Kumyk language

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.

къумукъ тил/qumuq til
Native toRussia
RegionDagestan, Chechnya, North Ossetia
Native speakers
450,000 (2010 census)[1]
Cyrillic and Latin
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2kum
ISO 639-3kum
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Kumyk is a part of Kipchak-Cuman language subfamily of the Kipchak family of the Turkic languages. It's a descendant of the Khazar languages.[5] The closest languages to Kumyk are Karachay-Balkar, Crimean Tatar and Karaim.[6]

The Kumyk language formed during the 7th-10th centuries out of Khazar and Bulgar substrata and mixed afterwards with Oghuz and Kipchak.[7]

Based on his research on a famous scripture Codex Cimanicus, Nikolay Baskakov included Kumyk, Karachai-Balkar, Crimean Tatar, Karaim and Mamluk Kipchak in the Cuman-Kipchak family. Samoylovich also considered Cuman-Kipchak close to Kumyk and Karachai-Balkar.[8]

Lingua franca in the CaucasusEdit

Kumyk was 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 grammar of the language.[12][13]

Figures and pressEdit

Irchi Kazak (Yırçı Qazaq; born 1839) is usually considered to be the greatest poet of the Kumyk language. The first regular Kumyk newspapers and magazines appeared in 1917–18 under the editorship of Kumyk poet, writer, translator, and 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 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]†
voiced б [b] д [d] г [ɡ] къ [ɢ]†
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]

† къ represents [ɢ] at the beginning of words, and [q] elsewhere (complementary distribution). [14]


Kumyk has been used as a literary language in Dagestan and Caucasus for some time. During the 20th century the writing system of the language was changed twice: in 1929, the traditional Arabic script (called ajam) was first replaced by a Latin script at first, which was then replaced in 1938 by a Cyrillic script.

Latin based alphabet (1927–1937)Edit

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)Edit

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). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  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.). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  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. ^ Кумыкский язык // Большая советская энциклопедия : [в 30 т.] / гл. ред. А. М. Прохоров. — 3-е изд. — Москва : Советская энциклопедия, 1969—1978.
  14. ^ Levitskaïa. 1997.

External linksEdit