Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
Мы используем файлы cookie. Продолжив работу с сайтом, вы соглашаетесь с Политикой использования cookie и Пользовательским соглашением.

Bashkir language as

an object of intangible

cultural heritage

The main and determining factor of the spiritual culture of any
ethnic group, the level of its national consciousness, dignity, self-respect
is manifested, first of all, in attitude to its language. Language, along with culture, economy and statehood, is an important factor and condition for
the preservation and development of the people as a nation.

The native language
is the unique spiritual
wealth of each nation.
The national language and culture of each nation is a unique spiritual and cultural heritage of human civilization.
On December 14 – on the birthday of the famous Bashkir educator Miftakhetdin Akmulla – it is celebrated in the republic the Day of the Bashkir language.

On the eve of the Day of the Bashkir language
the Department of manuscripts and rare editions of
the National Library named after Akhmet-Zaki Validi
of the Republic of Bashkortostan has prepared
a virtual exhibition.

The uniqueness of the exhibition lies in the fact that it presents textbooks on the Bashkir language, as well as primers published in the 20–30s of the last century, in the period of the formation and intensive development of the modern Bashkir language. Many of them have been preserved in single copies.

The exhibition presents such textbooks of that time
as «Novyi bashkirskiy alfavit» – «New Bashkir alphabet»
(Ufa: Oktyabr'skiy natisk, 1927); «Novaya shkola» –
«New school» (Ufa: Oktyabr'skiy natisk, 1927); «Bashkirskaya azbuka» – «Bashkir alphabet book» by N. T. Tagirov
(Ufa: Oktyabr'skiy natisk, 1924); «Bukvar'» – «Primer»
by Z. N. Ayukhanov (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1933); «Bukvar' dlya vzroslykh» – «Primer for adults» by Z. F. Kul'bekov (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1936); «Bukvar'» – «Primer» by Yu. I. Gareyev (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1939); «Bashkirskaya grammatika» – «Bashkir grammar»
(Ufa: Bashkniga, 1925); «Orfografiya bashkirskogo
yazyka» – «Orthography of the Bashkir language»
(Ufa: Bashgiz, 1934); «Stilistika» – «Stylistics» by
K. Kh. Dayanov (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1939); «Grammatika. Sintaksis» («Grammar. Syntax») and «Znaki prepinaniya v bashkirskom yazyke»

(«Punctuation marks in the Bashkir language») by
K. Z. Akhmerov (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1935; 1936); «Bashkirskiy yazyk (grammatika
i pravopisanie)» – «Bashkir language (grammar and orthography)» by Kh. Sh. Zinnatullina (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1939); «Uchebnik
bashkirskogo yazyka (grammatika i pravopisanie)» – «Textbook of the Bashkir language (grammar and orthography)» by U. Kh. Khusnutdinov (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1939); «Prakticheskiy uchebnik bashkirskogo yazyka» – «Practical textbook of the Bashkir language» by Z. Sh. Shakirov, et al. (Ufa: Bashkniga, 1928), etc. Textbooks for reading are represented by books of
F. B. Maksyutova «Kniga dlya chteniya» – «Book for reading» (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1935),
Yu. I. Gareev «Kniga dlya chteniya» – «Book for reading» (Ufa: Bashkirskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo, 1939), etc.
The Bashkir language is a language with a long-standing stable written tradition.

A brilliant expert in various languages and supradialects, the author of a first-class source about the Kipchaks of the XI century Mahmud al-Kashgari in his work «Diwan Lugat al-Turk» («Dictionary of Turkic languages») ranked Bashkirs among the 20 main Turkic peoples and called their language definitely a variety of the Turkic language.

Bashkir language belongs to the Kipchak-Bulgar subgroup of the Kipchak group of Turkic languages belonging to the Altaic language family. According to Anna Vladimirovna Dybo,
the Bashkir language is most likely based on Oghuz language, which has been repeatedly influenced by the Kipchaks.
After the Bashkirs adopted Islam their language was significantly influenced by other languages: a large number
of loanwords from Arabic and Persian led to a change in
the lexical and phonetic structure of the Bashkir language.
In the XX century due to the expansion of Bashkir-Russian bilingualism new changes took place in the phonetics of
the language.

Sergei Yefimovich Malov
Linguist, orientalist-turkologist Sergei Yefimovich Malov believes beyond doubt that the modern Turkic languages known to us date back to the V century BC.
He also believes that there were two language groups in the western territories
of the peoples speaking languages belonging to the Turkic system until the middle of the I millennium BC: first – Khazar-Bulgarian-Chuvash, and the second – Bashkir-Tatar-Kipchak-Mishar. Bashkir language, according to the conclusion of Sergei Malov, is a very ancient language, not inferior in antiquity to other eastern related languages.
«The language that was spoken most of the population of Bashkortostan was already, in all probability, ancient Bashkir, assimilated yet unknown local languages, the features of which can be elucidated only through in-depth comparative linguistic study of the Bashkir language and the language of a neighboring peoples», writes in his essays about Bashkirs Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko.

Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko




The eastern dialect covers the northeastern part
of Bashkortostan, Chelyabinsk and Kurgan Oblasts,
and the southern dialect is widespread in the central
and southern districts of Bashkortostan, Orenburg,
Samara, Saratov Oblasts.

The northwestern districts of Bashkortostan, some
areas of Perm Krai and Sverdlovsk Oblast are included
in the spread zone of the northwestern dialect of the
Bashkir language.

Bashkir dialects are divided into subdialects.

In the southern dialect Ik-Sakmara, Dyoma, Middle subdialects are noted; in the eastern dialect – Ai, Argayash, Sal"yut, Miass, Kyzyl ones; in the northwestern dialect – Gaina, Karaidel', Tanyp and lower course
of Belaya River ones.
After the adoption of Islam, which began in the X century and lasted
for several centuries, Bashkirs began
to use Arabic writing system. On the basis of this writing the so-called written and literary language Turki
and its local variant, the Ural-Volga Turki, were formed, which was used
from the XIII to the beginning of
the XX century.
Most of the information about
the Bashkir language dates back
to the second half of the XIX century.
At this time works of Vasiliy Vladimirovich Katarinsky, Mirsalikh Mirsalimovich Bikchurin, Mukhametsalim Ishmukhametovich Umetbayev were published. The author of the first primer for Bashkirs, Russian-Bashkir and Bashkir-Russian dictionaries, which were published
in Orenburg in the 1890s, was Vasiliy Vladimirovich Katarinsky.
Such researchers of the end of the XIX century – beginning of the XX century as Aleksandr Grigor'evich Bessonov, Nikolai Fyodorovich Katanov, Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko, Mstislav Aleksandrovich Kulayev paid attention to the phonetics of the Bashkir language, the sound side of speech, dialects of the Bashkir language.
A great contribution to the study of the Bashkir language was made by a prominent scholar-philologist, doctor, chairman of the Bashkir government Mstislav Aleksandrovich Kulayev. He considered that the Bashkirs must get knowledge in their native language. On the base of Russian writing system he compiled alphabet and alphabet book for Bashkirs. Mstislav Kulayev believed that the growth of the Bashkir people's enlightenment should occur through inclusion first in Russian culture and then in European one. It should be noted that in all his linguistic studies the language of the Bashkirs of usergan clan is taken as the basis of the language of the Bashkirs.
In order to study Bashkir dialects, collecting information on languages, ethnology, history,
folklore several folklore and linguistic expeditions
to various districts of Bashkortostan were organized in the 20–30s of the last century. The work of the first linguistic expedition was headed by the future corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a well-known turkologist, orientalist, founder of Bashkir linguistics Nikolai Konstantinovich Dmitriyev.


In 1921 by the resolution of the Bashkir Central Executive Committee Bashkir language, along with Russian one, was declared the official language.


In 1923 on the base of the Arabic writing system the Bashkir alphabet was approved.


In 1929 Yañalif – the Bashkir alphabet on the base of the Latin one – appeared.


In 1940 the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced. The modern alphabet of the Bashkir language consists of 42 letters.
In addition to 33 letters common with the Russian alphabet 9 more letters are accepted to denote special sounds of the Bashkir language.
In the Bashkir alphabet based on the Cyrillic alphabet 9 additional characters corresponding
to a specific sounds appeared:
uvular plosive Ғғ [g], Ҡҡ [q], interdental fricative
Ҙҙ [ð], Ҫҫ [θ], velar nasal Ңң [ŋ], pharyngeal
hh [h]; front vowels: open Әә [æ], mid-open
rounded Өө [ø], close Үү [ʏ].
In 1996 the international organization UNESCO published the first edition of the unique book «Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger».
This atlas is intended to draw the attention of government agencies
and the general public to the problems of endangered languages.
UNESCO calculates the viability of languages by criteria and classifies
them into 6 categories: «safe», «vulnerable», «definitely endangered», «severely endangered», «critically endangered», «extinct». According
to UNESCO, the Bashkir language belongs to the category of «vulnerable».

In 1999 the law «On the languages of the Peoples of

the Republic of Bashkortostan» was passed, the Bashkir language, as the language of the indigenous people of the republic, began to be approved as the official language.

According to paragraph 2 of Article 2 of
the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, passed on
October 17, 2003, the language is «vehicle
of the intangible cultural heritage» and, accordingly, needs safeguarding.
Safeguarding means «measures aimed at ensuring the viability
of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and
non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various
aspects of such heritage» (paragraph 3 of Article 2).
Folklore is a source of ethnocultural information. The texts of oral poetical creativity contain the wisdom of the people, their collective experience and brightly reflect the national mentality. All these features of folklore are vividly imprinted in its verbal texture, the study of which contributes to the knowledge of many phenomena inherent in the language of the ethnos.
Unlike artistic and journalistic works
folklore texts are a stable source reflecting the national everyday language.

In the process of the development of literary languages and in the formation of their norms, in the study of the history of the development of the literary language, undoubtedly, the folk language can become the basis, because the modern Bashkir language is, in fact, intertwined with the Bashkir folk language, and lexical and grammatical orthographic norms of the literary language are embedded in the folk language,
– noted the famous turkologist J. G. Kiyekbayev, defining the development of the Bashkir literary language.

In the book by Ishmukhamet Gil'mutdinovich Galyautdinov «Dva veka bashkirskogo literaturnogo yazyka» («Two centuries of Bashkir literary
language») a special chapter was devoted to the language of folk art, where
the following was noted: «The language of Bashkir folklore... is an independent formation that has its own linguistic and poetic-stylistic features. Folklore
is not an oral form, but a source of literary language development».

Cover of the book
by Ishmukhamet Galyautdinov
Thus, in Bashkir linguistics considerable attention is paid to
the study of the poetics of folklore works, which is proved by the works of linguists. The study of folk art texts as a source of ethnocultural information is an actual direction in linguistics.

1. Akhmerov K. Z. (1929). O rabote pervoi fol'klorno-dialektologicheskoi ekspeditsii Akademii nauk SSSR v Bashkirii letom 1928 g. [About the work of the first folklore-dialectological expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Bashkiria in the summer of 1928]. Bashkirskiy krai, no. 7, pp. 1–2 (in Russian).
2. Baskakov N. A. (1952). K voprosu o klassifikatsii tyurkskikh yazykov [On the question of classification of the Turkic languages]. Izvestiya Akademii nauk SSSR. Otdelenie literatury i yazyka, vol. XI, iss. 2, pp. 121–134 (in Russian).
3. Bessonov A. G. (1881). O govorakh kazanskogo tatarskogo narechiya i ob otnoshenii ego k blizhaishim k nemu narechiyam i yazykam [About the subdialects of the Kazan Tatar supradialect and its relation to the supradialects and languages closest to it]. Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniya, pt. CCXVI (August), pp. 200–242 (in Russian).
4. Dybo A. V. (2006). Khronologiya tyurkskikh yazykov i lingvisticheskie kontakty rannikh tyurkov [Chronology of the Turkic languages and linguistic contacts of the early Turkic peoples]. In: E. R. Tenishev, A. V. Dybo (eds.). Sravnitel'no-istoricheskaya grammatika tyurkskikh yazykov. Pratyurkskiy yazyk-osnova. Kartina mira pratyurkskogo etnosa po dannym yazyka [Comparative historical grammar of the Turkic languages. The proto-Turkic language-basis. The picture of the world of the proto-Turkic ethnos according to the language]. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 766–817 (in Russian).
5. Gabitov Kh. G., Tagirov N. T., Khangil'din V. N., Vil'danov G. F. (1925). Bashkort telenen saryfy [Morphology of the Bashkir language]. Ufa: Bashkniga, 112 p. (in Bashkir).
6. Gabitov Kh. G., Vil'danov G. F., Davletshin G. Ya. (1926). Bashkort telenen sintaksisy [Syntax of the Bashkir language]. Ufa: Bashkniga, 90 p. (in Bashkir).
7. Galyautdinov I. G. (2000). Dva veka bashkirskogo literaturnogo yazyka [Two centuries of Bashkir literary language]. Ufa: Gilem, 448 p. (in Russian).
8. Il'gamov M. A. (ed.) (2009). Bashkirskaya entsiklopediya [Bashkir encyclopedia]. Ufa: Bashkirskaya entsiklopediya, vol. 5, 576 p. (in Russian).
9. Katarinsky V. V. (1899). Bashkirsko-russkiy slovar' [Bashkir-Russian dictionary]. Orenburg: Tipolitografiya B. Breslina, 238 p. (in Bashkir and Russian).
10. Khisamitdinova F. G. (2012). Sovremennyi bashkirskiy yazyk [Modern Bashkir language]. In: M. M. Kul'sharipov (ed.). Istoriya bashkirskogo naroda [History of the Bashkir people]. Ufa: Gilem, vol. VII, pp. 299–308 (in Russian).
11. Kiyekbayev J. G. (1966). Khezerge bashkort telenen leksikakhy khem frazeologiyakhy [Lexicon and phraseology of the modern Bashkir language]. Ufa: Bashkortostan kitap neshriyete, 276 p. (in Bashkir).
12. Kumekov B. E. (1987). Arabskie i persidskie istochniki po istorii kypchakov VIII–XIV vv.: nauchno-analiticheskiy obzor [Arabic and Persian sources on the history of the Kipchaks of the VIII–XIV centuries: scientific and analytical review]. Alma-Ata: Nauka, 42 p. (in Russian).
13. Malov S. E. (1952). Drevnie i novye tyurkskie yazyki [Ancient and new Turkic languages]. Izvestiya Akademii nauk SSSR. Otdelenie literatury i yazyka, vol. XI, iss. 2, pp. 135–143 (in Russian).
14. Rudenko S. I. (2006). Bashkiry. Istoriko-etnograficheskie ocherki [The Bashkirs. Historical and ethnographic essays]. Ufa: Kitap, 376 p. (in Russian).
15. San'yarov F. B. (2006). «Ural batyr»: lingvistik tikshereneu tezhribekhe [The epic «Ural-batyr»: the experience of linguistic study]. Ufa: RIO BashGU, 176 p. (in Bashkir).
16. Tagirov N. T. (1926). Bashkort lyogete [Bashkir dictionary]. Ufa: Bashkniga, 110 p. (in Bashkir).
17. Yanguzin R. Z., Khisamitdinova F. G. (2007). Korennye narody Rossii. Bashkiry [Indigenous peoples of Russia. The Bashkirs]. Ufa: Kitap, 352 p. (in Russian).


Alfiya Ibragimova, Leading Methodologist of the Department for work with objects of intangible cultural heritage of the peoples of the Republic of Bashkortostan.