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The Tatar language (Tatar: татар теле; татарча, tatar tele, tatarça; تاتار تلی or طاطار تيلي) is a Turkic language spoken by Tatars mainly located in modern Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Siberia. It should not be confused with the Crimean Tatar language, to which it is closely related and with which it is mutually intelligible.
|татар теле / tatar tele / تاتار تلی|
|Native to||Russia, other post-Soviet states|
|5.2 million (2015)
(may include some L2 speakers)
|Tatar alphabet (Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin)|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Institute of Language, Literature and Arts of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan|
The Tatar language is spoken in Russia (about 5.3 million people), Ukraine, China, Finland, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the United States of America, Romania, Azerbaijan, Israel, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, and other countries. There are more than 7 million speakers of Tatar in the world.
In the 2010 census, 69% of Russian Tatars who responded to the question about language ability claimed a knowledge of the Tatar language. In Tatarstan, 93% of Tatars and 3,6% of Russians did so. In neighbouring Bashkortostan, 67% of Tatars, 27% of Bashkirs, and 1,3% of Russians did.
Tatar, along with Russian, is the official language of the Republic of Tatarstan. The official script of Tatar language is based on the Cyrillic script with some additional letters. The Republic of Tatarstan passed a law in 1999, which came into force in 2001, establishing an official Tatar Latin alphabet. A Russian federal law overrode it in 2002, making Cyrillic the sole official script in Tatarstan since. Unofficially, other scripts are used as well, mostly Latin and Arabic. All official sources in Tatarstan must use Cyrillic on their websites and in publishing. In other cases, where Tatar has no official status, the use of a specific alphabet depends on the preference of the author.
The Tatar language was made a de facto official language in Russia in 1917, but only in the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Tatar is also considered to have been the official language in the short-lived Idel-Ural State, briefly formed during the Russian Civil War. However, that Bolshevist Russia did not recognize official languages as such; however, there were a number of languages that could be used in trial in some republics. In the Soviet era, Tatar was such a language in Bashkortostan, Mari El and other regions of the Russian SFSR.
The usage of Tatar declined from the 1930s onwards. In the 1980s, the study and teaching of Tatar in the public education system was limited to rural schools. However, Tatar-speaking pupils had little chance of entering university because higher education was available in Russian almost exclusively.
As of 2001 Tatar was considered a potentially endangered language while Siberian and Crimean Tatar languages received "endangered" and "seriously endangered" statuses, respectively. Higher education in Tatar can only be found in Tatarstan, and is restricted to the humanities. In other regions Tatar is primarily a spoken language and the number of speakers as well as their proficiency tends to decrease. Tatar is popular as a written language only in Tatar-speaking areas where schools with Tatar language lessons are situated. On the other hand, Tatar is the only language in use in rural districts of Tatarstan.
Dialects of TatarEdit
There are three main dialects of Tatar: Western (Mişär or Mishar), Middle (Kazan), and Eastern (Siberian). All of these dialects also have subdivisions. Significant contribution to the study of the Tatar language and its dialects, were made by a scientist Gabdulkhay Akhatov, who is considered to be the founder of the modern Tatar dialectological school.
In the Western (Mişär) dialect Ç is pronounced [tʃ] (southern or Lambir Mişärs) and as [ts] (northern Mişärs or Nizhgars). C is pronounced [dʒ]. There are no differences between v and w, q and k, g and ğ in the Mişär dialect. (The Cyrillic alphabet doesn't have special letters for q, ğ and w, so Mişär speakers have no difficulty reading Tatar written in Cyrillic.)
This is the dialect spoken by the Tatar minority of Finland.
In the Minzälä subdialect of the Middle Dialect z is pronounced [ð], as opposed to other dialects where it is silent.
In bilingual cities people often pronounce h as [x], q as [k], ğ as [ɡ], w as [v]. This could be due to Russian influence. Another possibility is that these cities were places where both the western and middle dialects were used.
The influence of Russian is significant. Russian words and phrases are used with Tatar grammar or Russian grammar in Tatar texts. Some Russian verbs are taken entirely, un-nativized, and followed with itärgä. Some English words and phrases are also used.
The Yaña Bistä slang, Yaña Bistä gäbe or simply Gäp was a distinct cryptolect of the Tatar language, spoken in Yaña Bistä (The New Quarter) of Kazan. It has been extinct or near extinct since the 1920s. The vocabulary and grammar of this sociolect differ from those of standard Tatar. The vocabulary includes some words from Central Asian languages. Modern Tatar slang is also sometimes known as gäp. Gäp is phonetically equivalent to the English word gap and is Standard Tatar for a talk.
Siberian Tatars pronounce ç as [ts], c as [j] and sometimes b as [p], d as [t], f as p, j as ch, t as d, z as s and h as k. There are also grammatical differences within the dialect, scattered across Siberia.
Many linguists claim the origins of Siberian Tatar dialects are actually independent of Volga–Ural Tatar; these dialects are quite remote both from Standard Tatar and from each other, often preventing mutual comprehension. The claim that this language is part of the modern Tatar language is typically supported by linguists in Kazan and denounced by Siberian Tatars.
Over time, some of these dialects were given distinct names and recognized as separate languages (e.g. the Chulym language) after detailed linguistic study. A brief linguistic analysis shows that many of these dialects exhibit features which are quite different from the Volga–Ural Tatar varieties, and should be classified as Turkic varieties belonging to several sub-groups of the Turkic languages, distinct from Kipchak languages to which Volga–Ural Tatar belongs.
By studying the phonetic peculiarities of the dialect of the local population of Siberia, Professor Gabdulkhay Akhatov first among the scientists discovered in the Speech of the Siberian Tatars is such a thing as 'clip-clop', which in his opinion, was obtained for the Siberian Tatars of Kipchaks. In his classic fundamental research work "Dialect of the West Siberian Tatars" (1963) Gabdulkhay Akhatov wrote about a territorial resettlement of the Tobol-Irtysh Tatars Tyumen and Omsk areas. Subjecting a comprehensive integrated analysis of the phonetic system, the lexical composition and grammatical structure, the scientist concluded that the language of the Siberian Tatars is a separate language, it is divided into three dialects and it is one of the most ancient Turkic languages.
|High||i /iː/||ü /yː/||e /ɪ/||ö /ʏ/||(ı /ɯː/)||u /uː/||ë /ɯ̽/||o /ʊ/|
|Low||ä /a,æ/||a /ɑ/|
Phonemically, Tatar may be argued to have two vowel heights, high and low. There are two low vowels, front and back, while there are eight high vowels: front and back, round and unround, long and short. However, phonetically, the short high vowels are reduced: they are mid-centralized. They are therefore generally transcribed with mid vowel letters such as e and o: high front i ü, high back ı u, reduced (mid) front e ö, reduced (mid) back ë o, and low ä, a. The high back unrounded vowel ı is only found in Russian loans, though the native diphthong ëy, which only occurs word-finally, has been argued to be phonemically ï. Loaned vowels are considered to be back vowels.
Phonetically, the native vowels are approximately high и/i [i], ү/ü [ʉ], у/u [u], reduced е (э)/e [ɘ̆], ө/ө [ɵ̆], ы/ı [ɤ̆~ʌ̆] о/o [ŏ] (ë may be mid-low), and low ә/ə [a~æ], а/а [ɑ]. In polysyllabic words, the front-back distinction is lost in reduced vowels: all become mid-central. Reduced vowels in unstressed position are frequently elided. Low back /ɑ/ is rounded [ɒ] word-initially and after [ɒ], as in bala 'child'. In Russian loans there are also [ɨ], [ɛ], and [ɔ]
Historically, the Turkic high vowels have become the Tatar reduced series, whereas the Turkic mid vowels have replaced them. Thus Kazakh til 'language' and kün 'day' correspond to Tatar tel and kön, while Kazakh men 'I', qol 'hand', and kök 'sky' are in Tatar min, qul, kük.
|Nasals||m /m/||n /n/||ñ /ŋ/|
|Plosives||Voiceless||p /p/||t /t/||k /k/||q [q]||' /ʔ/|
|Voiced||b /b/||d /d/||g /ɡ/|
|Fricatives||Voiceless||f /f/||s /s/||ş /ʃ/||ç /tɕ~ɕ/||x /χ/||h /h/|
|Voiced||v /v/||z /z/||j /ʒ/||c /dʑ~ʑ/||ğ [ʁ~ɢ]|
|Approximants||w /w/||l /l/||y /j/ ([j~ɪ])|
Most of these phonemes are common to or have equivalents in all Turkic languages, but the phonemes /v/, /ts/, /h/ and /ʒ/ are only found in loanwords in Literary Tatar. /f/ is also of foreign origin, but is also found in native words,[vague] e.g. yafraq "leaf".
Pronunciation of loanwordsEdit
While the consonants [ʒ], [f] and [v] are not native to Tatar, they are well established. However, Tatars usually substitute fricatives for affricates, for example [ɕ] for [tʃ], [ʒ] or [ʑ] for [dʒ], and [s] for [ts]. Nevertheless, literary traditions recommend the pronunciation of affricates in loanwords.
In general, Russian words with palatalisation have entered into the speech of bilingual Tatars since the 1930s. When writing in the Cyrillic alphabet, Russian words are spelled as they are in Russian. In today's Latin orthography, palatalisation is sometimes represented by an acute diacritic under the vowel.
Some Tatars speak Russian without palatalisation, which is known as a Tatar accent.
- V (ı-lıs, u-ra, ö-rä)
- VC (at-law, el-geç, ir-kä)
- CV (qa-la, ki-ä, su-la)
- CVC (bar-sa, sız-law, köç-le, qoş-çıq)
- VCC (ant-lar, äyt-te, ilt-kän)
- CVCC (tört-te, qart-lar, 'qayt-qan)
Stress is on the final syllable.
Tatar phonotactics dictate many pronunciation changes.
Unrounded vowels may be pronounced as rounded after o or ö:
Nasals are assimilated to following stops:
Voicing may also undergo assimilation:
Vowels may also be elided:
qara urman /qar'urman/
kilä ide /kilä'yde/
turı uram /tur'uram/
bula almím /bul'almím/
tekst → /tekest/
bank → /banık/ (not /bañk/)
Final devoicing is also frequent:
tabíb (doctor) → [tabíp]
Like other Turkic languages, Tatar is an agglutinative language.
- Nominative -
- Accusative: -ны/-не, -н
- Possessive: -ның/-нең
- Dative: -га/-гә, -ка/-кә, -а/-ә, -на/-нә
- Locative: -да/-дә, -та/-тә, -нда/-ндә
- Ablative: -дан/-дән, -тан/-тән, -нан/-нән, -ннан/-ннән
- Nominative: -лар/-ләр, -нар/-нәр
- Accusative: -ларны
- Possessive: -ларның
- Dative: -ларга
- Locative: -ларда
- Ablative: -лардан
- After vowels, consonants, hard: -lar (bala-lar, abí-lar, kitap-lar, qaz-lar, malay-lar, qar-lar, ağaç-lar)
- After vowels, consonants, soft: -lär (äni-lär, sölge-lär, däftär-lär, kibet-lär, süz-lär, bäbkä-lär, mäktäp-lär, xäref-lär)
- After nasals, hard: -nar (uram-nar, urman-nar, tolım-nar, moñ-nar, tañ-nar, şalqan-nar)
- After nasals, soft: -när (ülän-när, keläm-när, çräm-när, iñ-när, ciñ-när, isem-när)
Declension of pronounsEdit
|Nominative||мин min||син sin||ул ul||без bez||сез sez||алар alar|
|Genitive||минем minem||синең sineñ||аның anıñ||безнең bezneñ||сезнең sezneñ||аларның alarnıñ|
|Dative||миңа miña||сиңа siña||аңа aña||безгә bezgä||сезгә sezgä||аларга alarğa|
|Accusative||мине mine||сине sine||аны anı||безне bezne||сезне sezne||аларны alarnı|
|Locative||миндә mindä||синдә sindä||анда anda||бездә bezdä||сездә sezdä||аларда alarda|
|Ablative||миннән minnän||синнән sinnän||аннан annan||бездән bezdän||сездән sezdän||алардан alardan|
|Nominative||бу bu||шул şul||болар bolar||шулар şular|
|Genitive||моның monıñ||шуның şunıñ||боларның bolarnıñ||шуларның şularnıñ|
|Dative||моңа moña||шуңа şuña||боларга bolarğa||шуларга şularğa|
|Accusative||моны monı||шуны şunı||боларны bolarnı||шуларны şularnı|
|Locative||монда monda||шунда şunda||боларда bolarda||шуларда şularda|
|Ablative||моннан monnan||шуннан şunnan||болардан bolardan||шулардан şulardan|
|Nominative||кем kem||нәрсә närsä|
|Genitive||кемнең kemneñ||нәрсәнең närsäneñ|
|Dative||кемгә kemgä||нәрсәгә närsägä|
|Accusative||кемне kemne||нәрсәне närsäne|
|Locative||кемдә kemdä||нәрсәдә närsädä|
|Ablative||кемнән kemnän||нәрсәдән närsädän|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2011)
Tatar has been written in a number of different alphabets.
In 1939, in Tatarstan (a republic of Russia where Tatar is most commonly used) and all other parts of the Soviet Union a Cyrillic script was developed and is still used to write Tatar. It is also used in Kazakhstan.
The Republic of Tatarstan passed a law in 1999 that came into force in 2001 establishing an official Tatar Latin alphabet. A Russian federal law overrode it in 2002, making Cyrillic the sole official script in Tatarstan since. In 2004, an attempt to introduce a Latin-based alphabet for Tatar was further abandoned when the Constitutional Court ruled that the federal law of the 15th of November 2002 mandating the use of Cyrillic for the state languages of the republics of the Russian Federation does not contradict the Russian constitution. In accordance with this Constitutional Court ruling, on 28 December 2004, the Tatar Supreme Court overturned the Tatarstani law that made the Latin alphabet official.
In China, Tatars still use the Arabic script.
- Tatar Cyrillic alphabet (letter order adopted in 1997):
|А а||Ә ә||Б б||В в||Г г||Д д||Е е||Ё ё|
|Ж ж||Җ җ||З з||И и||Й й||К к||Л л||М м|
|Н н||Ң ң||О о||Ө ө||П п||Р р||С с||Т т|
|У у||Ү ү||Ф ф||Х х||Һ һ||Ц ц||Ч ч||Ш ш|
|Щ щ||Ъ ъ||Ы ы||Ь ь||Э э||Ю ю||Я я|
- 1999 Tatar Latin alphabet, made official by a law adopted by Tatarstani authorities but annulled by the Tatar Supreme Court in 2004:
|A a||Ə ə||B b||C c||Ç ç||D d||E e||F f|
|G g||Ğ ğ||H h||I ı||İ i||J j||K k||Q q|
|L l||M m||N n||Ꞑ ꞑ||O o||Ɵ ɵ||P p||R r|
|S s||Ş ş||T t||U u||Ü ü||V v||W w||X x|
|Y y||Z z||’|
The literary Tatar language is based on the Middle Tatar dialect and on the Old Tatar language (İske Tatar Tele). Both are members of the Kipchak group of Turkic languages, although they also partly derive from the ancient Volga Bulgar language.
- әйе - äye – yes
- юк - yuq – no
- исәнме(сез)/саумы(сыз) - isänme(sez)/sawmı(sız) – hello
- сәлам - sälam – hi
- сау бул(ыгыз)/хуш(ыгыз) - saw bul(ığız)/xuş(ığız) – bye bye
- зинһар өчен - zinhar öçen – please
- рәхмәт - räxmät – thank you
- гәфу ит(егез) - ğafu it(egez) – excuse me
- мин - min – I
- син - sin – you (sg.)
- сез - sez – you (pl.)
- ул - ul – he / she / it
- без - bez – we
- алар - alar – they
- милләт - millät – nation
- Инглизчә - İnglizçä – English
- Tatar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Siberian Tatar at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tatar". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- [File:Хальфин_Азбука_татарского_языка_1778.pdf Хальфин, Сагит. Азбука татарского языка. — М., 1778. — 52 с.]
- Russian Census 2010. Владение языками населением (in Russian)
- Russian Census 2010. Владение языками населением наиболее многочисленных национальностей по субъектам Российской Федерации (in Russian)
- Wurm, S; Unesco. (2001). Atlas of the world's languages in danger of disappearing. Paris: Unesco Pub.,. ISBN 978-92-3-103798-6.
- Information about Siberian Tatar
- Gabdulkhay Akhatov. The Dialect of the West Siberian Tatars. Ufa, 1963, 195 p. (in Russian)
- Gabdulkhay Akhatov. Dialects of the West Siberian Tatars. Doctoral Dissertation. Tashkent, 1965. (in Russian)
- Harrison and Kaun, "Vowels and Vowel Harmony in Namangan Tatar", in Aronson, Holisky, & Tuite (2003) Current Trends in Caucasian, East European and Inner Asian Linguistics
- Árpád Berta, "Tatar and Bashkir". In Johanson & Csató (1998) The Turkic languages
- Árpád Berta, "Tatar and Bashkir," The Turkic Languages (1998, Routledge), pg. 283
- Pronoun declensions based on or extrapolated from information contained on Грамматика татарского языка
- Spolsky, Bernard (2004). Language Policy. Cambridge University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-521-01175-4.
- "Russia court sticks to letter law". BBC News. 16 November 2004. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "The Tatar language will continue to be written through the Cyrillic alphabet". U.S. English Foundation. February 2005. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Tatar language – Princeton University
- (in Russian) Татарский язык в Интернете: информация о методах и средствах обучения
- Akhatov G. (1982). "Phraseological Dictionary of the Tatar Language" (monograph). Kazan. (in Russian) (Tatar language)
- Akhatov G. (1984). "Tatar Dialectology" (Textbook for university students). Kazan. (in Russian) (Tatar language)
- Bukharaev, R., & Matthews, D. J. (2000). Historical anthology of Kazan Tatar verse: voices of eternity. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-1077-9
- PEN (Organization). (1998). Tatar literature today. Kazan: Magarif Publishers.
- Poppe, N. N. (1963). Tatar manual: descriptive grammar and texts with a Tatar-English glossary. Bloomington: Indiana University.
|Tatar edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tatar phrasebook.|
- Tatar language at DMOZ (in English)
- Tatar language at DMOZ (in Tatar), (in Russian)
- Tatar dictionaries at DMOZ (in English)
- Web directory at DMOZ (in Tatar)
- website of the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan
- Corpus of Written Tatar (website of the Corpus of Written Tatar)
- Information about Tatar writing
- Textbook on morphology of Tatar language (in Russian)
- Course of Tatar language (in Russian)
- Tatar.com.ru: Tatar language course (in Russian)
History and literatureEdit
- Tatar poetry (in Tatar)
- Tatar myths, including the story of Şüräle (in Russian)
- Tatar library
- Tatar Electronic Library (in Russian) (in Tatar)
- Links to other Tatar language resources
- Russian-Tatar On-Line Dictionary (a)
- Russian-Tatar On-Line Dictionary (b)
- Russian-Tatar On-Line Dictionary (c)
- Russian-Tatar On-Line Dictionary (d)
- Turkish-Tatar On-Line Dictionary
- Tatarsko-russkīe razgovory (1850) (Tatar Russian dialogues)