In Russian
Contents Türkic languages
Besenyos, Ogur and Oguz   Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline

The internal classification of the Turkic languages
based on the phonological transitions in (1-10) numbers and other corroborative research

Turkic Numbers (1-10), and the Internal Classification of Turkic Languages

Based on Mark Rosenfelder's outstanding database with some corrections and comments; colors indicate proximity (red is "closer to proto-form", green (brown) and blue are "more innovative"). Shows how complex language systems can be sorted out based solely on the phonological information from a limited number of basic lexemes (numbers). Also, a bird's-eye view on the Turkic languages.

Links - this posting is a mirror


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Proto-Turkic *pi:re *(S)ki *iS *twrt *pileS *alte *Sehti *sakhR *tokhR *on
(0) Bulgar-Khazar (Oghur)
A highly deviant, archaic group apparently emerging from the rise of the Volgar Bulgarian Empire (7-13th cent.) along the Volga River,
and the Khazar Empire (7-9th cent) near the Caspian Sea, the latter being famous for its Judaism. The Khazar and Bulgar languages are hardly attested in historical sources.
Bulgar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Chuvash pêrre ik vis' tâvat pilêk ult s'ich, sizhe sakâr tâkhâr vun
Modern Chuvash (1,3 million speakers) is still spoken in the Chuvash Republic (with the capital city of Cheboksary), and is believed to be the direct descendent of Volgar Bulgar. Can also be seen as the most significant Turkic language for the puposes of historical comparison.


(1) Yakut (Sakha)
A group resulting from the expansion to North East Siberia, beyond Lake Baikal (around 13th cent.?) and along the Lena River.
Hardly subject to any external influence and thus preserving many important archaic features.

Yakut (Sakha) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Yakut (Sakha) biir ikki üs tüört bies alta sette aGIs toGus uon
Spoken along the Lena River in the Sakha Republic. Historically, the northern Yakuts were largely hunters, fishermen and reindeer herders, while the southern Yakuts raised cattle and horses. Though looking large on the map, the region is hardly populated (c. 460 000 speakers), and most life is concentrated along the Lena.
Dolgan biir ikki üs tüört bies alta hette agis togus uon
Dolgan is the most northern offshoot of Sakha, spoken near Taymyr Peninsula and other scarcely populated regions of northern Russia.


(2) Altaic Turkic
A group that never wandered too far from the Altai Mountains, a probable homeland to the Turkic languages.

Khakas 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Khakas pir iki üs tört pes alti cheti segis toghis on
Khakas is spoken in the Republic of Khakassia (near the Altai) with the administrative center of Abakan; c. 60.000 speakers, most of them bilingual in Russian. Chulym (40-100 speakers) and Shor (10.000) are closely related to Khakas.
Chulym pir' igi üts tört pesh alti jedi segis toghus on
Shor pir iygi, igi üsh tört pesh alti chetti segis togus on
Karagas + birä ihi üis, tört beis, altè t~edè sehes tohos on
Tofalar birä ìhi üysh tört beish àlti chedi sèhes tòhis on
Karagas is sometimes thought to be extinct in the 19th century (Mator), yet Tofalar seems to be its continuation. Only 380 speakers (2002), reindeer and hunting before 1930s.
Tuvan 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Tuvan bir iyi üsh dört besh aldi chedi ses tos on
Tuvan is spoken in the Tuva Republic (in the Altai), with the capital city of Kyzyl, 200.000 speakers. It was an independent state between 1920 and 1944, when finally annexed by the USSR under obscure circumstances. Note such contractions as sehes > ses, ihi > ii, which seem to position Tuvan as an offspring of the early Karagas subgroup.
Fu-yü Gïrgïs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fu-yü Gïrgïs bïr igi ush durt bish altï chiti sigis dog^us on
A very rare, and often omitted but strategically important Turkic language in northeast China near Harbin spoken by about 700-400 passive speakers.
According to legends, left the Altai, travelled through the Khingan, and settled in China 300 years ago, which seems to be consistent with the phonology.

(3) Yughur
A small but strategic group that apparently moved from Tuva and Mongolia into western China (Sunan Yugur Autonomous County near Zhangye city) circa 650-850 AD.
This location could easily have
been reached by travelling along the Chinese part of the Silk Road.
The exact classification is unclear (often included into other "Altaic Turkic"), but phonological changes are drastic and peculiar, which arguably distinguishes Yughur as a special Turkic subgroup.
About 4500 speakers remaining, The Oilyg are nomadic cattle breeders
in the steppes, the Taglyg are in the mountains.
The Shera-Yugur are the Monglized Yugurs, and the Yughu are the Chinized ones.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Western Yughur
ush diort, dürt
bes ahldy yidy, yeti
saghys dohghys on
Yellow Uighur pêr

"Yellow Uighur" is not mentioned in other sources as a separate language, and its numbers rather correspond to what is known as Saryg (Yellow)-Yughur;
The inconsistencies could be due to the different transcriptions of the same language/dialect or two different dialects of the same language. (?)


(4) West (Mainstream) Turkic
A large group of languages that apparently formed due to the spread of the Gokturk Empire in Mongolia during the 6th-8th centuries.
This group often constitutes what is known to be mainstream, or most politically important Turkic languages with a number of typical innovations.
West (Mainstream) Turkic (Eastern)
Orkhon-Yenisei 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Old Turkic+
bir iki üch tört besh altï yeti säkiz toquz on
Carved 8th century inscriptions from western Mongolia
Poorly classified. According to legends, moved into western China (near the Yughur group) in the 14th century from Samarqand.
Sometimes thought to be Oguz, but considerable phonological changes clearly contradict this grouping.
Salar (West China) byr,
pyr, pir
igi, ishky uj diot besh alty yidy, yitti sekis doqus on


West (Mainstream) Turkic (Western)

Kyrghyz-Kazakh-Altay (South Kipchak)
This subgroup preserves the word-initial alveolar *zh(*dj) where other mainstream languages have *y (*j). Normally, classified as South Kipchak
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Kyrghyz bir eki üch tört besh alty zheti segiz tOguz on
Altay (Oyrat) bir eki üch tört besh altI yeti segis togus on
Altay (Oyrat) seems to be split into several important dialects, its classification is ambigous
Kazakh bir yeki ush tort bes alti zhetti segiz toghiz on
Karakalpak bir eki üsh tört bes alti zheti segiz toghiz on
Karakalpak is basically, a dialect of Kazakh historically located near the southern coast of the Aral Sea

Karluk-Uyghur (Karakhanid)
Connected to the emergence of the Karakanid Khanate (845--1212) which was later transformed into the Chagatay Khanate (c. 1230-1700) during the invasion of Mongols (Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan). Located near the Takla Makan Desert and Tian Shan Mountains.

Chagatay+ (Chgatai Khanate
a 15th-19th cent. koine)
bir iki üch tört besh altï yeti sekiz toquz on
Originally, the language of the Chagatai Khanate, a widely used Central Asian koine during the 15th-19th century.
Uyghur bir ikki üch tört bæsh altæ yættæ sækkiz toqquz on
A language of several dialects located at the edges of the Taklamakan Desert (now East China)
Uzbek bir ikki uch to'rt besh olti yetti sakkiz to'kkiz o'n
Spoken in southern Uzbekistan (including such important historical cities as Samarqand, Bukhara, Tashkent), 24.7 million speakers.
Strong Arabic and Persian influence. Often seen as a direct descendent of Chagatay.
Khalaj bi: äkki, æ ü:ch, üsh tö:rt be:sh,
alta, al.ta ye:tti, yætti säkkiz
Khalaj is a poorly classified language in eastern Iran, which has long vowels; 42 000 sperakers.
Previously, thought to be Oguz, but was proven not to be by Doerfer, although his own classification is far too exaggerated, as well.
Herein, classified as one of the early offshoots of the Karakhanid migration , which is supported by the sonorization pattern and the presence of intervocalic -D- (as in "aDaq") in the Kharakhanid sources..
Main Kipchak (Tatar)
The large spread of this subgroup seems to be connected with the Tatar-Mongol invasion of eastern Europe and western Sibera during the 13th century (or earlier?).
Could be mnemonically renamed as "Tatar" subgroup. The group seems to be closely connected to South Kipchak, and it might have formed from their spread to the west.
Tatar (Russia) ber ike öch dürt bish alti yide, zhide sigez tugiz un
Not one, but many dialects or closely related languages scattered all over eastern Europe and western Siberia.The most widely spoken language in Russia, outside R. and Ukrainian.
The initial *S- is preserved before i-, (hence zhir "earth", zhil "wind"), but changed to y- before back or low vowels (yafraq "leaf", yul "road", yïlan "snake", yörek "heart")
Karachay-Balkar (N.Caucasus) eki yuch tyort besh alti zheti segiz tOguz on
Kabardino-Balkaria Republic in North Caucasus consists of two ethnic groups, one predominantly of Kabardin (speakers of a North-West Caucasian language) and the other predominantly Balkars (speakers of a Turkic language). Karachay-Balkar consistently exhibits initial *S- >zh- before all vowels.
Bashkir (Russia) ber ike øs doert bish altI yete higedh tughIdh un
The highly deviant Bashkir phonology is normally explained by absorbtion of a Finno-Ugric substrate.
Baraba (Central Russia) bir iki üts tört päsh altti yädi säkiz toGiz on
Karaim (Lithuania) bir eki its dyert bes alti yedi segiz tOguz on
(N. Caucasus)
bir eki üch dyert besh alti yetti segiz tOguz on
Nogai (Caspian Sea) bir eki üsh dört bes alti yeti segiz togiz on
Crimean Tatar
bir eki üch; us, dürt, tört bís, alti yedi sigiz tohuz on
Crimean Khanate (1441-1783) was a state in Crimea formed by the Kipchaks during the 13-14th century invasion. Crimean Tatars area also famous for being persecuted by Stalin for being Nazi collaborators. Only northern and central Crimean dialects can be seen as Crimean Tatar proper, not to be confused with southern Crimean Turkish.
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The Oguz languages spread into Europe from southern Turkmenistan in the 9th century causing the Crusades.
Still very close to each other or even mutually intelligible for the most part.
Eastern 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Turkmen bir iki uch dört besh alti yedi sekiz dokuz on
Western ("Ottoman Oguz")
Result from the relatively recent spread of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th-19th century (mutually intelligible dialects or closely related languages)
Crimean Turkish (South Crimean Tatar dialect)
bir eki uch' dyort besh alti yedi sekiz dok`uz on
An extensive Oguz migration to the Crimean Khanate led to the formation of this southern dialect of Crimean Tartar.
(Southern Iran)
bir ikki üch dört bä'sh   on
Azerbaijani bir iki üç dörd bes, altI yeddi sekkiz doqquz on
Turkish bir iki üç dört bes, alti yedi sekiz dokuz on
Gagauz (Moldova) bir iki üch dört besh alti yedi sekiz dokuz on

Based on Mark Rosenfelder's outstanding database

In Russian
Contents Türkic languages
Besenyos, Ogur and Oguz   Alan Dateline
Avar Dateline
Besenyo Dateline
Bulgar Dateline
Huns Dateline
Karluk Dateline
Kimak Dateline
Kipchak Dateline
Khazar Dateline
Kyrgyz Dateline
Sabir Dateline