Kaukasische Sprachen und Kulturen:
Grundlagen ihrer elektronischen Dokumentation
Alternative Ressourcen, Materialien, Anwendungen und zusätzliche Informationen

კავკასიური ენებისა და კულტურების ელექტრონული დოკუმენტირების საფუძვლები
ახალი რესურსები, მასალები და აპლიკაციები - ზოგადი ინფორმაციები

Fundamentals of an Electronic Documentation
of Caucasian Languages and Cultures
Alternative Ressources, Materials, Applications and Zipped Information

Georgische Akademie der Wissenschaften:
A.-Chikobava-Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
საქართველოს მეცნიერებათა აკადემია:
არნ. ჩიქობავას სახელობის ენათმეცნიერების ინსტიტუტი
Georgian Academy of Sciences:
A. Chikobava Institute of Linguistics

The Zan Language or the  Megrelian-Chan language is an  unwritten language of the  Kartvelian group. It consists of Megrelian and Chan (Laz) dialects. The term "Zan language" is conventional: it was created because of the following fact: Svans at present  call Megrelians Zan (Zanar), and Chans (Zans) in old historical sources (Strabōn, Prokopios Kaesariensis) are mentioned as Sans (Zans). Nowadays Megrelian and Chan are isolated territorial. Megrelian is disseminated in Western Georgia, in Kolkheti. Some Megrelians live also in Abkhazia. There are two subdialects in Megrelian: Zugdid-Samurzaqan with Jvar and Senak with Martvil-Bandz. Chan  is basically spread in the Northern part of Turkey, on the coast of  the  Black Sea (vil. Kemeri, Athina, Artasheni, Vice, Arkabi, Khopha and Sarpi). The part of vil. Sarpi is within Georgia (Ajarian AR, Khelvachauri district, Sarphi area). Here live about 730 Lazs. There are three subdialects in Chan: Khopian, Vice-Arkab and Athen with Bulef-Artashen. 18 hundred years ago Megrelian and Chan (Laz) were directly conterminous dialects of  the Zan language. In the following centuries another Georgian-lingual tribe penetrated in the contact area of Zan dialects and separated them. The phonemic composition, grammatical system and vocabulary unite Zan with the other Kartvelian (Georgian, Svan) languages.

There are 5 simple    (a), ე (e), ი (i), ო (o), უ (u) vowels, irrational vowel (ə) and semivowel    (y) in the Zan language. There are 30 consonant phonemes, espessially should be stressed the existence of(˒) and (f) consonants (in the Chan dialect, in the borrowed words)... [A. Kiziria, KSE, vol. 4, p. 481, Tbilisi, 1979]
[Alice C. Harris, Mingrelian,  pp. 313-394.  In: The Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus. Vol. 1. The Kartvelian Languages. Ed. by Alice C. Harris. Caravan Books. Delmar, New York, 1991. ]