Oghuz languages

Southwestern Turkic
Linguistic classificationTurkic
Glottologoghu1243  (Oghuz + Kipchak + Uzbek)
Oghuz Turkic Languages distribution map.png
 Turkish  Gagauz  Azerbaijani  Qashqai  Turkmen  Khorasani  Salar

The Oghuz languages are a sub-branch of the Turkic language family, spoken by approximately 108 million people. The three languages with the largest number of speakers are Turkish, Azerbaijani and Turkmen, which combined account for more than 95% of speakers.

Kara-Khanid scholar Mahmud al-Kashgari, who lived in 11th century, stated that the Oghuz language was the simplest among all Turkic languages.[1]

Swedish turcologist and linguist Lars Johanson notes that Oghuz languages form a clearly discernible and closely related block within the Turkic language family as the cultural and political history of the speakers of Oghuz languages has linked them more closely up to the modern age.[2]


The term "Oghuz" is applied to the southwestern branch of the Common Turkic languages. It is in reference to the Oghuz Turks, who migrated from the Altay Mountains[3] to Central Asia in the 8th century and further expanded to the Middle East and to the Balkans as separate tribes.


The Oghuz languages currently spoken have been classified into three categories based on their features and geography: Western, Eastern, and Southern.

Proto-Turkic Common Turkic Oghuz

Two further languages, Crimean Tatar and Urum, are Kipchak languages, but have been heavily influenced by the Oghuz languages.

The extinct Pecheneg language was probably Oghuz, but as it is poorly documented, it is difficult to further classify it within the Oghuz family; it is therefore usually excluded from classification.[4]


The Oghuz languages share a number of features that have led linguists to classify them together. Some of the features are shared with other Turkic languages, and others are unique to the Oghuz family.

Shared features

Unique features

  • Voicing of stops (e.g. Anatolian Turkish gök < Ottoman گوك gök < Proto-Turkic kȫk, "sky"; Anatolian dağ < Ottoman داغ dağ < PTrk tāg "mountain")
  • Loss of q/ɣ after ɯ/u (e.g. quru < quruq, "dry", sarɯ < sarɯɣ, "yellow")
  • Change in form of participial from -gan to -an


The remarkable similarity between Oghuz languages may be demonstrated through the sentence, which employs a verbal noun in the dative as a link between the main verb and auxiliary. This feature is universally shared by all Oghuz languages.[5] Turcologist Julian Rentzsch uses this particular sentence in his work titled "Uniformity and diversity in Turkic inceptive constructions":[6]

English: ‘The dead man rose, sat down and began to speak.’

  • Turkish: Ölü doğrulup oturdu ve konuşmaya başladı.
  • Turkmen: Öli ýerinden galyp oturdy-da, geplemäge başlady.
  • Azerbaijani: Ölü durub oturdu və danışmağa başladı.
  • Gagauz: Ölü oturdu da bašladï lafetmää.

Literary works

See also


  1. ^ D. T. Potts, (2014), Nomadism in Iran: From Antiquity to the Modern Era, p. 177
  2. ^ Johanson, Lars (1998). The Turkic Languages. Routledge. p. 2. ISBN 0-415-08200-5.
  3. ^ Danver, Steven (2015). The Native People of the World, An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures and Contemporary Issues, Volume 1-3. Routledge. p. 565. ISBN 9780765682222. "Historically, all of the Western or Oghuz Turks have been called Turkmen or Turkomen... In the 7th century C.E., they migrated from their ancestral homeland in the Altay mountains westward..."
  4. ^ Баскаков, Н. А. Тюркские языки, Москва 1960, с. 126-131.
  5. ^ Julian Rentzsch, "Uniformity and diversity in Turkic inceptive constructions", Johannes Gutenberg University, p. 270
  6. ^ Julian Rentzsch, "Uniformity and diversity in Turkic inceptive constructions", Johannes Gutenberg University, pp. 270-271

Further reading

  • Golden, Peter B. (2020). "Oghuz". In Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Brill Online. ISSN 1873-9830.
  • Johanson, Lars & Csató, Éva Ágnes (1998). The Turkic Languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08200-5.
  • Menges, Karl H. (1995). The Turkic Languages and Peoples. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. ISBN 3-447-03533-1.

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