Dargins - Orientation

Identification. The Dargins are indigenous inhabitants of the Daghestan ASSR in the USSR. They have absorbed the Kaidaks (self-designations: Khaydaq', Khaydaq'lanti [sing., Khaydaq'lan]) and, to some degree, the Kubachins (self-designations: Urbug, Urbuganti [sing., Urbugan])

Location. The Dargins inhabit foothill, mountain, and alpine zones in central Daghestan from 42°40′ to 41°50′ N and 47°05′ to 47°50′ E. The districts ( raions ) with primarily Dargi inhabitants are Akusha, Levashi, Dakhadai, Kaitag, and Seregokal. In Soviet times some of the Dargins moved to the lowlands (the Nogay, Khasav-yurt, and Kayakent districts).

Demography. In 1989 Dargins numbered 365,797, a 27.3 percent increase over the 1979 figure of 287,282. Of the total Dargi population, 280,431 (76.7 percent) lived in Daghestan (in 1979 the figure was 246,854 or 85.9 percent of the total). The population density was 38 people per square kilometer in 1985. The Dargins belong to the Balkan-Caucasian subtype of the European race.

Linguistic Affiliation. Dargi, together with the Kaitag and Kubachi languages, forms the Dargwa Subgroup of the Lak-Dargwa Group of the Daghestanian Branch of the Northeast Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) Language Family. The major dialects are Akushi, Tsudakhar, Urakhi (Khürkili), Sirkhi, Mekegi, Kaidak, Murzi, Gubden, Chirag, Kubachi, Kadar, and Megeb. A literary language based on the Akushi dialect has been established in Soviet times. Sixty-eight percent of the Dargins are fluent in Russian.

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