Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkic Languages: From Ainu to Western Yugur, Part 2

On Friday we started to look at the Turkic language family, but there were just so many interesting languages to cover that we needed more than one day to talk about them all! Without further ado, here are the rest of the Turkic languages, including Ainu and Western Yugur.

The Karluk Languages

There are only five members of the Southeastern Turkic language group, also known as the Karluk languages. The most prominent member of this group is Uzbek, which has 27 million native speakers in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian countries.

Uzbek is followed in number of speakers by Uyghur, which is spoken by about 10 million people in China. The three remaining members of this group are also used in China. There are about 70,000 Salar speakers, 6,000 Ainu speakers, and around 100 speakers of Ili Turki in China, which may unfortunately become extinct in the coming years.

The Siberian Languages

The Katun River in the Altai Republic of Russia.
It should come as no surprise that almost all of the Siberian languages, also known as the Northeastern Turkic languages, are used in Russia. You probably haven't heard of any of these languages before since they're all minority languages with relatively small numbers of native speakers.

Yakut and Tuvan are the two most spoken Siberian languages, Yakut with 450,000 native speakers and Tuvan with 250,000. There are also about 50,000 native speakers of the Altai language in Russia, which has two main varieties: Northern Altai and Southern Altai. Russia is also home to about 40,000 speakers of the Khakas language, 2,000 Shor speakers, 1,000 Dolgan speakers, and under 100 speakers of both Karagas and Chulym.

Last but not least, there's the one and only Siberian language used in China: Western Yugur. It is the native language of about 4,000 people in the Gansu province,

Khalaj and Chuvash

The final two languages, which constitute their very own branches of the Turkic language family, are Khalaj and Chuvash. There are over 40,000 native speakers of Khalaj in Iran. Chuvash, on the other hand, is spoken in Russia by over 1 million people.

Part 1 | Part 2