Oghur languages

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Astrakhan Oblast, Chuvashia, Dagestan
Linguistic classification: Turkic
  • Oghur
Glottolog: bolg1249[1]

The Oghur or Oğuric[2] languages (also known as Bulgar, Pre-Proto Bulgaric,[3] Hunno-Bulgarian,[4] Hunno-Turkic,[5] or Lir-Turkic and r-Turkic) are a branch of the Turkic language family. The only extant member of the group is the Chuvash language. Languages from this family were spoken in some nomadic tribal confederations, such as those of the Onogurs, Bulgars, and Khazars.[6] Some scholars consider Hunnic a similar language.[7]


The Oghuric language is part of Turkic language distinct from the Common Turkic. Today is represented only by Chuvash, while the Bulgar, and related Khazar, became extinct.[8] There's no content among linguists on the relation between Oghuric and Common Turkic. There several issues without clear conclusion; if they are parallel branches of Proto-Turkic (3000-500 BC), which branch is more arhaic and which split up, was Oghuric a separate tongue, and did Oghuric represent Archaic Turkic before phonetic changes in ca. 100-400 AD.[2]


The Oghuric languages are also known as "-r Turkic" because the final consonant in relevant words is "*r", not the "*z" in Common Turkic[8] and so the term is Oghur in Oghuric and Oghuz in Common Turkic.[2] More specific shifts are Com. "š" > Oğ. "l" (tâš - tâl; stone); "s" > "š"; "č" > "ś"; "k/q" > "ğ"; "y" > "j, ś"; "d,δ" > "δ - z (10th cent.), r (13th cent.)"; "ğd" > "z - r (14th cent.)"; "a" > "l (after 9th cent.)".[9][10]

Denis Sinor believes that the difference means that those tribes could not have come from lands like Mongolia, which uses a "-z" language.[11] However, there many loanwords in Mongolic from Oghuric, like Mong. ikere, Oghur. *ikir, Hung. iker, Comm. ikiz (twins).[2] It is believed that they lived in the Mongolian borderlands before the 5th century.[12]

Oghuric languages have some specific features: unlike other Altaic, they have initial consonant clusters; unlike Mongolian, they have no initial dental or velar spirants (like Turkic). Finally, unlike Turkic, they have initial voiced b- and both -p- and -b- in the middle of words and initial n- (like Mongolian).[4]

The Oghuric tribes are often connected with the Hungarians whose ethnonym is usually derived from Onoghurs (> (H)ungars).[13] The Hungarians were mixed Finno-Ugric and Turkic, with strong Oghuric-Bulgar and Khazar influences.[14][15] Hungarian has many borrowings from Turkic and Oghuric languages:[16] Hung. tenger, Oghur. *tengir, Comm. tengiz (sea),[2] Hung. gyũrũ, Oghur. jürük, Comm. yüzük (ring),[17] and terms of equestrian culture (horse), nyereg (saddle), fék (bridle), ostor (whip).[18] A number of Hungarian loanwords were borrowed before the 9th century, shown by sz- (< Oğ. ś-) rather than Comm. gy- (< Oğ. ǰ-): example Hung. szél, Oghur. *śäl, Chuv. śil, Comm. yel (wind), Hung. szűcs (tailor), Hung. szőllő (grapes).[17]


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bolgar". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Golden 2011, p. 30.
  3. Golden 2011, p. 39.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Granberg, Antoaneta (2008). "The Hunno-Bulgarian Language" (PDF). The DSCA journal. Danish Society for Central Asia: 9. ISSN 1604-8865.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Pritsak 1982, p. 459.
  6. Golden 2011, p. 239.
  7. Pritsak, Omeljan (1982). The Hunnic Language of the Attila Clan (PDF). IV. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. p. 470. ISSN 0363-5570.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Golden 1992, p. 95–96.
  9. Golden 1992, p. 20, 96.
  10. Golden 2011, p. 30, 236–239.
  11. Golden 2011, p. 29.
  12. Golden 2011, p. 31.
  13. Golden 1992, p. 102–103.
  14. Golden 1992, p. 262.
  15. Golden 2011, p. 333.
  16. Golden 1992, p. 259–260.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Golden 2011, p. 164.
  18. Golden 1992, p. 259.