Jean Kelly wrote:
>Could anyone tell me where I might find a definition of
>Proto-East-Caucasian, and what relationship, if any, it had with

Nakh-Daghestinian (aka "NorthEast Caucasian" or "East Caucasian")
is spoken in and around the Caucasus Mountain range. It has nifty
sounds like "ejectives" (sounds like p, t or k which are followed
by a sudden catch in the throat as in the interjective "uh-oh").
Words in these languages also tend to have some bizarre combinations
of consonants that could easily tongue-tie some English speakers.

Any genetic relationship between Indo-European and
Nakh-Daghestinian is sure to be exceedingly remote since ND
is not even considered to be a Nostratic language. This language
group is usually seen to be related to Abkhaz-Adhyghe (aka
"NorthWest Caucasian" or "West Caucasian") because of similarities
such as the pronominal system and common vocabulary. However
because the two language groups are so grammatically different
these similarities could just as well be due to prolonged contact
and areal influence. So there lies some mystery. Another potential
sibling of ND is the now dead Hurro-Urartian family found centred
in eastern Turkey from early historical times.

You may be able to better understand the flavour of the language
family by visiting this site maintained by Starostin...

Although I don't agree with Starostin's reconstructions or ideas
concerning a "Proto-North-Caucasian" (Nakh-Daghestinian and
Abkhaz-Adhyghe combined), the data collected on the individual
languages will probably be of use to you in your quest.

- gLeN

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