Brief Information

Bashkir language is the ethnic language of Bashkirs, one of the official languages of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Tatars, Russians, Chuvash people, Mari people, Udmurts, Kazakhs and Uzbeks also speak Bashkir.

The total number of Bashkirs living in Russia is, according to the Russian census, 1 584 554. At the same time, 1 152 404 people reported that they have knowledge of Bashkir, Bashkir people constitute approximately 977 thousands of this number. 

The absolute majority of the native Bashkir speakers (931 thousand people) live in  the Republic of Bashkortostan. Besides that, the native speakers of this language also live in Udmurtia, Tatarstan, Orenburg, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Sverdlovsk Oblasts, Perm Krai, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

The endonym for Bashkir people – башҡорттар, for Bashkir language – башҡорт. 

Three dialects are usually noted in Bashkir language: Eastern (Kuvakan, the mountain dialect), Western (North-western) and Southern.


Bashkir language belongs to the Volga-Kipchak (Kipchak–Bulgar) subgroup of the Turkic language group inside the macro family of Altai languages. Among the Turkic languages Bashkir is especially close to Tatar language. 

Three dialects are usually noted in Bashkir language. The Eastern (Kuvakan, the mountain dialect) is spoken in the northern and north-eastern regions of Bashkortostan, in Chelyabinsk and Kurgan Oblasts. Eastern dialects is represented by five sub dialects: Ayskiy, Miasskiy, Kyzylskiy, Argayashskiy, Salyutskiy. The Western dialect has been heavily influenced by the Tatar language and is commonly spoken in the North-western regions of Bashkortostan, Perm Krai, Sverdlovsk Oblasts and in the eastern Tatarstan Republic. The Western dialect has five subdialects: Karaidelsky, Sredneuralskiy, Tanypskiy, Gaininsky, NizhnebelskyThe Southern dialect is spoken in the southern regions of the Republic of Bashkortostan, as well as in Samara, Orenburg and Saratov Oblasts. The Southern dialect has three subdialects:  Iksakmarskiy, Demskiy and the Middle subdialect. Dialects are comparatively close to each other and their main differences are, primarily, in phonetics. 


The absolute majority of the native Bashkir speakers (931 thousand people) live in  the Republic of Bashkortostan. Besides that, the native speakers of this language also live in Udmurtia, Tatarstan, Orenburg, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Sverdlovsk Oblasts, Perm Krai, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

Language contacts and multilingualism

The language state of the modern Bashkortostan is the one of distinct multilingualism. The communicative spheres of language are varied. Their status and social and communicative framework of usage are also varied: Russian is used as the national language and a mean of inter-ethnic communication, non-titular for the Republic of Bashkortostan; Bashkir language is the language of the titular nation; Tatar language is a non-titular language, but it is used by one third of the population of the Republic of Bashkortostan and it covers two thirds of the territorial distribution in Bashkortostan. 

Tatar language had a significant influence on the Western (North-western) dialect of Bashkir. 

Language functioning

Is the official language of the Republic of Bashkortostan. 

Bashkir tribes have been using the Old Turkic script from ancient times. Writings based on the Arabic script started to spread among Bashkir people due to the adoption of Islam in the 10th century. The earliest examples of writing (tombstone inscriptions, genealogy records) are preserved since the 14th century. The writing traditions of the Turki language, a common language for many Turkic languages, became customary in the 15-16th centuries. At the turn of the 19-20th centuries Bashkirs used the Old Tatar written language. In 1919 Bashkir script, based on the Arabic script, had been modernized and adopted for the phonetic system of Bashkir spoken language. In 1928 the writing system had been transferred to Latin script, which was the most suited for reflecting phonetics in spoken Bashkir. 

In 1940 Bashkir language started to be written with Cyrillic script, with the addition of special symbols (ҡ, ғ, ә, ө, ү, ң, ҙ, ҫ, h) to denote the specifics of the Bashkir phonetics. 

There were two periods in the history of standard Bashkir: before the October revolution, and the period from 1920s to modern times. The first period had two sub-periods: the Turki language with Bashkir elements of the Ural-Volga region in the 13-18th century and standard Bashkir of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The second period is the stage of development of standard Bashkir starting from the 1920s. Modern standard Bashkir was formed in 1920s on the base of Eastern and Southern dialects, while bringing some traditions of the Old Turki standard language in various styles, vocabulary and syntax, as well as in folklore traditions.

Dynamics of language usage

In 2002 in the Russian Federation 1,192,950 people spoke Bashkir (71.2% of all Bashkir population of the Russian Federation). In Bashkortostan the number of native speakers was recorded to be 912,204 people (74.7% of all population of the republic of Bashkir ethnos).

In 2010 in the Russian Federation 1 152 404 people spoke Bashkir (72,7% of all Bashkir population of the Russian Federation). In the Republic of Bashkortostan 790,383 people (67.4% of the total Bashkir population of the Republic of Bashkortostan) spoke it. Representatives of other ethnic groups were also registered among Bashkir speakers: 113,268 Tatars, 14,640 Russians, 5702 Chuvash and 2,608 Mari.

The Bashkir language currently has a fairly well-developed network of social functions and, due to this, a relatively high level of vitality. However, there is a decrease in the level of language proficiency among the younger generation in the urban areas. Since the knowledge of Bashkir language does not give any special advantages connected with social position, even in a monoethnic Bashkir families  children might not know Bashkir. Still, other factors can influence the interest for Bashkir, and the determining one is, often, the national self-consciousness of children of Bashkir speakers.

Language experts

Khisamitdinova Firdaus Gilmitdinovna
(Institute of History, Language and Literature of the Federal State Budgetary Institution of the Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IHLL UFRC RAS))

Is the author of approximately 200 scientific and scientific methodical works. The most significant among them are in collaboration with the Hungarian scientist J. Torma: a monograph "…a ​tűznek mondom!” (I say to the fire!), published in Budapest in Hungarian; and a translation of the "The Gospel of Luke" into Bashkir language, which was published in Stockholm.

Professor F.G. Khisamitdinova is the supervisor and executor of a number of international scientific projects. Among them are two INTAS projects (Belgium) on the development of a textbook of Bashkir language for foreign learners, as well as a study of Islam in Russia, and a project with the International Bible Translation Institute (Stockholm).

Boris Valeryevich Orekhov
(Faculty of Humanities, National Research University – Higher School of Economics)

The main developer of the National Corpora of the Bashkir language. Boris Orekhov researches structures of verses in Bashkir poetry and is the author of several scientific publications.

Research centres

Core references

Grammatical descriptions: grammars, sketches

Dmitriev N. К. Grammatika Bashkirskogo yazika [The grammar of the Bashkir language] – Nauka Publishers. Moscow, 2008.

Usmanova M.G. Grammatika Bashkirskogo yazika: dlya yzuchaychich yazik kak gosydarstvennyi. [The grammar of the Bashkir language for those who study it as a state language] – Kitap publishers. Ufa, 2012.

Khisamitdinova F.G Bashkirskiy yazik bashgkort koors [The Bashkir language Башҡорт, a course] – Govorun Publishers. Moscow, 2011.

Uldashev A.A. (ed.) Grammatika sovremennogo Bashkirskogo yazika [The grammar of the standard modern Bashkir language] – Moscow, 1981.


Samsitova L. H. Realie Bashkirskoy cultury: slovar bezequivalentnoi leksiky Bashkirskogo yazika [The realities of Bashkir Culture: Dictionary of the Non-Equivalent Vocabulary of the Bashkir Language] – Kitap Publishers. Ufa, 2006.

Uraksin Z. G. (ed.) Russko-Bashkirskyi slovar v dvyh tomah [Russian-Bashkir Dictionary: in 2 volumes] – Bashkir Encyclopedia. Ufa, 2005. Vol. 1. A-O. - 2005. Vol. 2. П-Я. - 2005.

Uraksin Z. G. Russko-Bashkirskyi slovar [Russian-Bashkir Dictionary] – Kitap Publishers. Ufa, 2007.

Khisamitdinova F.G (col.) Russko-bashkirskyi, bashkirsko-russkyi slovar: dlya izuchayushchikh bashkirskyi yazik kak gosudarstvennyi. [The Russian-Bashkir and Bashkir-Russian Dictionary: Bashkir-Language Dictionary. Russian-Bashkir, Bashkir-Russian Dictionary: for those learning Bashkir language as a state language] – Malenkyi genyi Bashkortostana; Uchebno-metodicheskiy centr «Edvis». Ufa, 2014.

Publications of texts

A. G. Bessonov  (record, transl.), N. K. Dmitriev. (compilation, editorship, introductory article and notes) Bashkirskie narodnye skazki. [Bashkir Folk Tales] – Bashgosizdat. Ufa, 1941.

Bashkirskoe narodnoe tvorchestvo (“Башҡорт халыҡ ижады”) [Bashkir folk tales] – Kitap Publishers. Ufa, 1954-2009.


Работы по этнологии

Khisamitdinova F.G. Struktura yazyka i ehtnicheskaya specifika [The structure of the language and its ethnic specifics] – Bashkiry; Nauka Publishers. Moscow, 2016.


Corpora and text collections

National Corpora of the Bashkir Language

The volume of the corpus: 20 million words. Contains texts from official websites of the Republic of Bashkortostan, newspaper articles, fiction, Wikipedia articles, and laws.

Bashkir Poetry Corpora

The corpora contains more than 1.8 million tokens. The text collection consists of poems by Bashkir poets of the 20th and early 21st century (more than 17,000 poems by 101 poets).

Oral corpora of the Bashkir language of the villages of Rakhmetovo and Baimovo

The corpus contains oral texts in the Bashkir language. The texts were recorded in 2011-2017 in the villages of Rakhmetovo and Baimovo. Baimovo is located in the Abzelilovsky district of the Republic of Bashkortostan. These settlements belong to the Kubalyak dialect of Bashkir, which belongs to the Southeastern group of Eastern Bashkir dialects (with some features of southern dialects). In general, the texts of the corpus are close to the standard Bashkir language, but have some dialectal features at the level of phonetics and morphonology.

Other electronic resources

Международная система дистанционного обучения башкирскому языку

Ресурс содержит в том числе онлайн-курс башкирского языка от Башкирского государственного педагогического университета имени М. Акмуллы.

Башкирские фильмы

Паблик в социальной сети "ВКонтакте", посвященный башкирским фильмам.

Региональный интерактивный энциклопедический портал «Башкортостан»

Содержит около 18 тыс. статей, большая часть которых переведена на башкирский язык.

Data for this page kindly provided by

Kozhemyakina V. A. Bashkirskyi yazik [Bashkir language]  – Language and Society. Encyclopedia.  – Publishing Center "Azbukovnik". Moscow, 2016

Orekhov B.V., Sai S. S., Yagafarova G. N. Bashkirskyi yazik [Bashkir language] – Postnauka. Digital publication