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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.
There have been various attempts to link the Kartvelian languages to other language families, for example with Basque or with Hurrian and Urartian of the ancient Near East and the ancient Caucasus, respectively.
Other members of the Kartvelian family are Georgian, which is the national language of Georgia, and Mingrelian, which is very similar to Laz. Some scholars regard Laz and Mingrelian as dialects of one language, called Zan. The Svan language, spoken in the high mountainous areas of the northwest Caucasus, also belongs to this 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.
The noun has 7 cases: nominative, narrative, dative, genitive, allative, ablative, and instrumental case. Laz uses the narrative case to mark subjects of transitive and medial verbs in all series (unlike in Georgian where only the aorist series are marked by the narrative case). Laz has postpositions.
A Laz verb can have person and number agreement with subject, direct object, and indirect object, although markers for all three arguments cannot appear in one verb form.
Like in other Kartvelian languages there is a certain number of verb paradigms called 'screeves', which express tense, aspect, and mood. On the basis of morphological criteria screeves are grouped in series. The term screeve is derived from a Georgian word meaning ‘row' and used to avoid the traditional term 'tense' with its pronounced temporal implications.

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.

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