North Caucasian languages (sometimes called simply Caucasic as opposed to Kartvelian, and to avoid confusion with the concept of "Caucasian race") is a blanket term for two language phyla spoken chiefly in the north Caucasus and Turkey: the Northwest Caucasian family (Pontic, Abkhaz–Adyghe, Circassian, West Caucasian) and the Northeast Caucasian family (Caspian, Nakh–Dagestanian, East Caucasian); the latter includes the former North-central Caucasian (Nakh) family.
Some linguists, notably Sergei Starostin and Sergei Nikolayev, believe that the two groups sprang from a common ancestor about five thousand years ago. However, this proposal is difficult to evaluate, and remains controversial.
There are approximately 34 to 38 distinct living or extinct North Caucasian languages.
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