The Crimean Tatar language or Crimean-Turkish (in its own script: Qırımtatar tili, Qırım Tatar dili resp. Kırım Tatar dili; alternative notation: Qırım Türkçesi resp. Kırım Türkçesi) is the language of the Crimean Tatars. Spoken in Crimea, Former Soviet Union, and the Crimean Tatar diaspora: Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey.
Abbreviated forms of the language designation are: Qırım Tatarçası resp. Kırım Tatarçası (Crimean Tatar) and from the Turkish: Qırım Tatar Türkçesi resp. Kırım Tatar Türkçesi (Crimean-Turkish resp. Crimean Tatar Turkish).
Because of its history, it has often been counted as belonging to Kypchak Tatar (i.e. Northwestern Turkic languages), however it has been also influenced by the Oguz Turkish. A Crimean Tatar speaker can undestand both Kypchak and Oghuz Turkish/Turkic.
The following newspaper report compares the Crimean Tatar and Turkish languages:
Comparing Crimean Tatar vs Turkish
| Crimean Tatar
| Meclis Haberleri 10.09.2003//Qırımtatar Milliy Meclisiniñ 120-cı toplaşuvı olıp keçti
2003 senesi 7 sentăbr künü Aqmescitteki İslam Merkeziniñ binasında Qırımtatar Milliy Meclisiniñ 120-cı toplaşuvı olıp keçti. Toplaşuvda...
|Meclis Haberleri 10.09.2003// Kırım Tatar Millî Meclisinin 120. toplantısı yapıldı
7 Eylül 2003 tarihinde Akmescitteki İslam Merkezi binasında Kırım Tatar Millî Meclisinin genişletilmiş 120. toplantısı gerçerkleşti. Toplantıda...
These languages are quite similar.
Number of speakers
Today there are over 300,000 Crimean Tatar speakers.
Until 1989 90% of the Crimean Tatars lived in the Fergana Valley within Uzbekistan, whither they were focibly deported in 1944. Today 250,000 Crimean Tatar live in Crimea.
More than 1,500,000 inhabitants of Turkey are Turkish-speaking Crimean Tatars emigrated in the 19th century. Crimean Tatars in Turkey can usually speak Crimean Tatar.
Circa 24,000 Crimean Tatars live in Romania and another 3,000 in Bulgaria.
History, dialects and alphabet
The spoken language of the Crimean Tatars is known since the 13th century and divides into three main dialects: "Kypchak-Tatar" from the Crimea; "Kypchak-Nogay" from the northern steppes; and the coastal "Crimea-Osman". The Chagatai language also served the Crimean Tatar as a Dachsprache. Since Islamification these people wrote with a Persian-Arab script.
In 1876 different Turkish Crimean dialects were made into a uniform written language, with a preference given to the more southern dialect in order to break the link between the Tatar and the Turkish of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1928 the alphabet was replaced with the then Uniform Turkic Alphabet (a combination of the Latin alphabet and the Cyrillic alphabet), which however was in 1938 itself replaced with a modified Cyrillic Alphabet.
After the repatriation of the Crimean Tatars it was Latinized again. The current Latin-based Crimean Tatar alphabet is the same as the Turkish alphabet with two additional characters: Ñ ñ and Q q.
Crimean Tatar does not have official language status in Crimea.
Crimean Tatar has been spoken by Crimean Greeks, Gypsies, Jews (Krymchaks), and Karaims.
Crimean Tatar was the native language of the Crimean Tatar poet Bekir Sidki Cobanzade.