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Autoglottonym: кыргыз тили
Pronunciation: [{{{Pronunciation}}}]
Ethnologue name: Kirghiz
OLAC name: {{{OLACname}}}
Location point: 42dN 75dE
Family: Altaic
Genus: Turkic
Country: Kyrgyzstan
Official in: Kyrgyzstan
Speakers: {{{Speakers}}}
Writing system: {{{WritingSyst}}}
ISO 639-1: ky
ISO 639-2: kir --
ISO 639-3: {{{ISO3}}}

[this article is preliminary and needs to be corrected; it serves primarily illustrative purposes]


The spelling Kirgiz is now generally preferred by linguists (see Kirchner 1998:542).

Alternative names are

The name Western Kirgiz has also been applied to Kazakh.


Kirgiz is spoken mostly in Kyrgyzstan, but also in neighboring areas of Russia, Tajikistan and China.


According to the latest official figures, there are 1,452,354 million speakers in Kyrgyzstan (Berdullaev 2001), and 233,321 speakers in Russia. No official figures are available for Tajikistan and China, but Comrie (1989:54) gives an estimate of 80,000 for China.




The reasons for classifying Kirghiz as Northern Turkic are given by Baskakov (1956:...).

Alternative Classifications

Kirgiz has alternatively been classified as belonging to the Aralo-Caspian group of Western Turkic (see Dybo 2001). The main reason for this is the similarities in the voice system.


Wikipedia article


  • Berdullaev 2001. ...
  • Comrie 1989. The languages of the Soviet Union.
  • Dybo, Anna. 2001. ...
  • Kirchner, Mark. 1998b. Kirgiz. In Lars Johanson and Éva Á. Csató, eds., The Turkic languages, pp. 344-356. London: Routledge.

Works on the language

  • Hebert, Raymond J., and Nicholas Poppe. 1963. Kirghiz Manual. Indiana University Publications, Uralic and Altaic Series 33. Bloomington: Indiana University.
  • Junusaliev, B.M. 1966. Kirgizskij Jazyk. In V.V. Vinogradov, ed., Jazyki Narodov SSSR, Volume 2: Tjurkskie Jazyki, pp. 482-504. Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka.
  • Oruzbaeva, B.O. 1997. Kirgizskij jazyk. In E.R. Tenishev, ed., Jazyki mira: Tjurkskie jazyki, pp. 286-298. Moscow: Indrik.

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