichkerian) local variant (on the territory of South-East Chechen) which includes two narrow local monument groups (monuments like Maly Kharsenoy — Saadi-Kotar and Bachi-yurt — Sogunty);
2) South-East (Koisu) local variant (in mountainous Dagestan) which includes one local monument group (monuments like Irganay)» [Magomedov, 1998, p. 185-186].

The cultures of Middle Bronze Age in the North-East Caucasus were replaced by Kayakent-Khorochoev culture (the last quarter of the II millennium BC — the beginning of the I millenium BC). It was represented by following local variants: North-East (Zone A), Tersk-Sulak (Zones Б, B), Manas (Zone Г), South Dagestan (Zones Д, Е); these local variants testify ethnic differentiation of its bearers (fig. 2).


Fig. 2. «Local regions in the area of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture

Symbols: a) monuments of developed Bronze Age;
б) area of spreading of monuments with fencing over sepulchre; в) border of spreading of mixed burials (pits, boxes); г) border of spreading of monuments with burials «sitting and lying»; д) border of spreading of burial monuments containing one vessel in the corner of the grave; e) border of spreading of monuments with two-three vessels in the corners of the grave; ж) border of spreading of monuments containing vessels under the overlapping of the graves and earthen saucers at the bottom; з) area of spreading of the monuments with vessels covered by coating and roller decor; и) area of spreading of the monuments with vessels decorated by rollers and drawn patterns; к) narrow local areas.  Capital letters show local regions and district (E)…» [Markovin, 1969, p. 87].

The transition from the cultures of Middle Bronze Age of the North-East Caucasus into Kayakent-Khorochoev culture was smooth and gradual like the previous transition from Early Bronze culture into the cultures of Middle Bronze Age. It can be demonstrated with the example of Ginchin culture. «During the last part of the second phase of its development (the end of the XVI — XV centuries BC) in Ginchin culture gradually appeared the elements of new archaeological Kayakent-Khorochoev culture… Within the third quarter of the II millennium BC Ginchin culture was fully transformed into Kayakent-Khorochoev culture. And the materials testify that the evolution went on rather smoothly without any sharp changes on the ethnic map of the region» [Magomedov, 1998, p. 186].

 In order to represent the cultural development of the North-East Caucasus population fully we should consider its connection with periodic changes of climate here, which accompanied cyclic changes of the Caspian sea level. During the phases of transgression the climate gradually became damp and continental. There formed vegetative cover typical of a mountainous forest-steppe landscape. Vertical landscape zones moved to lower hypsometric levels. During the phases of regression the climate was getting warmer and drying up. Vegetative cover changed into one typical of steppe and half-wilderness. Vertical landscape zones moved to higher hypsometric levels. The process of the climate getting continental and arid was gradual and it lasted for hundreds of years. The most extreme conditions for life are considered to begin forming from their second third. Periodic deterioration of conditions of inhabitancy up to extreme made the tribes of vegetable food gatherers and hunters that lived in this territory look for new sources to get food and new ways to survive. There came a gradual transition from appropriating way of managing to productive one, which in the end determined the character of their cultural and social development.

The following scheme represents the accordance of the Caspian sea regressions and transgressions to the cultural development of the North-East Caucasus.

Regressions and transgressions
of the Caspian sea
The cultural development
of the Northeast Caucasus
VIII — VII millenniums BC
Mangishlak regression 
(Sea level lowered to the point 
–50 metres).  
 VIII — VII millenniums BC
 Mesolithic tribes of gatherers and hunters who had the culture
 close to the Mesolithic of the South Caspian settled the
 mountainous part of the North-East Caucasus and adapted to
 the local conditions. 

The end of the VII — IV millenniums BC
New Caspian transgression with
repeated phases of transgression 
and regression:

The first half of the VI millennium BC 
Dagestan transgression (Sea level
rose to the point -16 metres).

The end of the VI  the beginning 
of the V millennium BC
Zhilandin regression 
(lasted for 600 years).

Boundary of the V  IV milleniums BC 
Gausan transgression (Sea level rose 
to the point  –18 metres).

 


 The end of the VII-VI millenniums BC 
 
Neolithic stage of the development
 of early agricultural society 
 in the North-East Caucasus.



 The V — the middle of the third quarter 
 of the IV millennium BC
 Aeneolithic stage of the development of early 
 agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus.



    

Formation
of the 
cultural
community
of the
North-East
Caucasus

3300  1800 yers BC 
Izberbash regression 
(Average level –39 –42.5 metres).

 The end of the IV  the III millenniums BC
 Early Bronze stage of the development of early agricultural society
 in the North-East Caucasus. Early agricultural society of the
 North-East Caucasus reached the threshold of early civilization.

 

 The middle of the III millennium BC 
 Early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus began
 to decline and its unity began to break.

 The last quarter of the III  the first half of the II millenium BC —  
 Early Bronze stage of the development of early agricultural 
 society in the North-East Caucasus. Early agricultural society
 of the North-East Caucasus reached the threshold of early 
 civilization.

 The last quarter of the II  the beginning of the I millennium BC 
 Spreading of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture and restoration
 of cultural unity in the North-East Caucasus.   

 The research of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus on the grounds of material culture remains and the research of formation of the systems of noun classes on the grounds of their modern indicators in the East-Caucasian languages were fulfilled separately from each other. The idea to correlate their results occurred after edition of M.G.Gadzhiev's work «Early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus» in 1991 when it became obvious that evidences of the history of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages could be correlated to the evidences of cultural and historic development of indigenous population of the North-East Caucasus.  And it gives opportunity to research the problem of the origin of the East-Caucasian languages, the problem of their history and their place among the other Caucasian languages in intercommunication with the cultural and historic development of their speakers.

Correlation of the results of research of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages with the results of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus supposes that there should be determined the chronological limits of the periods in the history of the systems of noun classes. Therefore, the suggested correlation of the periods in the history of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages with the stages of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus is based on the conventional principles of the history of its cultural and historic development and the periods in the formation of the systems of noun classes are based on the criteria of their correlation with the stages of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus. Chronological limits of the periods in the formation of the systems of noun classes are determined within the chronological limits of the corresponding stages of the cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus.

In order to solve the given problem we distinguish the following four stages in the cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus:

 The stage of formation of cultural community of early agriculturists in the North-East Caucasus (the Neolithic and Aneolithic stages of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus, on the boundary of the VII — VI millenniums  the first half of the IV millennium BC).
 The stage of intensive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus and reaching the threshold of early civilization and early class society of Ancient East type (Early Bronze stage of the development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus, the second half of the IV  the first half of the III millenium BC).
 The stage of breach of progressive development of early agricultural society and break-up of cultural community in the North-East Caucasus (the second half of the III  the first half of the II millenium BC) (decline of highly developed culture of Early Bronze Age and formation of the cultures of Middle Bronze Age, which were the societies with lower cultural and social development).
 The stage of new cultural community of the North-East Caucasus during Kayakent-Khorochoev culture which changed here the cultures of Middle Bronze Age (the last quarter of the II  the beginning of the I millenium BC).

Below we have made an attempt to ground the possibility of their correlation with the periods in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages which are distinguished on the base of the contents of concept [who?] in the semasiological division into [who?] and [what?].

Period I: [who?] is regarded as bearers of functions of government. It was a common period in the history of the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages. Systems I.1, I.2, I.3 refer to this period. They reflect progressive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus.

Period II: [who?] is regarded as a person in his social conception. It was also a common period in the history of the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages. Systems II.1, II.2, II.2.1 refer to this period. The beginning of this period (system II.1) reflects the further progressive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus, the end of the period (systems II.2 and II.2.1) reflects the breach of its progressive development.

Period III: [who?] is regarded as a person as a living being. Its only system III.1 that is reinterpretation of system II.2.1 of the end of period II, reflects regress and depression in the development of early agricultural society of the Northeast Caucasus and presents its low cultural and social development.

Period IV: [who?] is regarded as a person as a social living being. The period reflects a new level of common cultural development of the North-East Caucasus. It lasted for more than three thousand years (the third quarter of the II millennium BC  the end of the II millenium AD). Its first subperiod is presented by noun classes of Kayakent-Khorchoev culture in the North-East Caucasus (the third quarter of the II millenium  the first quarter of the I millenium BC including transition period from Middle to Late Bronze). Its second subperiod is presented by noun classes of the time next to Kayakent-Khorchoev culture (the end of the first quarter of the I millenium BC  the end of the II millenium AD). The peculiarity of period IV in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages is intensification of its differentiation into the systems, which are presented in the East-Caucasian languages. 

The problem to correlate the periods in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages with the stages of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus does not make difficulties because both data of archeology and data of linguistics (in our case the category of noun classes which is common for all the East-Caucasian languages) witness the connection between ancient and modern population of the North-East Caucasus and smooth and progressive character of its cultural and historic development, and show that there was no change of local population here.

The East-Caucasian languages mainly spread within the natural geographical bounders of the North-East Caucasian cultural community and the groups and subgroups of the East-Caucasian languages spread within bounders of archeological cultures of the North-East Caucasus of the Middle Bronze Age and within the zones of variants of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture. The formation of the systems of noun classes the East-Caucasian languages clearly demonstrate the following: connection between the North-East Caucasian cultural communities and modern East-Caucasian ethnolinguistic variety, the cultural development of indigenous population of the North-East Caucasus during different historic periods, noun classes of period IV of their formation reflect language divisibility of the indigenous population of the North-East Caucasus.

 Grammatical categories of any language form and undergo changes in the process of its development. Cultural development of the language speakers conditions the development of the language. Therefore, we should seek the reasons of formation of the grammatical category of noun classes and the reasons of changes in its systems in the realities of cultural development of the speakers of the East-Caucasian languages. Grammatical category of noun classes (division into [who?] and [what?]) expressed the reflection in speakers' mind of social hierarchy existed in the community and the role of the individuals with high public status. The generality of the category of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages proves its existence in the language of early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus during their cultural community (the end of the VII  III millenniums BC). According to the archeological data the cultural community of early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus formed at Neolithic and Aneolithic stages of development of the agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus, and owing to progressive development at Early Bronze Age it reached the threshold of early civilization. At the final stage of Early Bronze Age cultural entirety of the North-East Caucasus began to break together with the decline of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus. This is an exact and scientifically proved reference-point that lets us consider the last quarter of the III millenium BC as chronological bounders between period II (system II.2.1) and period III (system III.1) in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages. Therefore, the chronological bounders of period I (systems I.1, I.2, I.3; [who?] is regarded as bearers of functions of government) and period II (systems II.1, II.2, II.2.1; [who?] is regarded as a person in his social conception) which were common in the history of noun classes of the East-Caucasian languages should be determined from the conception of the noun division into «classes» during the cultural community of early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus till the collapse of their cultural unity in the last quarter of the III millennium BC.

Semasiological division into [who?] and [what?] and its morphological expression appeared in the language of early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus evidently at Aeneolithic stage of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus (V  IV milleniums BC). After metal mastering the growth of productivity speeded the rates of economic development. The development of economic branches and manufacture made it possible to get and pile up surplus products and led to property and social differentiation of the society. Economic development caused the growth of population and increase in its density and development of new territories. Owing to progressive development of productive economy the growth of population and intensification of demographic processes led to formation of territorial unity (besides cultural unity) and the appearance of deities  the images that personified this unity. Unlike the pre-religious images of demons and ghosts, which were connected with the nature, these images were the symbols of unity of people and were connected with their wants. They were protectors that brought fertility and abundance. And the notion about deities is religion. These notions are formed in the society with the relations of supremacy and submission, where there are individuals with high public prestige and stable social functions. «Religious notions are closely connected with the public life. Before there appeared differentiation in the social life and the functions of government and was determined the role of chiefs and priests who were the bearers of these functions, ghosts of nature were inseparable from the phenomena which they personified, and they were not depicted in anthropomorphous way» [Antonova, 1990, p.231]. The appearance of cults of deities is considered to be the conventional reference-point, which separates religion from pre-religion. In the mountains of the North-East Caucasus were found ancient rock drawings. These places are considered cult centres owing to the following facts: the drawings are situated in remote places hidden from strangers and in these places there were ancient settlements. Moreover, the character of the drawings confirms that these were cult centres [Kotovich, 1976] and the anthropomorphous figures in them were the pictures of deities.

Therefore, the notions about deities (religious world outlook notions) began to form among early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus at Aneolithic stage of development of agricultural society (V  the first half of IV millennium BC). Perceiving surrounding reality the representatives of this community divided everything into deities (gods): protectors that brought fertility and abundance,  and all the rest. This division got both semasiological expression: the concept [who?] meant deities and concept [what?] concerned all the rest, and morphological expression: different special indexes were used with the names of gods and with the names of all the rest, so all the nouns were divided into two lexical and semantic groups. During the following growth of cultural and social development the index used with the names of deities was also used with the names of individuals with high public status and stable social functions in order to express respectful attitude to them. It was Period I in the history of formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages (Systems I.1, I.2, I.3).

Social and world outlook nature of noun classes at the time of their formation in the community of early agriculturists of the North-East Caucasus reveals in the systems of noun classes of the modern Caucasian languages: the names of mythological characters are regarded as [who?] and belong to «class v» in the organizations with «class v» (though [who?] is considered a person as a social living being) and there is a strict limit of using classifier v- (only with the names of a man and mythological characters regarded as [who?]), these were the main reasons of formation of the division into «classes» existing in East-Caucasian languages. In the division of nouns into «classes» in the East-Caucasian languages «class v» and the limit of using its classifier are rudiments of social and world outlook nature of origin of the category of noun classes in ethnic mentality of the speakers. The elements of world outlook notions, which appeared while the people community was forming, can remain for a long time in the descendants’ consciousness interlacing with new notions without contradicting them or realizing as alien to them. The same could be said about their reflection in the languages. The following fact proves this conclusion: in the East-Caucasian languages there are four classifiers (v-, j-, b, d-/r-), and three of them (j-, b-, d-/r-) are used with both nouns [who?] and nouns [what?], and only the classifier v- in all East-Caucasian languages can be used with the names of a man and mythological characters [who?]. As for semasiological division into [who?] and [what?] in the East-Caucasian languages [who?] is «a person as a social living being». And mythological characters [who?] are pictured in the image of a man. In morphological division of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages the names of mythological characters [who?] are in the same class as the names of a man.

Originally [who?] was regarded as deities and the classifier v- was used with the names of deities (system of noun classes I.1). The deities were pictured in the image of a man. In the cults of early agriculturists deities were protectors that brought fertility and abundance and people considered them as fertilizing origin of nature. And the nature itself was the origin that took the fertilization. It was subordinate role. And priestess represented it in rituals. Owing to progressive development of the North-East Caucasian cultural community during the Aeneolithic stage of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus notion [who?] spread on the individuals with high public prestige and stable social functions (chiefs and priests) and the classifier v- was used with their names in order to express respectful attitude to them (System of noun classes I.2).

By the end of Aeneolithic age (the end of Period I in the history of the systems of noun classes) the status of the deities of the pantheon had lowered in favour of the central deity that became the symbol of wide territorial community of people and due to it social basis in the conception of class division gained advantage and [who?] spread on those whose social status was determined by their possession of riches. So the men who occupied a privileged position in the society were gradually regarded as [who?] and belonged to class v-. Connection between division into classes and world outlook notions gradually smoothed down (System of noun classes I.3).

Periods II, III and a part of Period IV in the history of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages conform to the notion of cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus at Bronze Age (the end of IV  the last quarter of II millenium BC). R.Magomedov [Magomedov, 1998] divided it into the periods distinguishing transition periods when cultures replaced one another and old traditions were the basis of new arising cultures:
    Early Bronze Age (the end of IV  the third quarter of the III millenium BC),
    Early Bronze Age / Middle Bronze Age (the last quarter of the III millenium BC),
    Middle Bronze Age (the first half of the II millenium BC),
    Middle Bronze Age / Late Bronze Age (the third quarter of the II millenium BC),
    Late Bronze Age (the last quarter of the II millenium BC).
R.Magomedov's periodization allows to determine chronological limits of periods in the history of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages and even chronological limits of separate systems within these periods.

Early Bronze Age (the end of the IV  the third quarter of the III millenium BC) was the time of intensive development and highest growth of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus (see above). It was the first half of Izberbash regression of the Caspian which was the longest in post-glacial  (holocenous) age (3300  1800 BC when average sea level was –39…-42.5 metres). For more than seven hundred years while the climate was getting arid early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus continued progressive development and reached its highest growth. The main features of this stage of development of early agricultural society in the North-East Caucasus were «intensification of the most important branches of economy, especially agriculture, conversion of home manufactures into crafts, active process of decay of primitive-communal system and formation of early civilization» [Gadzhiev, 1998, p. 100].

During the first half of the III millenium BC (the time of intensive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus) [who?] spread on all names of men and later on women of privileged estates and as a result its notion reinterpreted into «a person in the social conception». But for morphological expression of the changes of concept [who?] there was no special classifier for the names of «a person in the social conception». When [who?] spread on the names of men of privileged estates their names were used with the available classifier of the names [who?]. Morphological division had still two classes and corresponded to semasiological division. But this correspondence was broken when [who?] spread on women of privileged estates. As early agriculturists had historically associated the classifier of the nouns [who?] with the names of men of high social status they did not use this classifier with the names of women. So the names of women of privileged estates had the same classifier as the names [what?]. Morphological division had still two classes but it did not correspond to semasiological division (System II.1):

Semasiological division
«who?»  a person in the social conception,
«what?»  all the rest;

Morphological division
«class v»  the names of men of privileged estates, the names of some mythological characters [who?],
«class r/d»  the names of women of privileged estates [who?], all the names [what?].

In order to restore the conformity of semasiological and morphological divisions in system II.1 of morphological division the classifier b- was used for the names of a person in the social conception. It means that progressive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus was going on at that time. Evidently if morphological division corresponded to semasiological division (one class of nouns [who?]: «class b-»  the names of a person in the social conception, and one class of nouns [what?]: «class r/d»  all the names [what?]), it would mean that early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus reached the social relations of early class society. However, the classifier b- was not used with all the names [who?], but only with the names of women of privileged estates [who?]. The names of men of privileged estates [who?] were still used with the classifier v-. Morphological division represented the three-class organization with two classes of nouns [who?] and one class of nouns [what?] (System II.2):  

«class v»  the names of men of privileged estates, the names of some mythological characters [who?],
«class b»  the names of women of privileged estates [who?],
«class r/d»  all the rest names [what?].

System II.2 reflects both progressive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus and the first stage of its cultural regress: the use of the classifier (b-) with the names of a person in the social conception shows that the progressive development of the society was going on and it reached the social relations of early class society; but the use of the classifier
b- only with the names of women of privileged estates [who?] shows that the level of cultural development was lowering and it was the beginning of regress.

The results of archeological research of the North-East Caucasus show that progressive development of early agricultural society, which lasted for more than three thousand years (during the Neolithic, Aneolitic periods and at Early Bronze Age) finished at the last stage of Early Bronze Age. The beginning of decline of highly developed early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus in condition of global drying up of the climate during the second half of Izberbash regression of the Caspian (3300 — 1800 BC), which was the longest one in post-glacial epoch, revealed the features of decay, depression and regress here. At Middle Bronze Age it was a bright region from ethnocultural point of view.   

The fact that the classifier b- for the names of a person in the social conception was only used with the names of women of privileged estates [who?] was the first display that progressive development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus was broken. Evidently, the growing ecological crisis caused the growth of the social status of men of privileged estates and the role of deities in world outlook notions that were the protectors providing prosperity and even the existence of the society and, therefore, the classifier for the names of women of privileged estates could not be used with the names of men of privileged estates and the names of deities pictured in the image of men. Systems of noun classes II.2.1 and III.1 which followed system II.2 demonstrate the growing regress of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus and confirm this suggestion. 

So we come to the conclusion that system of noun classes II.2 was forming in the language of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus in the second and third quarters of the III millennium BC. In the second quarter of the III millennium BC [who?] spread on the names of women of privileged estates, in semasiological division [who?] was realized as a person in the social conception and for the names [who?] in morphological division appeared the classifier b-, but it was used only with the names of women of privileged estates [who?] that were not differentiated from the names [what?] by formal classifier in system II.1. The classifier b- was not used with any other names [who?] except the names of women of privileged estates. According to the above mentioned reasons and also because of the stagnation in the development of the grammatical category of noun classes that reflected the depression in the development of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus the classifier b- could not be used with the names of men of privileged estates. In system II.2 the stagnation in the development of noun classes was the reason why after the classifier of the names of a person in the social conception (b-) was used only with the names of women of privileged estates there were no other attempts to bring morphological division in correspondence with semasiological division into [who?] and [what?].

The use of the classifier b- with the names of cult animals and cult objects of inanimate nature in system II.2 shows that regress of early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus was still going on during the last stage of Early Bronze Age (the third quarter of the III millenium BC). System II.2.1 reflects this state of system II.2:

Semasiological division
[who?]  a person in the social conception: representatives of privileged estates; some mythological characters;
[what?]  all the rest;

Morphological division  three-class organization: «class v»  «class b»  «class r/d»    
«class v» the names of men of privileged estates, the names of some mythological characters [who?],
«class b»  the names of women of privileged estates [who?],
                  the names of cult objects of pre-religion the names of cult animals and cult objects of inanimate nature [what?];
«class r/d»  all the rest names [what?].

The use of the classifier of the names [who?] with the names of cult animals and cult objects of inanimate nature [what?] expressed respectful attitude to them and it testifies unfavourable conditions of inhabitancy when keeping faith in Gods people revived faith in ethnic cults of pre-religion, which embodied the strengths of nature, and kept the rites. At the same time the deities embodying territorial unity of the North-East Caucasus were gradually losing their function and favoured the appearance of the deities, which embodied the unity of its separate regions.

Continuation of cultural regress of the North-East Caucasus and the achieved limit are shown in system of noun classes III.1 which is reinterpretation of system II.2.1 in the society with the lower level of development:  

Semasiological division
A person as a living being:
    under [who?] in system II.2.1  [who?],   
    under [what?] in system II.2.1  [what?];
All the rest  [what?]. 

Morphological division  three-class organization: «class v»  «class b»  «class r/d»    
«class v»  the names [men]: under [who?] in system II.2.1  [who?], under [what?] in system II.2.1  [what?],
                  the names of some mythological characters [who?];
«class b»  the names of women used with the classifier b- in system II.2.1  [who?];
                  the names of cult objects of pre-religion:
                        the names of cult animals and cult objects of inanimate nature  [what?];
«class r/d»  all the rest names [what?]: the names of women used with the classifier r/d- in system II.2.1  [what?];
                         the names of animals and objects of inanimate nature 
                               except the names of cult objects of pre-religion  [what?].

Evidently in system III.1 the speakers did not realize social ground of noun division into «classes». And in morphological division it was represented as rudiments of system II.2.1. We suppose that system III.1 and the following system IV.1 were common in formation of the systems of noun classes in all the East-Caucasian languages. It seems as if cultural unity of the North-East Caucasus had existed in the third and even at the beginning of the fourth period in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages, i.e. in the third quarter of the II millennium BC. But this conclusion differs from the results of archaeological research which show that ethnocultural unity of the North-East Caucasus disintegrated during the transition period from Early to Middle Bronze Age (the last quarter of the III millennium BC) (see fig. 1). Early agricultural society of the North-East Caucasus that progressively developed during three thousand years and reached the threshold of early civilization, at Middle Bronze Age turned out to be thrown back in its cultural, social and economical development and it disintegrated into societies with lower level of development. Regress and stagnation of these societies caused regress and stagnation of noun classes in these languages and that is why they had no signs that in the North-East Caucasus at Middle Bronze Age there existed several, but not one, cultural unities that can be named after the archeological cultures which they represent: Ginchin, Sulak, Velikent, Manas. System of noun classes III.1 which formed during the transition period from Early to Middle Bronze Age (the last quarter of the III millennium BC) did not change during the first half of the II millennium BC. The development of noun classes renewed in the third quarter of the II millennium BC when Kayakent-Khorochoev culture began forming. This development was conditioned by inner regularities of cultural, social and economic development. The rise of cultural, social and economic development of the North-East Caucasus at the time when the cultures of Middle Bronze Age were transforming into Kayakent-Khorochoev culture (the third quarter of the II millenium BC) in noun classes caused reinterpretation of the notion [who?] from a person as a living being of system III.1 into a person as a social living being when all the names of a person were regarded as [who?] (System IV.1):

Semasiological division
[who?]  a person as a social living being, some mythological characters;
[what?]  all the rest;

Morphological division  three-class organization: «class v»  «class b»  «class r/d»    
«class v»  the names [men], the names of some mythological characters [who?],
«class b»  the names of women [who?],
                  the names of animals and objects of inanimate nature which were the cult objects of pre-religion, [what?];
«class r/d»  the names of women [who?],
                     the names of animals and objects of inanimate nature except the names of cult objects of pre-religion, [what?].

Kayakent-Khorochoev culture, which restored the cultural unity of the North-East Caucasus, did not change its ethnic dissociation reflected in the cultures of Middle Bronze Age. Systems of noun classes IV.1 that formed in the communities of the North-East Caucasus at the beginning of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture were the same. The reason was that they all were based on the same systems III.1, and the development of noun classes and the formation of systems IV.1 took place in the same conditions of cultural, social and economic development at the time of formation of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture. Thus, it seems as if systems IV.1 like previous system III.1 had represented the same community of Caucasian people as the systems of periods I and II. But systems IV.2 show that one of them was initial for the organizations «with class v-» of the Avar-Andin-Tsez and Nakh languages and another one — for the organizations «with class v-» of Lak, Darghin and the languages of Lezghin group (except Lezghin, Udin and Agul, which have no morphological category of noun classes). So we consider that systems IV.2 and IV.2' reflect different levels of regress in cultural, social and economic development in the North-West and the South-East of the North-East Caucasus at Middle Bronze Age. And that is why in system IV.1 the ways to make morphological division corresponding to semasiological one in the North-West and the South-East of the North-East Caucasus were different.

Period IV in the formation of the systems of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages lasted for three thousand five hundred years (from the third quarter of the II millennium BC up to present days). It had two subperiods:

 The first subperiod included noun classes of the period of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture in the North-East Caucasus (the third quarter of the II  the first quarter of the I millennium BC including the transition period from Middle to Late Bronze Age. Systems IV.1, IV.2, IV.2..., IV.3). Here there was a tendency to restore the correspondence of morphological division in the systems to the contents of semasiological division into [who?] and [what?].

 The second subperiod included noun classes from the period of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture up to present days (the end of the first quarter of the I millennium BC  the II millennium AD. Systems IV.3 …). Here there was a tendency to make the organizations of morphological division logical and common for the singular and plural.    

Semasiological division of period IV:
    [who?]  a person as a social living being,
    [what?]  all the rest
supposes the corresponding two-class morphological division:
    one «class»  the names of a person as a social living being [who?],
    another «class»  all the rest names [what?].

But in system IV.1 of morphological division all the names [who?] could not be used in one «class» because the use of the classifier v- was limited by the names of [men], and all the names [what?] could not be used in one «class» because the classifier b- was used with the names of cult animals and cult objects of inanimate nature in order to express respectful treatment of them. So under these circumstances the only thing to do was to form a separate class of the names of women [who?] in morphological division. In the South-East the classifier r/d was used in this function in the form of r- and d-. In the North-West in morphological division the classifier j- was introduced for the names of women [who?].

The following analysis of the formation of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages and its correspondence to the cultural and historic development of the North-East Caucasus was made on the base of the Avar-Andin-Tsez and Nakh languages localized in the North-West. We have not enough information for such analysis of the languages localized in the South-East.

The North-West communities of the North-East Caucasus are localized within the territory that was historically inhabited by the speakers of the Avar-Andin-Tsez and Nakh languages. The organizations of morphological division in the singular go back to systems IV.2 in which the names of women [who?] were used with the classifier j-. According to this feature in the North-East Caucasus were distinguished North-West communities of the period of Kayakent-Khorochoev culture. And the following facts prove that the North-West communities of the North-East Caucasus inhabited South-East Chechnya and Mountainous Dagestan:

 during radical breaking of traditions of material culture among the tribes of the North-East Caucasus, which is known from archaeological data of the second half of the III millennium BC, there was no change of local population;

 in the North-East Caucasus on the base of Ginchin culture side by side with the other groups of monuments of Middle Bronze Age appeared the new (Kayakent-Khorochoev) archaeological culture. Its beginning and formation were conditioned by inner regularities of cultural, social and economic development of the North-East Caucasus [Magomedov, 1998, p.180-183];

 the Avar-Andin-Tsez and Nakh languages were presented within the area of Ginchin culture in the North-East Caucasus of Middle Bronze Age: the North-West («Ichkerian») local variant (South-East Chechnya) was presented by the Nakh languages and the South-East («Koisu») one (Mountainous Dagestan)  by the Avar-Andin-Tsez languages.

After the names of women [who?] were included in one separate «class» in morphological division of systems IV.2 in the languages of the North-West communities, the names were presented:  

The names [who?]  in two classes:
«class v»  the names [men], the names of some mythological characters,
«class j»  the names [women];

The names [what?] — in two classes:
«class b»  the names of animals and objects of inanimate nature which were the cult objects of pre-religion;
«class r/d»  the names [animals, objects of inanimate nature] except the names of cult objects of pre-religion.

Trying to make morphological division corresponding to semasiological one in the North-West of the North-East Caucasus systems of noun classes IV.2 were reorganized into systems IV.2.2.r-.1', IV.2.2.r-.1a, IV.2.2.r-.2', IV.2.2.r-.2a, IV.2.1'.d-.1', which in different ways unified b- as the classifier of the nouns [what?]. They present the systems of noun classes of the following communities: Vainakh, Chamalin (system IV.2.1'.d-.1'), Avar-Godoberin-Karatin-Akhvakh-Bagvalin-Tindin-Andin (the lower dialect)-Botlikh (system IV.2.2.r-.1'), Tsez-Ghinuch-Gunzib-Khvarshin (system IV.2.2.r-.2a), Bezhtin (system IV.2.2.r-.1a), Andin (the upper dialect) (system IV.2.2.r-.2')4. In these systems the nouns [who?] are divided into two classes: one «class» of the names [men] and another «class» of the names [women]. It was impossible to unite these names in one class because the classifiers v- and j- were realized as the classifiers of the names of men and women accordingly and the use of the classifier v- was limited by the names of men. The fact that unification of the classifier b- had ended under these circumstances lost its importance. So it was impossible to make morphological division of these systems corresponding to the contents of semasiological division.  

In the North-East Caucasus systems of noun classes IV.3 differed from the previous systems IV.2... in introducing the organization of morphological division of the plural. The organizations of morphological division, which existed in systems IV.2..., were neutral concerning the number and in systems IV.3 they were the organizations of the singular. As for the plural (with few exceptions) there appeared new two-class organizations «without class v», they had one class of nouns [who?] («class b») and one class of nouns [what?] («class r or d»). Systems IV.3 were typologically common.

  As in the systems of noun classes in the communities of the North-East Caucasus the organizations of morphological division were neutral concerning the number, formation of the organizations of morphological division in the plural started after nouns had got the category of number in the same conditions of cultural, social and economic development. Under these circumstances it became possible in a revolutionary way to make morphological division corresponding to the contents of semasiological division without breaking the norms of existing systems of noun «classes».

Systems of noun classes IV.3 in the North-West of the North-East Caucasus:

System IV.3.1 in Avar-Godoberin-Karatin-Akhvakh-Bagvalin-Tindin-Botlikh community (morphological division of system IV.2.2.r-.1' in the singular, and two-class morphological division «class b»  «class r» in the plural). The systems of noun classes in the Avar, Godoberin, Karatin, Akhvakh, Bagvalin, Tindin and Botlikh languages go back to this system.
System IV.3.2    in Andin community (the lower dialect) (morphological division of system IV.2.2.r-.1' in the singular and in the plural). The system of noun classes in the Andin language (the lower dialect) goes back to this system.
System IV.3.3    in Bezhtin community (morphological division of system IV.2.2.r-.1a in the singular and two-class morphological division «class b»  «class r» in the plural). The system of noun classes in the Bezhtin language goes back to this system.
System IV.3.4  in Andin community (the upper dialect) (morphological division of system IV.2.2.r-.2' in the singular and in the plural). The system of noun classes in the Andin language (the upper dialect) goes back to this system.
System IV.3.5  in Tsez-Ghinuch-Gunzib-Khvarshin community (morphological division of system IV.2.2.r-.2a in the singular and two-class morphological division «class b»  «class r» in the plural). The systems of noun classes in the Tsez, Ghinuch, Gunzib and Khvarshin languages go back to this system.
System IV.3.6   in Vainakh and Chamalin community (morphological division of system IV.2.1´.d-.1' in the singular and two-class morphological division «class b»  «class d» in the plural). The systems of noun classes in the Vainakh and Chamalin languages go back to this system.

Systems IV.3 finish the first subperiod of period IV in the history of the formation of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages. It was the time when cultural unity of the North-East Caucasus was being restored at Late Bronze Age and the beginning of Iron Age including the transition period from Middle to Late Bronze Age (Kayakent-Khorochoev culture). Systems of noun classes IV.1, IV.2, IV.2..., IV.3 represent this subperiod in the North-West communities and show the progressive character of formation of their new cultural community and their language autonomy.

The main aim of all the changes which later took place in morphological divisions of systems IV.3 in the North-West communities was to make them logically consecutive and common for the forms of the singular and the plural taking into account that in organizations of morphological division «with class v» the use of the classifier v- was limited by the names  [men] and v()- and j- were realized as the classifiers of the names of men and women accordingly. In the communities the character of these changes was interrupted and not even, and this fact witnesses different and changeable conditions of their cultural, social and economic development. Besides at this time noun classes began to reflect the differentiation of the Avar–Godoberin–Karatin–Akhvakh–Bagvalin–Tindin–Botlikh, Tsez–Ghinuch–Gunzib–Khvarshin and Vainakh communities into smaller ones.

The second subperiod of period IV in the history of the formation of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages lasted more than 2.5 thousand years (the end of the first quarter of the I millennium BC  the end of the II millennium AD). It was time of uninterrupted wars for supremacy in the North-East Caucasus. In present days we have not enough historic data to continue correlation between the formation of noun classes in the East-Caucasian languages and ethnocultural development of their speakers. The fact that in the second subperiod of period IV noun classes became abstracted grammatical category and did not reflect cultural, social and economic development of the language speakers made the problem more complicated.


1 Among the existing classifications of the Caucasian languages this one is the most wide-spread.
2 The data and conclusions about cultural, historic and ethnocultural development of the population of the North-East Caucasus are taken from the works by M.G.Gadzhiev (See Literature).   
3 In the Caucasus «class society and first slaveholding state appeared in the epoch of Early Iron Age, at the beginning of the I millennium BC. Moreover, these events were inspired from outside; class society appeared at the beginning of the VIII century BC when the part of the Transcaucasus was included into the young slaveholding state Urartu after aggressive campaign of Urartu kings. Later early class society formed in the Northern part of the Caucasus, in particular in the East Caucasus where at the end of the I millennium BC appeared the state Caucasian Albania» [Gadzhiev, 1998, p. 98].
4 For a more complete picture of the differentiation system of nominal classes in the north-west of the North-East Caucasus see above the text of this section.