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Tofa language

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Title: Tofa language  
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Subject: Turkic languages, Tuvan language, Khakas language, Yakut language, Azerbaijani language
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Tofa language

Тоъфа дыл (Tòfa dıl)
Native to Russia
Region Irkutsk Oblast
Ethnicity Tofalar
Native speakers
93  (2010 census)[1]
  • Siberian
    • South Siberian
      • Sayan Turkic
        • Tofa
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kim
Glottolog kara1462[2]

Tofa, also known as Tofalar or Karagas, is one of the Turkic languages spoken in Russia's Irkutsk Oblast by the Tofalars. It is a moribund language; in 2010 only 93 people were reported to speak it.[1]

Tofa is most-closely related to the Tuvan language[3] and forms a dialect continuum with it. Tuha, and Tsengel Tuvan may be dialects of either Tuvan or Tofa. Tofa shares a number of innovations with these languages, including the change *d > z (as in *adaq > azak "foot") and the development of low tones on historically short vowels (as in *et > èt "meat, flesh").

Writing system

Tofa, although not often written, employs a Cyrillic alphabet:

А а Б б В в Г г Ғ ғ Д д Е е Ә ә
Ё ё Ж ж З з И и I i Й й К к Қ қ
Л л М м Н н Ң ң О о Ө ө П п Р р
С с Т т У у Ү ү Ф ф Х х Һ һ Ц ц
Ч ч Ҷ ҷ Ш ш Щ щ ъ Ы ы ь Э э
Ю ю Я я

The additional letters in Tofa are Ғғ [ɣ], Әә [æ], Ii [iː], Ққ [q], Ңң [ŋ], Өө [œ], Үү [y], Һһ [h], and Ҷҷ [d͡ʒ]. Additionally, the letter ъ is sometimes used after a vowel to mark low tone, as in эът "meat".

Morphology and syntax


Tofa has six personal pronouns:

Personal pronouns
Singular Plural
Tofa (transliteration) English Tofa (transliteration) English
мен (men) I биъс (bìs) we
сен (sen) you (singular) сілер (siler) you (plural, formal)
оң (oŋ) he/she/it оларың (olarıŋ) they

Tofa also has the pronouns бо "this", тээ "that", кум "who", and чү "what".


  1. ^ a b Население Российской Федерации по владению языками [Population of the Russian Federation by languages used] (XLS) (in Russian). 
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Karagas". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Lars Johanson (1998) "The History of Turkic". In Lars Johanson & Éva Ágnes Csató (eds) The Turkic Languages. London, New York: Routledge, 81-125. Classification of Turkic languages at

External links

  • 'Natural' and Obsolescent Change in Tofa

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