Qashqay, Kashkai, Kashkay, Qashqayi
قشقايی ديلى, Qašqāyī dili
Qashqai dili written in Nastaliq script and Latin script
Native toIran
RegionFars, Isfahan, Bushehr, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Khuzestan
Ethnicity2.0 million Qashqai (2021)[1]
Native speakers
1.0 million (2021)[1]
Persian alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3qxq
LinguaspherePart of 44-AAB-a
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Qashqai (قشقایی ديلى, Qašqāyī dili, pronounced in English as /ˈkæʃk/ KASH-ky, and also spelled Qaşqay, Qashqayi, Kashkai, Kashkay, Qašqāʾī[2][3] and Qashqa'i or Kaşkay) is an Oghuz Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars Province of Southern Iran. Encyclopædia Iranica regards Qashqai as an independent third group of dialects within the Southwestern Turkic language group.[4] It is known to speakers as Turki.[5] Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gave a figure of 1.0 million in 2021.[1]

The Qashqai language is closely related to Azerbaijani. However, some Qashqai varieties namely the variety spoken in the Sheshbeyli tribe share features with Turkish.[6][7] In a sociopolitical sense, though, Qashqai is considered a language in its own right.[8]

Like other Turkic languages spoken in Iran, such as the Azerbaijani language, Qashqai uses a modified version of the Perso-Arabic script.



Consonants of Qashqai
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
voiceless p t t͡ʃ k q (ʔ)
voiced b d d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ χ h
voiced v ~
z (ʒ) ʁ
Approximant l j
Trill r


Vowels of Qashqai
Front Back
Close i y ɯ u
Mid e o
(ɛ) œ
Open æ ɑ (ɒ)


Qashqai follows common Turkic syntax features: dependent marking, head-final within unmarked phrases, free word order with SOV preferred, agglutinative.


  1. ^ a b c Qashqai at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "Qašqāʾī Tribal Confederacy II: Language" at Encyclopædia Iranica, by Michael Knüppel
  3. ^ "Azeri Turkish" at Encyclopædia Iranica, by Gerhard Doerfer
  4. ^ "Qašqāʾi Tribal Confederacy II: Language" at Encyclopædia Iranica
  5. ^ "Qašqāʾi Tribal Confederacy II: Language" at Encyclopædia Iranica
  6. ^ Dolatkhah Sohrab. 2016. Kashkai : langue turcique d'Iran. Independently Published (via Amazon).
  7. ^ Caferoglu & Gerhard Doerfer, 1959
  8. ^ Csató, Éva; Johanson, Lars; Róna-Tas, András (2016). Turks and Iranians. Interactions in Language and History: The Gunnar Jarring Memorial Program at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 101–20. ISBN 978-3-447-10537-8.
  9. ^ Dolatkhah, Sohrab (2016). Kashkai : langue turcique d'Iran. Independently Published.
  10. ^ Dolatkhah, Sohrab (2019). Qashqai Turkic: A Comprehensive Corpus-based Grammar. Munich: LINCOM.

Further reading