- Tatar language
nativename=татарча / Tatarça / تاتارچا
Russia, other former Soviet Union
speakers= 8 million
fam1=Altaic [" [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_family.asp?subid=90009] Ethnologue"] (controversial)
The Tatar language ("Tatar tele", "Tatarça", "Татар теле", "Татарча") is a Turkic
languagespoken by the Tatars.
Tatar is spoken in
Russia, Central Asia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Finlandand Turkey.
Tatar is also native for 400,000
Bashkirs, especially those living in Ufa, and some thousands of Maris. Mordva's Qarataygroup also speak Tatar. 94% of ethnic Tatar and 7% of the people of other ethnicities living in Tatarstan claimed knowledge of Tatar language during the 2002 census. [Russian Census 2002. [http://www.perepis2002.ru/ct/doc/TOM_04_06.xls 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")ru icon]
Tatar is the official language of the
Republic of Tatarstan. The official scriptof Tatar language is based on the Cyrillic alphabetwith some additional letters not used in Slavic languages. Sometimes other scripts are used, mostly Latin and Arabic. All official sources in Tatarstan use Cyrillic at their web-sites and publishing. In other cases, where Tatar has no official status, the use of a specific alphabet depends on the preference of the author. Guides in Tatarstan are published in two alphabets.
The Tatar language was made a "de facto" official language in Russia in 1917 (for the first time since 1552, when the
Kazan Khanatewas annexed by Russia), but only in the Tatar–Bashkir Soviet Socialist Republic. Tatar is also considered the official language in Idel-Ural State.
One should note, however, that
Bolshevist Russiadid not recognize "official languages" as such; however, there were a number of languages that could be used in trial in some republics. In the Sovietepoch, Tatar was such a language in Bashkortostan, Mari Eland other regions of the Russian SFSR(the Soviet Republic comprised of the area of modern-day Russia).
The usage of Tatar declined from the 1930s onwards. In the 1980s it was not studied in city schools, not even by Tatar pupils. Although the language was used in rural schools, Tatar-speaking pupils had little chance to enter university, because all higher education was in Russian.
According to some, Tatar is no longer an endangered language, although it is still a low prestige language. 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 Tatar
There are 3 main dialects of Tatar: Western (Mişär or Mishar), Middle (
Tatarstan's most popular language), and Eastern (Siberian). All of these dialects also have subdivisions.
In the Western (Mişär) dialect Ç is pronounced as IPA| [ʧ] (southern or lambir mishars) and as IPA| [ʦ] (northern mishars or nizhgars). C is pronounced as IPA| [ʤ] . There are no differences between "v" and "w", "q" and "k", "g" and "ğ" in Mişär dialect. So, modern Tatar Cyrillic alphabet represent Mishar pronunciation WYSIWYS, but for the main speakers of the language Cyrillic has difficult rules to pronounce right. (Cyrillic Tatar doesn't have special letters for "q", "ğ" and "w")
This is the dialect spoken by the Tatar minority of
In the Minzälä subdialect of the Middle Dialect "z" is pronounced as IPA| [ð] , as opposed to other dialects where it is silent.
In bilingual city people often pronounce "x" instead of "h", "k" instead of "q", "g" instead of "ğ" , "v" instead of "w" - or making the distinction is less common than it used to be. This could be viewed as an influence of the Russian language. Another theory is that these cities were places where both the Western and Middle dialects were used.
The influence of Russian language 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.
There was a distinct
cryptolectthe Gäp, spoken predominantly in Kazan, but now it is extinct or near the extinction.
Siberian Tatars pronounce [ts] instead of ç, [j] instead of c and sometimes [p] and [t] instead of "b" and "d". There are also grammatical differences within the dialect, scattered across Western Siberia.
Tatar in Russia
There are some 5,300,000 Tatar speakers in Russia . Other speakers are Bashkirs (400,000), Russians (130,000), Chuvashs (70,000), Maris (42,000), Udmurts and Mordvins. There are local Tatar language speakers in Tatarstan, this number includes
Azeri, Armenian, and Jewish communities.
Tatar has 16 vowel symbols representing a variable number of sounds. As a Turkic language, Tatar exhibits
vowel harmony, with some of the vowels considered front and others back.
Front vowels: ä IPA| [æ~ə] , â IPA| [æ] , e IPA| [e] , é IPA| [ɛ] , i IPA| [i] , ó IPA| [ø] , ö IPA| [œ] , ü IPA| [y]
Back vowels: IPA|a [ɑ~ʌ] , á IPA| [ɑ] , í IPA| [ɯɪ] , ı IPA| [ɯ~ɨ:] , o IPA| [o~o:] , u–ú IPA| [u]
The usage of "í, â, á, ó, ú, é" is not universal, and sometimes "ıy", "a", "ya", "yo", "yu" and "e" are used instead.
Some of them are found only in Slavic
loanwords, such as é, ó, long o, long ı. Acute in "á, ó, ú" denotes palatalisation, but sometimes a palatalisated consonant is marked by following "y" before the vowel. This is only a problem for Russian loanwords.
The commonly pronounced 10 vowels are native Tatar vowels: a–ä, u–ü, í–i, o–ö, ı–e. The last two pairs are considered to be short vowels. They also could mean a long vowels, but only in loanwords. IPA| [ə] and IPA| [ʌ] are not considered to be independent vowels. Loaned vowels are considered to be back vowels.
Most of these phonemes are common to or have equivalents in all Turkic languages.
The phonemes IPA|/f/, IPA|/x/ and IPA|/ʒ/ were borrowed from Arabic and European languages in the Middle Ages, while /v/ was borrowed in the beginning of 20th century. Differentiation between /h/ and /x/ appeared in the 10th century with the appearance of the word "
Allah" and the strongest influence of Arabic and Persian languages. During the atheistic Sovietperiod, the occurrence of IPA|/h/ greatly reduced.
Pronunciation of loanwords
While the consonants IPA| [ʒ] , IPA| [f] and IPA| [v] are not native to Tatar, they are well established. However, Tatars usually substitute fricatives for affricates, for example IPA| [ʃʲ] for IPA| [ʧ] , IPA| [ʒ] or IPA| [ʒʲ] for IPA| [ʤ] and IPA| [s] for IPA| [ʦ] . Nevertheless, literary traditions recommend pronunciation of affricates in loanwords.
Palatalisationis not common in the Tatar language. As a result, Tatar speakers have no problem using the Arabic and Jaŋalifscripts, neither of which has an accepted method for indicating palatisation.
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 were spelled as they were in the Russian language. 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)
phonotacticsdictate 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:
qırğıç /qĭrğıç/ Vowels may also be elided:
qara urman /qar'urman/
kilä ide /kilä'yde/
turı uram /tur'uram/
bula almím /bul'almím/
consonant clusters longer than two phones, ı or e (whichever is dictated by vowel harmony) is inserted into speech as an epenthetic vowel.
tekst → /tekest/
bank → /banık/ (not /bañk/)
Final devoicingis also frequent:
tabíb (doctor) → [tabíp]
Like other Turkic languages, Tatar is an
* 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)
Tatar has been written in a number of different alphabets.
Writing was adopted from the
Bolgar language, which used the Orkhon script, before the 920s. Later, the Arabic alphabetwas also used, as well as the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.
Before 1928 Tatar was written with a variant of the Arabic alphabet (
Iske imla...- 1920; Yanga imla1920-1928).
Soviet UnionTatar was written with a Latin orthography called Jaŋalif.
Tatarstan(a republic of Russia where Tatar is most commonly used) and all other parts of Russiaa Cyrillic alphabetis used to write Tatar; also in Kazakhstan.
Latin alphabet-based system has been used mostly in Tatarstansince 2000 and generally on the Internet, although this has been less common more recently due to the Russian law that all languages of Russia must be written in Cyrillic. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3718174.stm BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia reconsiders Cyrillic law ] ]
Tatar's ancestors are the extinct Bolgar and
Kipchaklanguages. Crimean Tatar is not closely related.
The literary Tatar language is based on Kazan Tatar's Middle (Tatarstan) dialect and the
Old Tatar language(İske Tatar Tele). Both are members of the Kypchak (or Northwestern) group of Turkic languages, although they are also partly derived from the ancient Volga Bolgar language.
The Tatar language strongly influenced most of the Caucasian, Slavic and
Finno-Ugric languagesin the Volga Riverarea.
*äye – yes
*yuq – no
*isänme(sez)/sawmı(sız) – hello
*sälâm – hi
*saw bul(ığız)/xuş(ığız) – bye bye
*zínhar öçen – please
*min – I
*sin – you
*ul – he / she / it
*bez – we
*sez – you
*alar – they
*millät – nation
*İngliz(çä) – English
*Bukharaev, R., & Matthews, D. J. (2000). "Historical anthology of Kazan Tatar verse: voices of eternity". Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 0700710779
*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.
* [http://www.ethnologue.org/show_language.asp?code=TTR Tatar language on Ethnologue]
* en icon
* tt icon
* en icon
* tt icon
* [http://www.tatar.net/ Tatar.Net]
* [http://www.kitaphane.ru/ website of the National Library of the Republic of Tatarstan]
* [http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tatar.htm Information about Tatar writing]
* [http://tatar.org.ru/course/view.php?id=18 tatar.org.ru]
* [http://tugan-tel.noka.ru/forum/ Tatar tele turında säxifä (Tatar dili hakkinda sahife)]
* [http://www.tatar.com.ru Tatar.com.ru: Tatar language course] ru icon
* [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tatar-l/ Tatar mailing list] en icon
* [http://tugan-tel.noka.ru/forum/ Tatar forum] tt icon
* IRC channel [irc://irc.freenode.net/tatar #tatar] on the
History and literature
* [http://shigriyat.ru/ Tatar poetry] tt icon
* [http://www.alabuga.ru/City/History/TatarMyths/ Tatar myths] , including the story of
* [http://kitapxane.at.tt/?en Tatar library]
* [http://kitap.net.ru/ Tatar Electronic Library] ru icon tt icon
* [http://peoples.org.ru/eng_tatar.html Links to other Tatar language resources]
* [http://www.turkicworld.org/ Tatars' history in the Turkic world perspective] (Volga Bulgars links are under the "History" and "Genetics" tabs)
* [http://tugan-tel.at.tt/suezlek/tt-ru-en Tatar-Russian-English dictionary]
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