Altai, Southern


A language of Russian Federation

Alternate Names
Altai, Oirot, Oyrot

57,400 (2010 census). Ethnic population: 67,200 (including Northern Altai [atv]). 2002 census excluded 2,400 Talangits and 2,650 Teleuts.


Gorno-Altai Ao mountains, Mongolia and China border.

Language Maps
Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Altai Republic (1993, Constitution, Article 68(2)).


Altai Proper (Altai-Kizhi, Altaj Kizi, Maina-Kizhi, Southern Altai), Talangit (Chuy, Talangit-Tolos, Telengit), Teleut. No intelligiblility of Northern Altai [atv].

Language Use

Home, and with other Altai. All ages. All also use Russian [rus] except older adults as a contact language, for literature, and urban professional and cultural life.

Language Development
Written Altai based on Southern Altai, but is rejected by Northern Altai children. Taught in primary schools as a medium in a few schools and as a subject in a few schools. NT: 2003.
Cyrillic script. Mongolian script.
Other Comments

Different from Oirat [xal] (Kalmyk-Oirat), a Mongolian language. Traditional religion, Christian.