The Tubalar language


The Tubalar language is known under the following names: Tubalar, Tuba, Tuba-Kizhi, the Tuba-Kizhi dialect, the Chern Tatar dialect (from the self-name yish-kizhi “people of the Chern taiga”). The Tubalars are a Turkic-speaking people living in the northern part of the Altai Republic, in the Turochaksky, Choysky and Maiminsky districts. The Tubalars used to be included in the Altai group, and their language was considered a northern dialect of the Altai language along with Chelkan and Kumandin.

The village of Iogach
General Characteristics

At the turn of the 20-21st centuries, sociolinguistic surveys presented Tubalar as an endangered, but not a dying, language. In 1999, 27.8% of the respondents answered that they could speak the Tuba dialect fluently, 26.3% can understand but do not speak it, and 45.9% do not know the language”. Over 90% of Tubalars answered that they communicated with their children in Russian. In 2002 “about 19% of Tubalars aged 30 to 49 claim that they could speak the language fluently and another 11% that they could speak it on any topic but prefer Russian in communication”. However, the degree of proficiency was determined using a direct question (“can you speak Tubalar?”), which often gives a biased result. However, in 2006 the state of preservation of the language appeared extremely eroded and, apparently, the damage is irreversible.

Interactive atlas of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East