Bashkir language

Bashkir (/ˈbɑːʃkɪər, ˈbæʃ-/; Bashkir: Башҡортса‎, Башҡорт теле, [bɑʃˈqort tɘˈlɘ] (About this soundlisten)) is a Turkic language belonging to the Kipchak branch. It is co-official with Russian in Bashkortostan. It is spoken by approximately 1.4 million native speakers in Russia. It has three dialect groups: Southern, Eastern and Northwestern.

Башҡортса (Başķortsa)‎, Башҡорт теле (Başķort tele)
Pronunciation[bɑʃˈqort tɘˈlɘ] (About this soundlisten)
Native toRussia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Estonia and other neighboring post-Soviet states, and Bashkir diaspora[1]
Native speakers
1.4 million (2010 census)[2]
Early form
Cyrillic (Bashkir alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byInstitute of history, language and literature of the Ufa Federal research center the RAS
Language codes
ISO 639-1ba
ISO 639-2bak
ISO 639-3bak
Bashkir language in the Russian Empire (1897).svg
Geographic distribution of Bashkir language in the Russian Empire according to 1897 census
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.


Bashkirs in Russia by administrative districts (raions) in 2010

Speakers of Bashkir mostly live in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan. Many speakers also live in Tatarstan, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk and Kurgan Oblasts and other regions of Russia. Minor Bashkir groups also live in Kazakhstan and other countries.


Bashkir together with Tatar belongs to the Bulgaric (Russian: кыпчакско-булгарская) subgroups of the Kipchak languages. They both share the same vocalism and the vowel shifts (see below) that make both the languages stand apart from most other Kipchak and Oghuz Turkic languages.

However, Bashkir differs from Tatar in several important ways:

  • Bashkir has dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ in the place of Tatar (and other Turkic) /s/ and /z/. Bashkir /θ/ and /ð/, however, cannot begin a word (there are exceptions: ҙур zur 'big', and the particle/conjunction ҙа/ҙә źa/źä). The only other Turkic language with a similar feature is Turkmen. However, in Bashkir /θ/ and /ð/ are two independent phonemes, distinct from /s/ and /z/, whereas in Turkmen [θ] and [ð] are the two main realizations of the common Turkic /s/ and /z/. In other words, there are no /s/ and /z/ phonemes in Turkmen, unlike Bashkir which has both /s/ and /z/ and /θ/ and /ð/.
  • The word-initial and morpheme-initial /s/ is turned into /h/. An example of both features can be Tatar сүз süz [syz] and Bashkir һүҙ hüź [hyθ], both meaning "word".
  • Common Turkic // (Tatar /ɕ/) is turned into Bashkir /s/, e.g., Turkish ağaç [aˈatʃ], Tatar агач ağaç [ɑˈʁɑɕ] and Bashkir ағас ağas [ɑˈʁɑs], all meaning "tree".
  • The word-initial /ʑ/ in Tatar always corresponds to /j/ in Standard Bashkir, e.g., Tatar җылы cılı [ʑɤˈlɤ] and Bashkir йылы yılı [jɤˈlɤ], both meaning "warm". However, the eastern and northern dialects of Bashkir have the /j/ > /ʑ~ʒ/ shift.

The Bashkir orthography is more explicit. /q/ and /ʁ/ are written with their own letters Ҡ ҡ and Ғ ғ, whereas in Tatar they are treated as positional allophones of /k/ and /ɡ/, written К к and Г г.

Labial vowel harmony in Bashkir is written explicitly, e.g. Tatar тормышым tormışım and Bashkir тормошом tormoşom, both pronounced [tormoˈʃom], meaning "my life".


Trilingual sign in Ufa Airport in Bashkir, Russian and English

After the adoption of Islam, which began in the 10th century and lasted for several centuries, the Bashkirs began to use Turki as a written language. Turki was written in a variant of the Arabic script.

In 1923, a writing system based on the Arabic script was specifically created for the Bashkir language. At the same time, the Bashkir literary language was created, moving away from the older written Turkic influences. At first, it used a modified Arabic alphabet. In 1930 it was replaced with the Unified Turkic Latin Alphabet, which was in turn replaced with an adapted Cyrillic alphabet in 1939.

The modern alphabet used by Bashkir is based on the Russian alphabet, with the addition of the following letters: Ә ә /æ/, Ө ө /ø/, Ү ү [y], Ғ ғ /ʁ/, Ҡ ҡ /q/, Ң ң /ŋ/, Ҙ ҙ /ð/, Ҫ ҫ /θ/, Һ һ /h/.

А а Б б В в Г г Ғ ғ Д д Ҙ ҙ Е е Ё ё
Ж ж З з И и Й й К к Ҡ ҡ Л л М м Н н
Ң ң О о Ө ө П п Р р С с Ҫ ҫ Т т У у
Ү ү Ф ф Х х Һ һ Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ
Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ә ә Ю ю Я я
Letters and symbols of the Bashkir Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic version
Cyrillic version
Pronunciation Notes
А а [ɑ], [a]
Б б [b]
В в [v], [w]
Ғ ғ [ɣ]
Д д [d]
Ҙ ҙ [ð]
Е е [jɪ̞], [ɪ̞], [je], [e]
Ё ё [jo]
Ж ж [ʒ]
З з [z]
И и [i]
Й й [j]
К к [k]
Ҡ ҡ [q]
Л л [l]
М м [m]
Н н [n]
Ң ң [ŋ]
О о [ʊ̞], [o]
Ө ө [ø]
П п [p]
Р р [r]
С с [s]
Ҫ ҫ [θ]
Т т [t]
У у [u], [w]
Ү ү [y], [w]
Ф ф [f]
Х х [χ]
Һ һ [h]
Ц ц [ts]
Ч ч [tɕ]
Ш ш [ʂ]
Щ щ [ɕɕ]
Ъ ъ [-]
Ы ы [ɯ], [ɨ]
Ь ь [ʲ]
Э э [ɪ̞], [e]
Ә ә [æ]
Ю ю [ju]
Я я [jɑ], [ja]



Bashkir has nine native vowels, and three or four loaned vowels (mainly in Russian loanwords).[3]

Phonetically, the native vowels are approximately thus (with the Cyrillic letters and the usual Latin romanization in angle brackets; R+ means rounded):

Front Back
Spread Rounded Spread Rounded
Close и i
ү ü
у u
Mid э, е e
ө ö
ы ı
о o
Open ә ä
а a

The two mid unrounded vowels are always short, in an unstressed position they are frequently elided, as in кеше keşe [kĕˈʃĕ] > [kʃĕ] 'person', or ҡышы qışı [qɤ̆ˈʃɤ̆] > [qʃɤ̆] '(his) winter'.[3] Low back /ɑ/ is rounded [ɒ] in the first syllable and after [ɒ], but not in the last, as in бала bala [bɒˈlɑ] 'child', балаларға balalarğa [bɒlɒlɒrˈʁɑ] 'to children'.[3] In Russian loans there are also [ɨ], [ɛ], [ɔ] and [ä], written the same as the native vowels: ы, е/э, о, а respectively.[3] The mid vowels may be transcribed as lowered near-high [ɪ̞, ʏ̞, ɯ̞, ʊ̞].

Historical shiftsEdit

Historically, the Old Turkic mid vowels have raised from mid to high, whereas the Old Turkic high vowels have become the Bashkir reduced mid series. (The same shifts have also happened in Tatar.)[4]

Vowel Old Turkic Turkish Azerbaijani Kazakh Tatar Bashkir Gloss
*e *et et ət et it it 'meat'
*söz söz söz söz süz hüź [hyð] 'word'
*o *sol sol sol sol sul hul 'left'
*i *it it it it et et 'dog'
*qïz kız qız qız qëz [qɤ̆z] qëź [qɤ̆θ] 'girl'
*u *qum kum qum qum qom qom 'sand'
*kül kül kül kül köl köl 'ash'


The consonants of Bashkir[3]
Labial Labio-
Dental Post-
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasals м m
н n
ң ñ
Plosives Voiceless п p
т t
к k
к k
ҡ q
Voiced б b
д d
г g
г g
Affricates Voiceless ц ts
ч ç
Fricatives Voiceless ф f
ҫ ś
х x
һ h
Voiced в v
ҙ ź
ғ ğ
Sibilants Voiceless с s
ш ş
Voiced з z
ж j
Trill р r
Approximants у/ү/в w
л l
й y
^* The phonemes /f/, /v/, /ts/, //, /k/, /ɡ/, /ʔ/ are found only in loanwords except that /ʔ/ also occurs in a few native onomatopoeic words.
  • /θ, ð/ are dental [θ, ð], and /r/ is apical alveolar []. The exact place of articulation of the other dental/alveolar consonants is unclear.


A member of the Turkic language family, Bashkir is an agglutinative, SOV language.[3][5] A large part of the Bashkir vocabulary has Turkic roots; and there are many loan words in Bashkir from Russian, Arabic and Persian sources.

Declension of nounsEdit

Case father mother child dog cat
Singular Nominative ата ata әсәй äsäy бала bala эт et бесәй besäy
Genitive атаның atanıñ әсәйҙең äsäyźeñ баланың balanıñ эттең etteñ бесәйҙең besäyźeñ
Dative атаға atağa әсәйгә äsäygä балаға balağa эткә etkä бесәйгә besäygä
Accusative атаны atanı әсәйҙе äsäyźe баланы balanı этте ette бесәйҙе besäyźe
Locative атала atala әсәйҙә äsäyźä балала balala эттә että бесәйҙә besäyźä
Ablative атанан atanan әсәйҙән äsäyźän баланан balanan эттән ettän бесәйҙән besäyźän
Plural Nominative аталар atalar әсәйҙәр äsäyźär балалар balalar эттәр ettär бесәйҙәр besäyźär
Genitive аталарҙың atalarźıñ әсәйҙәрҙең äsäyźärźeñ балаларҙың balalarźıñ эттәрҙең ettärźeñ бесәйҙәрҙең besäyźärźeñ
Dative аталарға atalarğa әсәйҙәргә äsäyźärgä балаларға balalarğa эттәргә ettärgä бесәйҙәргә besäyźärgä
Accusative аталарҙы atalarźı әсәйҙәрҙе äsäyźärźe балаларҙы balalarźı эттәрҙе ettärźe бесәйҙәрҙе besäyźärźe
Locative аталарҙа atalarźa әсәйҙәрҙә äsäyźärźä балаларҙа balalarźa эттәрҙә ettärźä бесәйҙәрҙә besäyźärźä
Ablative аталарҙан atalarźan әсәйҙәрҙән äsäyźärźän балаларҙан balalarźan эттәрҙән ettärźän бесәйҙәрҙән besäyźärźän

Declension of pronounsEdit

Interrogative pronouns Personal pronouns
Case who what Singular Plural
I you (thou) he, she, it we you they
Nominative кем kem нимә nimä мин min һин hin ул ul беҙ beź һеҙ heź улар ular
Genitive кемдең kemdeñ нимәнең nimäneñ минең mineñ һинең hineñ уның unıñ беҙҙең beźźeñ һеҙҙең heźźeñ уларҙың ularźıñ
Dative кемгә kemgä нимәгә nimägä миңә miñä һиңә hiñä уға uğa беҙгә beźgä һеҙгә heźgä уларға ularğa
Accusative кемде kemde нимәне nimäne мине mine һине hine уны unı беҙҙе beźźe һеҙҙе heźźe уларҙы ularźı
Locative кемдә kemdä нимәлә nimälä миндә mindä һиндә hindä унда unda беҙҙә beźźä һеҙҙә heźźä уларҙа ularźa
Ablative кемдән kemdän нимәнән nimänän минән minän һинән hinän унан unan беҙҙән beźźän һеҙҙән heźźän уларҙан ularźan
Demonstrative pronouns
Case Singular Plural
this that these those
Nominative был bıl ошо oşo шул şul теге tege былар bılar ошолар oşolar шулар şular тегеләр tegelär
Genitive бының bınıñ ошоноң oşonoñ шуның şunıñ тегенең tegeneñ быларҙың bılarźıñ ошоларҙың oşolarźıñ шуларҙың şularźıñ тегеләрҙең tegelärźeñ
Dative быға bığa ошоға oşoğa шуға şuğa тегегә tegegä быларға bılarğa ошоларға oşolarğa шуларға şularğa тегеләргә tegelärgä
Accusative быны bını ошоно oşona шуны şunı тегене tegene быларҙы bılarźı ошоларҙы oşolarźı шуларҙы şularźı тегеләрҙе tegelärźe
Locative бында bında ошонда oşonda шунда şunda тегендә tegenda быларҙа bılarźa ошоларҙа oşolarźa шуларҙа şularźa тегеләрҙә tegelärźä
Ablative бынан bınan ошонан oşonan шунан şunan тегенән tegenän быларҙан bılarźan ошоларҙан oşolarźan шуларҙан şularźan тегеләрҙән tegelärźän


  1. ^ Всеукраїнський перепис населення
  2. ^ Bashkir at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Berta, Árpád (1998). "Tatar and Bashkir". In Johanson, Lars; Csató, Éva Á. (eds.). The Turkic languages. Routledge. pp. 283–300.
  4. ^ Johanson, Lars (1998). "The History of Turkic". In Johanson, Lars; Csató, Éva Á. (eds.). The Turkic languages. Routledge. p. 92.
  5. ^ "Overview of the Bashkir Language". Learn the Bashkir Language & Culture. Transparent Language. Retrieved 4 Nov 2011.

Further readingEdit

  • Poppe, Nicholas (1997) [1964]. Bashkir Manual. Routledge. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-7007-0836-9.
  • Грамматика современного башкирского литературного языка (in Russian). Москва: Наука. 1981.
  • Дмитриев, Н. К. (1948). Грамматика башкирского языка (in Russian). Из-во АН СССР.

External linksEdit