Archived 15th edition
Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Asia > Turkey (Asia)

Languages of Turkey (Asia)

Also see Turkey in Europe for a listing of languages in Europe. Also includes Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Avar, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Chechen (8,000), Dargwa, Lak (300), Lezgi (1,200), Mesopotamian Spoken Arabic (100,000), North Levantine Spoken Arabic (500,000), Northern Uzbek, Western Farsi (500,000). The number of languages listed for Turkey (Asia) is 24. Of those, 23 are living languages and 1 is extinct.

Living languages

Abaza

[abq] 10,000 in Turkey (1995).  Alternate names: Abazin, Tapanta, Abazintsy, Ahuwa.  Dialects: Tapanta, Ashkaraua (Ashkar), Bezshagh.  Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Abkhaz-Abazin 
More information.

Abkhaz

[abk] 4,000 in Turkey (1980). Ethnic population: 39,000 in Turkey (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk). Coruh in northeast Turkey, and some in northwest. Mainly villages in Bolu and Sakarya provinces. Alternate names: Abxazo.  Dialects: Bzyb, Abzhui, Samurzakan.  Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Abkhaz-Abazin 
More information.

Adyghe

[ady] 277,900 in Turkey (2000). 6,409 monolinguals (1965 census). Ethnic population: 130,000 in Turkey (1965 census). Villages in Kayseri, Tokat, Karaman Maras, and many other provinces in central and western Anatolia. Alternate names: Adygey, Circassian, Cherkes.  Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Circassian 
More information.

Arabic, North Mesopotamian Spoken

[ayp] 400,000 in Turkey (1992). Mardin and Siirt provinces. Alternate names: Syro-Mesopotamian Vernacular Arabic.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, South, Arabic 
More information.

Azerbaijani, South

[azb] 530,000 in Turkey. Kars Province. Alternate names: Azeri.  Dialects: Kars.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Azerbaijani 
More information.

Crimean Turkish

[crh]  It is not known how many still speak it in Turkey, though there are definitely some Crimean Tatar villages, such as Karakuyu in Polatli District of Ankara Province. Alternate names: Crimean Tatar.  Dialects: Northern Crimean (Crimean Nogai, Steppe Crimean), Central Crimean, Southern Crimean.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern 
More information.

Dimli

[diq] 1,000,000 in Turkey (1999 WA). Between 1.5 and 2.5 million speakers (including all dialects) (1998 Paul). East central, mainly in Elazig, Bingol, and Diyarbakir provinces, upper courses of the Euphrates, Kizilirmaq, and Murat rivers. Also spoken in Germany. Alternate names: Dimili, Zazaki, Southern Zaza, Zaza.  Dialects: Sivereki, Kori, Hazzu (Hazo), Motki (Moti), Dumbuli (Dumbeli). Several dialects. Related to Gurani group.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
More information.

Georgian

[kat] 40,000 in Turkey (1980). 4,042 monolinguals (1965 census). Ethnic population: 91,000. Villages in Artvin, Ordu, Sakarya, and other provinces of north and northwest Anatolia. Alternate names: Kartuli, Gruzin.  Dialects: Imerxev.  Classification: Kartvelian, Georgian 
More information.

Hértevin

[hrt] 1,000 (1999 H. Mutzafi). Originally Siirt Province. They have left their villages, most emigrating to the West, but some may still be in Turkey. Dialects: Hértevin Proper (Arton), Umraya, Jinet. Considerable differences from other Northeastern Aramaic varieties, and not intelligible with any or most of them.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northeastern 
More information.

Kabardian

[kbd] 550,000 in Turkey (2001 Johnstone and Mandryk). Most around Kayseri. 1,000 villages of Kabardian and Adyghe in Turkey. Classification: North Caucasian, West Caucasian, Circassian 
More information.

Kazakh

[kaz] 600 in Turkey (1982). Salihli town in Manisa Province, and an unknown number in Istanbul city; 308 in Kayseri Province; refugees from Afghanistan, now Turkish citizens. Alternate names: Kazakhi, Qazaqi, Kazax, Kosach, Kaisak.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
More information.

Kirghiz

[kir] 1,137 in Turkey (1982). Van and Kars provinces. Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Aralo-Caspian 
More information.

Kirmanjki

[kiu] 140,000 in Turkey. Population includes 100,000 in 182 villages in Tunceli Province, 40,000 in 13 or more villages in Erzincan Province (1972). Tunceli Province, Tunceli Merkez, Hozat, Nazmiye, Pülümür, and Ovacik subprovinces; Erzincan Province, Erzincan and Cayirli subprovinces; 8 or more villages in Elazig Province, Elazig Merkez and Karakoqan subprovinces; 3 villages in Bingöl Province, Kigi and Karkiova subprovinces; 46 villages in Mush Province, Varto Subprovince; 15 or more villages in Sivas Province, Zara, Imranli, Kangal, and Divrigi subprovinces; 11 or more villages in Erzerum Province, Hinis and Tekman subprovinces; and in many major cities of Turkey. Also spoken in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Alternate names: Zaza, Northern Zaza, Zazaki, Alevica, Dimilki, Dersimki, So-Bê, Zonê Ma.  Dialects: Tunceli, Varto. Closest to Dimli. Lexical similarity 70% with Dimli.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Zaza-Gorani 
More information.

Kumyk

[kum]  A few villages. Alternate names: Kumuk, Kumuklar, Kumyki.  Dialects: Khasav-Yurt, Buinak, Khaidak.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Western, Ponto-Caspian 
More information.

Kurdish, Northern

[kmr] 3,950,000 in Turkey (1980). Population total all countries: 9,113,505. Ethnic population: 6,500,000 in Turkey (1993 Johnstone). The majority are in provinces of Hakkari, Siirt, Mardin, Agri, Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Bingol, Van, Adiyaman, and Mus. Also in Urfa, Kars, Tunceli, Malatya, Erzurum, Marash, Sivas, and other provinces. Communities in central Turkey (Cankiri, Cihanbeyli, near Konya). Many live in large cities in western Turkey (including Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir). Also spoken in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Russia (Europe), Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, USA. Alternate names: Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Kirmancî, Kermancî, Kurdi, Kurdî.  Dialects: Boti (Botani), Marashi, Ashiti, Bayezidi, Hekari, Shemdinani. Differences in speaking among dialects, but all use the same written form.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish 
More information.

Laz

[lzz] 30,000 in Turkey (1980). Population total all countries: 33,000. Ethnic population: 92,000 in Turkey (1980). Rize in northeast, towns of Kemer, Atin, Artasen, Vitse, Arkab, Hopa, Sarp; and villages in Artvin, Sakarya, Kocaeli, and Bolu provinces. Also spoken in Belgium, France, Georgia, Germany, USA. Alternate names: Lazuri, Laze, Chan, Chanzan, Zan, Chanuri.  Dialects: Officially considered to be a single language with Mingrelian, called 'Zan', although linguists recognize that they are not inherently intelligible with each other.  Classification: Kartvelian, Zan 
More information.

Osetin

[oss]  The Digor dialect is reported to be in Bitlis and another small town in the west. Iron dialect in cities or towns of Sarikamis and Erzerum. Also in Mugla, Kars, Antalya. May also be in Syria. Alternate names: Ossete.  Dialects: Digor, Tagaur, Kurtat, Allagir, Tual, Iron.  Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern, Northeastern 
More information.

Turkish

[tur] 46,278,000 in Turkey (1987). Population total all countries: 50,625,794. Spoken throughout Turkey as first or second language. Also spoken in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Netherlands, Romania, Russia (Asia), Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA, Uzbekistan. Alternate names: Türkçe, Türkisch, Anatolian.  Dialects: Danubian, Eskisehir, Razgrad, Dinler, Rumelian, Karamanli, Edirne, Gaziantep, Urfa. Danubian is western; other dialects are eastern.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Turkish 
More information.

Turkish Sign Language

[tsm]   Classification: Deaf sign language 
More information.

Turkmen

[tuk] 925 in Turkey (1982). Tokat Province. Alternate names: Trukhmen.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Turkmenian 
More information.

Turoyo

[tru] 3,000 in Turkey (1994 Hezy Mutzafi). Population total all countries: 84,000. Ethnic population: 50,000 to 70,000 (1994). Southeastern Turkey, Mardin Province (originally). Also spoken in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Iraq, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden, Syria, USA. Alternate names: Suryoyo, Syryoyo, Turani, Süryani.  Dialects: Midyat, Midin, Kfarze, `Iwardo, Anhil, Raite. Related to Northeastern Aramaic varieties. Turoyo subdialects exhibit a cleavage between Town Turoyo (Midyat Turoyo), Village Turoyo, and Mixed (Village-Town) Turoyo. The latter is spoken mainly by the younger generation outside Tur `Abdin, Turkey, the language’s original location, and is gaining ground throughout the Jacobite diaspora in other countries.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern, Central, Northwestern 
More information.

Uyghur

[uig] 500 in Turkey (1981). Kayseri city, and an unknown number in Istanbul. Possibly in Iran. Alternate names: Uighur, Uygur, Uigur.  Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
More information.

Uzbek, Southern

[uzs] 1,981 in Turkey (1982). Hatay, Gaziantep, and Urfa provinces. Also possibly in Germany. Classification: Altaic, Turkic, Eastern 
More information.

Extinct languages

Syriac

[syc] Extinct. Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Also spoken in Iraq. Alternate names: Classical Syriac, Ancient Syriac, Suryaya, Suryoyo, Lishana Atiga.  Dialects: Western Syriac, Eastern Syriac. The Syrian churches: Eastern (Nestorian), Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite), Syrian Catholic (Melkite, Maronite) developed a vast literature based on the Edessa (currently Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey) variety of the Syrian dialect. The Assyrian group (see Assyrian Neo-Aramaic in Iraq and elsewhere) separated denominationally from the Chaldean (see Chaldean Neo-Aramaic in Iraq) and Jacobite (see Turoyo in Turkey and Syria) in the Middle Ages. Neo-Eastern Aramaic languages spoken by Christians are often dubbed 'Neo-Syriac', although not directly descended from Syriac.  Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, Central, Aramaic, Eastern 
More information.