Kumyk language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
къумукъ тил/qumuq til
Native to Russia
Region Dagestan, Chechnya, North Ossetia
Ethnicity Kumyks
Native speakers
450,000 (2010 census)[1]
Cyrillic and Latin
Official status
Official language in


Language codes
ISO 639-2 kum
ISO 639-3 kum
Glottolog kumy1244[2]

Kumyk (къумукъ тил,[3] qumuq til) is a Turkic language, spoken by about 426,212[4] speakers - the Kumyks - in the Dagestan, North Ossetia, and Chechen republics of the Russian Federation.


Kumyks speak Kumyk language, which is a part of Kipchak-Cuman language subfamily of the Kipchak family of the Turkic languages. It's an inheritant of Hunnic and Khazar languages.[5]

The fundament of the Kumyk language formed in 7th-10th centuries on the roots of Khazar and Bulgar substratum, and mixed afterwards with Oghuz and Kipchak stratum.[6]

Nikolay Baskakov, based on a famous scripture Codex Cimanicus, included modern Kumyk, Karachai-Balkar, Crimean Tatar, Karaim, and the language of Mamluk Kipchak in the same with Cuman-Kipchak lingual family. Samoylovich also considered Cuman-Kipchak close to Kumyk and Karachai-Balkar.[7]

Lingua-franca in the Caucasus

It had been a lingua-franca of the huge part of the Northern Caucasus, from Dagestan to Kabarda, until the 30th of the 20th century.[8][9][10]

In 1848, a professor of "Caucasian Tatar" (Kumyk) Timofey Makarov published the first ever grammatical book for one of the Northern Caucasian languages - regionally international Kumyky. Makarov wrote:[11]

From the peoples speaking Tatar language I liked the most Kumyks, as for the language's distinction and precision, so for their closeness to the european civilization, but most importantly, I considered, that they live on the Left flang of the Caucasian front, where we conduct military action, and where all the peoples, apart from their own language, speak Kumyk also.

Amongs the dialects of the Kumyk there are Kaitag, Terek (town of Mozdok and Braguny), Buynaksk (Temir-Khan-Shura) and Xasavyurt, the last two of which became the basis for the literary language.[12]


Kumyk is an old-script literary language of Dagestan and Caucasus. During the 20th century the writing system of the language was changed twice: during Soviet times in 1929 traditional Arabic script (called ajam) was substituted by the Latin script at first, and then in 1938 — by Cyrillic script.

The closest to Kumyk languages are Karachai-Balkar, Crimean Tatar, and Karaim.[13]

More than 90% of Kumyks, according to census, also speak Russian, and those in Turkey speak Turkish.

Figures and press

Irchi Kazak (Yırçı Qazaq; born 1839) is usually considered to be the greatest poet of the Kumyk literature.

The first regular newspapers and magazines appeared in 1917–18 under the editorship of Kumyk poet, writer, translator, theatre figure Temirbolat Biybolatov (Temirbolat Biybolat).

Currently, the newspaper Ёлдаш (Yoldash, "Companion"), the successor of the Soviet-era Ленин ёлу (Lenin yolu, "Lenin's Path"), prints around 5,000 copies 3 times a week.


Kumyk vowels
Front Central Back
Close и [i] уь [y] ы [ɨ] у [u]
Mid e [e] оь [ø] o [o]
Open a [æ] a [a]
Kumyk consonants
Labial Dental Lateral Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive voiceless п [p] т [t] к [k] къ [q]
voiced б [b] д [d] г [ɡ]
Fricative voiceless ф [f] c [s] ш [ʃ] x [x] гь [h]
voiced в [v] з [z] ж [ʒ] гъ [ɣ]
Affricate voiceless ч [tʃ]
voiced дж [dʒ]
Nasal м [m] н [n] нг [ŋ]
Liquid p [r] л [l]
Approximant й [j]



Latin based alphabet (1927–1937)

Kumyk alphabet from newly introduced Latin school book (1935).
A a B b C c Ç ç D d E e F f G g
Ƣ ƣ H h I i J j K k L l M m N n
Ŋ ŋ O o Ɵ ɵ P p Q q R r S s Ş ş
T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z Ƶ ƶ
Ь ь

Cyrillic based alphabet (since 1937)

А а Б б В в Г г Гъ гъ Гь гь Д д Е е
Ё ё Ж ж З з И и Й й К к Къ къ Л л
М м Н н Нг нг О о Оь оь П п Р р С с
Т т У у Уь уь Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш
Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я


  • Saodat Doniyorova and Toshtemirov Qahramonil. Parlons Koumyk. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2004. ISBN 2-7475-6447-9.


  1. ^ 2010 Russian Census
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Kumyk". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ L. S. Levitskaya, "Kumyk language", in Languages of the world. Turkic languages (1997). (in Russian)
  4. ^ http://www.omniglot.com/writing/kumyk.php
  5. ^ Baskakov N.A. Введение в изучение тюркских языков. М., 1962, с. 236.
  6. ^ PhD Philologist Khangishiev D. Этногенез кумыков в свете лингвистических данных (http://kumukia.ru/author?q=1088)
  7. ^ Абибуллаева С. ""Кодекс Куманикус" – ПАМЯТНИК ТЮРКСКИХ ЯЗЫКОВ КОНЦА XIII – НАЧАЛА XIV ВЕКОВ" (PDF) (in русский). 
  8. ^ Pieter Muysken. (2008). Studies in language companion series. From linguistic areas to areal linguistics. 90. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 74. ISBN 9789027231000. 
  9. ^ Nansen. Gjennem Kaukasus til Volga (Oslo: Jacob Dybwads Forlag, 1929). 
  10. ^ Н.С.Трубецкой (1925). ""О народах Кавказа"" (статья ed.). 
  11. ^ "Kafkaz Lehçeni Tatar Grammatikası, Makarov 1848". caucasian.space (in Kumyk and Russian). Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-06-28. 
  12. ^ Template:БСЭ3
  13. ^ Кумыкский энциклопедический словарь. Махачкала. 2012. С. 218.
  14. ^ Levitskaïa. 1997. 

External links

  • Kumyks video and music
  • Newspaper "Ёлдаш" in Kumyk language issuing in Dagestan
  • Kumyk language on the website "Minority languages of Russia on the Net"
  • Russian-Kumyk dictionary (1960)
  • Holy Scriptures in the Kumyk language
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