Noghay language is part of the Kipchak group of Turkic languages. Today it is spoken in different regions, including those in Russian federation (Stavropol, Astrakhan, Dagestan), Romania, Crimea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey. It is closely resemble to Kazakh and Karakalpak languages, other Turkic languages. It has three major varities: Ak Noghay, Kara Noghay and Asıl Noghay. 

Language of Noghays migrated from Caucasia to Anatolia during the 18th and 19th centuries has become a variety of the Standard Noghay language, which has distinct features as a result of common cultural and linguistic interactions. Although the Standard Noghay language is part of Kipchak group, its variety in Turkey bears many features of Oghuz languages. It is possible to called it “Turkish Noghay”, which has the features of a mixed language in terms of phonetics, syntax and lexicon.

Major grammatical features of this language are as follows [1]:

Phonetical features

/b-/ consonant at word initial level


The old Turkish words ber-, bar- and bar contain word initial /b-/ consonant, which is preserved in the standard Noghay language. However, it is used as /b/~/v/~/w/ in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey: bar- ~ war- ~ var-; ber- ~ ver- etc.


In the Standard Noghay language the first person singular pronoun is “men”. The demonstrative pronoun “Bu” (this) is used with b- when it appears without any suffix. But when it is used with a suffix, m- is used. In the Noghay language spoken in Turkey the use b in both words is common: bağa, bunı etc.

/b-/~ /Ø/

Word initial /b-/ morpheme in the Standard Noghay language is preserved in the verb bol-. However, in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey both bol- and its derivative ol- are employed.

Word initial /k-/ consonant

In the Standard Noghay language /k-/ which appears in the old Turkish words with front vowels is preserved. Although in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey those with k- are preserved, those with g- are also very common: gör-, gel- etc.

Word initial /t-/ consonant

Word initial consonant t- is preserved in the standard Noghay. However, in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey its derivation, which was transformed into /d-/, is also used: dört, dil etc.

Morphological features


In the Standard Noghay language the past tense participle is -GAn. Although it is also used in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey, another participle, namely –Dik, is also employed. The related examples are as follows: keldiğini, gördük yerinde etc.

Future tense

The future tense suffix in the Standard Noghay language is -AyAk. It appears as -AcAk in the Noghay language spoken in Turkey: tağıtacaz, kelecekpen vb.

Past tense

In past tense expressions double morphemes are used: gelmişler, kelgenner etc.


The lexicon of the Noghay language spoken in Turkey has significantly influenced by Turkish: bunlar “these” (St. Nog. bular), değil “not” (St. Nog. tuwul), gendi “him-/herself” (St. Nog. öz),iyi “good” (St. Nog. aruw), unït- (St. Nog. mıt-).

The examples above clearly show that the interaction between Turkish language and Noghay language spoken in Turkey is intense and it led to a significant difference in the grammatical features of Noghay language spoken in Turkey. Noghay people living in Turkey perceive their language secondary to Turkish and it is safe to argue that it is only used in informal settings. Therefore, it is seen that that language is under threat in terms of its transmission to next generations and its sustainability. Thus, Noghay language spoken in Turkey should be documented and its grammatical characteristics should be described.

Studies on Noghay language in Turkey

There are numerous studies about the history, culture, sociological characteristics of Noghay people. However, studies on Noghay language is not as much as these studies. On the other hand, those about Noghay language include only short descriptions and references to the language.

However, in the 1990s studies on Noghay language.[2] In 2016 there have have been seven master’s theses and two PhD theses about the Noghay language and literature carried out in different universities in Turkey.

The book by Dilek Ergönenç Akbaba, entitled ‘Nogay Türkçesi Grameri Ses ve Şekil Bilgisi’ (Grammatical, Phonetical and Morphological analysis of Turkish Noghay), is one of the most comprehensive and basic studies in the field.[3] The book was first published by Grafiker Publications in 2009. It analyses the Standard Noghay language in terms of phonetical and morphological features. It also covers Noghay texts and their translations into Turkish. Akbaba’s other significant study is her PhD thesis, entitled ‘Descriptive verbs in the written languages of Kazakh and Noghay Turkish languages”, published in 2011.[4] It contrasts descriptive verbs of two languages using a comparative method. Akbaba has also numerous articles about the Noghay language.

Another scholar dealing with the Noghay language spoken in Turkey is Nesrin Güllüdağ. Her master thesis, entitled ‘Grammar of the Noghay language spoken in Turkey’, includes basic information about the history, social life, language and literature of Noghays. It also covers grammatical characteristics of the language (phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax).[5] The final section of the study includes texts in the language and a lexicon. A study by Güllüdağ and Doğan, entitled ‘Noghay myths’ covers the Noghay epic texts from Caucasia and their Turkish translations. It was published by the TDK Publications in 2014.[6]

Özlem Ateş’s master’s thesis, entitled ‘Noghay dialect of Paşadağı regions’, is another significant study on the Noghay language spoken in Turkey. It covers the Noghay texts collected from informants living in the Noghay villages in the Paşadağı region. It also includes transcribed texts, dealing with phonetic features and voice changes of the dialect.[7]

Another significant study is the master’s thesis by Dilek Arslan Çetin, which employed oral history methods. Given that the oral history methods are used in the study, it presents invaluable data on the Noghay language spoken in Turkey. The study was expanded covering the data from both the Noghay language spoken in Turkey and Turkish and was published by the Nogaytürk Publications in 2015.[8]

The Journal of Endangered Languages, which is published under the framework of the endangered languages project, published the Noghay file [9]. It is significant in that Noghay language was analysed under the concept of endangered languages and that covered first views about this status of the language.[10]

Given that the study of literary texts is also about the linguistic features of the language, the following studies should also be mentioned here: a master’s thesis on Mamay epic by İhsan Kalenderoğlu (2001) [11];  another master thesis on the Noghay tales by Murat Işık [12] and  another one about the Noghay Folk Songs by Mustafa Yıldız [13].


[1] Some of the information given here are given from the following article by Ülkü Çelik Şavk.