Rutul language

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мыхӀабишды чӀел myxʼabišdy čʼel[needs IPA]
Native to Southern Dagestan, Russia; Azerbaijan
Ethnicity Rutul
Native speakers
unknown (undated figure of 47,000)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Dagestan (Russia)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 rut
Glottolog rutu1240[2]
Rutul in the Caucasus

Rutul is a language spoken by the Rutuls, an ethnic group living in Dagestan (Russia) and some parts of Azerbaijan. It is spoken by 29,400 people in Dagestan and the remaining 110 in Azerbaijan.[3] The word Rutul derives from the name of a Dagestani village where speakers of this language make up the majority.[4][broken citation]

Rutul is endangered in Russia[5] and classified as "definitely endangered" by UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.[6]


Rutul belongs to the Lezgic group of the Northeast Caucasian language family. The Rutuls call their language myxʼabišdy čʼel.


The term Rutul was first used in the 15th century to designate Lezgic-speaking people in what is now southern Dagestan and Azerbaijan's Shaki Rayon. It has been in official use since after 1917. Rutul was not a written language until the writing system for it (based on Cyrillic) was developed in 1990. Speakers are often bilingual or multilingual, having a good command of the Azeri, Lezgian and/or Russian languages. There are 8 dialects and 2 subdialects of Rutul. The literary version of the language remains in the process of development. In the Rutul-populated regions of southern Russia, Rutul is taught in primary schools (grades 1 to 4).[4][broken citation]

Related languages[edit]

Among the languages of the Lezgic group, Tsakhur appears to be the closest relative of Rutul.[7][broken citation] Other than these two, there are seven more languages in the Lezgic group, namely: Lezgian, Tabasaran, Aghul, Budukh, Kryts, Udi and Archi.

Rutul alphabeth

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rutul at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Rutul". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Ethnologue entry for Rutul
  4. ^ a b (Russian) ETHEO: Rutul Language
  5. ^ Published in: Encyclopedia of the world’s endangered languages. Edited by Christopher Moseley. London & New York: Routledge, 2007. 211–280.
  6. ^ UNESCO Interactive Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
  7. ^ (Russian) The Tsakhur language. The ETHEO Project. Last updated 11 October 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2006

External links[edit]