Chulym language

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Чулым,[1] Ӧс (июс) тили, татар тили[2][3]
Native to Russia
Ethnicity Chulyms
Native speakers
44  (2010 census)[4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 clw

Chulym (Russian: Чулымский язык), also known as Chulim, Chulym-Turkic, Küerik, Chulym Tatar or Melets Tatar (not to be confused with the Siberian Tatar language) is the language of the Chulyms. The name the people use to refer to themselves, and also to their language, is Ös, literally ‘self’ or ‘own’. It is also spoken by the Kacik (Kazik, Kuarik). This name originated from a now extinct tribe.


The language is closely related to the Shor and Khakas languages. Though considered by some as one language, the Ös speakers themselves do not believe this to be the case.

Chulym comprises distinct dialects, corresponding to locations along the Chulym River: Lower Chulym (now believed extinct), Middle Chulym, and Upper Chulym.

Chulym is a moribund language and will most likely be extinct within 25 years. It is listed in the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages. During the filming of the 2008 American documentary film The Linguists, linguists Greg Anderson and K. David Harrison interviewed and recorded 20 speakers and estimate there may be between 35-40 fluent speakers out of a community of overall 426 members.[5] The youngest fluent speaker was 54 at the time of filming.[6]

The speakers are located in Russia, in central Siberia, north of the Altay Mountains, in the basin of the Chulym River, a tributary of the Ob River.[7] All speakers are bilingual in Russian. In Soviet times, speakers of the language suffered as children were discouraged from or punished for using the language in schools, in a process of language devalorization.[8]


  1. ^ Письменные язки мира. Языки Российской Федерации. — М.: Academia, 2003. — Т. 2. — ISBN 5-87444-191-3 (Russian)
  2. ^ Invention of Ös writing (Middle Chulym) on YouTube (Chulym)]
  3. ^ Чулымский говор в проекте Endangered Languages Project (Tatar)
  4. ^ Chulym at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  5. ^ Harrison, K. D.; G. D. S. Anderson (2006). "Ös tili (Middle and Upper Chulym Dialects): Towards a comprehensive documentation". Turkic Languages 10 (1): 47–71. 
  6. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (18 January 2008). "The Linguists". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 February 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Harrison, K. D.; G. D. S. Anderson (2003). "Middle Chulym: Theoretical aspects, recent fieldwork and current state". Turkic Languages 7 (2): 245–256. 
  8. ^ The Linguists (film, 2008)


  • Anderson, Gregory and K. David Harrison (2006) Ös tili (Middle and Upper Chulym Dialects): Towards a comprehensive documentation. Turkic Languages. 10(1) 47-71.

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