|Glottolog||oghu1243 (Oghuz + Kipchak + Uzbek)|
The Oghuz languages are a sub-branch of the Turkic language family, spoken by approximately 110 million people. The three languages with the largest number of speakers are Turkish, Azerbaijani and Turkmen, which combined account for more than 95% of speakers.
The term "Oghuz" is applied to the southwestern branch of the Common Turkic languages. It is in reference to the Oghuz Turks, who migrated from the Altai Mountains to Central Asia in the 8th century and further expanded to the Middle East and to the Balkans as separate tribes.
The Oghuz languages currently spoken have been classified into three categories based on their features and geography: western, eastern, and southern.
The extinct Pecheneg language was probably Oghuz, but as it is poorly documented, it is difficult to further classify it within the Oghuz family; it is therefore usually excluded from classification.
The Oghuz languages share a number of features that have led linguists to classify them together. Some of the features are shared with other Turkic languages, and others are unique to the Oghuz family.
- Loss of initial *h sound (shared with all Turkic languages but Khalaj)
- Loss of productivity of the original Turkic instrumental case -n (shared with all Turkic languages but Sakha and Khalaj)
- Voicing of stops before front vowels (e.g. gör- < kör-, "to see")
- Loss of q/ɣ after ɯ/u (e.g. quru < quruq, "dry", sarɯ < sarɯɣ, "yellow")
- Change in form of participial from -gan to -an