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people living mainly in the southern part of the Moldavian SSR and adjacent regions of the Ukrainian SSR, with smaller numbers in the Zaporozh’e Oblast, the Northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Rumania. Population, 157,000 in the USSR (1970 census) and 5,000 abroad (1970 estimate). The people speak the Gagauz language. Religious Gagauz are members of the Orthodox Church. Some researchers believe the Gagauz to be turkized Bulgars who retained Christianity, but the majority consider them to be descendants of medieval Turks (particularly the Uz and Torks) who had assimilated elements of Slavic (Bulgarian) culture. Most of the Gagauz escaped the Turkish yoke by fleeing from northeastern Bulgaria to Russia, primarily in the early 19th century. Their chief occupations are agriculture and cattle raising; some work in local industries. The contemporary material and spiritual culture of the Gagauz is close to the culture of the surrounding peoples.
REFERENCENarody Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964.
V. D. DIACHENKO
the language of the Gagauz, related to the south-western (Ghuz) group of Turkic languages. It is spoken in the southern regions of Moldavia and the Ukraine (former Bessarabia), the Northern Caucasus, and parts of Kazakhstan and Central Asia and, outside the USSR, in northeastern Bulgaria and Rumania. Gagauz is spoken by 152,000 people (1970).
The Gagauz language has been influenced considerably, primarily in vocabulary and syntax, by Bulgarian, Russian, Moldavian, and several other neighboring languages. Basic features of Gagauz include the presence of secondary long vowels, diphthongization, and iotization of high- and mid-rising vowels in initial word position, strong palatalization of most consonants in the environment of front vowels, free word order in the sentence, and well-developed conjunctive relationships. The principal Gagauz dialects are Chadyrlung-Komrat (central) and Vulkanesht (southern). A writing system for the Gagauz language was introduced on July 30, 1957, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR. The Gagauz alphabet, which is based on Russian, includes three additional letters: ä, ö, and ÿ.
REFERENCESMoshkov, V. A. “Narechiia bessarabskikh gagauzov.” In Obraztsy narodnoi literatury tiurkskikh piemen, part 10. Published by Academician V. V. Radlov. St. Petersburg, 1904.
Dmitriev, N. K. Stroi tiurkskikh iazykov. Moscow, 1962. Pages 202-84.
Pokrovskaia, L. A. Grammatika gagauzskogo iazyka. Fonetika i morfologiia. Moscow, 1964.
Zajaczkowski, Wł. Jązyk i folklor gagauzów z Bulgarii. Kraków, 1966.
L. A. POKROVSKAIA