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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Turkoman), the language of the Turkmens, spoken in the Turkmen SSR and in the Uzbek, Tadzhik, and Kazakh SSR’s, the Kara-Kalpak ASSR, Stavropol’ Krai in the RSFSR, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iraq. According to the 1970 census, there are approximately 1.5 million speakers of Turkmen in the USSR.

Turkmen belongs to the Oghuz group of Turkic languages. It evolved from the western tribal languages of the Oghuz, although in the course of time it acquired certain features typical of the Turkic languages of the Kipchak group. The major Turkmen dialects include Tekke, Yomud, Ersar, Salyr, Saryk, and Chovdur. The dialect of the Stavropol’ Turkmens traditionally has been called Trukhmen. The principal phonetic features of Turkmen are the preservation of initial long vowels, a developed labial vowel harmony, and the presence of the interdentals [s] and [z] instead of the [s] and [z] of other Turkic languages. In Turkmen morphology, nouns have the categories of number, possessivity, and case, of which there are six in the literary language. Adjectives are uninflected. Nominal and verbal-nominal parts of speech that function as predicates acquire the category of predi-cativity. The verb has five moods and five voices.

The old Turkmen literary language was used primarily in poetry. The modern language was standardized after the October Revolution of 1917. Turkmen was written in Arabic script until 1928; the Latin alphabet was used from 1928 to 1940, when the current writing system based on the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced.


Potseluevskii, A. P. Izbr. tr. Ashkhabad, 1975.
Baskakov, N. A. K istorii izucheniia turkmenskogo iazyka. Ashkhabad, 1965. (Bibliography.)
Grammatika turkmenskogo iazyka, part 1. Ashkhabad, 1970.
Russko-turkmenskii slovar’, Moscow, 1956.
Turkmensko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1968.
Turkmen dilining dialektlerining ocherki. Ashkhabad, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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