Laz is spoken by 33.000 or more people mainly in Turkey near the border to Georgia. A significant minority of 2.000 speakers is reported in Georgia.
The speakers call their language lazuri nena.
During the time of Laz cultural autonomy in the Soviet Union from 1927 to 1937 a Roman alphabet for the Laz language was introduced and Laz was taught in schools. The better part of the Laz intelligentsia in today's Turkey use their native language as a literary language. Several dictionaries, grammars, anthologies of poetry and journals in Mingrelian language have been published in Turkey.
Laz, together with several other languages, belongs to the South Caucasian or Kartvelian language family.
The stops and affricates of Laz show a three-way distinction: voiced, voiceless aspirated, and voiceless ejective. The fricatives exhibit a binary distinction between voiced and voiceless.
According to shared morphosyntactic and semantic features verbs are generally divided into four classes: 'transitive', ‘intransitive', 'medial', and 'inversion' verbs. 'Medial verbs' take the same case marking as transitive verbs. Since they denote intransitive actions they commonly do not take a direct object (at least there is no obligatory direct object) 'Inversion verbs', which are generally affective verbs, have a logical subject in the dative case and the direct object is marked by the nominative. There are three tense-aspect series/stems: present, aorist and perfect.