Tofa language

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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]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

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

Tofa has letters that are not present in the Russian alphabet: 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. 1.0 1.1 Население Российской Федерации по владению языками (XLS) (in Russian). Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Karagas". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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