Turkmen language

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Turkmenistan Iran Afghanistan Uzbekistan
speaker 6 678 190
Official status
Official language in TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Turkmenistan

AfghanistanAfghanistan Afghanistan (in regions with a Turkmen majority)

Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


The Turkmen language (Turkmen Turkmen dili / Tүркмен дили / Türkmençe / Tүркменче) is a southwestern Turkish language within the Turkic languages . Turkmen is the official language in the Republic of Turkmenistan and a minority language in many countries.

Main distribution area

The Turkmen language is now the mother tongue of around 7.6 million people and is mainly spoken in the following countries.

  1. Turkmenistan (4 million)
  2. Afghanistan (1.5 million)
  3. Iran (719,000)
  4. Uzbekistan (169,000)

Alternative names

Older names in German-language sources are Turkoman and Truchmenisch .

Classification options

Turkmen is classified differently. It is classified in the "Fischer Lexikon Sprachen" (1987) as follows:

  • Turkic languages
    • Western branch
      • Bulgarian group
      • Oghuz group
        • Oghuz-Turkmen
          • Turkmen

In contrast, the Turkmen language is classified as follows in the "Metzler Lexicon Language" (1993):

  • Turkic languages
    • Southwest Turkish (Oghusian)
      • Turkmen

Another classification can be found in the article Turkic languages .


Turkmen has many dialects . The most important dialects include:

  1. Nohurly
  2. Anauly
  3. Hasarly
  4. Neresim
  5. Ýomut
  6. Teke (or Tekke)
  7. Gökleň
  8. Salyr
  9. Saryk
  10. Aesary / Aesary
  11. Çawdur
  12. Çagataý
  13. Naýman

The dialects with the largest speakers were: Ýomut in western Turkmenistan, Arsary or Äsary in the southeast of the country and Teke in the Karakum desert.

In the Middle Ages , the so-called “Khorezm Turkish” was spoken by the Turkmen steppe and desert nomads, which is often regarded as a preliminary stage of Khorasan Turkish . This was replaced by an Eastern Turkish idiom , the Tschagatai , in the 15th century .

Numerous Turkmen immigrated to Russia from the 17th to 19th centuries . These Turkmen cattle nomads migrated from Mangyshlak via Astrakhan to the Stavropol area . There they settled down and founded 18 villages.


Until the 18th century, the Turkmen wrote - besides Persian - only in Chagatai . It was not until this century that an independent and significant Turkmen literature based on various Turkmen dialects has been identified. Both forms of language were written in the Arabic alphabet . But Turkmen remained basically only the language of the nomads, as Persian was predominantly spoken by the population of the few cities and the farmers of the oases . But even in the thin Turkmen upper class, Persian was used more than one of the Turkmen dialects.

In 1928, already in Soviet times, Chagatai and the Arabic alphabet were abolished. The latter was abandoned in favor of a newly developed Latin alphabet . At the same time, a uniform grammar for the various Turkmen dialects was developed. The West Turkmen Ýomut dialect was upgraded by the Turkmen Soviet leadership and used as the basis for modern high-level language. During the development of the standard Turkmen language in the 1920s, a modern vocabulary was built on the basis of the Azerbaijani language , which was the only written language among the Turkic-speaking peoples of Russia before the October Revolution of 1917.

In 1940, as a result of the now compulsory Russian lessons, the Latin alphabet was replaced by a modified Cyrillic alphabet .

In the course of the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev , nationalist circles in the Turkmen population already demanded the abolition of today's Turkmen written language and the reintroduction of Chagatai, which was abolished at the end of the 1920s. While maintaining the current written language, these circles demanded as a minimum requirement that Turkmen should closely follow this Eastern Turkish idiom. On the other side stood the Muslim-oriented sections of the population of Turkmenistan. These demanded state support for Islam from the Turkmen SSR and the associated re-Islamization of Turkmenistan. One point united the nationalists and traditionalists: both vehemently called for the reintroduction of the Arabic alphabet. But both groups remained a minority in the Turkmen population. The mass of Turkmens at the time wanted close cooperation with the western states, especially with Europe and Turkey , with which the Turkmens felt themselves to be closely connected due to their common Oghusian descent.

With the foreseeable end of the USSR, the Turkmen minister of culture took part in a Turkic summit in Turkey in 1990. In Ankara , all Turkish-speaking culture ministers of Central Asia, including their Azerbaijani colleagues , endorsed the development of Latin alphabets for the Turkic peoples in the Central Asian states within 15 years. Base alphabet should be the modern alphabet of Turkey.

But as early as 1993 Turkmenistan decided on a new type of Latin alphabet, which now differed slightly from the required "new Turkish alphabet". Later slight changes were made to individual letters. The modern Latin and the former Cyrillic alphabet are compared in the table below:

Turkmen alphabets in comparison
modern latin alphabet former Cyrillic alphabet IPA
A a А а [a]
B b Б б [b]
Ç ç Ч ч [ʧ]
D d Д д [d]
E e Е е [je], [e]
Ä Ä Ә ә [æ]
F f Ф ф [ɸ]
G g Г г [g ~ ʁ]
H h Х х [h ~ x]
I i И и [i]
J j Җ җ [ʤ]
Ž ž Ж ж [ʒ]
K k К к [k ~ q]
L l Л л [l]
M m М м [m]
N n Н н [n]
Ň ň Ң ң [ŋ]
O o О о [O]
Ö ö Ө ө [O]
P p П п [p]
R r Р р [r]
S s С с [θ]
Ş ş Ш ш [ʃ]
T t Т т [t]
U u У у [u]
Ü ü Ү ү [y]
W w В в [β]
Y y Ы ы [ɯ]
Ý ý Й й [j]
Z z З з [ð]

The Turkmen of Iran and Afghanistan as well as the Arab states remained unaffected by the later written reforms that took place in Central Asia. You still write in the Arabic alphabet to this day. The prevailing dialect of the Göklen is used in Iran as the "high Turkmen language". The Turkmens in neighboring Afghanistan and in the Arab states write in different dialects.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Turkmen at Ethnologue
  2. ^ Lars Johanson, Éva Csató: The Turkic languages. P. 82 ( books.google.de ).
  3. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: The Constitution of Afghanistan: From amongst Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pachaie, Nuristani, Pamiri and other current languages ​​in the country, Pashto and Dari shall be the official languages ​​of the state. In areas where the majority of the people speak in any one of Uzbeki, Turkmani, Pachaie, Nuristani, Baluchi or Pamiri languages, any of the aforementioned language, in addition to Pashto and Dari, shall be the third official language, the usage of which shall be regulated by law.
  4. a b c d Helmut Glück (Ed.): Metzler Lexikon Sprach. Pp. 656-657.
  5. ^ "Ethnic Groups". Library of Congress Country Studies. 1997. Retrieved August 8, 2010. ^ Jump up to: ab
  6. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/ethnic-groups-of-afghanistan.html
  7. Ethnologue . Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  8. ^ A b Heinz F. Wendt: Fischer Lexicon Languages. Pp. 328-329.
  9. ^ Turkmen language in ethnologue.com.
  10. a b Westermann Verlag: Dierke Länderlexikon. Braunschweig 1999, p. 835.