Turkic Languages

See also 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

Lars Johanson (2016)

The following rough geographical division into ‘branches’, lower-level groupings, mirrors basic genealogical affiliations, to some extent also typological features. The modern languages belong to:

· The Southwestern (SW) or Oghuz branch.
· The Northwestern (NW) or Kipchak branch.
· The Southeastern (SE) or Karluk branch.
· The Northeastern (NE) or Siberian branch.
· The Oghur branch, represented by Chuvash.
· The Arghu branch, represented by Khalaj.

SW, NW and SE Turkic are genealogically relatively homogeneous branches. NE Turkic is an areal cluster that exhibits many common characteristics without forming a homogeneous genealogical group.
The four first branches may be further divided into the following subbranches:

SW Turkic
SWW, a western, West Oghuz, subbranch comprising Turkish, Gagauz and Azeri.
SWS, a southern, South Oghuz, subbranch comprising non-standard dialects of Southeast Anatolia, southern Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
SWE, an eastern, East Oghuz, subbranch comprising Khorasan Oghuz and Turkmen.

NW Turkic
NWW, a western, West Kipchak or Ponto-Caspian subbranch comprising Kumyk, Karachay-Balkar, Crimean Tatar and Karaim.
NWN, a northern, North Kipchak or Volga-Ural subbranch comprising Tatar (Kazan Tatar, Mishar Tatar, etc.) and Bashkir.
NWS, a southern, South Kipchak or Aralo-Caspian subbranch comprising Noghay, Kazakh, Karakalpak and Kipchak Uzbek.
NWE, an eastern subbranch comprising Kirghiz and South Altay Turkic.

SE Turkic
SEW, a western, West Karluk, subbranch comprising Uzbek and its various non-standard dialects.
SEE, an eastern, East Karluk, subbranch comprising Uyghur and its various non-standard dialects.

NE Turkic
NES, a southern, South Siberian, subbranch comprising Sayan Turkic, i.e. Tuvan, Tofan, Soyot, Dukhan, Tuhan, etc., and non-Sayan Turkic, i.e. Khakas, Shor, North Altay, Chulym, etc.
NEW, a western, West Siberian, subbranch comprising smaller varieties such as Tura, Baraba, Tomsk, Tümen, Ishim, Irtysh, Tobol, Tara, etc.
NEN, a northern, North Siberian, subbranch comprising Yakut (Sakha) and Dolgan.

Chuvash, the only modern representative of the Oghur branch, is spoken in the Volga region, i.e. in the geographical NWN area. Khalaj, the only modern representative of the Arghu branch, is spoken in central Iran, i.e. in the geographical SWS area. Yellow Uyghur, probably of NES origin and Salar, developed from the SW branch, are spoken in West China, i.e. in the geographical SEE area. Fu-yü Turkic, spoken in Manchuria, is erroneously considered a Kirghiz dialect, whereas it is closely related to Khakas
The following synoptic diagram shows the areas of the four branches NW, NE, SW, SE. The branches Chuvash and Khalaj are enclaves in the geographical areas NWN and SWS, respectively.

© Éva Á. Csató & Lars Johanson