Kumyk language

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Ҡумуҡ 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]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Kumyk (ҡумуҡ 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 the Khazar languages.[5] The closest to Kumyk languages are Karachay-Balkar, Crimean Tatar, and Karaim.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

Lingua franca in the Caucasus

It had been a lingua franca in part of the Northern Caucasus, from Dagestan to Kabarda, until the 1930s.[9][10][11]

In 1848, Timofey Makarov, a professor of "Caucasian Tatar" (Kumyk), published the first ever grammatical book of the language, praising its distinct precision.[12][13]

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.

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


Kumyk vowels
Front Back
Close и [i] уь [y] ы [ɯ] у [u]
Mid e [e] оь [ø] o [o]
Open ә [æ] a [a]
Kumyk consonants
Labial Dental Lateral Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive voiceless п [p] т [t] к [k] къ [q]¹
voiced б [b] д [d] г [ɡ] къ [q̬]²
Fricative voiceless ф [f] c [s] ш [ʃ] x [χ] гь [h]
voiced в [β] з [z] ж [ʒ] гъ [ʁ]
Affricate voiceless ч [tʃ]
voiced дж [dʒ]
Nasal м [m] н [n] нг [ŋ] нг ([ɴ])
Liquid p [r] л [l]
Approximant й [j]
  • ¹- in the middle and at the end of words къ voiceless
  • ² - at the beginning of words къ voiced



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.

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. ^ Кумыкский энциклопедический словарь. Махачкала. 2012. С. 218.
  7. ^ PhD Philologist Khangishiev D. Этногенез кумыков в свете лингвистических данных (http://kumukia.ru/author?q=1088)
  8. ^ Абибуллаева С. "Кодекс Куманикус" – ПАМЯТНИК ТЮРКСКИХ ЯЗЫКОВ КОНЦА XIII – НАЧАЛА XIV ВЕКОВ (PDF) (in Russian).
  9. ^ Pieter Muysken. (2008). Studies in language companion series. From linguistic areas to areal linguistics. 90. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 74. ISBN 9789027231000.
  10. ^ Nansen. Gjennem Kaukasus til Volga (Oslo: Jacob Dybwads Forlag, 1929).
  11. ^ Н.С.Трубецкой (1925). ""О народах Кавказа"" (статья ed.).
  12. ^ "Kafkaz Lehçeni Tatar Grammatikası, Makarov 1848". caucasian.space (in Kumyk and Russian). Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  13. ^ Template:БСЭ3
  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
  • Kumyk information portal kumukia.com
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