Crimean Tatar

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Crimean Tatar

 

the language of the Tatars who lived in the Crimea until 1944 and who now reside mainly in the Uzbek SSR.

Crimean Tatar belongs to the Kypchak group of Turkic languages. It is divided into three dialects—Northern (Steppe), Middle, and Southern (in accordance with the settlement areas of the Crimean Tatars in the past); the Southern dialect has been greatly influenced by Turkish. Certain special features of Crimean Tatar include (1) dropping of initial and final h (ava instead of hava, “air,” and saba instead of sabah, “morning”); (2) narrow vowel elision in initial or medial syllable position— (i)lyach, “medicine”; (u)sta, “master”; (u)razhay, k(i)rerim, “I will go in”; (3) genitive case forms of the first person singular and plural pronouns menim and bizim, respectively (instead of mening and bizing); and (4) the first person singular future tense form of negation -mam/-mem (yazmam, “I will not write”).

Historically, Crimean Tatar dates back to the period of decline of the Golden Horde (early 15th century). The oldest Crimean Tatar literary records date from the 17th century. The sub-dialects which evolved from the Cuman language constitute the nucleus of the modern Crimean Tatar literary language. Crimean Tatar used the Arabic alphabet until 1929 and the Latin alphabet until 1938; it has employed Russian script since 1938.

REFERENCES

Zaatov, O. Polnyi russko-tatarskii slovar’. Simferopol’, 1906.
Samoilovich, A. Opyt kratkoi krymsko-tatarskoi grammatiki. Petrograd, 1916.
Sevortian, E. V. “Krymsko-tatarskii iazyk.” In lazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1966.
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