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AVAR is an acronym for the Association of anti Virus Asia Researchers, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights and the American Virtual Access Region.

Avar is also a language spoken by perhaps 500,000 people in Dagestan and Azerbaijan.

In the last few centuries, Avar speakers have dominated multilingual southern Dagestan, where, by around 1500, the Avar Khanate was already establishing itself as a force independent of the Golden Horde. It came under Russian control between 1803 and 1821.

Nowadays, Avar is an official and literary medium shared by speakers of a group of languages -- the Avar-Andi-Dido languages -- which are distantly related and have clearly been developing separately for many hundreds of years. Even the four main dialects of Avar (Khunzakh, Antsukh, Charoda and Gidatl) are so distinct as to be mutually unintelligible. The lingua franca is what is now known as Avar. It also serves as a second or third language for highland speakers of Dargwa.

The local languages consist of the Andi group (Andi, Botlikh, Godoberi, Akhvakh, Bagulal, Tlisi, the eight dialects of Chamalal, Karata and Tindi) the Dido or Tsez group (Tsez, Khvarshi, Bezheta, Hinukh and Khunzib) and Archi. None have more than ten thousand speakers and some have only a hundred or so. They have recently been brought together under the name Avar, and the local languages are now in decline.

Avar, occasionally written since the 17th century, traditionally used Arabic script. In 1928, the Latin alphabet was introduced. As with so many of the Soviet minority languages, Cyrillic became the standard in 1938.

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