Gagauz language

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Gagauz dili, Gagauzca
Native to Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey
Region Gagauzia
Native speakers
140,000 (2004–2007)[1]
  • Oghuz
    • Western Oghuz
      • Gagauz
Latin (Gagauz alphabet)
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 gag
Glottolog gaga1249[2]
Linguasphere part of 44-AAB-a
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Gagauz (Gagauz dili, Gagauzca) also called Gagauz Turkish (Gagauz Türkçäsi) is a Turkic language spoken by the ethnic Gagauz people of Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey, and it is the official language of the Autonomous Region of Gagauzia in Moldova. Gagauz belongs to the Oghuz branch of Turkic languages, alongside Azeri, Turkmen, Crimean Tatar, and Turkish. Gagauz has two dialects, Bulgar Gagauzi and Maritime Gagauzi. Gagauz is a distinct language from Balkan Gagauz Turkish.[3]


It appears that the first alphabet to be used for the language was the Greek alphabet[4] in the late 19th century. For example, orientalist Otto Blau claims that plays of Euripides had been translated into the Gagauz language and had been written with Greek letters.[5]

Beginning in 1957, Cyrillic was used up until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Gagauz currently uses a Latin-based alphabet, modelled after the modern Turkish alphabet, with the addition of three letters: ⟨ä⟩ to represent the sound of [æ] (as ⟨ə⟩ in Azeri; Turkish simply uses ⟨e⟩), ⟨ê⟩ to represent the sound of ə (as in Romanian ă) and ⟨ț⟩ or ⟨ţ⟩ to represent the sound [ts] (as in Romanian).

Latin alphabet

A a Ä ä B b C c Ç ç D d E e Ê ê
F f G g H h I ı İ i J j K k L l
M m N n O o Ö ö P p R r S s Ş ş
T t Ţ ţ U u Ü ü V v Y y Z z

Cyrillic alphabet (historical)

А а Ӓ ӓ Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё
Ж ж Ӂ ӂ З з И и Й й К к Л л М м
Н н О о Ӧ ӧ П п Р р С с Т т У у
Ӱ ӱ Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ Ъ ъ
Ы ы Ь ь Э э Ю ю Я я


Although closely related to Turkish, Gagauz has many more European and fewer Arabic or Persian loanwords than Turkish.

See also

Gagauzia Flag


  1. Gagauz at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Gagauz". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) (2009). "Language Family Trees: Altaic, Turkic, Southern, Turkish". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Dallas, TX: SIL International. Retrieved 2011-04-29.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. M. Ciachir. Basarabialâ gagauzlarân istoriassi / Chișinău: 1933, p. 133
  5. Măcriș, Anatol. Găgăuzii / Bucharest: Editura PACO, 2008, p. 71.

Further reading

  • Ulutaş, İsmail. 2004. Relative clauses in Gagauz syntax. Istanbul: Isis Press. ISBN 975-428-283-8
  • Shabashov A.V., 2002, Odessa, Astroprint, "Gagauzes: terms of kinship system and origin of the people", (Шабашов А.В., "Гагаузы: система терминов родства и происхождение народа")

External links