.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in Russian. (September 2012) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Russian article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 2,453 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Russian Wikipedia article at [[:ru:Татский язык]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|ru|Татский язык)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
zuhun tati, зугьун тати
Native toAzerbaijan, Dagestan (Russia)
EthnicityTats, Armeno-Tats
Native speakers
34,000 excluding Judeo-Tat (2011–2020 census)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3ttt
Glottologcauc1242  Caucasian Tat
musl1236  Muslim Tat

Tat, also known as Caucasian Persian,[4] Tat/Tati Persian,[5][6] or Caucasian Tat,[4] is a Southwestern Iranian language closely related to,[7] but not fully mutually intelligible[8] with Persian and spoken by the Tats in Azerbaijan and Russia. There is also an Iranian language called Judeo-Tat spoken by Mountain Jews.

General information

The Tats are an indigenous Iranian people in the Caucasus[9][10] who trace their origin to the Sassanid-period migrants from Iran (ca. fifth century AD).[11]

Tat is endangered,[12][13] classified as "severely endangered" by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.[14] Most scholars divide Tat into two general varieties: Jewish and Muslim, with religious differences correlating with linguistic differences.[15]

Another, almost extinct, variety of Tat is spoken by Christians of Armenian origin, who are called Armeno-Tats.


Vladimir Minorsky mentions in the first edition of Encyclopaedia of Islam that like most Persian dialects, Tati is not very regular in its characteristics, and occupies a position between modern Persian and the Caspian dialects.[16] According to him, The Great Russian Encyclopedia of 1901 gives the number of Tati speakers in 1901 as 135,000.[16] In the 1930s, Minorsky estimated the number of Tati speakers to be 90,000 and the decrease to be the result of gradual Turkicization.[16]



According to the 1989 Soviet census, 30,000 Tats lived in the Soviet Union, of which 10,000 were in Azerbaijan.[15] Not all likely speak Tati, and this does not include the more rural locations that were not reached by the census. It is vital to stress that the Tats are one of the most assimilated of Azerbaijan’s ethnic groups. This is particularly true for urban Tats. All of this makes it difficult to identify the true number of the Tat ethnic group.[18]

The adults in most of the mountain and foothill communities reported they use Tat as their main language of interaction. They speak Tat with each other, but speak Azerbaijani with their children so that they will learn the language before beginning school. If the wife in the family is non-Tat speaking, however, the family is most likely to use Azerbaijani in the home. In the villages of Lahıc and Zǝyvǝ, women who marry in are reported to learn Tat.[15]

Ethnic population

Research has demonstrated that the word “Tat” does not have an ethnic origin. This is the term the Turks used to denote the settled Iranian-speaking population of Azerbaijan. This is proven by the names some groups of the Tat population have given themselves. For example, the residents of the Apsheron settlements of Balakhany and Surakhany call themselves Pars, and those of the settlement of Lagich in the Ismailly district the Lohudj. It must be mentioned that in the 19th century, cattle herders called the seasonal workers from southern Azerbaijan Tat, although they were ethnic Turks.[18]

Spread of Tat in 1887

Case study: Mǝlhǝm

The town of Mǝlhǝm is largely Tat. Mǝlhǝm lies 6 km north of Şamaxı town on the A12 road. An estimated 1,500 residents live in Mǝlhǝm, a number higher than five years ago. The increase in population is primarily due to an increase in birth rate. According to the mayor, while approximately 10–15% of residents go to Baku to study or work, most return. Ethnically, the village is made up entirely of Tats, with the exception of a handful of ethnic Azerbaijani brides.[15]


The following information is of the dialect of Apsheron:[19]


Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t (c) k
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Affricate voiceless
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x h
voiced v z (ʒ) ɣ
Nasal m n
Trill r
Approximant l j


Front Back
High i y u
Mid e œ o
Low æ ɑ

Writing system

Tat was not written until 1935. Efforts are being made at preservation. "Since 1996, the Azerbaijani government has provided money for the development of minority languages, including Tat. Haciyev (personal communication) reports that Tat classes have been started in several schools in the Quba region using an alphabet based on the current Azerbaijani Latin alphabet."[15]


English Tat Zaza Kurmanji Persian
big kələ gırd, pil girs, mezin، kale bozorg, kalān
blood xun goni xûn, xwîn xun
bread nun nân, non nân nān
bride ərüs veyve bûk arus
cat pişik, nazu pısing pisîk, kitik, pişîle gorbe
cry girəstən bermayen girîn geristan
dark târîk, tariki târi târî tārik
brother birar bıra bra, brat, brâr barādar
father piyər pi, pêr bav, bab pedar
mother may, dədə may, dadî dayik, dade mādar
day ruz roce, roje, roze roj ruz
night şöü şew, şü şev šab
donkey xər her ker xar
egg xaykərg hak hêk toxm, xaye
eye çüm çım çav,çüm cešm
fear (v) tərsirən tersayen tirsîn tarsidan
fire âtaş âdır âgir ātaš
God Xuda Homa/Huma/Oma, Heq Xweda, Xudê, Xwedê, Yazdân, Xodā
good xub, xas hewl, rınd, weş baş, rind xub
Plant güyo vaş gîya, çêre, giya giyāh
house xunə keye xanî xāne
language zuhun zıwan, zon ziman zabān
moon ma aşme meh, heyv, mang māh
place cə, cigə ca cih, geh, ce

Linguistic migration

The prominence of the Tati language is directly related to migration. Additionally, most Tats in Azerbaijan live in the Apsheron zone, as well as the following districts: Khyzy, Divichi and Guba. The Tat people have been dispersed in northeast Azerbaijan. By their origin, the Tats are direct descendants of the Iranian-speaking population that migrated back in the era of the Sassanids to the Caspian coastal regions of Azerbaijan. Most of the Tats in Azerbaijan live in the Apsheron zone and the districts of Khyzy, Divichi, Guba and some others.[18]

Tats and Azerbaijanis

Coexistence between Tats and Azerbaijanis have combined much of the two cultures. Azerbaijani has largely overtaken Tati, which has also sparked a takeover in the ethnic consciousness of the Tats. The Tats and Azerbaijanis have gained much in common both industrially and culturally and in everyday life from their centuries of co-existence. Here a significant role has been played by the Azerbaijani language, which since the 19th century has been virtually the second native tongue for the Tats. The wide use of Azerbaijani, though, has imposed some constraints on the Tat language, which had become the general language in rural areas. Significant changes have taken place in the ethnic consciousness of the Tats. Many of them consider themselves to be Azerbaijani and have largely lost the Tat language.[18]

Linguistic policies in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has approached its linguistic policies in an interesting way. These policies include education in Tat. The development of a fundamentally new linguistic policy that reflected the country's ethnic minorities, again, which would have included the Tat people, is described by Latifa Mammadova as the following: "In the early post-Soviet years, Azerbaijan’s authorities faced the challenge of developing a fundamentally new concept of ethnic and linguistic policies, one that would be tactful toward the country’s ethnic minorities and mindful of the sensitivities of each. They started by elaborating a law on the protection of rights and freedoms of the country’s ethnic minorities in the area of culture. This document guaranteed fundamental rights for minority groups and individuals, including the right to receive education and publish press in their mother tongue. It also proclaimed some universal values of multicultural society, such as equality, partnership, tolerance, solidarity, and justice."[20]

See also



  1. ^ Tat at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Windfuhr, Gernot. The Iranian Languages. Routledge. 2009. p. 417.
  3. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Dagestan: Chapter I, Article 11: "The state languages of the Republic of Dagestan are Russian and the languages of the peoples of Dagestan."
  4. ^ a b Tonoyan, Artyom (2019). "On the Caucasian Persian (Tat) Lexical Substratum in the Baku Dialect of Azerbaijani. Preliminary Notes". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 169 (2): 367–368. doi:10.13173/zeitdeutmorggese.169.2.0367. S2CID 211660063.
  5. ^ Gernot Windfuhr, "Persian Grammar: history and state of its study", Walter de Gruyter, 1979. pg 4:""Tat- Persian spoken in the East Caucasus""
  6. ^ Windfuhr, Genot (2013). Iranian Languages. Routledge. p. 417. ISBN 978-1135797041. The Northwestern outpost of Persian is Caucasian Tat Persian (...)
  7. ^ Gruenberg, Alexander. (1966). Tatskij jazyk [The Tat language]. In Vinogradov, V. V. (ed.), Jazyki narodov SSSR. Volume 1: Indoevropejskie jazyki, 281-301
  8. ^ Authier, Gilles (2012). Grammaire juhuri, ou judéo-tat, langue iranienne des Juifs du Caucase de l'est. Wiesbaden: Reichert
  9. ^ H. Pilkington,"Islam in Post-Soviet Russia", Psychology Press, Nov 27, 2002. p. 27: "Among other indigenous peoples of Iranian origin were the Tats, the Talishes and the Kurds"
  10. ^ T. M. Masti︠u︡gina, Lev Perepelkin, Vitaliĭ Vi͡a︡cheslavovich Naumkin, "An Ethnic History of Russia: Pre-Revolutionary Times to the Present", Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 . p. 80:""The Iranian Peoples (Ossetians, Tajiks, Tats, Mountain Judaists)"
  11. ^ История Ширвана и Дербенда X—XI веков. М. Издательство восточной литературы. 1963 Библиотека Vostlit.info.
  12. ^ Published in: Encyclopedia of the world’s endangered languages. Edited by Christopher Moseley. London & New York: Routledge, 2007. 211–280.
  13. ^ Do the Talysh and Tat Languages Have a Future in Azerbaijan? Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
  15. ^ a b c d e John M. Clifton, Gabriela Deckinga, Laura Lucht, Calvin Tiessen, “Sociolinguistic Situation of the Tat and Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan,” In Clifton, ed., Studies in Languages of Azerbaijan, vol. 2 (Azerbaijan & St Petersburg, Russia: Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan & SIL International 2005).
  16. ^ a b c V. Minorsky, "Tat" in M. Th. Houtsma et al., eds., The Encyclopædia of Islam: A Dictionary of the Geography, Ethnography and Biography of the Muhammadan Peoples, 4 vols. and Suppl., Leiden: Late E.J. Brill and London: Luzac, 1913–38. Excerpt: Like most Persian dialects, Tati is not very regular in its characteristic features"
  17. ^ "Did you know Muslim Tat is severely endangered?".
  18. ^ a b c d Aliaga Mamedov, “Aspects of the Contemporary Ethnic Situation in Azerbaijan,” CA & CC Press (Sweden: AB Publishing House).
  19. ^ Mammadova, Nayiba (2017). Eléments de description et documentation du tat de l'Apshéron, langue iranienne d'Azerbaïdjan. Paris: INALCO.
  20. ^ Latifa Mammadova, “Azerbaijan: Cultural Synergies and Diversity,” Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan (paper presented at Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace: Proceedings of the International Conference at Yakutsk, Russian Federation, 2–4 July 2008, Sponsored by the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, Interregional Library Cooperation Centre

Further reading