The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Karachais and Balkars, who live mainly in the Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast and the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. It is spoken by approximately 110, 900 Karachais and approximately 58, 300 Balkars (1970 census). It belongs to the Kipchak group of Turkic languages. Its main dialects are Karachai-Baksan-Chegem (the ch [c*] dialect) and Malkar (the ts [c] dialect).

Karachai-Balkar is characterized by the loss of initial y in certain words (akhshi, “good,” instead of yakhshi), first and second person singular affixes and genitive case affixes without a final consonant (-ma/-me rather than -man/-men, -sa/-se rather than -san/-sen, and -nï/-ni rather than -nïn/-nin), traces of a vigesimal system in the numerals, and lexical borrowings from Adyg and Ossetian (Ossetic). The Karachai-Balkar literary language is based on the Karachai-Baksan-Chegem dialect. The Karachai-Balkar writing system, which is based on the Russian alphabet, was created in 1936.


Borovkov, A. K. “Ocherki karachaevo-balkarshoi grammatiki.” In the collection Iazyki Severnogo Kavkaza i Dagestana, vol. 1. Moscow, 1935.
Akbaev, Sh. Kh. Fonetika dialektov karachaevo-balkarskogo iazyka. Cherkessk, 1963.
Khabichev, M. A. “Karachaevo-balkarskii iazyk.” In Iazyki narodov SSSR, vo\. 2. Moscow, 1966.
Russko-karachaevo-balkarskii slovar\ Moscow, 1965.
Qarachay-malqar tilni grammatikasi. Nal’chik, 1966. (Includes bibliography.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.