Kipchak languages

The Kipchak languages (also known as the Kypchak, Qypchaq or the Northwestern Turkic languages) are a sub-branch of the Turkic language family spoken by approximately 28 million people in much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe, spanning from Ukraine to China. Some of the most widely spoken languages in this group are Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Tatar.

Northwestern Turkic
Central Asia, Russia, Northern Caucasus, Ukraine
Linguistic classificationTurkic
  • Kipchak–Bulgar
  • Kipchak–Cuman
  • Kipchak–Nogai
  • Kyrgyz–Kipchak
Map-Kypchak Language World.png
  Kipchak–Nogai and Kyrgyz–Kipchak

Kipchak languages by native speakersEdit

The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 [1] documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples. The number of speakers derived from statistics or estimates (2019) and were rounded:[2][3]

Number Name Status Native speakers Main Country
1 Kazakh language Normal 14,000,000   Kazakhstan
2 Tatar language Normal 5,500,000   Russia
3 Kyrgyz language Normal 5,000,000   Kyrgyzstan
4 Bashkir language Vulnerable 2,000,000   Russia
5 Karakalpak language Normal 650,000   Uzbekistan
6 Crimean Tatar language Severely endangered 600,000   Ukraine
7 Kumyk language Vulnerable 450,000   Russia
8 Karachay-Balkar language Vulnerable 400,000   Russia
9 Siberian Tatar language Definitely endangered 100,000   Russia
10 Nogai language Definitely endangered 100,000   Russia
11 Southern Altai language Definitely endangered 55,000   Russia
12 Krymchak language Critically endangered 200   Israel
13 Karaim language Critically endangered 100   Lithuania
Total Kipchak languages Normal 28,400,000   Kazakhstan

Linguistic featuresEdit

The Kipchak languages share a number of features that have led linguists to classify them together. Some of these features are shared with other Common Turkic languages; others are unique to the Kipchak family.

Shared featuresEdit

  • Change of Proto-Turkic *d to /j/ (e.g. *hadaq > ajaq "foot")
  • Loss of initial *h (preserved only in Khalaj), see above example

Unique featuresEdit


The Kipchak languages may be broken down into four groups, based on geography and shared features (languages in bold are still spoken today):

Proto-Turkic Common Turkic Kipchak Kipchak–Bulgar (Uralian, Uralo-Caspian)
Kipchak–Cuman (Ponto-Caspian)
Kipchak–Nogai (Aralo-Caspian)
Kyrgyz–Kipchak (Kyrgyz)
South Kipchak

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Except for the Southern "dialect", which is classified among the Western Oghuz languages despite its dialect status.[4]


  1. ^ Dybo A.V., Chronology of Türkic languages and linguistic contacts of early Türks, Moscow, 2007, p. 766, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-03-11. Retrieved 2005-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (In Russian)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Языки мира. 2. Indirk: Институт языкознания (Российская академия наук). 1997. pp. 19–20.