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ногай тили, ногайша (nogay tili, nogayşa)
Nogai written in Cyrillic and Latin scripts
Native toRussia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
Ethnicity108,000 Nogais (2020 census)[1]
Native speakers
86,000 (2020 census)[1]
Cyrillic, Latin[2]
Official status
Official language in
Dagestan (Russia)
Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-2nog
ISO 639-3nog
 Alabugat Tatar[3]
Linguistic map of the Caucasus region: Nogay is spoken in the pale blue areas, numbered "26."

Nogai (/nˈɡ/ no-GUY; Ногай тили, Nogay tili, Ногайша, Nogayşa) also known as Noğay, Noghay, Nogay, or Nogai Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken in Southeastern European Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. It is the ancestral language of the Nogais. As a member of the Kipchak branch, it is closely related to Kazakh, Karakalpak and Crimean Tatar. In 2014 the first Nogai novel (Akşa Nenem) was published, written in the Latin alphabet.[4]


Nogai is generally classified into the Kipchak–Nogai branch of Kipchak Turkic.[5] The latter also includes Siberian Tatar in Russia, Kazakh in Kazakhstan and Karakalpak in Uzbekistan.

Three distinct dialects are recognized:[6]

Outside of the southern Caucasus, other varieties exist that are either considered dialects, or distinct languages:


The Nogais, descended from the peoples of the Golden Horde, take their name and that of their language from the grandson of Genghis Khan, Nogai Khan, who ruled the nomadic people west of the Danube toward the end of the 13th century. They then settled along the Black Sea coast of present-day Ukraine.

Historically, Nogai was a spoken language. When speakers wanted to write, they utilized the Kypchak or Chagatai languages, which were similar to Nogai and were written in the Perso-Arabic script. In 1928, a Latin alphabet was introduced. It was devised by the Nogai academic Abdul-Khamid Shershenbievich Dzhanibekov [ru] (Djanibek), following principles adopted for all Turkic languages.[9]

In 1938, a transition to the Cyrillic alphabet began. The orthography based on the Latin alphabet was alleged to be an impediment to learning Russian.

The expulsion of the Nogais from Ukraine in the nineteenth century separated Nogai speakers into several geographically isolated groups. Some went to Turkey and Romania, while others stayed within the Russian Empire, settling in northern Dagestan and neighbouring areas of Chechnya and Stavropol Kray.

The Nogai language has disappeared very rapidly in Turkey. Today, it is mostly spoken by the older generation; however, there are still younger speakers, as there are some villages in Turkey where it is a common mode of communication. In the Soviet Union the language of instruction in schools was Russian, and the number of speakers declined there also. Recent estimates place the total number of Nogai speakers at about 80,000.

In 1973, two small Nogai-language newspapers were being published, one in Karachay–Cherkessia and another in the Dagestan Autonomous SSR (Ленин йолы), but most speakers never heard of these publications, and the papers did not reach Nogai villages.

Nogai is now part of the school curriculum from the 1st to the 10th year in the Nogai District of Dagestan. It is also taught at the Karachayevo-Cherkess Pedagogical School and the national branch of the Pedagogical Institute.


Front Back
Close i, y ɯ, u
Mid e o
Open æ, œ a
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Plosive p, b t, d k, ɡ q
Fricative (f, v) s, z ʃ, ʒ χ, ʁ
Affricate (ts) (),
Nasal m n ŋ
Liquid l, r
Approximant w j

Phonemes in parentheses indicate copied[clarification needed] lexical sounds.[10]


Main article: Nogai alphabets

There are 3 stages in the history of Nogai writing:

The Nogai alphabet based on Cyrillic was created in 1938. It included all of the Russian alphabet letters except Ё ё, and also the digraphs Гъ гъ, Къ къ, Нъ нъ. The digraphs Оь оь, Уь уь were added in the same year. In 1944 the digraphs Гъ гъ, Къ къ were excluded from the alphabet.

The last reform of the Nogai writing took place in 1960, when, as a result of discussions at the Karachay-Cherkessia Research Institute, Language and Literature, the letters Аь аь and Ё ё were added to it. After that, the Nogai alphabet took its present form.[11]

Modern Nogai alphabet:

А а Аь аь Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з
И и Й й К к Л л М м Н н Нъ нъ О о Оь оь П п
Р р С с Т т У у Уь уь Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш
Щ щ Ъ ъ Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я


  1. ^ a b Nogai at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "türkevi araştırmalar merkezi". Retrieved 2024-01-28.
  3. ^ Endangered Languages Project data for Alabugat Tatar.
  4. ^ "İlk Nogayca roman kitabı yayınlandı… – türkevi araştırmalar merkezi".
  5. ^ "Glottolog 4.4 - Nogai". Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  6. ^ Baskakov, N.A. (1940). Nogaysky yazyk i ego dialekty Ногайский язык и его диалекты: грамматика, тексты и словарь [The Nogai language and its dialects: grammar, texts, and dictionary] (in Russian). Moscow: Akademii Nauk SSSR. OCLC 12067444.
  7. ^ "Yazyki | Malye yazyki Rossii" Языки | Малые языки России [Languages | Minor languages of Russia]. (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-05-11.
  8. ^ Alekseev, F.G. (2017). "Yazyki Astrakhanskoi oblasti" Языки Астраханской области [Languages of Astrakhan Oblast]. Malye Yazyki. 4: 16–18.
  9. ^ "Nogaysky yazyk | Malye yazyki Rossii" Ногайский язык | Малые языки России [Nogai language | Minor languages of Russia]. (in Russian). Retrieved 2023-05-11.
  10. ^ Lars Johanson, Éva Ágnes Csató (1998). The Turkic Languages.
  11. ^ Калмыкова, С. А. (1972). Вопросы совершенствования алфавитов тюркских языков СССР: Алфавит ногайского языка. Наука (in Russian): 118–125.