Karachay-Balkar Language
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Karachay-Balkar Language

Native toRussia
RegionKabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, Turkey
EthnicityKarachays, Balkars
Native speakers
310,000 (2010 census)[1]
  • Karachay
  • Balkar
Latin in diaspora
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Koran Karachay-Balkar-language version

Karachay-Balkar (-? , Qaraçay-Malqar til), or Mountain Turkic,[2][3] ( , Tawlu til), is a Turkic language spoken by the Karachays and Balkars in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia, European Russia, as well as by an immigrant population in Afyonkarahisar Province, Turkey. It is divided into two dialects: Karachay-Baksan-Chegem, which pronounces two phonemes as /t?/ and /d?/ and Malkar, which pronounces the corresponding phonemes as /ts/ and /z/. The modern Karachay-Balkar written language is based on the Karachay-Baksan-Chegem dialect. The language is closely related to Kumyk.[4]


Historically, the Arabic alphabet had been used by first writers until 1924. Handwritten manuscripts of the Balkar poet Kazim Mechiev and other examples of literature have preserved to this day. First printed books in Karachay-Balkar language were published In the beginning of 20th century.

After the October Revolution as part of a state campaign of Latinisation Karachay and Balkar educators developed a new alphabet based on Latin letters. In 1930s, the official Soviet policy was revised and the process of Cyrillization the languages of USSR peoples was started. In 1937-38 the new alphabet based on Cyrillic letters was officially adopted.


Modern Karachay-Balkar Cyrillic alphabet:

? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?

? ?

? ?
? ?
/ø, jo/
? ?**
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?

? ?
? ?
? ?

? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
/u, w/
? ?*
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
? ?
/y, ju/
? ?
* Not found in native vocabulary
** Found in native vocabulary when only part of a digraph, or else it is not found natively

Karachay-Balkar Latin alphabet:

A a B ? C c Ç ç D d E e F f G g
? ? I i J j K k Q q L l M m N n
N? n? O o ? ? P p R r S s ? ? T t
? ? U u V v Y y X x Z z ? ?


Front Back
Close i y ? u
Mid e ø o
Open ?
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Plosive p b t d k ? (q) (?)
Fricative [f] s z ? x (?) h
Affricate [ts] t? d?
Nasal m n ?
Liquid l r
Approximant w j

Parentheses indicate allophones.




Case Suffix
Accusative -NI
Genitive -NI
Dative -GA
Locative -DA
Ablative -DA?

Possessive suffixes

1st person 2nd person 3rd person
Singular -I? -I -(s)I(n)
Plural -I?I? -I?I? -(s)I(n)

Language example

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Karachay-Balkar:

In Cyrillic Transliteration Translation
? ? ? . ? ? - . Bütew adamla erkin bolub emda s?ylar? bla haqlar? teñ bolub tuwad?la. Ala?a aq?l bla nam?s berilgendi emda bir-birlerine qarna?l?q halda qarar?a kerekdile. 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.


Numeral Karachay-Balkar Kumyk Nogay
0 ? ? ?
4 ? ?
6 ? ? ?
7 ? ?


Loanwords from Ossetian, Kabardian, Arabic, and Persian are fairly numerous.[4]

In popular culture

Russian filmmaker Andrei Proshkin used Karachay-Balkar for The Horde (2012 film), believing that it might be closest language to original Kipchak language which was spoken during the Golden Horde.[6]


  • Chodiyor Doniyorov and Saodat Doniyorova. Parlons Karatchay-Balkar. Paris: Harmattan, 2005. ISBN 2-7475-9577-3.
  • Steve Seegmiller (1996) Karachay (LINCOM)


  1. ^ Row 102 in ? 6: ? ? [Appendix 6: Population of the Russian Federation by languages used] (XLS) (in Russian). ? (Federal State Statistics Service).
  2. ^ Rudolf Loewenthal (2011). The Turkic Languages and Literatures of Central Asia: A Bibliography. p. 83.
  3. ^ (in Russian). 2. (? ?). 1997. p. 526.
  4. ^ a b Campbell, George L.; King, Gareth (2013). Compendium of the World Languages. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-1362-5846-6. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ a b Seegmiller, Steve. Phonological and Orthographical Information in Dictionaries: The Case of Pröhle's Karachay Glossary and its Successors.
  6. ^ " ? ? " (in Russian). 14 September 2010.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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