Yakut language

Yakut,[2][3] also known as Yakutian, Sakha, Saqa or Saxa, is a Turkic language with around 450,000 native speakers spoken in Sakha (Yakutia), a federal republic in the Russian Federation, by the Yakuts.

Sakha tyla
саха тыла saqa tyla
Pronunciation[saxa tɯla]
Native toRussia
EthnicityYakuts (2010 census)
Native speakers
450,000 [1] (2010 census)
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2sah
ISO 639-3sah
Yakut and Dolgan languages.png
  Sakha language
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The Yakut language differs from all other Turkic languages in the presence of a layer of vocabulary of unclear origin (possibly Paleo-Siberian). There are also a large number of words of Mongolian origin related to ancient borrowings, as well as numerous recent borrowings from Russian. Like other Turkic languages and their ancestor Proto-Turkic, Yakut is an agglutinative language and employs vowel harmony.


Yakut is a member of the Northeastern Common Turkic family of languages, which includes Shor, Tuvan and Dolgan in addition to Yakut. Like most Turkic languages, Yakut has vowel harmony, is agglutinative and has no grammatical gender. Word order is usually subject–object–verb. Yakut has been influenced by Tungusic and Mongolian languages.[4]

Geographic distributionEdit

Yakut is spoken mainly in the Sakha Republic. It is also used by ethnic Yakuts in Khabarovsk Region and a small diaspora in other parts of the Russian Federation, Turkey, and other parts of the world. Dolgan, a close relative of Yakut, considered by some[who?] a dialect, is spoken by Dolgans in Krasnoyarsk Region. Yakut is widely used as a lingua franca by other ethnic minorities in the Sakha Republic – more Dolgans, Evenks, Evens and Yukagirs speak Yakut than their own languages. About 8% of the people of other ethnicities than Yakut living in Sakha claimed knowledge of the Yakut language during the 2002 census.[5]


One characteristic feature of Yakut is vowel harmony. For example, if the first vowel of a Yakut word is a front vowel, the second and other vowels of the same word are usually the same vowel or another front vowel: кэлин (kelin) "back": э (e) is open unrounded front, и (i) is close unrounded front. Yakut initial s- corresponds to initial h- in Dolgan and played an important operative rule in the development of proto-Yakut, ultimately resulting in initial Ø- < *h- < *s- (example: Dolgan huoq and Yakut suox, both meaning "not"). The hypothetical change of *s > h (debuccalization) is a common sound-change across the world's languages, being characteristic of such languages as Greek and Indo-Iranian in their development from Proto-Indo-European, as well as such Turkic languages as Bashkir, e.g. höt 'milk' < *süt.[6] Debuccalization of /s/ to /h/ is also found as a diachronic change from Proto-Celtic to Brittonic, and has actually become a synchronic grammaticalised feature called lenition in the related Goidelic languages (Irish, Scottish, and Manx).


Consonant phonemes of Yakut
Bilabial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive /
voiceless p t c͡ç k
voiced b d ɟ͡ʝ ɡ
Fricative voiceless s x h
voiced ɣ
Approximant plain l j
nasalized ȷ̃
Flap ɾ

The Sakha language (except the Dolgan language) is the only Turkic language without hushing sibilants. Also, Sakha and Khorasani Turkic are the only known Turkic languages with voiced palatal nasal /ɲ/.


Vowel phonemes of Yakut
Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close short i y ɯ u
long ɯː
Diphthong ie̯ y̑ø ɯa̯ u̯o
Open short e ø a ɔ
long øː ɔː


Yakut is written using the Cyrillic script: the modern Yakut alphabet, established in 1939 by the Soviet Union, consists of the usual Russian characters but with five additional letters: Ҕҕ, Ҥҥ, Өө, Һһ, Үү.

Yakut alphabet (Saqalyy suruk-bičik):

Letter Name IPA Note KNAB romanization[7]
А а а /a/ A a
Б б бэ /b/ B b
В в вэ /v/ found only in Russian loanwords [8] V v
Г г гэ /ɡ/ G g
Ҕ ҕ ҕэ /ɣ, ʁ/ Ǧ ǧ
Д д дэ /d/ D d
Дь дь дьэ /ɟ͡ʝ/ Dj dj
Е е е /e, je/ found only in Russian loanwords É é or e
Ё ё ё /jo/ found only in Russian loanwords Ë ë
Ж ж жэ /ʒ/ found only in Russian loanwords Ž ž
З з зэ /z/ found only in Russian loanwords Z z
И и и /i/ I i
Й й ый /j, ȷ̃/ Nasalization of the glide is not indicated in the orthography J j
К к кы /k/ K k
Л л эл /l/ L l
М м эм /m/ M m
Н н эн /n/ N n
Ҥ ҥ ҥэ /ŋ/ Ng ng
Нь нь ньэ /ɲ/ Nj nj
О о о /ɔ/ O o
Ө ө ө /ø/ Ö ö
П п пэ /p/ P p
Р р эр /ɾ/ R r
С с эс /s/ S s
Һ һ һэ /h/ Ḩ ḩ
Т т тэ /t/ T t
У у у /u/ U u
Ү ү ү /y/ Ü ü
Ф ф эф /f/ found only in Russian loanwords F f
Х х хэ /x, q~χ/ H h or q
Ц ц цэ /ts/ found only in Russian loanwords Ts ts
Ч ч че /c͡ç/ Č č
Ш ш ша /ʃ/ found only in Russian loanwords Š š
Щ щ ща /ɕː/ found only in Russian loanwords Šč šč
Ъ ъ кытаанах бэлиэ /◌.j/ found only in Russian loanwords "
Ы ы ы /ɯ/ Y y
Ь ь сымнатар бэлиэ /◌ʲ/ natively in дь and нь (see above); otherwise only in Russian loanwords ’ or j
Э э э /e/ E e
Ю ю ю /ju/ found only in Russian loanwords Jú jú
Я я я /ja/ found only in Russian loanwords Já já



The typical word order can be summarized as subjectadverbobjectverb; possessorpossessed; nounadjective.


Nouns have plural and singular forms. The plural is formed with the suffix /-LAr/, which may surface as -лар (-lar), -лэр (-ler), -лөр (-lör), -лор (-lor), -тар (-tar), -тэр (-ter), -төр (-tör), -тор (-tor), -дар (-dar), -дэр (-der), -дөр (-dör), -дор (-dor), -нар (-nar), -нэр (-ner), -нөр (-nör), or -нор (-nor), depending on the preceding consonants and vowels. The plural is used only when referring to a number of things collectively, not when specifying an amount. Nouns have no gender.

Final sound basics Plural affix options Examples
Vowels, л -лар, -лэр, -лор, -лөр Кыыллар (beasts), эһэлэр (bears), оҕолор (children), бөрөлөр (wolves)
к, п, с, т, х -тар, -тэр, -тор, -төр Аттар (horses), күлүктэр (shadows), оттор (herbs), бөлөхтөр (groups)
й, р -дар, -дэр, -дор, -дөр Баайдар (rich people)*, эдэрдэр (young people)*, хотойдор (eagles), көтөрдөр (birds)
м, н, ҥ -нар, -нэр, -нор, -нөр Кыымнар (sparks), илимнэр (fishing nets), ороннор (beds), бөдөҥнөр (they're large)*


* Adjectives can also be nouns. So, for example, улахан is big (something/someone) and улаханнар is bigs (something/someones) or correctly they are big.

There are exceptions: уол (boy) — уолаттар (boys) and кыыс (girl) — кыргыттар (girls).


Personal pronouns in Yakut distinguish between first, second, and third persons and singular and plural number.

Singular Plural
1st person мин (min) биһиги (biḩigi)
2nd person эн (en) эһиги (eḩigi)
3rd person human кини (kini) кинилэр (kiniler)
non-human ол (ol) олор (olor)

Although nouns have no gender, the pronoun system distinguishes between human and non-human in the third person, using кини (kini, 'he/she') to refer to human beings and ол (ol, 'it') to refer to all other things.[9]


Question words in Yakut remain in-situ; they do not move to the front of the sentence. Sample question words include: туох (tuoq) "what", ким (kim) "who", хайдах (qajdaq) "how", хас (qas) "how much", ханна (qanna) "where", and ханнык (qannyk) "which".


Yakut (Cyrillic) Yakut (Transliteration) Turkish Azerbaijani Uzbek English Mongolian (Cyrillic)

/Mongolian (Transliteration)

аччыктааһын aččyktaaḩyn açlık aclıq ochlik hunger өлсгөлөн / ölsgölön
аччык aččyk ac och hungry өлссөн / ölssön
аат aat ad ad ot name нэр / ner
балык balyk balık balıq baliq fish загас / zagas
балыксыт balyksyt balıkçı balıqçı baliqchi fisherman загасчин / zagaschin
yy uu su su suv water ус /us
тимир timir demir dəmir temir iron төмөр /tömör
күөл küöl göl göl kŏl lake нуур /nuur
атах ataq ayak ayaq oyoq foot
мурун murun burun burun burun nose
баттах battaq saç saç soch hair үс /üs
илии ilii el əl qǒl hand
күн kün gün gün kun day, sun
муус muus buz buz muz ice мөс /mös
ыт yt it it it dog
сүрэх süreq yürek ürək yurak heart зүрх /zürx
сарсын sarsyn yarın sabah ertaga tomorrow
бүгүн bügün bugün bugün bugun today
былыт bylyt bulut bulud bulut cloud
хаар qaar kar qar qor snow
хаан qaan kan qan qon blood
эт et et ət et meat
тиис tiis diş diş tish tooth
ат at at at ot horse
таас taas taş daş tosh stone
үүт üüt süt süd sut milk сүү /süü
ынах ynaq inek inək inak/sigir cow үнээ /ünee
хара qara kara qara qora black хар / xar
сыттык syttyk yastık yastıq yostiq pillow
быһах byḩaq bıçak bıçaq pichoq knife
бытык bytyk bıyık bığ mǒylov mustache
кыс, кыһын kys, kyḩyn kış, kışın qış, qışın qish winter
туус tuus tuz duz tuz salt
тыл tyl dil dil til tongue, language хэл /xel
cаха тылa saqa tyla saha dili, sahaca saxa dili, saxaca yoqut tili, yoqutcha Yakut language Якут хэл / Yakut khel
кыыс kyys kız qız qiz girl, daughter
уол uol oğul, oğlan oğul, oğlan ŏğil son, boy
үөрэтээччи üöreteečči öğretici, öğretmen müəllim ŏqituvchi teacher
үөрэнээччи üöreneečči öğrenci,talebe şagird, tələbə ŏquvchi, talaba student
уһун uhun uzun uzun uzun long, tall
кулгаах kulgaaq kulak qulaq quloq ear
сыл syl yıl il yil year жил /jil
киһи kihi kişi insan, kişi kishi human, man хүн /hün
суол suol yol yol yŏl road, way
асчыт asčyt aşçı aşbaz oshchi, oshpaz cook
тараах taraaq tarak daraq taroq comb
орто orto orta orta ŏrta middle
күн ортото kün ortoto gün ortası günorta kun ŏrtasi midday, noon
күл kül gülmek gülmək kulmoq to laugh
өл öl ölmek ölmək ŏlmoq to die
ис is içmek içmək ichmoq to drink
бил bil bilmek bilmək bilmoq to know
көр kör görmek görmək kŏrmoq to see хар /xar
үөрэн üören öğrenmek öyrənmək ŏrganmoq to learn
үөрэт üöret öğretmek öyrətmək ŏrgatmoq to teach
ытыр ytyr ısırmak dişləmək tishlamoq to bite
хас qas kazmak qazmaq qozmoq,qazmoq to dig
тик tik dikiş dikmek, dikmek tikiş, tikmək tikmoq to sew
кэл kel gelmek gəlmək kelmoq to come
салаа salaa yalamak yalamaq yalamoq to lick
тараа taraa taramak daramaq taramoq to comb
биэр bier vermek vermək bermoq to give
бул bul bulmak tapmaq topmoq to find
диэ die demek demək demoq, aytmoq to say
киир kiir girmek girmək kirmoq to enter
иһит ihit işitmek eşitmək eshitmoq to hear
ас as açmak açmaq ochmoq to open
тут tut tutmak tutmaq tutmoq to hold
ый yj ay ay oy moon
ыйытыы yjytyy soru sual savol question
кыайыы kyajyy zafer qələbə g'alaba victory


In this table, the Yakut numbers are written in Latin transcription (see Writing system).

Old Turkic Azerbaijani Turkish Uzbek Yakut English
bir bir bir bir biir one
eki iki iki ikki ikki two
üç üç üç uch üs three
tört dörd dört tŏrt tüört four
beş beş beş besh bies five
altı altı altı olti alta six
yeti yeddi yedi yetti sette seven
sekiz səkkiz sekiz sakkiz aǧys eight
tokuz doqquz dokuz tŏqqiz toǧus nine
on on on ŏn uon ten


The first printing in Yakut was a part of a book by Nicolaas Witsen published in 1692 in Amsterdam.[10]

In 2005, Marianne Beerle-Moor, director of the Institute for Bible Translation, Russia/CIS, was awarded the Order of Civil Valour by the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for the translation of the New Testament into Yakut.[11]

Oral traditionsEdit

The Yakut have a tradition of oral epic in their language called "Olonkho", traditionally performed by skilled performers. Only a very few older performers of this Olonkho tradition are still alive. They have begun a program to teach young people to sing this in their language and revive it, though in a modified form.[12]


Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Novgorodov's alphabet 1920–1929. (Latin alphabet/IPA) зɔn barɯta beje s ltatɯgar  nna bɯra:bɯgar teŋ b lan t ry:ller. kiniler
barɯ  rk :n  jd :q, s basta:q b lan t ry:ller,  nna beje bejeleriger
tɯlga ki:riniges bɯhɯ:lara dɔʃɔrdɔhu: tɯ:nna:q b l qta:q.
Latin alphabet 1929—1939. (Yañalif) Çon вarьta вeje suoltatьgar uonna вьraaвьgar teꞑ вuolan tɵryyller. Kiniler вarь ɵrkɵn ɵjdɵɵq, suoвastaaq вuolan tɵryyller, uonna вeje вejeleriger tьlga kiiriniges вьhььlara doƣordohuu tььnnaaq вuoluoqtaaq.
Modern Cyrillic 1939—present. Дьон барыта бэйэ суолтатыгар уонна быраабыгар тэҥ буолан төрүүллэр. Кинилэр бары өркөн өйдөөх, суобастаах буолан төрүүллэр, уонна бэйэ бэйэлэригэр тылга кииринигэс быһыылара доҕордоһуу тыыннаах буолуохтаах.
English All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1], Russian census 2010
  2. ^ [2], Yakut language, Omniglot
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Sakha". Glottolog 4.3.
  4. ^ Forsyth, James (1994). A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's North Asian Colony 1581-1990. Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 9780521477710. Their language...Turkic in its vocabulary and grammar, shows the influence of both Tungus and Mongolian
  5. ^ Russian Census 2002. 6. Владение языками (кроме русского) населением отдельных национальностей по республикам, автономной области и автономным округам Российской Федерации (Knowledge of languages other than Russian by the population of republics, autonomous oblast and autonomous districts) (in Russian)
  6. ^ Ubrjatova, E. I. 1960 Opyt sravnitel'nogo izuc˙enija fonetic˙eskix osobennostej naselenija nekotoryx rajonov Jakutskoj ASSR. Moscow. 1985. Jazyk noril'skix dolgan. Novosibirsk: "Nauka" SO. In Tungusic Languages 2 (2): 1–32. Historical Aspects of Yakut (Saxa) Phonology. Gregory D. S. Anderson. University of Chicago.
  7. ^ "ROMANIZATION OF YAKUT" (PDF). August 2019.
  8. ^ Krueger, John R. (1962). Yakut Manual. Bloomington: Indiana U Press.
  9. ^ Kirişçioğlu, M. Fatih (1999). Saha (Yakut) Türkçesi Grameri. Ankara: Türk Dil Kurumu. ISBN 975-16-0587-3.
  10. ^ "Предпосылки возникновения якутской книги". Память Якутии. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
  11. ^ "People". Institute for Bible Translation, Russia/CIS. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  12. ^ Robin Harris. 2012. Sitting "under the mouth": decline and revitalization in the Skha epic tradition "Olonkho". Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia.

External linksEdit


Content in YakutEdit