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, Tartar
a. a member of a Mongoloid people who under Genghis Khan established a vast and powerful state in central Asia from the 13th century until conquered by Russia in 1552
b. a descendant of this people, now scattered throughout Russia but living chiefly in the Tatar Republic
2. any of the languages spoken by the present-day Tatars, belonging to various branches of the Turkic family of languages, esp Kazan Tatar
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Tatars, spoken mainly in the Tatar, Bashkir, Chuvash, and Mordovian ASSR’s and in several oblasts of the RSFSR. There are approximately 5 million speakers of Tatar (1970 census).

Tatar belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages and has three main dialects. Central, or middle, Tatar is spoken by most of the population of the Tatar ASSR, the Kazan Tatars. Western, or Mishari, Tatar is spoken by the Tatars living along the Middle Volga. The eastern Tatar dialect is spoken by the Siberian Tatars.

The modern Tatar literary language evolved from Old Tatar in the mid-19th century. The phonetic features of Tatar include incompletely formed vowels; the correspondence of Tatar [i], [u], and [ü] to Common Turkic [e], [o], and [ö]; and a labialized [å] in the first syllable of polysyllabic words and in monosyllabic words. Morphological features include noun categories of number, possession, attribution, predication, and case. Tatar has a single declension type, and adjectives are not declined. There are six categories of numbers. Verbs have categories of negation, voice, and degree and are conjugated by person and number in all moods.

The Tatar written language was based on the Arabic script until 1927 and then on the Roman alphabet. Since 1939, Tatar has been based on the Russian alphabet.


Sovremennyi tatarskii literaturnyi iazyk[parts 1–2]. Moscow, 1969–71.
Tatarsko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1966.
Alparov, G. Saylanma khezmätlär. Kazan, 1945.
Khangil’din, V. N. Tatar tele grammatikasï. Kazan, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(human language)
A Turkic language spoken by about five million Tatars in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and elsewhere; the official language of the Republic of Tatarstan (Russian Federation).

language codes: tt, tat.
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the support of Moscow, Tatar bureaucrats were given the authority to remake Kazan as a center of cultural--in this case musical--gravity in the Volga region.