Shor language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
шор тили, shor tili, тадар тили, tadar tili
Native toRussia
Native speakers
2,800 (2010 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3cjs

The Shor language (endonym: шор тили, тадар тили) is a Turkic language spoken by about 2,800 people in a region called Mountain Shoriya, in the Kemerovo Province in Southwest Siberia, although the entire Shor population in this area is over 12,000 people. Presently, not all ethnic Shors speak Shor and the language suffered a decline from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. During this period the Shor language was neither written nor taught in schools. However, since the 1980s and 1990s there has been a Shor language revival. The language is now taught at the Novokuznetsk branch of the Kemerovo State University.

Like other Siberian Turkic languages, Shor has borrowed many roots from Mongolian, as well as words from Russian. The two main dialects are Mrassu and Kondoma, named after the rivers in whose valleys they are spoken. From the point of view of classification of Turkic languages, these dialects belong to different branches of Turkic: According to the reflexes of the Proto-Turkic (PT) intervocalic -d- in modern languages (compare PT *adak, in modern Turkic languages meaning 'foot' or 'leg'), the Mrassu dialect is a -z- variety: azaq, the Kondoma dialect is a -y- variety: ayaq. This feature normally distinguishes different branches of Turkic which means that the Shor language has formed from different Turkic sources.

Each Shor dialect has subdialectal varieties. The Upper-Mrassu and the Upper-Kondoma varieties have developed numerous close features in the course of close contacts between their speakers in the upper reaches of the Kondoma and Mrassu rivers.

The Mrassu dialect served as a basis for literary Shor language both in the 1930s and in the 1980s when the written form of the Shor language was revitalized after a break (of almost 50 years) in its written history. However, the Kondoma dialect norms are also largely accepted.

Shor was first written with a Cyrillic alphabet introduced by Christian missionaries in the middle of the 19th century. After a number of changes, the modern Shor alphabet is written in another modified Cyrillic alphabet.

In 2005, to highlight the endangered status of the language, Gennady Kostochakov published a book of poems in Shor, entitled "I am the Last Shor Poet".[2] In 2017, a Shor translation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Liubovʹ Arbaçakova was published.[3]

Morphology and syntax[edit]


Shor has seven personal pronouns:

Personal pronouns
Singular Plural
Shor (transliteration) English Shor (transliteration) English
мен (men) I пис (pis) we
сен (sen) you (singular) силер/слер (siler/sler) you (plural, formal)
ол (ol) he/she/it ылар/лар, олор/алар (ılar/lar, olor/alar) they (as in "those", equivalent to Turkish "onlar")
пылар/плар (pılar/plar) they (as in "these", equivalent to Turkish "bunlar")



Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close i ⟨и⟩
y ⟨ӱ⟩
ɯ ⟨ы⟩
ɯː ⟨ыы⟩
u ⟨у⟩
Mid e ⟨e⟩
ø ⟨ö⟩
øː ⟨öö⟩
o ⟨o⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩


Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar
Nasal m ⟨м⟩ n ⟨н⟩ ŋ ⟨ң⟩
Plosive voiceless p ⟨п⟩ t ⟨т⟩ c ⟨к⟩ k ⟨қ⟩
voiced b ⟨б⟩ d ⟨д⟩ ɟ ⟨г⟩ ɡ ⟨ғ⟩
Affricate voiceless ⟨ч⟩
voiced ⟨ҷ⟩
Fricative voiceless s ⟨c⟩ ʃ ⟨ш⟩ x ⟨x⟩
voiced z ⟨з⟩ ʒ ⟨ж⟩
Liquid lateral l ⟨л⟩
rhotic r ⟨p⟩
Approximant j ⟨й⟩


Writing system[edit]


Before the 19th century the Shor language had remained unwritten; in the 1870s Orthodox missionaries made the first effort to create a Cyrillic Shor alphabet. In spite of all the efforts by the missionaries, the percentage of literacy among the native population increased very slowly — by the beginning of the 20th century they constituted only about 1% of the Shors.

The Shor written language had its 'golden age' in the 1920s. In 1927, a second attempt was made to create a Shor alphabet based on Cyrillic. In 1932-1933, Fedor Cispijakov wrote and published a new primer based on the Latin alphabet. This however considerably complicated the process of learning; thus in 1938, the same author together with Georgij Babuskin created a new variant of the primer based on the Cyrillic alphabet, of which several editions have been published since then.[5]

Missionary alphabet[edit]

The first book written in the Shor language was published in 1885. It used a modified Russian alphabet (excluding Ё ё, Ф ф, Щ щ, and Ѣ ѣ) with additional letters Ј ј, Ҥ ҥ, Ӧ ӧ, and Ӱ ӱ.

In 1927 an official alphabet was adopted, being the Russian alphabet (excluding Ё ё and ъ) with additional letters Ј ј, Ҥ ҥ, Ӧ ӧ, and Ӱ ӱ.

Latin alphabet[edit]

A Latin alphabet for the Shor language was introduced in 1930: A a, B в, C c, D d, Ə ə, F f, G g, Ƣ ƣ, I i, J j, K k, Q q, M m, N n, Ꞑ ꞑ, O o, Ө ө, P p, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, Ş ş, Z z, Ƶ ƶ, L l, Ь ь, Y y, Į į.

The order of the letters was later changed to correspond with alphabets for other languages in the Soviet Union, the letter Ә ә was replaced with E e, and the letter Į į was dropped.

Modern alphabet[edit]

In 1938 the Latin alphabet was replaced with a Cyrillic one. It used the Russian alphabet with additional letters Ӧ ӧ, Ӱ ӱ, and Нъ нъ. After reforms in 1980 it reached its present form: А а, Б б, В в, Г г, Ғ ғ, Д д, Е е, Ё ё, Ж ж, З з, И и, Й й, К к, Қ қ, Л л, М м, Н н, Ң ң, О о, Ӧ ӧ, П п, Р р, С с, Т т, У у, Ӱ ӱ, Ф ф, Х х, Ц ц, Ч ч, Ш ш, Щ щ, Ъ ъ, Ы ы, Ь ь, Э э, Ю ю, Я я.

Comparison of Shor alphabets[edit]

Cyrillic Latin Cyrillic
1885 1927-1930 1930-1938 1938-1980 1980–present
А а A a A a А а А а
Б б Б б B в Б б Б б
В в В в V v В в В в
Г г Г г G g Г г Г г
Г г Г г Ƣ ƣ Г г Ғ ғ
Д д Д д D d Д д Д д
Е е Е е Е е Е е
Ё ё
Ж ж Ж ж Ƶ ƶ Ж ж Ж ж
З з З з Z z З з З з
И и, I i, Ѵ ѵ И и I i, Į į И и И и
Й й Й й J j Й й Й й
К к К к K k К к К к
К к К к Q q К к Қ қ
Л л Л л L l Л л Л л
М м М м M m М м М м
Н н Н н N n Н н Н н
Ҥ ҥ Ҥ ҥ Ꞑ ꞑ Нъ нъ Ң ң
О о О о О о О о О о
Ӧ ӧ Ө ө Ө ө Ӧ ӧ Ӧ ӧ
П п П п P p П п П п
Р р Р р R r Р р Р р
С с С с S s C c C c
Т т Т т T t Т т Т т
У у У у U u У у У у
Ӱ ӱ Ӱ ӱ Y y Ӱ ӱ Ӱ ӱ
Ѳ ѳ Ф ф F f Ф ф Ф ф
Х х Х х Х х Х х
Ц ц Ц ц Ц ц Ц ц
Ч ч, J j Ч ч C c Ч ч Ч ч
Ш ш Ш ш Ş ş Ш ш Ш ш
Щ щ Щ щ Щ щ
ъ ъ ъ
Ы ы Ы ы Ь ь Ы ы Ы ы
ь ь ь ь
Э э Э э Ə ə, Е е Э э Э э
Ю ю Ю ю Ю ю Ю ю
Я я Я я Я я Я я


  1. ^ Shor at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "The dying fish swims in water". The Economist. December 24, 2005 – January 6, 2006. pp. 73–74.
    "The dying fish swims in water: Russia finds outside support for its ethnic minorities threatening". The Economist. Dec 20, 2005. Archived from the original on March 13, 2018. Retrieved Apr 5, 2012.
  3. ^ "Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – in Shor". Evertype. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  4. ^ Donidze, 1997, p. 498-499.
  5. ^ Irina Nevskaya (2006). Erdal, M. (ed.). Exploring the Eastern Frontiers of Turkic. Vol. (Turcologica 60). Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 245–247. ISBN 3447053100.

Further reading[edit]

  • Roos, Marti, Hans Nugteren, and Zinaida Waibel. Khakas and Shor proverbs and proverbial sayings. Exploring the Eastern Frontiers of Turkic, ed. by Marcel Erdal and Irina Nevskaya, pp. 60 (2006): 157-192. (Turcologica 60.) Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  • (in Russian) Донидзе Г. И. Шорский язык / Языки мира. Тюркские языки. — М., 1997.

External links[edit]