Kipchak–Bolgar Kipchak–Cuman Kipchak–Nogai and Kyrgyz–Kipchak
The Kipchak languages (also known as the Kypchak, Qypchaq, or Northwestern Turkic languages) are a sub-branch of the Turkic language family spoken by more than 25 million people in an area spanning from Ukraine to China.
The Kipchak languages share a number of features that have led linguists to classify them together. Some of these features are shared with other Turkic languages; others are unique to the Kipchak family.
- Change of Proto-Turkic *d to /j/ (e.g. *hadaq > ajaq "foot")
- Loss of initial *h sound (preserved only in Khalaj. See above example.)
- Extensive labial vowel harmony (e.g. olor vs. olar "them")
- Frequent fortition (in the form of assibilation) of initial */j/ (e.g. *jetti > ʒetti "seven")
- Diphthongs from syllable-final */ɡ/ and */b/ (e.g. *taɡ > taw "mountain", *sub > suw "water")
The Kipchak languages may be broken down into four groups, based on geography and shared features:
- Kipchak–Bulgar (Uralian, Uralo-Caspian): Bashkir and Tatar
- Kipchak–Cuman (Ponto-Caspian): Karachay-Balkar, Kumyk, Karaim, Krymchak. Urum and Crimean Tatar appear to have a Kipchak–Cuman base, but have been heavily influenced by Oghuz languages.
- Kipchak–Nogai (Aralo-Caspian): Nogai, Siberian Tatar, Karakalpak and Kazakh.
- Kyrgyz–Kipchak: Kyrgyz and Southern Altai.