Kypchak languages

Kypchak languages
Northwestern Turkic
Ethnicity: Kypchaks
Map-Kypchak Language World.png

 Kypchak–Bolgar   Kypchak–Cuman   Kazakh–Nogay 

Linguistic classification: Turkic
  • Kypchak

The Kypchak languages (also known as the Kipchak, Qypchaq, or Northwestern Turkic languages), are a major branch of the Turkic language family spoken by more than 12 million people in an area spanning from Lithuania to China.


Linguistic features

The Kypchak languages share a number of features that have led linguists to classify them together. Some of these features are shared with other Turkic languages; others are unique to the Kypchak language family.

Shared features

  • Change of Proto-Turkic *d to /j/ (e.g. *hadaq > ajaq "foot")
  • Loss of initial *h sound (preserved only in Khalaj. See above example.)

Unique features

  • Extensive labial vowel harmony (e.g. olor vs. olar "them")[citation needed]
  • Frequent fortition (in the form of assibilation) of initial */j/ (e.g. *jetti > ʒetti "seven")
  • Diphthongs from syllable-final */ɡ/ and */b/ (e.g. *taɡ > taw "mountain", *sub > suw)


The Kypchak languages may be broken down into three groups, based on geography and shared features:

The Uzbek language's Kypchak dialect contains the remainder of Kypchak languages that were once spoken in Uzbekistan, and there is a dialect continuum between Uzbek and Kazakh.

The language of the Mamluks in Egypt appears to have been a Kypchak language, probably one belonging to the Kazakh–Nogay group.[citation needed]

See also


  • Johanson, Lars and Csató, Éva Ágnes (1998). The Turkic Languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08200-5. 
  • Menges, Karl H. (1995). The Turkic Languages and Peoples. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. ISBN 3-447-03533-1. 

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