7 Ekim 2012 Pazar

The origins of Bulgaro-Turkic languages

The Turkic Languages in a Nutshell

A revised taxonomic description
with comment and illustrations
based upon linguistic and historical analysis

Special appreciation to Yusuf B. Gürsey for reviewing this web page
and providing many valuable remarks and corrections at sci.lang

Version 6.52
04/2009 (first online) > 10/2009 (major update) > 11/2010 (classification rearranged) >
10-12/2011 (minor corrections) > 03-04/2012 (corrections, fonts changed, classification update, English transcription remarks, songs, references added) > 05/2012 (Chulym, Khwarezmian, Nogai, Kumyk, Karaim, Sibir Tatar, Baraba added or rewritten)

The origins of Bulgaro-Turkic languages
The migration of the Turkic peoples
A draft of the Bulgaric and Turkic migration
from 1000 BCE to 1000 CE,
an older version (2008)

The spread and migration of Turkic tribes and languages between 
the 6th and the 11th century Historically attested
later migrations of Turkic peoples
between 500 and 1200 CE (2012)

The Turkic language group is a closely related phylogenetic cluster of languages further related to the Mongolic and Tungusic language groups in the first place [see, for instance, Hugjiltu (1995)[5] and herein (2009)[4]], and more distantly, to the tentatively proposed Altaic family in general [e.g. Starostin (1991)[8]].
The total number of modern Turkic ethnicities exceeds 50, especially if large dialect-languages and notable ethnic groups with individual self-appellations are counted.
Another correct name for the group could be Bulgaro-Turkic, because of the early separation of the Bulgaric branch from the rest of the stem, therefore Bulgaric and Turkic can rather be used as names of two sibling taxons, even though that usage is not generally-accepted. According to the present glottochronological study,[2] the Bulgaric languages apparently branched off from the Turkic languages at a rather early period of time, most likely c. 1100-900 BC, which is considerably earlier than normally cited elsewhere.[10][10a][10b] The discrepancy can be attributed to the improper usage of Starostin's glottochronological formulas in other studies, although the exact date cannot be calculated with precision due to possible lexicostatistical fluctuations and the uniqueness of Chuvash, which provides some basis for statistical errors.
The location of the Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic homeland is also still controversial, but was most likely confined to the area in northeastern Kazakhstan along the middle course of the Irtysh River /ir-TISH/ and its drainage basin, including the Ishim /ee-SHIM/, which can be inferred from the position of the Bulgaro-Turkic center-of-gravity point and geolexical corroborative studies [see herein (2009-2012)[3]].
The combined results of this investigation and archaeological finds suggest that the Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic people inhabited the forested steppeland of West Siberia during the classical Bronze Age period (c. 2000-1000 BCE), thus apparently matching certain cultures from the Andronovo horizon.
The geolexical analysis [herein (2012)[3] partly based on the materials collected in SIGTY, Lexis (2002)[9]] suggests that they lived on the open habitat with deciduous groves (birch, willow, aspen, linden), occasional marshland, saline areas and lakes with various fish, waterfowl and small mammal fauna, particularly beavers. Terms denoting taiga or desert ecozone have not been preserved. They were well familiar with crop cultivation (millet, barley, Spelt, possibly flax), cattle and horse breeding, dairy products, horse harnessing and riding, precious metals and copper working.
The spread and active migration of Bulgaric and Turkic languages apparently began between 900 and 200 BCE, which matches the onset of the Iron Age in West Siberia and therefore could be connected with the widespread introduction of iron technology,[3] though the details of this process are still hypothetical.

The geographic tree of the Turkic languages

The geographical tree
of Turkic languages (2012)

The phylogenetic tree (dendrogram) of the Turkic languages

The glottochronological tree
of Turkic languages (2012)
On the present classification of Bulgaro-Turkic languages
Turkology is probably one of the oldest branches of historical linguistics, at least judging from the fact that the earliest sketch of Turkic dialects was drawn by Mahmud al-Kashgari c. 1073, years before the first Crusade. There were many previous attempts to build a consistent classification of the Turkic languages [see, for instance, Baskakov (1969)[7] for historiographic details], the most prominent ones being those of Rémusat (1820), Balbi (1847), Berezin (1848, 1857), Ilminskiy (1861), Vámbéry (1885), Radloff (1882), Katanov (1894), Aristov (1896), Müller (1896), Foy (1903), Korsh (1910), Winkler (1921), Samoylovich (1922), Rahmati (1922), Bogoroditskiy (1934), Ligeti (1934), Batmanov (1947), Räsänen (1949), Malov (1951),  Baskakov (1952, 1969, 1988), Benzing (1959), Menges (1959), Tekin (1980), Johanson (1998), Schoening (1999), Dyachok (2001), Anna Dybo (2006), Mudrak (2002, 2009), ASJP (2009). Accordingly, the high complexity of building up the Turkic classification can be seen from the mere fact that a slightly different version was published about every 5 years for the past 200 years or so. Whereas some of these were just superficial attempts without much justification, others were part of a lifetime work.
The classical Baskakov's classification,[6][7] first presented in 1952 (then republished in 1969, 1988), was widely accepted in the Soviet/Russian Turkology at least until the 2000's, and seems to have strongly affected even some of the western approaches. It did not include, however, any lexicostatistical study, and most of its conclusions were based on phonological and some grammatical observations alone. In his books, Baskakov used expressions like "a complex system isogloss" by which he apparently understood a vague conglomeration of traits, which marks his classification as rather phenetic in nature.
As to other recent works, Anna Dybo's research (2006)[10a] is purely lexicostatistical based on Swadesh-100, and Mudrak's classification (2002, 2009)[10b] is phono-morphostatistical.

The present taxonomic system was rebuilt nearly from scratch with very little reference to other theoretical publications, and is not directly based on any previous classification system; consequently, it may differ from earlier works in several aspects. It tries to investigate phonetical, grammatical, and lexical features, as well as the known geography, history and archaeology. Speaking in biological terms, it can also be seen as an attempt at a cladistic phylogeny which tries to differentiate between plesiomorphies and shared innovations.
All the linguistic argumentation and other theoretical studies concerning the present classification are provided in The Internal Classification and Migration of Turkic Languages (2009-2012), a separate online article. The lexicostatistical research with possible dates can be found in The Lexicostatistics and Glottochronology of the Turkic Languages (2009-2012). And the research into the homeland position in The Proto-Turkic Urheimat & The Early Migrations of the Turkic Peoples (2012).

The present taxonomic description does not address any rare or obsolete languages, for which no lexical data were found either because of access difficulties or the nearly complete absence thereof (e.g. "Hunnic"), therefore by no means should this publication be viewed as exhaustive. The total number of Turkic languages and major dialects exceeds 50, and it is difficult to mention and describe all of them. Consequently, the present series of articles has mostly been focused on getting all the major subgroups together in the proper order, something that was particularly hard to accomplish considering the close proximity of most Turkic sub-branches and their posterior interaction.
It should also be noted that this particular page was inspired by the comprehensive work on the numerals of the world conducted by Mark Rosenfelder.
The nine nouns listed below were carefully chosen to visually demonstrate the maximum phonological differences across the Turkic languages, unlike the numbers which simply run from 1 to 10. Font colors tend to mark phonologically similar lexemes, except the black color that stands for "unclassified", or gray that marks an "internal lexical replacement or borrowing". You should not pay much attention to the colors, these are mostly auxiliary and were used to analyze the material at the initial stage, but were not removed afterwards, since they still help to pick up similar phonetic elements.

On the mutual proximity of Turkic languages
The lexicostatistical proximity map of the Turkic languages
The lexicostatistical proximity map
of Turkic languages (2012)
A frequently asked question concerns the mutual intelligibility between Turkish and other Turkic languages. The question has been explored, for instance, by Talat Tekin (1979).[22] Of course, no two languages can be entirely "mutually intelligible", let alone the subjectivity of this concept, so by mutual intelligibility we understand mutual lexical proximity under standardized conditions. In any case, it turns out that Turkish is pretty much a western language and therefore is rather distant from other Turkic subgroups. Of major Turkic languages, it exhibits close proximity only to Azeri and some of the lesser Seljuk languages (such as Gagauz, to which it is particularly close), sharing with them most grammar and vocabulary (cf., say, the relatedness of Spanish and Portuguese). There's much less mutual intelligibility with Turkmen than one could expect from their common Oghuz descent in historical records. On the other hand, Uzbek and Uyghur, despite being even further geographically, still share lots of familiar Old Turkic, Persian and Arabic words with Tukish and can be learned with some effort as any two in-group languages, for instance like English and Danish. The intelligibility of Turkish with the languages that had limited contact with Oghuz tribes and the Arabo-Persian world, such as Kazakh and Kyrgyz, let alone the languages located to the east of the Altay Mountains, seems to be very poor or zero. However, many similar words and typical idioms (for instance, such as the local variants of var/bar/pur "there is" and yok/jok/s'uk "there is not", to name just one of the most frequently used ones) can be picked up even as far as Sakha and Chuvash, whereas the fundamentals of basic grammatical structure are largely similar in all the Turkic languages.
Based on the meticulous lexicostatistical study of 215-word Swadesh lists,[2] we can make conclusions concerning the actual mutual proximity of Turkic languages (see the clickable map above). Outside (1) Chuvash and (2) Sakha, which have been notorious for centuries for their independent positions, there are several internal lexical clusters or intelligibility islands: (3) Oghuz-Seljuk, (4) Great-Steppe, (5) Altay-Khakas, (6) Yugur (not measured herein because of the scarcity of lexical materials but clearly different) and (7)Tuvan, although (3a) Turkmen and (4a) Karachay-Balkar likewise seem to be rather detached from the rest. Note that in the real speech, the value for the subjective intelligibility will normally be much lower than the figures in the map obtained for the standardized lexical lists. For instance, 50% in the diagram will approach zero in a real idiomatic fluent speech of a native speaker, because of many additional effects. On the other hand, the abundance of shared Arabic and Russian borrowings will procure to the intelligibility in formal speech even between distant languages.

A note on the Silk Road and the Central Asian Bridge
One can better understand the migation of Turkic languages after familiarizing with the geography of the Silk Road and the concept of the *Central Asian Bridge. During the Middle Ages, people could not use flying carpets. Any kind of travel or ethnic migration could only proceed along narrow, geographically suitable pathways extending between deserts and mountain ranges and forming a natural, permanent network of migration routes. Basically, in Central Asia, a considerable part of this network became known as the Silk Road. The Silk Road is often considered merely from the economic perspective, although it also played a critical military, cultural, demographic, and linguistic role being an absolutely unique, vital artery which conveyed and maintained life in Eurasia for many generations. The Huns, the Turks, the Mongols, the Gipsies, whoever passed through Central Asia, could only travel along this natural migratory system; consequently, the distribution and classification of peoples in Asia is in fact nearly predetermined by the geographical structure of its routes and adjacent areas. That's especially true of the Turkic, Mongolic, and Iranian peoples who have lived by and off the Silk Road for hundreds of years. The Silk Road was also a streaming jet of genes running in the opposite directions that contributed to the exchange of the human DNA in Eurasia. It also carried infections, such as plague, in both directions, and brought tea, paper, compass, gunpowder, and other inventions to Europe causing it to rise from the Middle Ages into the era of art, reason, technology, as well as fierce firearm warfare.

A note on clan societies
The social structure of Turkic (and other Eurasian) tribes has been based on patrilineal clans. In Europe, the clan structure has been well-known for Celtic tribes. In many way, clans [Scottish Gaelic clann, Old Irish cland "tribe, offsping"] [Also cf. semantically similar English kin, Old English cynn "relatives, family"] worked in the same way as modern European surnames, which are apparently nothing but remnants of the Indo-European clan structure. Until the 20th century and sometimes later, the Turkic clans dictated many rules and laws of social living. Each man was supposed to know his family tree down to the 7th (Bashkir, Kazakh) or at least the 4th (Altayans?) generation. Each clan had a guardian spirit that could be interacted with through a shaman (kam) and some specific sacrifices. A clan often had a legendary progenitor, whose story had been passed down in oral tradition, and who had often in turn been connected to a totem animal.[23b][25] Moreover, a clan often possessed a cattle tamga (Mong. "brand"), which apparently correspond historically to the European coats of arms. We assume herein that the Turkic clan structure can be seen as a model for many societies of the Bronze and Iron Age, including Indo-European.
Naturally, a clan members were considered brothers and sisters who had many social responsibilities and could not intermarry either entirely (Altayans) or until a certain generation. Even today many Turkic society members often regard themselves as part of a large social family as opposed to the Western individualistic worldview. Marriages were often arranged by parents at a very early age — sometimes even at the cradle — with a member of a specific neighboring clan. The memory of cradle or children's marriages seems to be reflected in modern life when we say that "people are destined for each other". Though generelly the marriage customs varied. For instance, in other cases, the young man could choose his bride, and the marriage was accompanied by paying the bride price (qalïn) to the bride's family. Furthermore, judging at least by the detailed Genghis Khan's story,[23a] in the case of the Mongols, wives and concubines could be obtained by force as war trophies. Alien clans could also be integrated into a local society, which explains why we find, for instance, Kipchak clans as far apart as the Altai Mountains and the Black Sea, and which also explains why people with different DNA haplogroups could be part of a society speaking the same language.
The names of Turkic languages and clan names often seem to be connected. As it has been attempted to show in [On the origins of Turkic ethnonymy],[1] the name of the strongest and richest clan was often passed to the confederacy of clans, and sometimes, after a thousand years or so, to the name of language. Taking the example of the Smiths in English, we could make a reconstruction of a certain male, apparently a blacksmith, that lived in England during a certain period before the 10th century, and if the English clan structure were fully developed, the English language could presently be called something like "Smithish" or "Smithonian". Sometimes, such language naming was done almost deliberately in the course of the 20th century, for instance the failure to realize that the word Kypchak functioned basically just as a family name resulted in its rather unfounded extrapolation in Baskakov's classification [see below]. Moreover, in practice the Smith family name was probably reinvented and readopted many times, so not all the Smiths are related to each other; by the same token, this analogy explains that not anyone who is called a Tatar or Kypchak has in fact anything to do with the original progenitor of Tatars or Kypchaks. In many cases, trying to find the original meanings of Turkic ethnonyms seems to be quite pointless, since they often do not contain any more meaning than, say, Archer, Hawkins or Green, so unreasonable ethnonymic guessing is a constant source of errors and folk etymologies.
As Radloff explained in the 1860's,[23b] the 19th century's Kazakh social structure — which is apparently a typical representation of early Turkic societies in general — was built in the following way. At the basement of the social pyramid, there were 6-10 families forming an aul (a village) that used the same geographic pattern of migration throughout the year. The head of the aul was usually the oldest and the richest man to which the most aul members were personally related. At winter camps, several auls formed a larger gathering, where the judicial power belonged to a bey, the richest alderman that was able to settle any conflicts or disputes between different auls. Several clan subdivisions of this type formed a full clan, where the internal matters were usually settled by a council of beys. At times, a group could branch off from the rest of the old clan and receive the name of its new ruling bey, thus forming a new clan. Finally, to defend from external enemies or to invade them and capture their pastures, cattle or slaves, a number of clans could be united into a horde (an army) headed by an electable khan. The rulers and the ruling clans were known as ak sök "white bone", whereas the common people were kara kalk "black people" or kara sök "black bone".

Notes on transcription

The UTF encoding, let alone the IPA signs, were avoided right from the beginning for reasons of compatibility, consequently the present system of transcription and transliteration may seem slightly unusual.
ü, ö is used as in Turkish or German; ï is a back vowel similar to the Russian letter or the Turkish ; ê is mostly schwa as in "about", but in some languages may denote a different sound; N is the nasal /ng/; x is usually a velar similar to the Russian or Spanish or stronger; sh as in English; zh as in "treasure" or less palatalized; ð (in Bashkir, Turkmen) as in "this"; ß as in "thump"; s' (in Chuvash) is a palatalized form of /s/ similar to the Russian b> with the soft sign at the end or a soft /s/ to some extent similar to the Japanese ; d' is a palatalized /d/ in Altay Turkic similar to the very light pronunciation of in English; J is a sound similar to in "Jack" or a strongly palatalized /d'/;
q and G are respectively voiceless and voiced deep velars (or even uvulars); [Note that is the traditional way to denote the voiceless "throaty" sound in English, usually of Arabic, cf. "Quran", or Turkic origin, cf. "Nissan Qashqai"; even though this sound must have been the original Proto-Turkic phoneme, it seems to be falling out of use throughout the Turkic history, being slowly replaced by /k/ and /g/ from Russian, Greek and other western languages. In other words, the /k/:/q/ distinction is in fact often non-phonemic: the /q/ is usually pronounced in /qa/, /qu/, /qo/, /qï/, but moved forward allophonically in /ke/, /ki/. Moreover, younger Russian-influenced speakers may replace it by /k/ or attenuate it in all the cases.];
*P/B (in Tuvan, Tofa, Proto-Turkic) is a way to denote reconstructed phonemes probably intermediate between /p/ and /b/ as in Mandarin or some Mongolic languages; D- (in Yugur, Tuvan) is a reconstructed phoneme probably intermediate between /t/ and /d/ as in Mandarin; -D- (in Old Turkic, intervocal) is a reconstructed phoneme that was probably similar either to the Spanish intervocal -d- or the interdental English /ð/; *S (in Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic) is a reconstructed phoneme with much surrounding controversy, probably similar either to the palatalized /s'/ as in Chuvash or the Japanese /sh/ or the Russian /sch/ or even the English /J/; *R (in Proto-Turkic) is a reconstructed trill, probably a mixture of /r/ and /z/ as in Czech; *L (in Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic) is a reconstructed palatalized lateral fricative similar to the one in modern Khalkha Mongolian, essentially a mixture of /l/ and /s/; *H marks intense aspiration or a similar reconstructed phoneme; ' after vowels (in Chuvash) marks stress; the pronunciation of certain other phonemes may in fact be unconfirmed, unattested or unknown.
The Turkic languages do not have any clearly defined rules for the dynamic stress as the European languages do, and the stress seems to vary depending on the intonation, but separate words are normally pronounced with the stress on the final syllable, e.g. usually Tatar /tah-TAR/.

Attempts at the Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic reconstruction
Any kind of reconstruction of a proto-language is more of an art than an exact science, so inevitably it should be taken with a grain of salt. As one should understand perfectly well, there is no such thing as the correct or generally-accepted reconstruction, they all are merely artificial approximations that normally cause much unsubstantiated argument among different authors, and in many cases are unfalsifiable. Consequently, Starostin's team's work typically cited for Proto-Turkic cannot be viewed as ultimate reality, either. For the same reason, there was some disagreement between Yusuf Gürsey and me (2009-10) on a number of issues in Proto-Turkic, e.g. the problem of the initial S*- vs. y*, the initial t-/d-, b-/m- controversy, the final -q in Chuvash, etc. In any case, the following brief reconstruction was performed to the best of my expertise and according to the outlines in the introduction to the main article.[1]
Listen to the audio with Proto-Bulgaro-Turkic 1-10 numbers as they might have sounded circa 1500 BC.
(If it doesn't open by itself, save and rename .wav to .mp3; repetitions reflect possible variations)
dry leafsleephornliverhouse
*uDu-*mâïR, *muïR*baïr, *bawïr*e:B

The present study[3] suggests that the Bulgaric peoples must have migrated around the Southern Ural /YOO-ral/[26] towards the middle course of the Volga River somewhere during the Sarmatian period and the beginning of the Iron Age, that is c. 7th-3rd century BC.
In any case and for all practical purposes, one should keep in mind that the difference between Bulgaric and Turkic is very significant, and they should rather be viewed as separate taxonomic groupings. Herein, we consistently reserve the term Turkic (Proper) to refer only to the languages outside Bulgaric, using Bulgaro-Turkic as the most general term.

Volga Bulgaric

Bulgars /BOOL-gars/[26] were a subgroup of Turkic nomads that first appeared in the Caucasus c. 350 and then on the Danube /DAN-yoob/[26] River c. 475. They seem to have contributed to the creation of several medieval kingdoms: (0) the short-lived Old Great Bulgaria (632-671) founded by Khan Kubrat in the Pontic Steppe that led to the formation of the other three affiliate states, ruled by his sons: (1) Volga Bulgaria (670-1236) along the middle course of the Volga River, which finally gave rise to present-day Chuvashia /chu-VUSH-iya/; (2) Danube Bulgaria (670 -864), which gave rise to the modern Slavic-speaking Bulgaria; and finally (3) the Khazar Khagante /ha-ZAR, ka-ZAR/ (650-969) near the Caspian Sea, which disappeared, and which was famous for its Judaism.
The Khazar and Bulgar languages are only poorly attested in historical records. The Volga and Danube Bulgar languages are known in just a few inscriptions written with Greek and Arabic characters or Turkic runes. Khazar is only known from the inscription "oqurüm" (I have read) and the name of the city of Sar-kel (=White House or Tower). Therefore, the only surviving remnant of Bulgaric languages is modern Chuvash descending from the language of Volga Bulgaria.
Volga Bulgars
Volga Bulgars
Danube Bulgarian
A Danube Bulgarian

mây pêver

Modern Chuvash /cha-VAHSH, chuh-VUSH/, cf. Russified pronunciation /choo-VUSH/ is still spoken in the Chuvash Republic (capital: Cheboksary /chehbok-SAR-eh/) and is believed to be the direct descendant from the language of Volga Bulgaria (ancient capitals: Bolghar and Bilar; the latter was a large city about 2 miles across). Volga Bulgaria was founded c. 670, roughly between the modern cities of Kazan and Samara, near the confluence of the Volga and Kama /KAH-ma/[26] River. Commanding the middle Volga, this state controlled trade between the northern Europe and Persia, and was similar in this respect to the Kievan Rus /KEE-ee-van ROOS/ that controlled the Dnepr /NEE-per/[26] River. Volga Bulgaria was Islamized in 922 after being visited by an Arab writer and diplomat Ibn-Fadlan. Curiously, his famous account inspired a modern book, whose plot was used to make The 13th Warrior movie starring Antonio Banderas. Volga Bulgaria was destroyed during the Tatar-Mongol invasion in 1236. Consequently, Middle Chuvash has been strongly affected by Tatar. Today, the "Devil's Tower" in the Yelabuga /ye-LAH-booga/ town on the Kama River (fig. left below) is one of the few standing remnants of this long gone civilization, although the 13-14th cent. buildings in Bolghar (fig. right below) also preserve its spirit. In 1552, the Russians seized Kazan /ka-ZAN/[26] further affecting the Chuvash language and culture. In any case, the standalone position of Chuvash among other Turkic languages is rather indisputable, much of its lexical core is quite archaic, and it can be seen as one of the most valuable data sources for the purposes of Bulgaro-Turkic reconstruction. There are 1.04 million speakers (2010),[24d] most of them bilingual in Russian. As an example, here's a very lovely folk song (mp3) in Chuvash with an English translation — note certain Slavic features in music and phonology.
Note that most musical clips below are well-chosen and have pleasant, unusual or enthralling tunes, so we do recommend you listen to them as part of this ethnography study.
Chuvash and Volga Bulgars
Chuvash traditional dress (left); the reconstruction of the Bolghar City (right)
the original Volga Bulgar tower in Yelabuga near the Kama river (left below)
the restored buildings dating from the Golden Horde period (right below)

Turkic (Proper)

The map of the Altai Sayan Mountain System
The topographic map of
the Altay-Sayan Mountains (clickable),
based on maps from topomapper.com
This taxon, named herein as Turkic Proper, excludes any Bulgaric languages. It is also sometimes confusingly known as common Turkic, which may have misleading associations with Proto-Turkic or even certain Turkic conlangs.
The late homeland of Proto-Turkic Proper was evidently located near the Altai-Sayan Mountains /al-TY[26], sah-YAHN[26]/, most likely near northwestern ridges of the Altai between 900 BC and 300 BC. This conclusion[3] can be drawn from the following evidence: (1) the historical distribution of the early Turkic tribes and the result of backtracking their migration vectors; (2) the location of the center-of-gravity point of the maximum language diversification area; (3) archaeological estimations; (4) the meticulous glottochronological analysis. Similar hypotheses were suggested, in fact, at least as early as the 19th century.[25]
This Proto-Turkic period seems to match the onset of the Iron Age in West Siberia, when iron daggers and horse riding became widespread, which might have contributed to the active spread of the early Turkic dialects. The glottochronologically determined time depth of the Proto-Turkic split, therefore, seems to be greater than that of Slavic or Romance (c. 1600 years ago) but more or less similar to that of Germanic.
Apparently, there existed three main early Turkic dialects: (1) Eastern, that moved towards Lake Baikal thus forming Proto-Yakutic, (2) Central, that initially stayed near the Altai, (3) Southern, that migrated into Dzungaria and Mongolia.
Despite considerable separation between these earliest branches, some of the Turkic languages within the internal subgroups may still retain a great deal of mutual intelligibility due to their recent diversification, common borrowings or posterior contacts.

Linking the early Turks to "Siberian Scythians"
After the beginning of the Iron Age in West Siberia somewhere between 700 BC and 300 BC, rich archaeological sites in the region of the Tian Shan, Altai and Sayan mountains mark the presence of the so called "Siberian Scythians" —see the Pazyryk /pah-zeh-RIK/ culture in the Altai Mountains, the Tagar /ta-GAR/ culture along the upper Yenisei /YEH-ne-SEY/,[26] the Uyuk /oo-YOOK/ culture in Tyva. These archaeological cultures include burial mounds, horse burials (usually regarded as typically Turkic by archaeologists), gold bead clothing (the Arzhan kurgan, Uyuk culture) and other gold artifacts, iron weapons, horse harness, chariots, petroglyphs, mummies in permafrost, remnants of clothing including well-preserved carpets, and other exceptional finds. Despite the name, no direct relatedness to the true western Scythians of Herodotus can be demonstrated in any possible way. The term "Scythian" as used in this context should be understood a purely archaeological designation describing the mutual resemblance of the Iron Age cultures of Central Eurasia that used similar iron weaponry, horse harness, and particularly, the very specific artistic style with dynamic gold and bronze animal figurines. Therefore, based on the temporal and geographic coincidence, we can infer[3] that these archaeologically attested ethnic groups could in fact have formed the basis for the late Proto-Turkic (Proper) unity and the early Turkic dialects after their initial spilt, although this is still controversial.

Additionally, both the early Chinese records and the anthropological and genetic studies point to the presence of "European invaders" including an unusually high concentration of the Proto-Indo-European R1a1 haplogroup in the Altay-Sayan area, which matches the high R1a1 concentration in modern Altay and Kyrgyz people and other easternmost ethnic groups of Central Asia. These findings may lead to the representation of the early Turks as people of European (Caucasian) rather than Mongoloid descent.
(1) Eastern Turkic Languages
The map of the Altai Sayan Mountain System
The reconstructed possible migration of Proto-Yakuts (clickable)
This major grouping includes only two known representatives: Sakha (Yakut) and Dolgan (the northern offshoot of Sakha), which can be collectively called as Yakutic. The drastic discrepancy, that set Yakutic aside from any other Turkic languages, has been well recognized since the 19th century on. Most glottochronological studies [e.g. Dyachok (2001)[10] and herein (2009-12)[2]] imply a very early separation of Proto-Yakutic from the main stem (at least by c. 200-300 BC or maybe even a few centuries earlier). However, there seem to be certain common features that this Eastern supertaxon shares with the Central one. After thorough consideration in this work, these features have been attributed to the secondary contact between the two supertaxa occuring soon after the initial Turkic split c. 400-200 BC.

Subgroup 1:

The Lena migrants

Essentially, Yakuts are the Turkic group resulting from the migration along the Lena River (Anglophone: /LEE-na/, Russophone: /LEH-na).[26] This has led to a relatively recent distribution of Yakutic from the area of Yakutsk all the way to the Arctic Ocean. Sakha and Dolgan share many Mongolic lexical borrowings, and much of their vocabulary seems to come from an unknown source, though there are many important archaic Turkic features, as well. Russian cultural loanwords are also very typical. In any case, the Yakutic branch seems to be highly deviant in many respects, having little to do with its closest neighbors, Tuvan or Khakas. Generally, there isn't much doubt that the Yakutic subgroup should be viewed as an important, early-splitting branch of the Turkic languages. Sakha (Yakut) warriors
Sakha warriors (staged)
Lena River, Yakutia
A village along the Lena
Any details concerning the early Proto-Yakutic migration are inevitably a hypothetical reconstruction, however the general outline of this migration is becoming more clear after the present research.[1] Before the beginning of the common era, Proto-Yakutic must have moved from the Minusinsk Depression in the Altai Mountains towards Lake Baikal by following the upper reaches of Yenisei River that takes source in Mongolia near Lake Khövsgöl. Then, Proto-Yakutic people must have continued down the Irkut river until they reached the western shore of Lake Baikal /by-KAHL/,[26] where the sources of Lena are located. There on the western and southern shores of Baikal the Proto-Yakuts apparently formed a tribal confederacy, known as Kurykan /koo-re-KAHN/, that supposedly existed c. 6-10th centuries, according to archaeological evidence and some scanty Chinese and Görkturk historical records.
The further migration down the Lena was a much later event, most likely (but not necessarily) connected with the famous turmoil of the 13th century, when the Proto-Yakuts could have been expelled from their Baikal habitat by the invading hordes of Buryats and Mongols. This is supported by the evidence of a genetic bottleneck that most Proto-Sakha must have gone through[12a], which may document an ancient holocaust, implying that most of Proto-Yakuts were exterminated during that period. However, some of them survived and fled along the Upper Lena towards the present-day Yakutsk. Any migration down the Lena was proceeding downstream, therefore being relatively effortless in terms of geographic constraints. The remote corners of the Lena basin were probably reached only after the introduction of firearms in the 17th century, and many areas of taiga are still uninhabited up to this day.

Sakha (Yakut)ataqsuluskïhïlkura:naqsebirdequtuy-muosbïarJie, d'ie bi:rikkiüstüörtbiesaltasetteaGïstoGusuon

Yakut /yah-KOOT/ (the usual name in Russian), or Sakha /sah-KHAH, sa-HA/ (self-appellation) is spoken along the Lena watershed in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic of Russia (capital: Yakutsk /yah-KOOTSK/), which is the largest in the world subnational governing body by area. Though looking big on the map, the region is in fact covered with dense taiga, and is scarcely populated, while most life is concentrated along rivers. Historically, the northern Yakuts were largely hunters, fishermen and reindeer herders, while the southern Yakuts raised cattle and horses. The city of Yakutsk (originally Lensky Ostrog "The Lena Fortess") was founded in 1632, when this territory was annexed by Russia. Religion: originally, Tengriism. C. 450 000 speakers (2010),[24d] but most are bilingual in Russian. A
 Sakha girl
The Sakha Beauty Contest
Oymyakon, Yakutia
Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold
Yakutsk in winter
Yakutsk in winter

Dolganatakhuluskïhïlkura:nakhebirdekutuy-muosbïar bi:rikkiüstüörtbiesaltahetteagistogusuon

Dolgan /dol-GAHN/ is the northernmost offshoot of Yakutic, spoken near the Taymyr /ty-MIR/ Peninsula and other extremely scarcely populated areas of the northern tundra. It exposes evident Evenk influence and can be regarded as Sakha over the local Evenk substratum. According to Ubryatova (1985), Dolgan separated from Sakha before the end of the 16th century. There are c. 7000 Dolgans (2002), of which less than 80% are actual native speakers. 

(2) Central Turkic Languages
This hypothetical major grouping includes about the 70% of all the present-day Turkic languages that extend from the upper Yenisei /YE-ne-SEY/[26] basin in the east all the way across the Great Steppe until the Black Sea in the west. The supergrouping consists of the two main subtaxa: (1) Altay-Sayan (Turkic) and (2) Great-Steppe (Turkic). [Note that the difference between the spelling of Altai Mountains and Altay (Turkic) languages; the names ending in -ai reflect an older spelling, whereas -ay is a modern English transliteration.]
Curiously, most of the ethnic groups included into Central have been historically known as either Kyrgyz or Tatar. In some cases, these names were just a faulty exonym, but in other they seem to be authentic. At any rate, Kyrgyz and Tatar appear among the oldest ethnonyms and clan namesused by Turkic peoples.
The acceptable pronunciation is /kr-GEZ, ker-GIZ/; cf. the traditional Anglophone spelling and pronuciation Kirg(h)iz /keer-GEEZ/[26], based on the Russified variant with an /ee/, but the original Turkic phonology is rather shorter and harder. In "Tatar", the traditional Anglophone pronunciation is /TAH-ter/, though /teh-TAR/ is probably more clear and authentic, and has fewer negative historical connotations.

Just like Yakutic, most ethnic groups in this supertaxon have been part of the Russian Empire since the 16th-17th centuries, so naturally most of these languages exhibit pronounced Russian influence particularly in the cultural and technical vocabulary.

Subgroup 2:

The map of the Altai Sayan Mountain SystemAn approximate distribution
of the Altay-Sayan languages
circa the beginning of the 20th century
(clickable), based on maps
from the 1940-60's[12b][12c][12d]
The Altay-Sayan subgroup includes Altay, Khakas, Tuvan and the languages closely elated to them. This subgroup probably corresponds to the descendants of the so called Yenisei Kyrgyz, a historically important cluster of eastern Turkic tribes that were attested under various names in Chinese chronicles between 200-900 AD, but which dissolved after the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Their territory (particularly in Khakassia) was also mentioned under the name Kirgizskaya Zemlitsa "The Kirgiz Land" during the clashes with Russians in the 17th century.

The Yenisei Kyrgyz originally seem to have inhabited the Minusinsk Depression in Khakassia (Minusinsk /mee-noo-SINSK/ is a city near Abakan, the capital of Khakassia). This is a geographically suitable plain with steppes, lakes, and valleys located along the upper Yenisei between the Kuznetsk Alatau /kooz-NETSK AH-lah-TOU/, Western, and Eastern Sayan ridges. Protected by these mountains, the Minusinsk Depression has relatively mild climate convenient for agriculture, to the extent that even cherry and apricot orchards have been grown there at least since the 19th century. By proceeding south, up the Yenisei River, and after crossing the Western Sayan, one can arrive into the interconnected Tuva Depression, where the Tyva Republic is located, and then, by following further along the uppermost reaches of the Yenisei, into northern Mongolia, inhabited by very remote and frequently omitted Tuvan-related ethnic groups (Tsaatans /tsah-TAHN/ and Soyots /saw-YOT/).

Four horsemen
A Genghis Khan movie filmed in Tuva and Khakassia (2007)
Shor people
Shors processing leather (1913)
A note on the pronuciation of Tuva and Tyva must be added: the traditional Anglophone pronunciation is /TOO-va/, though the name of the country itself has been formally changed in the 1990's to Tyva /tuh-VAH/, which is closer to the Turkic original, whence the modern discrepancy.
Whereas Tuvans often still live in classical yurts, many Khakas and Altay peoples may have lived in dugout log huts, leading semi-settled lifestyle, suitable for fishing, crop cultivation and metal working. It is in fact these types of dwellings that are typically found in archaeological sites across West Siberia in the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The Proto-Altay-Sayan or Proto-Yenisei-Kyrgyz tribes seem to be identifiable with the Tashtyk /tash-TIK/ archaeological culture (2nd BC-5th AD) famous for their stunning, poignant funerary masks showing rather European features.
Another striking trait is the odd ethnological resemblance of Altay and Tuvan shamans to the North American Indians, which may be far from coincidental, judging by the geographical proximity of Yeniseian, which has recently been shown to be linguistically related to Na-Dene (see Dene-Yeniseian superfamily). The genetic studies (conducted since 1997) too demonstrate high concentration of Native American mtDNA lineages in Tuvan, Soyot, Khakas, Altay, and Buryat population [Zakharov (2003)].
The Yenisei Kyrgyz are said to have destroyed the Uyghur (= Gökturk) Empire in Mongolia and its capital Ordu-Baliq /or-DOO bah-LIK/ in 840 AD, which caused the final dissipation of the Orkhon /or-HON/ Turkic peoples, but led to the rise of the Yenisei Kyrgyz Kaganate (840-1207).

The Altay and Khakas languages and dialects seem to be rather archaic, and contain relatively few non-Turkic loanwords in their basic vocabularies, except for abundant borrowings into cultural vocabulary from Russian. Generally, Altay and Khakas, along with Kyrgyz of Kyrgyzstan, may provide some example of what late Proto-Turkic may have sounded like. Tuvan languages, on the hand, contain too many Mongolic borrowings.
The Altay and Khakas population has been historically subdivided into over a hundred clans, known as seoks (sö:k "bone"), which suppose patrilineal genetic descendence from a common progenitor.
On the meaning of Kyrgyz (Note: any ethnonymic remarks are unavoidably hypothetical.)
The word "Kyrgyz" probably originates from the name or alias of an ancient clan progenitor. This name must have spread to several other clans and finally become overused and ambiguously applied to many ethnic groups of various descent. It is supposed herein that the word by itself seems to have the same root as in *kyr- "to break" or as in *kork- "to fear" and may contain a reduplication of *kyr-kyr > *kyr-kyz with the first -r retained before the consonant. Words of the same phonological shape in Turkic of West Siberia seem to allude to terror and force, cf. Tuvan korgysh, Khakas xorGïs, Kyrgyz korkush "fear, terror"; Kazakh qurtu "exterminate", qïrqu "shearing, cutting"; Altai kïr "erase", kïrkïsh "shearing", Sakha kïrgïs "fight, destroy each other", etc. A more popular but less likely version is that the Kyrgyz ethnonym originates from qïrq + iz "forty + an unknown suffix".
The outdated ethnonym "Karagas" for Tofa(lar) may be just another way to pronounce "Kyrgyz"; moreover, note the direct retention of this ethnonym in Fuyu Kyrgyz in China.
However, curiously and quite confusingly, the modern generic self-appellation of Khakas and Altay peoples is Tadarlar (Tatars), probably since the days of the widespread usage of this term in the Russian Empire of the 18-19th century.

Subgroup 2a:
Tuvan-Tofa (Sayan)

The Yenisei Kyrgyz migrants to the Sayan Mountains
The Tuvan-Tofa subgroup includes Tuvan (proper), Todzin, Tofa, Tsaatan and Soyot. It represents those ethnic groups that settled in the south, near the border with Mongolia — along the uppermost reaches of the Yenisei in the Western and Eastern Sayan mountains, In other words, from the geographic perspective, Tuvans ad their siblings can only be seen as those Yenisei Kyrgyz people that migrated along the Yenisei from the Minusinsk Depression into Tuvan Depression and nearby regions. Therefore it may also be called the Sayan subgroup. Glottochronologically, the Tuvan-Tofa subgroup must have separated from Proto-Khakas and Proto-Altay by about 250 AD.[2] The Tuvan languages and dialects are rather peculiar and exhibit many unusual words, including Mongolic borrowings, so, for the most part, they cannot be understood by the Turks of Central Asia or even their closest Khakas-Altai neighbors. The self-appellation Tofa or Tïva might in some way be related to the name of the Tuba /too-BAH/ River (allegedly formerly known as Ul) in the Minusinsk Depression near Abakan, though this is controversial.
Curiously, the Tuvan archaeological sites of the Uyuk culture reveal striking round burials under kurgans with unique gold artifacts (Arzhan-1, Arzhan-2)[11][12] dating to 800-600 BCE, usually identified with the rather chimerical "Siberian Scythians".
Note that the Tuvan and Tofa(lar) spelling systems may contain voiced symbols, such as , , , which in practice denote the so called "weak" consonants that are normally pronounced as unvoiced in the beginning or as semi-voiced in the intervocal position, as opposed to , , , denoting aspirated consonants.


Tuvan is spoken in the Tyva /teh-VAH/ (outdated: Tuva /TOO-va/) Republic (the capital city: Kyzyl /keh-ZEL, kuh-ZUL/), which is suitably located in the Tuvan Depression along the upper Yenisei between the Western Sayan Ridge and the Tannu-Ola Ridge near the Mongolian border. Tuvan has also been historically known under the ambiguous name Uriankhai /oo-run-HI/. Tyva was a de jure independent state between 1920 and 1944, when it was finally fully annexed by the USSR. Traditionally, nomadism; horse and cattle breeding; sedentary life in towns since the 19-20th century. Religion: Tibetan Buddhism and still some Tengriism. About 253.000 speakers (2010),[24d] of which at least 60% are bilingual in Russian. Tuvans

Todzin         birèìiüyshdörtpeishàltït'etï, chetïsèestòoson

Karagas          biräihiüis,törtbeis,altèt~edèsehestohoson


The Karagas people were thought to be extinct in the 19th century, yet the Tofa(lar)s /taw-FAH, taw-fa-LAR/ in the forests of the Eastern Sayan mountains seem to be their direct continuation. Tofa(lar) [the -lar just being a Turkic plural suffix] probably separated from Tuvan by migrating along the Greater Yenisei towards its source. They were recently, studied in detail by Rassadin (1980's-2000's). Reindeer breeding and hunting in the taiga; Tengriistic shamanims and nomadism before the 1930s. About 760 persons, 93 formally listed as Tofa speakers (2010),[24d] but just 15 active speakers (2002). There are c. 1900 Todzins (2010).Tofalars
Subgroup 2b:

The Yenisei-Kyrgyz migrants along the Yenisei
The Khakas subgroup includes at least the following representatives: (Standard) Khakas /ha-KUS, hhuh-KAHS/ (which is basically a rather artificial literary 20th century's koine based on Sagai) and several more true-to-life vernacular languages, such as Sagai /sa-GY/ proper (presently, the most commonly spoken vernacular Khakas, situated to the east of the Kuznetsk Alatau Mountains), Kach(a) (Russian "kAchinskiy"; actually from the old self-appellation /qa:sh/; now rare, though still active in the beginning of the 20th century), Kyzyl (almost extinct), Koibal, Beltir (extinct); Mras-Su Shor, Kondom Shor (meaning the Shor people living along the Mrassu and Kondom Rivers near the Kuznetsk Alatau); Middle Chulym /choo-LIM/ (spoken in a couple of villages, in remote northern areas along the middle course of the Chulym River), possibly Lower Chulym (acc. to a local researcher, the last speaker died in 2010). According to Baskakov's classification (1960-80's), the subgroup may even include some of the northern Altai dialects.
The modern ethnonym "Khakas" was rather artificially created only in 1918, patterned on the then-supposed reading of Chinese chronicles [see the discussion in the published correspondence by Yakhontov, Butanayev (1992)].[13] This word is still out of use in Khakas communities, except for formal occasions, with the self-appellation "Tadar(lar)" being used instead; the latter ethnonym is also generally accepted among the Altay people. The reason why the original generic name for Khakas appears to be lost must be connected to the long-standing differentiation of the Khakas subgroup.
The Khakas peoples had traditionally practiced nomadic herding, agriculture, hunting, and fishing, but were mostly Russified and Westernized in the course of the 20th century.



Khakas /hhuh-KAHS/ is spoken in the Republic of Khakassia /ha-KAHS-iya/ (capital: Abakan /aba-KAHN/), that was annexed to Russia in 1727. It is rather a collection of dialect-languages originally dispersed along the upper Yenisei in the Minusinsk Depression, but presently surviving in its pure form only as Sagai in villages along the Abakan River. Formally, 72.950 who consider themselves "Khakas" and c. 42.000 speakers (2010),[24d] but most of them are proficient in Russian.  Khakas wedding
A traditional Khakas wedding (c. 1915)
Khakas womanKhakassia
Shorazaqchïltïsqïzïlquruq chat-mü:s empiriygi, igiüshtörtpeshaltïchettisegistoguson
Shor (2840 speakers (2010)[24d]), further in the Kuzentsk Alatau, is a small ethnic group closely related to Khakas people. The Shor people that lived in forested areas between the Altai and Kuznetsk Alatau created peculiar songs, such as Pörü "The wolf" (so skillfully performed by Chiltis Tannagasheva). It sounds like this song really doesn't go well with the modern studio, being associated with an entirely different story of prehistoric survival.
Fuyü Gïrgïsazïh qïzïl  uzi  ibbïrigiushdurtbishaltïchitisigisdoGuson
Fuyu Kyrgyz is an often omitted and oddly located, presently nearly extinct variant of Khakas in northeastern China. It is now remembered only by the elderly and only to a very small extent. It was originally distributed to the northwest of Harbin along the Nenjiang River near a town called Fuyü, hence the odd exonym; the self-appellation is in fact Gyrgys or Xyrgys. The Fuyü Kyrgyz seem to have been exiled form Khakssia to Dzungaria in 1703-06 and then resettled to China in 1761 after the conquest of Dzungaria by the Qing Empire. They apparently belongs to the Khakas subtaxon (cf. namir < Khakas nanmïr "rain"; suG "water"). They were studied by Hu, Zheng-Hua (1982), and recently revisited by Butanayev (2005) from Khakassia. No detailed description is available (in Mandarin only?). Religion: originally shamanism, then Lamaism.

, uG

The Chulym /choo-LIM/ river (the tributary of the Ob) is hidden a long way to the north from any Khakas or Altay areas. Local villages seem to be situated at the very edge of the world: there are basically hardly any human settlements to the north of them for a good thousand miles, nothing but taiga and marshland. In the 20th century, Chulym was studied by Dulzon (1940-60's) and Biryukovich (1970's). After their formal recognition in 2001 as a separate ethnicity, the Chulym people managed to set up their own village festivals and teachlanguage lessons. Precontact way of living: fishing, millet and barley cultivation, dug-out dwellings. Religion: shamanism before the 18th century, presently atheic or orthodox. 355 persons, only 45 speakers (2010)[24d] (cf. 380 speakers in the 1970's). [Note that there exists another Chulym River, the tributary of Lake Chany]
(1) Pasechnoye Village at the Middle Chulym (2010): almost a one-village country;
(2) Horsemen at the Chulym festival

The existence of Melet and Tutgal variants in Middle Chulym spoken in different villages indicate at least several hundred years of differentiation. Lower Chulym has been traditionally described as a "Chulym dialect", despite the many differences, the influence from Tomsk Tatar and the distant location, all of which set it apart; it apparently went extinct in 2010. Küärik, a third main dialect of Chulym along the lower course of the Kiya river (a tributary of Chulym), had disappeared in the beginning of the 20th century.[16a] These facts suggest that Chulym was a small subgroup of languages. 

Subgroup 2c:
Altay (Turkic)

The Yenisei-Kyrgyz migrants to the Altai Mountains
The Altay (Turkic) subgroup is a complex assortment of rather poorly studied dialect-languages with ambiguous classification, some of which may exhibit proximity to Khakas, while others to the Tian-Shan Kyrgyz. The peculiarities of the lesser Altay languages are frequently underestimated or completely ignored.
There are now 65.500 nominal speakers of the Altay languages (2002), though the local dialects quickly fall out of use.
According to Baskakov (1969),[7] who studied some of them in vivo after the WWII, the subgroup may have the following structure:

The North Altay Turkic subtaxon includes:
(1) Kumandy /koo-MAHN-deh, koo-mahn-DEE/ (2890 persons, c. 740 speakers (2010);[24d]
(2) Chalkan /chal-KAHN/ or Kuu /KOO/ (1180 persons, all bilingual in Russian; named after the Kuu ("Swan") River);
(3) Tuba /too-BAH/ (rather intermediate between North and South, 1965 persons, 230 speakers (2010)).

The South Altay Turkic subtaxon includes:
(1) Standard Altay, or Altay-kizhi /al-TUY kee-ZHEE/ from kizhi "person", or Altay (Proper).
There are 74.230 persons formally listed as "Altayans", c. 56.000 speakers (2010).[24d] Before 1948, the Altay people were confusingly named "Oyrots" after the subgroup of Mongolic languages due to their interaction with the Dzungarians in the 18th century, though Radloff (1860's) called them "Altayans".
(2) Teleut /te-leh-OOT/ (used as standard before 1917; 2640 persons, 975 speakers (2010)); for a typical example of the Teleut speech, see this clip
(it is probably pretty close to what late Proto-Turkic sounded like);
(3) Telengit /te-len-GIT/ (situated further in the mountains, thus is less affected by external influence; 3710 persons (2010), mostly village dwellers).

Altay (Turkic) is sometimes viewed as rather intermediate between Khakas and Kyrgyz languages. However, much of the Altay vocabulary seems to match Khakas, and to a lesser extent, Tuvan, therefore, according to the present study,[1] Altay (Turkic) should be seen as part of the Altay-Sayan subgroup, being closely related to Khakas. Also, note that much of the southern Altai Mountains are located in eastern Kazakhstan, which may explain certain non-Altay-Sayan features in Altay Turkic as a result of secondary interaction with Kazakh.
Also note that the Altai Republic (capital: Gorno-Altaysk) and the Altai Krai /al-TY KRY/(administrative center: Barnaul /bar-na-OOL/) are geographically connected but politically different federal subjects of the Russian Federation that should not be conflated. Altay peoples are mostly situated in the Altay Republic, whereas Altai Krai is presently almost entirely Russian-speaking.
North Altay (Turkic)
kïzïlkurgakbüruyta-; uyïkta mü:spu:r,
ük, uk, uubireki, ikiüchtört, türtpish altïchetisegistogus,

Kumandy is spoken by merely 1000 speakers living along the Biya river. In the word Kumandï, - is a Turkic suffix marking an adjective, therefore the original meaning was "of Cumans, Cumanic". The Kumandy language was described by Baskakov (1972). Just as other North Altay languages, it seem to share many common elements with Khakas, Chulym and Shor, e.g. (1) *S- > ch- in cheti "seven" and n'- as in nimïrtka "egg", cf. Khakas cheti, nïmïrxa ; (2) sug with the final -G "water, river", just as in Khakas, (3) the archaic -dï-bïs, -dï-vïs ending in the 1st person, plural, past tense, instead of -d-uk, -d-ïk, as in most western Turkic languages.  Kumandy
A Kumandy fisherman

South Altay (Turkic)
Standard (South) Altaybut, put;
, büri,

The official written language of the Altai Republic is based on the language of the Altay-kizhi people. In phonology, the South Altay subgroup is characterized by the word-initial palatalized light /d'-/ or /J'/ as in /d'ok, J'ok/ "there is not", /d'ol, J'ol/ "way", etc. About 56.000 speakers (2010).
  Altai (Altay) people
Listen to the Altay throat singing by AltaiKai in Batïrïs jurtaGan literally "Bigman-our yurted" — "Once upon a time there lived our warrior (strongman)". 

Subgroup 3
Great-Steppe (Turkic)

Most Turkic languages of the Great Steppe have been shown[1] to belong to the single major genetic taxon that contains the following subdivisions: (3a) the Kyrgyz(-Karluk) subgroup, including Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Karakalpak and hypothetically the unattested dialect of the Karluks; (3b) the Chagatai subgroup, including early medieval Chagatai, and the several dialects of Uzbek and Modern Uyghur; (3b) the Kimak subgroup (or Kimak-Kypchak-Tatar subgroup), which includes languages stemming from the Kimak Confederation and the Golden Horde expansion, such as Kazan Tatar, Bashkir, northern Crimean Tatar, Nogai, Kumyk, Karachay-Balkar. Note that the former two groups, 3a and 3b — Kyrgyz(-Karluk) and Chagatai — are probably more closely related to each other than to Kimak.
The existence of the Great-Steppe genetic unity explains why most of these distantly located languages usually share good mutual intelligibility with each other, subjectively up to 70-80% in real speech, according to reports of proficient speakers on the web.
The Great Steppe taxon must stem from the most archaic segment of late Proto-Turkic originally dispersed in the Kulunda /koo-LOON-da, koo-loon-DAH/ Steppe and near the Middle and Upper Irtysh /ir-TISH/[26] River. This segment had not been involved in the earliest Turkic migrations occurring right after the initial Proto-Turkic split, since its representatives began to advance in the western direction only after about 600-700 AD. Consequently, the languages of the Great Steppe exhibit many archaic features, but few borrowing and innovations, with Kyrgyz probably being the most typical example of an archaic and physically isolated typical Turkic language.

Subgroup 3a:

The Karluks and Kygyz that migrated to the Tian Shan
The earliest migrations in this taxon were probably connected with the settlements in the vicinity of the Tian Shan Mountains. The latter are known as Tanrï da: in Turkish, Tengri taG in Uyghur and Te:nger U:l in Mongolian meaning "heavenly (or God's) mountains", which suggests that the Chinese name tien shang "sky mountains" may merely be a reinterpretation of a Turkic or Mongolic original.

The Karluk Confederation descendants
It should be explained that the exact origins and dialectal affiliation of Karluks is obscure, but herein they are viewed as an ethnic group closely related to Kyrgyz, which is more of an educated guess than a well-supported hypothesis.
The Karluk /kar-LOOK/ Confederation (766 –840) was a medieval state located in the Zheti-Su (Jeti-Su) ("the Seven Waters"), a historical region between the Tian Shan and Lake Balkhash /bahl-KAHSH,[26] bal-HUSH/ near the present-day Kyrgyzstan. Originally, the Karluks seem to be a clan from the Altai Mountains that c. 665 had migrated towards the Irtysh River, finally reaching the Zheti-Su by c. 700 AD. After the famous Battle of Talas /ta-LAHS/ in 751, when the Chinese forces were defeated by the Arabs, the Karluks were able to occupy Suyab, the capital of the Western Gökturk Kaganate, and, beginning of 766, gained control over the northern part of the Silk Road and the whole Zheti-Su region. They were partly converted to Islam c. 780. In 840, the Karluk Kaganate was subdued by a second migration wave of the Yenisei Kyrgyz (from the Altai Mountains?), further increasing their cultural influence in the region. By 940, their Kaganate was captured by the Karakhanids.
It seems that after the disappearance of the Karluks, the region was occupied by Kyrgyz tribes, though it is entirely uncertain when and why the Kyrgyz people first appeared in Kyrgyzstan, with different sources citing different opinions on the matter. At any rate, a Turkic tribe named Kyrgyz, apparently from the Tian Shan region, was mentioned at least as early as 1073 by Mahmud al-Kashgari.
Tian Shan Kyrgyz

Kyrgyz people
Kyrgyzstan /KIR-giz-STAHN/(capital: Bishkek /bish-KEK/) is a small mountainous country in the Tian Shan Mountains near Lake Issyk Kul /EE-sek KOOL/,[26] originally situated along the northeastern part of the Silk Road. The legendary history of the Kyrgyz people, including battles against Kitans and Dzungarians, are described in the Epic of Manas /ma-NAHS/, an extremely long, orally transmitted poem first mentioned in the 16th century and written down in 1885. Kyrgyzstan was integrated into Russia in 1876, but eventually became independent in 1991. Youngsters often no longer speak Russian. The Kyrgyz /kr-GIZ; keer-GEEZ/ people and langauge were known as "Kara-Kyrgyz" before 1920s.
Religion: formally Muslims, though, as Radloff attested (1860's)[23b], Islam did not take much root among Kazakh, and even less so, among the Kyrgyz tribes of the 19th century, so both languages are relatvely free of Arabic borrowings and the Islamic tradition. C. 4 million speakers.
Listen to the song Age 18 from the 1960's peformed by Zhanetta Bobkova (2009) — a nice voice, and the poetry and the girl (and the numerals) — as well as another old song: Ömür daira "The River of LIfe" by Kochkoro.


The Republic of Kazakhstan /KAH-zak-STAHN/ (capital: Astana /AHS-ta-NAH/) is just that giant, eye-catching spot on the map of Central Asia. Despite its large size, much of central Kazakstan's territory is in fact semi-desert continental steppe with most population concentrated in the northern area along the border with Russia or near the Tian Shan Mountains. Note the former capital Almaty /AHL-ma-TEE/ probably from Kyrgyz Alma To: "Apple Mountain"). Historically, the Kazakh /ka-ZAHK,[26] ka-ZAHH/ people seem to be just those Kyrgyz nomads that spread beyond their original Jeti-Su homeland and the Chu river near the Tian-Shan after the 1460's, and whose language was afterwards strongly affected by the Noghai and Tatar dialects of the dissolved Golden Horde.[1] In the 17th-18th centuries the country was divided into the three zhüzes (jüzes) (large confederacies of Kazakh tribes). Since the 1820's, Russians in Kazakhstan began to use Kazakhstan's territory for coal mining, agriculture, nuclear tests, and launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Kazakhstan became independent in 1990, emerging as a huge Central Asian power with rapidly growing economy and relatively high level of urbanization. Kazakh and Kyrgyz are mutually intelligible, and the Kazakhs were even named "Kazak-Kyrgyz" or "Kaisak-Kyrgyz" , but usually just Kyrgyz between the 1730's and 1920's (the self-appellation seemed to be Kazakh, though) [see e.g. Melioranskiy (1894).[14]] Cf. an old Kazakh saying, "Kazakh and Kyrgyz are one kin, but who in the world made Sart? (=a Chagatai city dweller, trader, an Uzbek)." (/qazaq qyrGyz bir tuGan, sart shirkindi kim tuGan/) C. 12 million speakers. Listen to the Jalgan ay folk song by Asemkhan from the Xinjiang autonomous region in China where Kazakh is also spoken — a nice and clear eastern Kazakh pronunciation with no trace of Russian and an admirable voice.

Kazakh people, Kazakhstan
Modern buildings in Astana (upper row): (1) The Pyramid of Peace;
(2) The Khan Shatyry Entertainment Center; (3) The Bayterek in the distance


Karakalpak /ka-RAH-kal-PAHK/[26] from the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan in Uzbekistan (capital: Nukus /noo-KOOS/) is nearly (but not quite) a dialect of Kazakh located near the southwestern coasts of the Aral Sea. Since the Amu Darya /ah-MOO DAR-ya/[26] (the Oxus) inflow had been diverted for irrigation, the Aral Sea shrunk and almost disappeared by the 1990's causing terrible deterioration in the region. Karakalpak exhibits even more Nogai-Tatar influence than Kazakh. The ethnonym literally means "black hats" (= brave warriors).  

The relatedness of Kazakh and Kyrgyz
The current lexicostatistical study[2] demonstrates that modern Kyrgyz (of Kyrgyzstan) and Kazakh (of Kazakhstan) are suprisingly close (circa 91-92% in Swadesh-215), probably even constituting a single dialectical continuum at their geographic extremes. As mentioned above, both ethnic groups were commonly known as Kirgiz until the 1920's.

The classical Baskakov's classification (1952)[6][7] used to relate Kazakh to Nogai and the other "Kipchak" /keep-CHAHK/ languages (herein often renamed to Kimak), whereas Kyrgyz in that classification was locked away into a special subgrouping along with South Altay.
However, we should take one step further and differentiate between Kazakh and Nogai. Baskakov, an author and coauthor of Nogai dictionaries and textbooks during the postwar 1940-50's, seemed to view Nogai as particularly close to Kazakh, however a closer exaination of his classification reveals that he failed to differentiate between shared archaisms and innovations. There in fact turns out to be little evidence relating modern Nogai of North Caucasus, a rather typical Kimak language, directly to Kazakh, whereas most shared features are archaic retentions typical of many Great-Steppe languages. This does not mean however that there is nothing in common, and certain features, such as the /ch/ > /s/ mutations indeed seem to be innovative.
Kazakh, which occupies the vast steppe of Kazakhstan, must have separated from the Kyrgyz stem in the Zheti-Su region in the 15th century. According to the present study,[1] it seems to have been affected by a Tatar dialect of the Nogai Horde and acquiered certain new features which differentiated it from the Kyrgyz foundation. This seems quite logical, considering that the period of dispersal of the Nogai Horde during the 2nd half of the 16th century matches the early formative days of Kazakh, and some of the stray Nogai clans could have intermixed with the early Kazakhs, at least in theory. This posterior contact could have occurred somewhere near the Ural (Yaik) River.
On the other hand, the Kyrgyz language of Kyrgyzstan, isolated in the Tian Shan mountains, retained more archaisms of the Altay type and probably even acquired new Altay borrowings during the Dzungarian invasion of the Oyrots in the 17th century.[1] There is good phonological correspondence between Kyrgyz and South Altay, including some shared isolexemes, such as Kyrgyz and Standard Altay but "leg", Kyrgyz chong, Standard Altay d'a:n "big", etc. As a result, Kyrgyz speakers may find Altay languages rather intelligible.

The relatedness between Altay, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Nogai and Kazan Tatar is a typical example of Turkic languages forming a dialectal continuum with many secondary seams. So, to rephrase the old quote, if one could take a ride in the 19th century  from the Altai Mountains to Kazan, in each town on the way, there would be a dialect only slightly different from the one in the previous town.

The tribes that crossed the Tian-Shan into the Tarim Basin
The Chagatai Khanate descendants
The patchwork of Central Asian languages gets particularly complex at this point. Somewhere during the turmoil of the Mongol invasion in the 13-14th century or shortly before it, a certain segment of Proto-Kyrgyz-Kazakh speakers situated at the foot of Tian Shan Mountains, such as Karluks, must have spread over the mountain ridges into the Karakhanid /ka-RAH-ha-NEED/ Khanate territory, largely displacing the local Karakhanid language and intermingling with it, thus creating the basis for what soon became known as the medieval literary Chagatai language. As a result, the present-day Kazakh and Kyrgyz are particularly close to Uzbek and Uyghur[1], sharing with them about 83% of lexemes in the 215-word Swadesh list (borrowings excluded).
Even though the spoken Chagatai must have split up into western and eastern dialect about the 14-15th century and finally transformed into the modern Uzbek /OOZ-bek[26], ooz-BEK/ and Uyghur /ooy-GOOR/ languages of today, the written Chagatai was used as a common medieval Turkic lingua franca in literature and written correspondence until about the 19th century.

Chagatai+ ayaq,
yapurGan yapurGaq yapurGaG
uyu baGïrüybirikiüchtörtbeshaltïyetisekiztoquzon

Chagatai /chah-ga-TY/ is essentially Middle Uzbek-Uyghur, and an indirect continuation of Karakhanid. Originally, it was the language of the Chagatai Khanate (c. 1230-1700) established by the Mongols to replace the Karakhanid dynasty — Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan. At its greatest extent, the Chagatai Khanate domains spread from the Irtysh River in Siberia down to Ghazni in Afghanistan, and from Transoxiana to the Tarim Basin, which obviously contributed to the acceptance of the Chagatai language. The period of the classical Chagatai literature starts with the publication of Navai's /NAH-vah-EE/ (1441-1501) poetry. After that, Chagatai lived its heyday during the Timurid Empire. As a result, between 1400 and 1920, Chagatai transformed into a sophisticated Central Asian koine written with the Perso-Arabic alphabet and having many local variations. The latter are often known as Türki /tur-KEE/ variants. As much as the Arabic script created difficulties in phonetic interpretation, it provided laxness for dialectal variation and cross-cultural usage. Each dialect user could write and reinterpret the written in his own Turkic dialect using the same writing system, therefore Chagatai can also be seen as a written communciation system rather than a real spoken language.
As mentioned above, the early spoken Chagatai seems to have developed as a Kyrgyz(-Karluk) language strongly affected by Karakhanid.[1] The number of Persian and Arabic loanwords in Chagatai was particularly high due two the widespread Turkic-Persian bilingualism at the time. Consequently, one may assume that the emergence of the early Chagatai was very similar to the rise of Middle English from the Danish and Anglo-Saxon interference with multiple French and Latin borrowings. Finally, the four different medieval cultures (Karluk, Karakhanid, Persian, and Arabic) mixed and blended, creating the variety of today's Uzbek and Uygur dialects with their distinct local flavor, as well as the strong recent Russian or Chinese influence. Unsurprisingly, Uzbek, which is in fact the modern-day Chagatai descendant, is still the most widely spoken Turkic language apart from Turkish and Azeri.
Listen to Qaro ko'zlar (Urgelai) "(Your) black eyes (My beloved one)" sung by Uzbek singer/actress Ziyoda and styled as Babur's /bah-BOOR/ poetry of the 16th century [Uzbek and Turkish subtitles, though the Uzbek ones are skewed towards Turkish], the exquisite and refined music clip may catch your fancy.


The Republic of Uzbekistan (capital Tashkent) is mostly desert territory, with life historically concentrated only in the fertile Fergana Valley and southern oases of arable land along the Zeravshan River known as Sogdiana, including such prominent, large, ancient cities as Khujand (founded by Alexander the Great in 329 BC), Bukhara /English boo-KAH-rah,[26] Russian boo-ha-RAH, Uzbek boo-haw-RAW/(since 500 BC) and Samarkand (since 700 BC). The Arabic name for the region was "Mawaran-nahr", meaning "beyond the river", the Oxus, hence also Transoxiana in Latin. The invasion of the Karakhanid Khanate by the Mongols in 1219 led to the establishment of the Chagatai Ulus and the diffusion of the Chagatai language over the Persian substratum. Timur/ Tamerlane /tee-MOOR, TA-mer-layn/[26] who was born near Samarkand, was a conqueror of Central Asia, who founded the Timurid dynasty (1370-1585) and was famous for his brutality. Presently, Uzbek is a robust, significant Central Asian language with several internal dialects and 25 million speakers (about 40% non-Russophone). Among its typical features is the loss of the vowel harmony. Before 1924, the Uzbeks used to be known as "Sarts" (originally, townspeople, or city dwellers as seen by nomads in the north) and the Uzbek language as Sart tili.[25]
Uzbek Chai-Khana, Samarqand, pilaf, Emir of Bukhara, an Uzbek market
Left to right: (1) Chai-khana (tea house) visitors (an early true color photo, c. 1911!,
true color photography by Prokudin-Gorski);
(2) downtown Samarqand today; (3) a pilaf dish (4) The Emir of Bukhara (c. 1911!);
(5) Uzbeks as excellent market traders (present-day)
Here is a modern blissful love song Chegaralar bormu qaysarliklaringä? "Are there any limits to your stubborness? " The song is performed in the 1970's style, farcically recreating everyday life in the Soviet Union. Moreover, watch a clip (in English) with an Uzbek family near the Zeravshan Mountains stillliving in the old ways.
Khwarezm [Uzbek: /hhaw-RAZM/; Russophone: /hhaw-REZM/; the odd English spelling come from Persian] is a historical oasis civilization in Central Asia that deserves special mention. It was located in the lower course of the Amu Darya (Oxus) River, on the border of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Karakalpakistan (=the autonomous republic of Uzbekistan). The rise and demise of Khorezm have been connected to the instability of the Amu Darya (Oxus) riverbed that in its upper course flows through the Kara Kum ("Black Sand") and Kyzyl Kum ("Red Sand") deserts. In 1598, the Amu Darya had turned off from the Caspian Sea to the north thus leading to the formation of the Aral Sea as it was known until the 1990's, when it dried up again, partly due to another change of the Amu Darya course that turned to Lake Sary-Kamysh ("Yellow Reed"). The dry Amu Darya riverbed is known as the Uzboy. The Khwarezmian language of East Iranian stock has been spoken in the area until the 8th-13th century, but was mostly eradicated by the Arab and then finally by the Mongol invasion. Khwarezm was famous for a number of early scholars. Muhammed Al-Khwarezmi (=from Khwarezm) (780-850) was a famous Arabic-writing mathematician, who introduced the decimal positional numbers to the Western world and whose name is commemorated in the word "algorithm". Al-Biruni (973-1048) was a polymath, known as the founder of Indology, and a contemporary of Avicenna (980-1037) from Bukhara. Avicenna, too, visited Köhne-Urgench (Turkmen: "Old Urgench" /oor-GENCH/), the capital of Khwarezm, established as early as about the 5th century BC. During the Karakhanid rule in the 12-13th century, the main language in the area was the Khwarezmian dialect of Karakhanid that used the Arabic script and that must have been gradually supplanted by Uzbek Chagatai. After the bloody massacres of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane invasions and the drying of the Uzboy river, the capital was transferred from Old Urgench to Khiva /hee-VAH/. Khiva was taken by the Russian troops in 1873, which led to the abolition of slave trade, though Khorezm still retained some independence until 1924. Presently, Khiva, with its beautiful old town, is turned into pretty much an open-air museum. A Khorezmian (Oghuzic) dialect of Uzbek is spoken in the area. As a sample, listen to Här görgende yurek tik-tik urmei-mi? lit. "At every glance the-heart, tick-tick, doesn't-beat-does-it?" by Feruza (careful, you may fall in love with this woman).
Khwarezm civilization: Khiva and Old Urgench
(1) The Kunya Arka City Wall, Khiva (founded in 1688, restored in the 19th century); (2) Al-Khwarezmi monument; (3) The unfinished Kalta-Minar minaret (1855), Khiva; (4) A street in Khiva; (5) Khiva in the 19th century, unknown artist; (6) The capture of Khiva, a fragment of painting by Vereschagin (1870's); (6) the ruines of Old Urgench, where al-Biruni and Avicenna could have met; with the 60-m minaret (the 1320's) and the Tekesh Mausauleum (the 13th century)


Uyghur /ooy-GOOR/ is the eastern descendant of Chagatai spoken in the Xinjiang /sin-JANG/ Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (capital: Urumchi /oo-ROOM-chee[26], oo-room-CHEE/) situated along the edges of the Taklamakan /tak-LAH ma-KAHN/ Desert. The Silk Road here has always been ethnic running water, and Chagatai was blended into the earlier 9th century's Kara-Khoja (Old Uyghur), as well as into Persian and Chinese adstrata. Uyghur is typically characterized by long vowels and the dropping of the syllable final -r (karGa > ka:Ga "crow"). Before the 1920s, all Chagatai-speaking Muslims in the region were known under different names, such as Kashgar (in the west); Moghols (the ruling class), Sarts (merchants and townspeople), Taranchis (farmers), etc, whereas the designation of "Uyghurs" was artificially created only in 1921. C. 9 million speakers. 
Uyghur, Uygur, Uighur
(1) A street in Kashgar /kush-GAR/; (2) Uyghur women at the mosque
Both Uyghur and Uzbek are languages with pronounced dialectal differentiation. Uyghur, for instance, seems to embrace several closely related dialect-languages, such as Ili /ee-LEE/ in the northeast, Lop (Luobu, Lobnor, Lopnur) in the east, the central dialect (Turfan, Kashgar), the southern Khotan (Hotan) dialect; a special position belongs to Äynu.

Subgroup 3b:

The Kimak Kaganate descendant
The Dialects of the Golden Horde
Kimak dialects of the Golden Horde (clickable)

According to the well-attested historiographic legend, described c. 1030 by Gardezi in his work Zayn-al-Akhbar where he seems to cite another older book by Ibn Khordadbeh (820-912), the Kimak /keh-MAHK/ Confederation initially consisted of seven original clans, including Kimak (Proper), Tatar, Kypchak, Bayandur, Imi, Lanikaz, and Ajlad. Hence, the expression The snake has the seven heads cited by Mahmud al-Kashgari in 1073. These seven tribes must have inhabited areas near the southern edge of the Altai Mountains around Lake Zaysan /zy-SAHN/ and the upper course of the Irtysh River.[1] Kimak or Kimek is also called Yemek or Imek in Arabic sources, but the difference among these usages is rather obscure (e.g. it may have arisen due to an error in copying the Arabic script, though Kumekov[15] cites different opinions).
The Kimak Kaganate (743-1210) [see, for instance, Kumekov (1972)[15]] was a great pastoral nomadic Tengriistic clan confederacy near the upper course of the Irtysh River. This Kaganate had initially been part of the Göktürk-Uyghur Empire. The Kimak population was semi-nomadic and relatively urbanized, with over a dozen towns scattered along the upper Irtysh River, such as Imakiya /ee-ma-KEE-ya/ (which is Arabic for the adjective "Kimak (Imak)" [City]). These towns were marked on the map produced by the Arab geographer Al Idrisi (1099-1165). The towns had markets and temples, and were visited by Chinese merchants taking part in the Silk road trade; their inhabitants used the runic Orkhon script writing. This Kimak civilization is now rarely mentioned by historians, albeit it seems to be an influential cultural and political formation in Southwest Siberia.
Archaeology and migrational analysis suggest that somewhere after 850 AD, the Kimaks began to spread down the Irtysh towards the Tobol River /te-BAWL/, and finally all the way to the Southern Ural. By the 900's AD, they must have reached the Volga River (called Itil /ee-TEEL/ in Turkic, originally from Bulgaric), where they were vividly described by Ibn-Fadlan in 922 as "al-Bashkird". By 1068, the Kypchak tribes began to migrate further into the fecund Pontic pastures robbing the Kievan Rus towns. Here, they became known as the Polovtsy /PAW-lov-tsee/or Polovtsians to Kievan Russians, Cumans /koo-MAHNS/ to Byzantianes and Hungarians, and Kifchak < Qypchaq /kep-CHUK/ to Arabs. During the 12-14th centuries, this westernmost Kypchak dialect was recorded along the Black Sea coast in a medieval textbook known as the Codex Cumanicus.
On the origin of the word Polovtsian: The word Polovstian is mostly familiar through the theme song Polovtsian Dances (an engaging modern rock version) from the 1890 opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin, which was remade into the Stranger in Paradise (1953) [note that the wiki ogg files may block any other sound files from being played in the back/foreground]. The 19th century's opera had been based on The Tale of Igor's Campaign (of 1185), one of the most famous works of the early East Slavic literature that integrates many Turkic motifs. The etymology of the word should probably be interpeted as "those who inhabit pol'e (Russian 'the field')" > "fielders", though the traditional interpretation from Vasmer's etymological dictionary [referenced to Sobolevsky (1886)] is apparently incorrectly based on the Old Russian and pesently unknown polovê "light yellow", which has no meaningful connection to Turkic tribes.
Polovtsian statues
Polovtsian statues near Izyum, Ukraine
The Kimak-Kypchak ethnic groups left large geographic traces on the map of Eurasia (e.g. the whole giant Ponto-Kazakh steppe was once designated as Cumania (in Latin), Desht-i-Qipchaq (in Persian), Kipchak steppe or Polovtsian Land (in Russian), etc). The Kipchaks are also remembered for their stone statues that used to be very typical of their culture.
Because the westernmost Kimak descendants were addressed as "Kifchak" in Arabic sources, the name Kipchak was passed into the 20th century's classifications, however it seems to be poorly founded in other respects. Despite the fact that Kypchak is a frequent clan name among many Turkic peoples, it looks like the Kypchaks constituted only a relatively small part of the original Kimak confederacy and were attested mostly in the area adjacent to the Kievan Rus, therefore the term "Kypchak" for all of the Great-Steppe tribes seems to be an overextrapolation typical of the Russian historiographic tradition promoted by Baskakov's classification. Nearly nowhere in his late booklet (1987),[15a] which was supposed to cover the subject in detail, did Baskakov address the issue of the origin, early development and migration of Kypchaks; apparently, to him "Kypchak" was just a suitable name for Turkic languages of the Soviet Union in general, except for Oghuz, Khakas and other strongly differentiated branches, which is the reason why we tried to abandon the term in the present classification by differentiating between Kimaks and the Great-Steppe tribes.
The name Tatar /TAH-ter,[26] ta-TAR/ was first firmly attested in 732 on the Kül-Tegin monument and then mentioned by al-Kashgari (1073). At first glance, the ethnonym Tatar as used for the whole Kimak subgroup would be more revealing and reasonable than any other, especially considering that the above-mentioned legend and some earliest Chinese records suggest that the ethnonym Tatar had been used even before the period when the Kimaks became prominent, and therefore, most Kimaks had in fact originally been referred to as Tatars.
However, by the 19th century, Tatar became an abused misnomer, because of its overuse in the Russian Empire's ethnographic tradition and because of the further association with the Greek Tartarus by European historians. The Russian exonym Tatary /ta-TAR-ee/ or Latin Tartari was ambiguously applied to all the Turkic speaking population of the Tsarist Russia, even including Azerbaijanis. This persistent vague overuse of this term (cf. the Latinized name of Tartaria or its Anglophone variant Tartary for the whole Siberia, or "Tatars" for Mongols, Tungusic peoples, etc.) resulted in its ostracization by the beginning of the 20th century. Consequently, it fell out of ethnographic use and is now largely being avoided both by turkologists and Turkic population (except for the reference to Kazan Tatars, Sibir Tatars and some of the lesser ethnic groups).[1]
Kazan Tatar people are still the largest and the most influential of the Kimak ethnicities. During the Soviet period many of the non-Kazan communities were taught Kazan Tatar as a common standard, which might have resulted in the contamination of local languages.
After the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, the descendants of the original Kimak migrants were apparently integrated into the Ulus of Jochi. Jochi was actually the eldest son of Genghiz Khan, who had inherited the western part of his empire in 1226, but died just months later, so the name of his empire was purely formal, and, in historiography, the Ulus of Jochi rather became known as the Golden Horde (1240-1502) (capital: Sarai Batu (Berqe) /sa-RY ba-TOO/ on the Volga River). It was a predominantly Tatar Khanate ruled by a nominally Mongol elite that was formally Islamized only in the 14th century.[25] At the time when being a Mongol signified power, the original Mongol descent was probably claimed by many families, so it is reasonable to assume that the Mongolian participation in the Golden Horde population was rather insignificant, whereas most local clans were in fact of purely Kimak-Kypchak-Tatar background.
After the 250 years of rule by Mongolian dynasties, this Golden Horde Empire broke up into several important "Tatar" khanates, including the Khanate of Kazan /ka-ZAHN/ (hence Kazan Tatars), the Khanate of Crimea /kry-MEE-ah/[26] (hence Crimean Tatars), the Khanate of Astrakhan /AHS-tra-kan/ (hence Astrakhan Tatars), the Qasim /ka-SIM/ Khanate (hence Mishar /mee-SHAR/ Tatars), and the Uzbek Khanate (hence the modern name of Uzbeks). This diversification process finally procured to the crystallization of modern Kimak-Kypchak-Tatar languages and dialects. As a result, another acceptable term for this Kimak linguistic subgroup in general could be the languages of the Golden Horde, taken that it were the Kimak descendants rather than pure Mongols who actually inhabited the Golden Horde area.
During the reign of the Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584), the Russian armies defeated and annexed the Kazan and Astrakhan Khanates and moved eastward beyond the Urals, where they attacked another Tatar state, the Tengriistic Khanate of Sibir /see-BIR/(1495-1582) (capital Siber, or Qashlyk /kush-LIK/) located on the lower Irtysh River and ruled by Kuchum Khan. This task was accomplished by Yermak /yer-MAHK/, a Cossack leader, sometimes depicted in the Russian historiography as something of a Siberian Columbus. Curiously, Irmak means "river" or yermek "to scorn" in Turkish and some other Turkic languages, which implies that Yermak himself might have been of Turkic origin. This is supported by a local Baraba legend, recorded by Dmitriyeva in the 1950-60's,[16d] which say that Yermak had grazed the cattle for Kuchum Khan before they disagreed and he came back with an army from Ivan the Terrible [also see Sibir Tatar below].
All the Kimak languages exhibit considerable mutual intelligibility among themselves, for instance Kazan Tatar and Bashkir are still strikingly close (95% in Swadesh-215, borrowings excluded).[2] Moreover, being part of the Great-Steppe taxon, the Kimak languages are also closely related to Kazakh-Kyrgyz (80% in Swadesh-215, borrowings excluded) and Uzbek-Uyghur (78%).
The typical phonological features shared by Kimak members include: (1) the partial loss of the original *S- as in Kazan Tatar yoldïz, Nogai yuldïz, Bashkir yondoð "star"; Kazan Tatar yafraq "leaf", yul road, yïlan " snake", yörek "heart", but the partial retention of *S- in /Ji-/ as, for instance, in Kazan Tatar Jir "earth", Jil "wind", often with allophonic distribution across different dialects; (2) the presence of the /-w-/, /-w/ after a vowel as in awuz "mouth", tau "mountain"; (3) the /-t-/ > /-l-/ mutation in suffixes and endings, as in Kazan Tatar yoqla-, Nogai uykla-, Bashkir yoqla- "to sleep", as opposed to Kyrgyz ukta-.
with Polovtsians, Tataro-Mongol invasion, Battle with Sibir Khanate 
The battlefield of Igor Svyatoslavich with the Polovtsians (Cumans) in 1185, painting by Viktor Vasnetsov (1880)
The siege of Moscow
by Mongol Khan Tokhtamysh in 1382,
painting by Vasily Smirnov ( the 1880's)
––The conquest of the Sibir Khanate by Yermak in 1582,
painting by Vasily Surikov (1895)

The Relatedness between Kimak and Oghuz

Even though the Kimak languages are closely related to Kyrgyz(-Karluk), they furthermore share certain features with the Oghuz /aw-GOOZ/ languages, also named herein Oghuz-Seljuk /sel-JOOK/. The persistent usage of the innovative *tüGel instead of the more archaic e(r)mes "not" in both language groups is particularly notable. This phenomenon can possibly be explained[1] as the result of the Oghuz-Kimak interaction near Lake Zaysan. It can even be surmised that the Kimaks had in fact originally been those Kyrgyz(-Karluk) clans located in the Altai Krai, near the southern edge of the Altai Mountains and the Tarbagatai Ridge, that were linguistically and culturally affected by the early Oghuz confederacies (such as Toquz Oghuz) situated to the south of that area c. 600-700 AD. Subsequent linguistic interaction between Aral Oghuz and Ural Kimaks cannot be excluded either.
Despite some mutual linguistic exchange, with only 68% of shared words in Swadesh-215 on average (borrowings excluded),[2] the present-day Kimak and Oghuz languages are far from "mutually intelligible", therefore learning, say, Turkish or Azeri is not sufficient to understand Kazan Tatar and vice versa.

The Kimaks that stayed near the Irtysh River

Siberian Tatars
ayaq kïzïl yapraqyoqla- pawïr,

Baraba Tatars, Tomsk Tatars and Tobol-Irtysh (or just Sibir) Tatars is the historical Turkic population of West Siberia.
Presently, Baraba, /ba-RAH-ba/ are a tiny spot of village dwellers that originally inhabited the area around large Lake Chany /chah-NEE, chah-NEH/, along the Om River (hence, the name of the large and important Siberian city of Omsk, founded in 1716) and the adjacent Baraba Steppe. The Baraba people were first attested by 1595, and then described by the Messerschmidt -Strahlenberg expedition in 1721,[16] the famous field study that, among other discoveries, led to the early establishment of the Altaic family by Strahlenberg. The Baraba legends mention their relatedness to the Khanate of Sibir (1495-1582)[16d] and the Samoyedic population,[16] which seems to be quite reasonable, some specific features relate Tobol-Irtysh Tatar to Baraba. However, the unique grammatical differences (e.g. the bara-tï-n ("you go") type of the present tense ) and the lack of certain Kypchak-Kimak-related features (e.g. the -ar future instead of the -achaq future)[16d] lead to a suggestion that Baraba might be the remnant of the early Great-Steppe tribes that had inhabited the Baraba and Kulunda Steppe between the Ob and Irtysh Rivers before 500-700 AD and then intermingled with the Kimaks.
Also, note the possible existence of Chulym/Baraba interaction (cf. üts : üts "three"). The Baraba language seems to have been contaminated by Kazan Tatar during the 20th century. The ethnonym Baraba does not mean bar-ba "don't go" or similar, as it is usually explained in folk etymology, but is probably related to the legendary clan progenitor Baram.[16d][1] Economy: settled, non-nomadic population that lived in wooden homes, practiced crop cultivation, animal husbandry, hunting, fishing.[16e] Religion: originally shamanism, then Islamized. About 4000 persons are cited,[16f] but few actual native speakers.
A Baraba woman (c. 2005)
The map of Siberian Tatars distribution
Clickable, based on an ethnographic atlas (1964)[12b]

ayaqyoltosqïsïlqoroyapraqyoqla-möyespawïr  ike
The Tobol-Irtysh (or Sibir) Tatars have lived near the cities of Tobolsk and Tyumen [tyoo-MEN] as well as further along the lower Irtysh River in West Siberia. They are the remnant of the Khanate of Sibir (1468-1607), therefore the terms "Sibir" and "Tobol-Irtysh" may often be used interchangeably. The toponym Sibir was first mentioned in the 13th century in the History of Mongols. The Tumen Khanate, which was the predecessor of the Sibir Khanate, first appeared in historical records in 1468, during the decline of the Golden Horde. In 1582, the main Sibir Khanate settlement known as Sibir, or Sïbïr (or Isker, or Kashlyk [=winter camp]) was taken by the army of Yermak sent by Ivan the Terrible, making the then-ruling Kuchum Khan and his people flee to the steppe. The settlement soon became depopulated and the fortress of Tobolsk was founded instead in 1587 about 10 miles away, as one of the earliest Russian outposts beyond the Urals. Throughout the 20th century, Tobol-Irtysh Tatar was considered to be as merely a "dialect" of Kazan Tatar, so apart from a couple of dissertations, very few publications on Sibir Tatar seem to exist,[16b][16c] even though its phonological, grammatical and lexical differences clearly require separate description. The /ch/ > /ts/, /sh/ > /s/ mutation is among the immediately notable features, which reminds of the /sh/ > /s/ change in Kazakh and Nogai. Population: c. 6700 persons (prob. counted with Baraba and Tomsk) (2010).[24d]
(1) The fortress of Tobolsk (c. 2010); (2) The Sibir town on a European map (1562); (3-4) At the Isker Festival of Sibir Tatars (2010)
On the origins of toponym Siberia: the word Siberia as the name of the northeastern Eurasia seems to be an 18th century's extrapolation from "Sibir Khanate" > "West Siberia" > "all of Northeast Eurasia", which replaced the older and just as vague designation of (Great) Tartary of the 17-18th centuries. The latter was formed from Greek Tartarus, a murky place beneath the earth, so deep that an anvil takes nine days to fall there. Consequently, until about the middle of the 19th century, Ta(r)tars meant nearly any of the Siberian aborigines, initially associated with the demons of Tartarus, especially duing the turmoil of the 13-14th centuries. Before that, in antiquity and the Middle Ages, the name Scythia or similar had been in use.

The Kimaks that spread to the Great Steppe

Kazan Tatar ayaqyoldïzqïzïlkorïyafrakyoqla-mögezbawïröyberikeöchdürtbishaltïJide,

The Republic of Tatarstan (capital: Kazan /ka-ZAHN/)[26] is a federal subject of Russia, located along the Middle Volga. The Kazan Khanate (1438-1552) emerged after the dissolution of the Golden Horde, which had formed when the Mongol armies (probably along with Tatar tribes) attacked and destroyed Volga Bulgaria in 1232-36, presumably causing intense Chuvash-Bulgar dissipation. The Kazan Khanate was later conquered by the troops of Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and became part of Russia — in fact, the famous Saint Basil's Cathedral on Red Square was built to commemorate the capture of Kazan. The Tatar participation in the Mongol invasion is still remembered in the Russian language culture (cf. sayings: "An uninvited guest is worse than a Tatar"; "Mamai/the Tatars went over it" as about raising havoc; "the Tataro-Mongol Yoke", etc). Moreover, cf. English "tartar" as "fierce, brutal", etc. Consequently, the Tatar appellation and languageseems to, unfortunately enough, have a rather low social status. Historical autonyms: "Bolgar", "Kazanlï". Religion: Sunni Islam. Over 4.2 million formally listed speakers (2010),[24d] more than 70-90% bilingual in Russian.  Kazan Kremlin, Tatar people Kazan KremlinThe Qolsharif Mosque, Kazan
The Kazan Kremlin, today as if 500 years ago; The Qolsharif Mosque (inaugurated in 2005) (above) is the largest mosque in Russia

Bashkir ayaqyondoðqïðïlkoroyaprakyoqla-mögöðbawïrüyberikeösdürt bishaltïyetehigeðtuGIðun

Bashkir /bash-KIR/ is spoken in the Republic of Bashkortostan (capital: Ufa /oo-FAH/[26]) situated in the western part of the Southern Ural Mountains and adjacent to Tatarstan. Essentially, Bashkir isjust a sort of Urals variety of Tatar with about 95% of matches in Swadesh-215 between Kazan Tatar and Bashkir. Note some of the shared phonological innovations in vowels typical only of this cluster: Kazan Tat. ber < *bir; dürt < *tört; un < *on. 1.15 million speakers (2010) A Bashkir girl (staged)Bashkirs (staged)
Bashkir horsemen
Bashkir horsemen (staged)
A Bashkir woman (real), c. 1910
A true photo c.1910
The deviant Bashkir phonology (ch > s, s > h, z > ð) is sometimes explained by the absorption of a Ugric substratum. Curiously, Bashkirs might at least partly descend from Proto-Hungarians (Magyars /ma-JAR/) of the Hungaria Magna and the other closely-related Ugric tribes (as well as possibly from Bulgaric). Proto-Hungarians were mentioned as still speaking Hungarian c. 1235 by Friar Julian,[1] but apparently wee later linguistically assimilated by the Tatars during the expansion of the Golden Horde, which seems to date the emergence of the Bashkir dialect to after the 13th century. Between 1220 and 1234, the Bashkirs were fighting the Mongols, preventing their expansion to the west, but then voluntary joined the Moscovy in 1557.
The ethnonym "al-Bashkïrt" by itself had appeared very early on, being first mentioned in the Arab sources c. 840 and then attested by Ibn-Fadlan near the Emba /EHM-ba/ River and the confluence of the Volga and Kama in 922. Therefore, there is some terminological discrepancy: as a language similar to Kazan Tatar, Bashkir seems to refer to a relatively recent phenomenon, whereas its historical attestation as a reference to the Ural and the Middle Volga tribes is much older.
Judging by the rather unreasonable proximity of Bashkir and Kazan Tatar languages, which must have almost necessarily involved some secondary interaction, Bashkir may have been afterwards affected by the Kazan Tatar immigration to the Ural Mountains, especially taken that the Ural Bashkirs had certain historical freedoms and suffered less feudal opression.[1]
Nomadic animal husbandry until the 18th century. Religion: Islam since the 950s, but mostly non-religious since the Soviet period. Population: 1.3 million speakers, most of them bilingual in Russian. Listen to Kiler keshe, kemder bar "Someone's coming, someone's there (at the gate)" with the typical sights of the Southern Ural.

Crimean Tatar

ayax, ayaqJïldïzqïzïlquruJaprax,
Juqla- müyüz bavur; Jigeru:ybirekiu:ch; us,dürt,
ört, tört
besh altïyedi

The Crimean Khanate (1441-1783) with the capital of Bakhchy-Saray /buhh-CHEE sa-RY/ ("The Garden Palace") (rightmost figure) was a Kypchak post-Golden-Horde state situated in the Crimean Peninsula and the Pontic Steppe. The Khanate maintained massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire making raids into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia. The northern Crimean dialects should not be confused with Crimean Turkish in the south, and Middle Crimean, which is a mixture between the two. After the 1920's there were attempts to build "a mutually intelligible" literary language, however, the actual dialectical situation in the Crimea is rather complicated. And although the pure dialects may still survive in vivo, not enough field work on them has been done. Crimean Tatars are famous for being resettled to Uzbekistan and persecuted by Stalin as "Nazi collaborators", though they mostly returned by the mid-1980's; C. 260.000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, 170.000 elsewhere. Battle of Tatars with Lithuanians
A battle of Crimean Tatars
with Poles-Lithuanians
in the 17th century
a painting by Kossak
c. the 1870's
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
(c. the 1820's)[24c]
Bakhchisaray succession home
Succession home of the Crimean Khans

Karaim ayaxyïldïz,
qïzïl yapraxyuxla-
münguz üybirekiitsdyert,

Crimean Karaites /KA-re-ite/[26] are a rather odd and presently very small branch of adherents of Karaite Judaism, which is based on the reading of the Tora itself rather than its interpretations. The exact origins of Karaites are obscure, though they seem to be descendants of a Jewish sect (probably originally from the Ottoman Empire) that, by the 13th century, must have switched to a Polovtsian dialect spoken in the Crimean Peninsula. Being socially and religiously detached from the rest of the Turkic communty, this language must have branched off from the main stem in the same way as Ladino, Yiddish and other Judaic languages. It is usually known as Karaim, meaning in Hebrew "those who read (the scriptures)", though the terms Karaite and Karaim are frequently conflated. The connection with Khazars has been speculated as early as the 19th century but is poorly corroborated. In 1392, a part of the Crimean Karaites were relocated to Lithuania thus forming the branch of Trakai (Lithuanian) Karaim. During the WWII, the Karaites were saved from extermination after managing to demonstrate their formal dissociation from Judaism. Karaites were literate and many were quite influential despite their small population. Presently, only c. 600 persons in the Crimea (2002), 257 in Lithuania (1997), c. 1000 in other countries. Self-appellations: Qïrïm qaraylar, Qaray, etc.  Karaite women
Crimean Karaite women (staged)
Karaites in the 19th century[24c]
ayaqyulduzqïzïlqaqyapraquykla-müyüz üybirekiüchdörtbeshaltïyettisegiztoGuzon
The Kumyk /koo-MIK, koo-MEK/ people occupy the steppeland along the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea in Dagestan, which is probably one of the most ethnically complex federal unities in the world. Neither Kumyk, nor Nogai own their formal autonomy. The Kumyk origins are unclear, though their geographical position and notable dialectal differentiation indicates they arrived to the Caspian before the Nogais, that is before the mid-16th century, which is supported by the foundation of Shamkhalate of Tarki in the 1440's. Considering that Tarki Village near Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, has often been associated with the legendary Samandar of Khazars (formed along the Silk Road and destroyed in 969), the direct descendancy from Khazars has often been claimed. Historical economy: agriculture, fishing, settled living in villages. Printed books since the mid-19th century. Religion: Sunni Islam. Population: 502.000 persons, 426.000 speakers (2010).[24d] Self-appellation: qumuq. Dialects: Hasavyurt and Buynaksk (Standard Kumyk), Kaytaksk, Podgorny, Tersk.

and Kumyk, map
(1) Khalimbek-Aul Village;
(2) An aproximate map: Nogai (light blue), Kumyk (dark blue)
Nogai ayaqyuldïzqïzïlqaq, kurï
Nogai (Noghai) /naw-GUY, nuh-GUY/) are presently scattered in the steppeland of the Northern Caucasus in Chechnya, Stavropol Krai, Dagestan and Karachay-Balkaria. The name Nogai is derived from the alias of Nogai Khan, a Mongol general, literally meaning "dog" in most Mongolic languages. The Nogai people are the remnants of the Nogai Horde (c. 1392-1639), a loose nomadic confederacy that was centered in Saray-Juk (Russophone: Saraychik) near the Ural (Yaik) River delta. It also covered the Lower Volga and probably some of the Astrakhan Khanate (1466-1556). The end of the Nogai Horde is connected with the poorly documented Russo-Tatar wars during the reign of the Ivan the Terrible. When the Russian army took Kazan (1552) and Astrakhan (1556), Devlet Giray Khan of the Crimean Khanate retaliated by destroying Moscow in 1571, however the local renegade Cossacks destroyed Saray-Juk in 1580, which was the end of the Nogai supremacy along the Ural River(Turkophone: Yaik) and the Volga (Turkophone: Itil). As a result, somewhere during this turmoil, c. 1552-1554, part of the Nogai tribes began migrating towards the steppes near the Northern Caucasus, particularly the Kuban /kyoo-BAN/[26] region, which resulted in the formation of the Lesser Nogai Horde along the Kuban River.[15b] In 1683, these Kuban Nogais were attacked by the Dzungarians from Mongolia (= Kalmyks) and then by the army of Suvorov in 1782-83. It is plausible to assume that some of them were Russified and became part of the Kuban Cossacks in the 18-19th century, though a good many were exiled first towards the Black Sea and then finally deported to the Ottoman Empire.[25] All the details of this dispersal and exodus are now difficult to reconstruct. Presently, there are 103.000 persons, 87.000 speakers (2010)[24d] [see the map above].
Watch the Nogai Dombïra song with Nogai-Turkish subtitles and some bloody battle scenes from the Mongol movie (2007), a must if you really understand the Turkic culture; as well as the same song in a another clip featuring its strikingly talented performer, Arslanbek Sultanbekov himself. In a similar fashion: Menim Nogayïm "My Nogai", Ne kaldï? "What is left?" (the latter one, about the Dzungarian invasion of Nogais and Kazakhs), coming from the very heart of the ancient strife.
(1) The modern reconstruction of Saray-Juk; (2) The Saray-Juk archaeological site; (3) Nogai men (2012); (4) A German map from 1549 with "Nogai Tartars" placed along the Lower Volga, Saray-Juk can be seen at the bottom, though it should be at the Yaik River on the right; (5) Nogai girls (1881)

Karachay-Balkar (North Caucasus)

chapraqJuqla-müyüzbawurüybirekiüchtörtbeshaltïJeti segiztoGuzon

Karachay-Balkar /KAH-ra-CHUY bal-KAR/ is spoken in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic (capital: Cherkessk /cher-KESK/) and the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (capital: Nalchik /NAHL-chik/). The two republics were created rather artificially in 1922. The other two ethnic groups from these republics (the Cherkeses and Kabardins) are of unrelated North Caucasian origin (but related to each other). The Karachay-Balkar people must have been present in the Caucasus at least since the Mongol invasion c. the 1220's, having settled there probably a few centuries earlier, when the Kypchaks (Cuman-Polovtsians) were moving into the Pontic steppeland. Nonnomadic population; Islamized only by the 18-19th century. In 1943, they have been forcibly resettled to Kazakhstan by Stalin, which led to mass starvation, but returned after 1957. Karachay-Balkar has many mutations at several levels, and a few Kabardino-Cherkes borrowings in the basic vocabulary. There are two main dialects, which among other features, differ in the pronunciation of *S as follows: (1) the Karachaylï + Malqar Taulu (< from tau-lu "mountain-ous") pronounce /J-/, /ch-/ and (2) the rest of Malqarlï pronounce /dz-, z-/, /ts-/. C. 300.000 speakers (over 80% bilingual in Russian). 305.000 speakers; 218.000 persons listed as Karachay and 113.000 as Balkar (2010).[24d]
 A tower in Kabardino-Balkaria
A modern tower
in Kabardino-Balkaria
A modern photo
Karachays, c. 1910
This photo c. 1910

(3) Southern Turkic Languages
This major grouping includes Turkic languages that were initially spreading to the south of mountain systems that have been collectively nicknamed herein[3] as the Great Eurasian Barrier: in Mongolia, Dzungaria, Tarim Basin, Tian-Shan and other adjacent regions. The grouping consists of the two subgroups: (1) Yugur-Salar, which herein is considered separately from most other Turkic languages, its exact genetic position still being a matter of controversy; (2) Orkhon-Oghuz-Karakhanid, which includes Orkhon Old Turkic of Mongolia, Old Uyghur of the eastern Tarim Basin, Karakhanid of the western Tarim Basin, as well as any of the medieval or modern Oghuz-Seljuk languages.

Subgroup 4:

The Turks that migrated to West China

The Ganzhou Kingdom descendants
Yugur and Salar are the two peculiar Turkic languages located in the historical region near the Tibet, known as the Hexi Corridor /heh-SEE/, where the Silk Road was coming out of the Chinese territory.
The exact linguistic origin of Yugur and Salar is difficult to determine, however, most of their features either point towards the Orkhon-Karakhanid subgroup or even set Proto-Yugur completely apart from the rest of the Turkic languages, making them a separate major branch of Turkic Proper. In any case, the mutual relatedness between Yugur and Salar is rather evident:[1] both languages share similar verbal paradigms with largely absent personal endings as well as a system of similar innovative verbal tenses, which clearly indicates their common descent, considering such grammatical features are rarely borrowed.

(West) Yugur
< Mong.
besahldyyidy, yeti,

Yugur /yoo-GOOR/ people are a small ethnic group, which are sometimes said to have migrated into southwestern China (Sunan Yugur Autonomous County) after c. 850 AD from other Uyghur oases probably to avoid Islamization. There, on the outskirts of China, they established the prosperous Ganzhou /gun-JOW, kun-CHOW/ Kingdom (870-1036 AD) with the capital near present-day Zhangye /jung-YEH/ and the Silk Road based economy. The exact classification of Yugur is unclear, but it seems to be a "mixed" language based on the ancient Turkic substratum with some Mandarin-Mongolic-Tibetan influence. Yugur is characterized by the loss of verbal conjugation; the archaic ire copula; multiple loanwords; the Mandarin consonant system (which means that , , are pronounced as semi-voiced, whereas , , as pre- or post-aspirated). Religion: Tibetan Buddhism, traces of shamanism. Only c. 4500 speakers remaining (2000).
Yugur herdsmen, ChinaA 
Yugur girl
Yugurs at home (staged)

The Oilyg Yugurs are nomadic cattle breeders in the steppes, the Taglyg — in the mountains. The Yugurs like to wear their traditional red hats. The self-appellation is Sarïg Yogïr (Yellow Uyghur). Additionally, note the most commonly accepted names in other languages: (West) Yugur in English, sarï-yugurski in Russian, Sarï Uygurca in Turkish. The Yugur people are not to be confused: (1) with the Mongolic-speaking Shera-Yugurs, or Eastern Yugurs (c. 2800 speakers), who by the way wear a different hat style; or (2) with the Yughu (the Sinicized Yugurs losing their ethnic roots).

Yellow Uighur (?)         pêr

"Yellow Uighur" is not usually mentioned as a separate language, yet some sources, such as Tenishev (1966), cite contradictory data; these inconsistencies could be due to a dialectal split in Yugur or even due to the existence of another Yugur language, which would be quite natural considering the time status of this subgroup. This evidence has been preserved here for later consideration.

Salar aya:xyûldusqizilkuru, kurïyäRfax,


Salar /sa-LAR/ is a language of controversial classification. According to legends, the Salar people are said to have moved into Xunhua /shoon-HWAH/ Salar Autonomous County in western China, approximately the same location as the Yugur people. The migration is said to originate from Samarqand, Uzbekistan or the Khorasan Province, occurring c. 1370, in other words, during the rise of Tamerlane. It could have been accomplished by traveling along the Silk Road. Traditional Turkology usually describes Salar as "Oghuz", however there is a conspicuous absence of any typical Oghuz-Seljuk innovations. Moreover, the striking phono-semantic mutations, the grammatical similarity to Yugur (including the loss of conjugation), and the strong Chinese influence (e.g. native numbers no longer in use, phonological adaptations, the sporadic use of "shï" as copula, etc.) also tend to contradict this grouping. By no means should Salar be mindlessly viewed as just "Oghuz"— rather it seems to be the outcome of creolized transition from the local Middle Yugur substratum to one of the closely located Turkic languages such as the early Chagatai or late (Toquz) Oghuz, additionally with some Chinese and probably even Dongxiang and Tibetan influence.[1] Religion: Islam. C. 100.000 ethnic Salars, but the language is now mostly spoken only by the elder. Listen to this lovely traditional Salar song. 
Subgroup 5:

The Oghuz-Orkhon-Karakhanid languages must have separated from the rest of the Turkic stem very early on, most likely circa 400 BC, when part of the Proto-Turkic continuum infiltrated beyond the Tian-Shan-Altai-Sayan mountain barrier into Dzungaria, following the upper reaches of the Kara-Irtysh River. In Dzungaria, they must have soon split up into the three main branches: (1) the tribes that spread to the east, towards the Gobi Desert, circumventing the Mongolian Altai, formed the Orkhon Old Turkic of the Eastern Göktürk Kaganate; (2) the tribes that stayed near Dzungaria apparently formed the basis of Proto-Oghuz and then probably Proto-Yugur in the Hexi Corridor, though the latter assumption is poorly supported by specific evidence; (3) finally, the tribes that spread to the west towards the Tarim Basin initially formed Kara-Khoja (Old Uyghur) and Karakhanid, and then much later contributed to the formation of Khalaj. Hence, the subgroup's tripartite name used in this publication.[3]
Only the representatives of the Orkhon taxon in Mongolia, specifically the founders of the Göktürk Kaganate, seemed to have been originally known as Turks (apparently, reconstructed from the Orkhon Old Turkic script as Türüq[17] or Türq), whereas other early Turkic clans originally had different clan names, such as Kyrgyz, Tatar, Oghuz (to name just a few among the earliest attested). Just like western surnames, such as Johnson, Peterson, etc, the name Tür(ü)q most likely initially referred to the hypothetical clan founder, which is supported by early legends, recorded in the Oghuz-namah, as well as the prehistoric Turkic tradition of clan naming.[1] Consequently, the males of that clan formerly traced their ancestry and family histories to that legendary progenitor. When the Türüq clan became prominent by the 550 AD, the name began to spread with its political influence and seems to have been adopted by several clans in Central Asia, such as the Karakhanids of the Tarim Basin, the Oghuz Turkmen near the Kopet Dag and the Turks of Anatolia, though the exact details of this ethnonymic and genetic history are obscure.

The Turks that moved to Mongolia

The descendants of the Göktürk Kaganate

Old Turkic

Long before the era of Mongols, there existed a Eurasian Empire centered in Mongolia that was nearly just as great and just as powerful as that of Genghis Khan /JEN-gis, CHEN-gis, not GEN-gis/. It was known as the Göktürk Kaganate (552-744 AD), and it controlled the Silk Road as far west as the Black Sea. European historians rarely mention this empire, probably because the Göktürks ("Blue or Celestial Turks") have not reached western Europe directly. Still, their influence on Central Asia was profound. The Eastern Kaganate (capital: Ordu-Baliq /or-DOO ba-LIK/ with the population of about 100.000) was centered in the sacred and fertile Orkhon Valley /or-HON/. Curiously, Genghis Khan's capital Karakorum was afterwards located in the very same place: only 10 miles away from the Ordu-Balïq ruins, probably because, just like the Turkic peoples, the Mongols believed in the divine force emanating from the Orkhon Valley and mythical Mount Ötüken. The Western Kaganate, which existed until 659, was ruled from the Silk Road outpost city Suyab in today's Kyrgyzstan. The Göktürk Empire was overrun first by the Chinese (659-681), and then by the Old Uyghurs (not to confuse with the present-day ones) who founded the Uyghur Kaganate (744-840). However, these seem to be changes just in the ruling dynasties, not language or culture. Finally, after a period of political decline, Ordu-Balïq and other eastern cities were razed by the Yenisei Kyrgyz in 840. The collapse of this empire probably affected the spread of many Turkic languages, pushing them further to the west. The Gökturks-Uyghurs used the Old Turkic (Okhon-Yenisei) runiform alphabetic script (attested since the 720s).[17] It was carved on stone obelisks thus preserving the Old Turkic language in detail. 
Ghengis Khan warriorsOrkhon script stellaOrdu-Baliq
From a Genghis Khan film (2007)
The ruins of Ordu-Balïq
Orkhon River Valley
Orkhon script Ghengis Khan warriors
Orkhon River (Mongolia)

The Turks that moved to the Tarim Basin
Kara-Khanid — Kara-Khoja

aðaqyulduzqïzïlquruGyapurGa:quðï-müNüzbaGïrev, ävbi:rekki

During the downfall period of the Göktürk (Uyghur) Kagante in 840 AD or even earlier, some of the Turkic tribes migrated towards the Tarim /tah-REEM/[26] Basin setting up: (1) a confederacy of decentralized Buddhist states called Kara-Khoja (Kocho) (capital: Besh-Balik) in the oases, where Old Uyghur (türk uyGur tili) was spoken, and (2) the Kara-Khanid Khanate (845-1212) located further to the west in the Tian Shan Mountains, where Karakhanid dialect was spoken. The first capital of the Karakhanid Khanate was established in the city of Balasagun /ba-LAH-sa-GOON/ located near Lake Issyk-Kul (present-day Kyrgyzstan) in the same region as the Western Turkic Kaganate with its capital Suyab, which implies that the western Gökturk and Karakhanid population must have been connected. After some time, the Kara-Khanid capital was moved to Kashgar in the Tarim Basin. The Kara-Khanid Khanate was converted to Islam in 934. Karakhanid and Old Uyghur languages were eventually displaced by Chagatai after the 13th century.
We should also mention Mahmud al-Kashgari ( = "from Kashgar") (c. 1029-1102?), the famous Arabic-speaking Turkologist (a son of a city mayor related to the Karakhanid dynasty), who in 1072-74 wrote the Diwan Lughat al-Turk "The Compendium of Turkic dialects", a comprehensive 700-page dictionary of the Karakhanid Turkic language and other dialects, which was a very, very professional and illustrative work of its time.
  Karakhanid Architecture
Figs: left to right, examples of the Karakhanid architecture:
(1) A decoration with swastikas; (2) Burana Tower, Balasagun;
(3) Aisha Bibi Mausoleum, Taraz, Kazakhstan;
(4) Mausoleum in Uzgen, western Kyrgyzstan; (5) a Karakhanid Minaret, Bukhara (1127)

The Turks that moved further into Iran


Khalajhada:qyulduzqïzïlqurruGyat- <*Azerijigar,
hävbi:äkki, æk.kiü:ch, üshtö:rtbe:sh,
alta, al.taye:tti, yættisäkkiz

Khalaj /ha-LAHJ/ (not to be confused with a Northwest Iranian language of the same name) is a poorly classified Turkic language in western Iran near Tehran, which is famous for several unusual features, such as (1) the initial h- where other languages have only vowels, (2) the intervocal -d- as in hadaq "foot" and (3) the retention of long vowels as in Turkmen a. Khalaj had been first mentioned in a legend recited by Mahmud al-Kashgari, and then was discovered and studied in vivo first by Minorsky (1906) and finally by Doerfer (1978), who nearly went to the extent of viewing Khalaj as nearly one of the most basic and early-diversified Turkic languages ever. However, according to other studies, such as Mudrak (2002-08)[10b] and herein[1] Khalaj should be tentatively classified as a relatively late offshoot of the Karakhanid expansion, which is supported at least by (1) the post-Karakhanid sonorization pattern; (2) the presence of intervocalic -D- (as in aDaq) in Orkhon-Kharakhanid; (3) the lack of profound historical changes in Khalaj glottochronologically consistent with an earlier separation from the main stem. Therefore, Khalaj is nothing but the living continuation of southern Karakhanid, as suggested as early as Minorsky (1906), whose archaic features are easily explained by the early separation of Orkhon-Oghuz-Karakhanid substem as a whole.
Khalaj has also been strongly affected by Azeri or other local Seljuk languages, as well as the Iranian adstratum. Economy: agriculture, nomadic sheep breeding. Presumably, c. 42 000 speakers, mostly bilingual in Farsi.

Subgroup 5c:

The Turks that migrated to the Aral-Caspian region
The Oghuz-Seljuk subgroup, which includes languages closely related to Turkmen, Azeri and Turkish, has been usually known as just Oghuz. This subgroup is characterized at least by the following typical features: (1) the specific voicing pattern as in tört > dört; yetti > yedi especially in the initial consonants; (2) the m- > b- mutation as in müNüz > *büNüz > buynuz "horn" ; (3) the loss of the final -G as in *quruG > Guru and the intrevocalic -G- as in the suffixes -Gan > -an, -Ga > -a (4) the tendency to form the -yor-/yar- present tense as in Turkish bil-i-yor-um "I know"; (5) the use of the verb i- with the -mïsh past participle to form the audative mood, etc. Some of these features were mentioned as early as 1072 by Mahmud al-Kashgari as part of his brief description of the Oghuz language. That shows that by 1000 AD Karakhanid and Oghuz were already quite different languages with a notable temporal separation, therefore it is reasonable to surmise that their diversification must have occurred at least c. 500-600 AD or even earlier.

Oghuz (Turkmenistan)

Oghuzayaq       äv*bir*iki*üch*dört*besh*altï*Jedi*sekiz*dokuz*on

The ethnonym Oghuz /aw-GOOZ/ most likely goes back to a personal name of a legendary progenitor, described in several versions of the oral legends collected in the Oghuz-nama ("The Oghuz Narratives"), with the earliest known record by Rashid al-Din dating to the end of the 13th century. The name or alias itself may presumably have meant öqüz "bull, ox" implying force and vigor. The earliest known Oghuz people were a tribal confederacy of the 6th century residing near the Orkhon Göktürks and subjugated by them. At the time, they were already regarded as a tribe different from Tür(ü)k, Tatar and Kïrgïz. The ethnonym was first attested as Altï Oghuz (The Six Oghuz) in a Yenisei inscription, and then as the Toquz Oghuz (The Nine Oghuz), Sekkiz Oghuz (The Eight Oghuz) in the Orkhon writings in Mongolia, and as the Üch Oghuz (The Three Oghuz) near Kyrgyzstan. These numbers apparently meant nothing but the number of tribal units participating in a military confederacy, and therefore were quite situational.[1] By 775, the Oghuz tribes were found near Talas in Sogdiana, so we may assume they have arrived there as part of a mass migrations to the Western Göktürk Kaganate. Eventually, they seem to have traveled along the Syr-Darya /SIR DAR-ya/[26] (Yaxartes) River towards its delta in the Aral Sea where they formed the Transoxanian Oghuz confederacy with its capital Yangi-Kent and a ruler titled yabgu (=prince). There in the Transoxanian steppeland, they were witnessed by several Arab travelers, including a vivid description by Ibn-Fadlan in 922. Mahmud al-Kashgari (1072) mentioned several Oghuz towns, some of which have been rediscovered by archaeologists; he also explicitly stated that "Turkmen" and "Oghuz" meant essentially the same, which implies that the modern-day Turkmen people must be the direct descendants of the Transoxanian Oghuz. On the other hand, the name Turkmen apparently could initially be applied to any Islamized Turks.
The Oghuz dialect-language of the 11th century is documented in Al-Kashgari's writings mostly as unconnected words and phrases. In the course of the 12th century, the Transoxanian Oghuz tribes apparently migrated towards the Kopet-Dag Mountains or dissipated, most likely due to the Kypchak expansion to the west. According to a poorly supported hypothesis, they could also be connected to the Pecheneg raids into the Kievan Rus, but the origins of the latter are highly controversial.
  Juvwar, Oghuz city
The remnants of Juvara, an Oghuz city discovered by archaeologists near the Aral Sea in 2008

An early Turkmen yurt c. 1911 (!), true color photography by Prokudin-Gorski


Turkmenistan (capital Ashgabad /ush-ga-BAHD/, built from a village only in 1918) is in fact a thin strip of arable land situated between the Karakum /ka-RAH KOOM/[26] ("Black Sand") Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. When Russia took control of Turkmenistan in the 1880's, the Transcaspian Railway was built along the path of the Silk Road. In 1948, Ashgabad was destroyed by an earthquake. In the 1950s, the Qaraqum Channel, the largest in the world irrigation system, was established diverting the waters of the Amu Darya towards Ashgabad, but contributing to the collapse of the Aral Sea. There are c. 7 million Turkmen people, of which 2 million live in Afghanistan and Iran.
  Turkmen bride
A Turkmen bride
Ashgabad Trade Center
Turkmen people
The Turkmen people:
man and wife, c. 1905
Seljuk Monument
The Seljuk Monument

Turkmen girl
A Turkmen girl
The Arch of Independence, Ashgabad
Oil & Gas Ministry
Turkmen choban
A choban
Turkmen village
A Turkmen village in Afghanistan
Seljuk Sultan Sanjar  Mausoleum
Seljuk Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, 1157 AD, Merv
Turkmen carpets
Turkmen carpets
One of the most notable phonological features of Turkmen is the pronunciation of and as the interdental /ß/and /ð/ as in English, as well as the retention of long vowel, as in /ot/ "grass" vs. /o:t/ "fire". The latter phenomemon is called "primary long vowels" and supposedly goes back to Proto-Turkic.
The dialectal diversification in Aral-Caspian Oghuz has resulted in the formation of many variants of Turkmen. Standard Turkmen is based on the Teke dialect. Other major dialects include Yomud (north and west of Turkmenistan), Ersarin (along the Amu-Darya), Salyr (along the Iranian border), Saryq (along the Murgab River), Chovdur (Dashoguz area, along the Amu-Darya), Trukhmen (Stavropol Krai, Russia). Of all the ex-Soviet republics, Turkmenistan seems to have the highest percentage of non-Russophones (80%) [wiki].

The Turks that migrated to Iran and Anatolia
The Seljuk Empire descendants

The Great Seljuk Empire (1037-1077) was founded by the Seljuk Dynasty that goes back to the legendary founder Seljuk /sel-JOOK/ (c. 931-1038), whose clan had split off from the Oghuz confederacy c. 985 and traveled from the Aral Sea region southwards along the Syr-Darya River, where it converted to Islam. Under Seljuk's grandson Togrul Beg, the Seljuk people migrated into eastern Persia and by 1055 expanded their control all the way to Baghdad. In 1071, they won the important Battle of Manzikert, which neutralized Byzantine and led to the foundation of the Turkic Sultanate of Rum (1077-1307) in Anatolia. Battle of ManzikertA Seljuk archerEntry into Constantinople
Artist's impression of the Battle of Manzikert (1071) Seljuk (Oghuz) archer

The Entry of Mahomet II into Constantinople (1453), painting by Benjamin Constant (1876)
The advance of the Turks caused the Byzantine emperors to desperately seek protection in Europe, thus contributing to the initiation of Crusades. It should be stressed that the first Crusades did not fight against Muslims, rather they were directed against the Turkic threat from the East. The Seljuk language of this and the later period, written in Arabic script, is known as Old Anatolian Turkish. The Turkish (Ottoman) Empire begins to rise by 1300, and to flourish with the capture of Constantinople in 1453, the year marking the final collapse of the Byzantine Empire. The Turkish language from the 16th to 20th century is called Ottoman Turkish.
A rather typical feature of Turkish and Azeri is a particularly high level of long synthetic agglutinating constructions procured by one-word orthography, that can also be found in other Turkic but probably not to the same extent, e.g. /anla-ya-ma-mïsh-tïr/ "s/he could not really understand" or doktordu "s/he was a doctor", which can make the impression of nouns being conjugated.

  g.ïzïl  yat-   birikkiüchdörtbä'sh    on

The Qashqai /kush-KUY/ people have traditionally been nomadic pastoralists who lived around Shiraz in southern Iran and who had probably arrived there with the Seljuk invasion. Presently, they mostly dwell in settled households. The Qashqai people are renowned for their magnificent pile carpets and other woven wool products. Population: over 1-1.5 million.  Qashkai people (real)
(1) A Qashkai wedding; (2) Old ways still prevailing among nomads; (3) A Qashqai child


The Azerbaijani /AH-zehr-by-JAHN-ee/ people (the abbreviated substandard: Azeri) are the descendants of the Oghuz-Seljuk tribes that conquered Persia by 1055 but did not migrate to Anatolia. They gradually Turkicized the northwestern Persian and the South Caucasus population near the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea. After a series of Russo-Persian wars (1812, 1826-28) Iran lost some of its northern territories to Russia, which finally became independent in 1991 as the Republic of Azerbaijan (capital: Baku /ba-KOO/).[26] The north Iranian provinces also bear similar names (East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan), akin to the name of Atropates, a satrap who ruled this region of ancient Persia. Azerbaijani differs to some extent from Turkish (86% in Swadesh-215, borrowings excluded), though both languages are still largely mutually intelligible. Religion: Shi'a Islam. 7.5 million speakers in Azerbaijan + c. 15-20 million in Iran, though many of them now speak Russian or Persian as their 2nd language. Here is the famous Azeri song Dashlï gala ("Stone fortress").
An Azeri princess (staged)An Azeri princess (staged) Baku at night; Urmiyye market. Iran
  Aida Makhmudova as an Azeri princess (2005) Baku (above); Urmiyye fruit market (Iran)



The Ottoman Empire (c.1299-1922) was named after Osman I (1258-1326) who extended the frontiers of Seljuk settlement towards the edge of the Byzantine Empire, although Constantinople, its capital, would finally be captured by the Turks only in 1453. Slave trade and low literacy rate were part of the Ottoman society for centuries. The Ottoman Empire entered WWI through the Ottoman-German Alliance in 1914, and was ultimately defeated. The occupation of Izmir in 1919 by the Greek troops promoted the establishment of the Turkish national movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who is seen as the crucial historic figure and the founder of the Republic of Turkey (capital: Ankara /AHN-kara, AN-kara/[26]). An admirer of the Enlightenment, he sought to transform the anachronistic Ottoman Empire into a modern, democratic, secular nation-state. A Latin alphabet instead of the Arabic Ottoman script was introduced to increase literacy, and the Turkish language reform was initiated to exclude excessive Arabic and Persian borrowings.  Istanbul, IzmirIstanbulTurkish girl, a tram in Istanbul
Figs.: views of Istanbul,
except left below: Izmir
The language reform succeeded in excluding several thousand words, though replacing them with sometimes contrived neologisms. C. 70 million speakers.
In phonology, the velar-uvular /G/ is normally entirely omitted in western dialects, e.g. daG > da: "mountain". The 1st person pronoun *men "I" has evolved into ben, an almost unique feature in Turkic languages.

Nothing can express the Turkish soul better than a good old quaint Türkü song, such as those performed by Burchin: Dane, dane (dialectal) "Your mole is like a little seed — Is there anything sweeter than the beloved one?"; Gönül daGï "Soul mountain — come stealthily"; Neredesin sen? "Where are you?".



The Turkish migration to the Crimean Khanate during the 15-18th c., when it was nominally subject to the Ottoman rule (1478-1774), led to the development of the so called southern dialect of Crimean Tartar that was essentially "Crimean Turkish". Presently, probably dissolved and intermingled with the northern and central Crimean Tartar.

Gagauz ayaqyïldïsqïzïlquruyapraquyu-buynusbaGïrev, yevbirikiüchdörtbeshaltiyedisekizdokuzon

Gagauz /gagah-OOZ/ (apparently from Gök Oghuz > Gökouz in Turkish pronunciation) is the westernmost Turkic language spoken mostly in Gagauzia, a small Autonomous Territorial Unit, formed in 1994 and located in Moldova, between Romania and Ukraine. Gagauzia includes only 2 towns and 27 villages. The Gagauz moved to this region from Bulgaria after the Russo-Turkish war (1806-1812), though their origins in Bulgaria are poorly understood. Presumably, they could have been the followers of the Seljuk Sultan Kaykaus II (1236-1276) from Anatolia or Turkified Bulgarian Christians. Just like Azeri, Gagauz is mutually intelligible with Turkish to a notable extent. Religion: Orthodox Christianity. Population: c. 250.000. 



1. The Internal Classification and Migrations of the Turkic Languages (2009-2012)
2. The Lexicostatistics and Glottochronology of the Turkic Languages (2009-2012)
3. The Proto-Turkic Urheimat & The Early Migrations of the Turkic Peoples (2009-2012)
4. Notes on Mongolic/Tungusic Correspondences, (2009)
5. Hugjiltu, Sound Comparisons between Turkish and Mongolian, Inner Mongolia University // Infosystem Mongolei (1995)

6. Nikolay Baskakov, K voprosu o klassifikatsii tyurkskikh yazyakov (On the matter of the classification of Turkic Languages) // Izvestiya AN SSSR, Otdeleniye yazyka i literatury, vol. 11/1, Moscow (1952)
7. Nikolay Baskakov, Vvedenije v izuchenije tyurkskikh jazykov (An introduction into the study of Turkic languages, Moscow (1969)
8. Sergey Starostin, Altajskaja problema i proiskhozhdenije japonskogo jazyka (The Altaic Problem and the Origins of the Japanese Language); Moscow (1991) (It includes excellent, detailed 100-word Swadesh lists for all the Altaic languages, with just few occasional errors; note that the web version may be abbreviated)
9. Sravnitelno-istoricheskaja grammatika tyurkskikh jazykov. Leksika. (The Comparative Historical Grammar of the Turkic Languages. Lexis.); editorial board: E. Tenishev et al; Moscow (2002) (Many lexical examples concerning the life of Proto-Turks)
10. M. Dyachok, Glottchronologija tyurkskikh jazykov (The Glottochronology of the Turkic Languages), Materials of 2nd Scientific Conference, Novosibirsk (2001)
10a. Anna Dybo, Lingvisticheskije kontakty rannikh tyurkov. Leksicheskij fond. (Linguistic Contacts of the Early Turks: the Lexical Fund), Moscow (2007) (It includes a lexicostatistical analysis with trees, and an analysis of early borrowings into Proto-Turkic)

10b. Oleg Mudrak, Klassifikatsija tyurkskikh jazykov i dialektov s pomosch'ju metodov glottokhronologii na osnove voprosov po morophologii i istoricheskoj fonetike (The classification of the Turkic languages and dialects based on the glottochronological methodology with a morphological and phonological questionary); Moscow (2009) (only 100 paper copies; however, there exists a lecture at youtube and brief summaries.)
11. Chugunov, K., Nagler A., Parzinger, H. The Golden Grave from Arzhan // Minerva, vol. 13, No 1 (2002)
12. Mike Edwards, Siberia's Scythians, Masters of Gold // National Geographic (June 2003)
12a. Brigitte Pakendorf, Contact in the Prehistory of the Sakha, Linguistic and Genetic Perspective (2007)
12b. Atlas narodov mira (The Atlas of the Peoples of the World), Moscow (1964).
12c. Khakassko-russkij slovar, composed by N. Baskakov, A. Inkizhekova-Grekul (1953)
12d. Oyrotsko-russkij slovar, composed by N. Baskakov, Toskhakova (1947)
13. A series of articles concerning the origins of the ethnonym "Khakas" by S. Yakhontov, V. Butanayev, S. Klyashtornyij // Ethnograficheskoje obozrenije (1992) (in Russian).
14. Kratkaja grammatika kazak-kirgizskogo jazyka (The brief grammar of the Kazakh-Kirgiz language), composed by P. Melioranskij, Sankt-Peterburg (1894)
15. Kumekov, B.E., Gosudarstvo kimakov IX-XI vv. po arabskim istochnikam (The Kimak State of the 9-11th century according to the Arab sources), Alma-Ata (1972)
15a. Baskakov, N.A., Sovremennyje kypchakskije yazyki (The modern Kypchak languages), Nukus (1987)
15b. Trepavlov, V.V., Malaja Nogajskaja Orda. Ocherk Istorii (The Lesser Nogai Horde. A histrical essay.) Malaja Nogajskaja Orda. Ocherk Istorii (The Lesser Nogai Horde. A histrical essay.) // Tyurkologicheskij sbornik 2003-2004: tyurkskije narody v drevnosti i srednevekovye, Moscow (2005)
16. Messerschmidt, D.G., Forschungreise durch Sibirien (Dnevnik puteshestviya iz Tobolska, The diary of the trip from Tobolsk), (1721-1725)
16a. Marzhanna Pomorska, Middle Chulym Noun Formation, Krakow (2004) (in English)
16b. Dialekty zapadnosibirskikh tatar (The dialects of West Siberian Tatars), Akhatov G. Kh.; avtoreferat dissertatsii (a thesis summary); Moscow (1964))
16c. Govory sibirskikh tatar yuga tymenskoj oblasti (The dialects of the Siberian Tatars of South Tyumen Oblast), Alishina, Kh. Ch.; avtoreferat dissertatsii (a thesis summary); Kazan (1992)
16d. Dmitriyeva, L.V., Yazyk barabinskikh tatar (materialy i issledovanija) (The language of the Baraba Tatars (materials and studies)); Leningrad (1981)
16e. Myagkov, D. A., Traditsionnoje khozyajstvo barabinskikh tatar vo vtoroj polovine XIX veka – pervoj polovine XX (The traditional economy of the Baraba Tatars from the second half of the 19th to the 1st half of the 20th century), avtoreferat dissertatsiji (a thesis summary), Omsk (2009)
16f. Abakirov, M.Sh., Etnodemograficheskaya situatsiya u barabinskikh tatar Novosibirskoj oblasti (The ethnodemographic situation of the Baraba Tatars in Novosibirsk Oblast); (2007)
17. Türik Bitig, a site dedicated to Orkhon-Yenisei inscriptions (translated into English)
18. Lars Johanson, Eva A. Csato, The Turkic languages, London, New York (1998)
19. Mahmud al-Kashgari, The Compendium of the Turkic Dialects (c. 1073) (translated by Robert Dankoff and James Kelly (1982))
20. Classifications of Turkic Languages by various authors (in Russian) etheo.org
Classifications of Turkic Languages by Baskakov (1969) (in Russian), etheo.org

21. 200-word Swadesh lists for Turkic languages (composed by many people including the author of this publication, also see a more elaborated version of Swadesh-215 in #2)
22. Talat Tekin, Türk Dilleri Ailesi (The Turkic Language Family) // Genel Dilbilim Dergisi, Vol. 2, pp. 7-8, Ankara (1979) (in Turkish)
23. Frier Iohn de Plano Carpini, The long and wonderful voyage of Frier Iohn de Plano Carpini (1245-46
23a. The Secret History of the Mongols, Genghis Khan's anonymous royal writer, c. 1227
23b. Aus Sibirien. Lose Blätter aus meinem Tagebuche (From Siberia: Torn pages from my diary), Wilhelm Radloff, Leipzig, 1893
24. Sevda Sulejmanova, Istorija tyurkskikh narodov (The history of the Turkic peoples), Baku (2009)
24a. Sevan Nishanyan. C,ag^das, Türkc,enin Etimolomogic Sözlügü (The Modern Ethymological Dictionary of Turkish) (2002-12)
24b. The Encyclopedia Iranica
24c. Description ethnographique des peuples de la Russie; Pauli, Fyodor Khristoforovich; Saint-Petersburg (1862)
24d. Okonchatelnyje itogi vserosijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda (The final results of the population census of Russia (2010))
25. Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, Saint Petersburg (1906)

26. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language. Second College Edition, Editor-in-Chief: David Guralnik, Prentice Hall Press (1986)

2009-03/2012 (c)

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