From Glottopedia
(Redirected from Kirghiz)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Autoglottonym: кыргыз тили
Pronunciation: []
Ethnologue name: Kyrgyz
OLAC name: Kirghiz
WALS name: Kirghiz
Location point: 42dN 75dE
Family: Altaic
Genus: Northern Turkic
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Official in: Kyrgyzstan
Speakers: >1,500,000
Writing system: Cyrillic
ISO 639-2: kir
ISO 639-3: kir
WALS: kgz

[this article is preliminary and needs to be corrected; it serves primarily illustrative purposes]


Although the spelling Kirgiz is now generally preferred by Turkic linguists,[1] Kirghiz is is also sometimes used to indicate the fricative pronunciation of the onset of the second syllable.

Other alternative names are

  • Kyrgyz
  • Kara-Kirgiz

Note that the name Western Kirgiz has also been applied to Kazakh.


Kirgiz is spoken mostly in Kyrgyzstan, but also in neighboring areas of Russia, Tajikistan and China.


According to the latest official figures, there are 1,452,354 million speakers in Kyrgyzstan,[2] and 233,321 speakers in Russia. No official figures are available for Tajikistan and China, but Comrie[3] gives an estimate of 80,000 for China.




The reasons for classifying Kirghiz as Northern Turkic are given by Baskakov.[4]

Alternative Classifications

Kirgiz has alternatively been classified as belonging to the Aralo-Caspian group of Western Turkic.[5] The main reason for this is the similarities in the voice system.


Wikipedia article

Works on the language

  • Hebert, Raymond J., and Nicholas Poppe. 1963. Kirghiz Manual. Indiana University Publications, Uralic and Altaic Series 33. Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • Junusaliev, B.M. 1966. Kirgizskij Jazyk. In V.V. Vinogradov, ed., Jazyki Narodov SSSR, Volume 2: Tjurkskie Jazyki, pp. 482-504. Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka.
  • Kirchner, Mark. 1998b. Kirgiz. In Lars Johanson and Éva Á. Csató, eds., The Turkic languages, pp. 344-356. London: Routledge.
  • Oruzbaeva, B.O. 1997. Kirgizskij jazyk. In E.R. Tenishev, ed., Jazyki mira: Tjurkskie jazyki, pp. 286-298. Moscow: Indrik.


  1. see Kirchner 1998:542
  2. Berdullaev 2001
  3. Comrie 1989:54
  4. Bashakov 1956:??
  5. see Dybo 2001

Other languages