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Tatar language facts for kids

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татар теле
Native to Russia, other post-Soviet states
Ethnicity Tatars
Native speakers 6.5 million  (2002)
Language family
  • Kipchak
    • Kipchak–Bolgar
      • Tatar
Writing system Cyrillic
Official status
Official language in Tatarstan (Russia)
Regulated by Institute of Language, Literature and Arts of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan

The Tatar language is a Turkic language that is spoken by the Tatar people, and is the official language of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia.


Like many other Turkic languages, different alphabets are used to write the Tatar language.


In Russia, the Tatar alphabet is Cyrillic by a federal government law passed in 2002. It has 39 letters, of which 33 are the same as in Russian. The other 6 (and their positions in the alphabet) are:

  • Ә (between А and Б)
  • Җ (after Ж)
  • Ң (after Н)
  • Ө (between О and П)
  • Ү (after У)
  • Һ (between Х and Ц)


In 2001, the government of the Republic of Tatarstan created a Latin alphabet for the Tatar language called Zamanälif. But the next year, the federal government did not allow it to be made official. The Zamanälif alphabet has these 35 letters:

A, Ä, B, C, Ç, D, E, F, G, Ğ, H, I, İ, Í, J, K, L, M, N, Ñ, O, Ö, P, Q, R, S, Ş, T, U, Ü, V, W, X, Y, Z

There was another Latin alphabet for Tatar called Yañalif. It was used from 1928 to 1940, when it was replaced with Cyrillic by a Soviet law.


There have been two Arabic alphabets used to write Tatar: İske imlâ and Yaña imlâ. İske imlâ is the older of the two and was used until 1920, when it was changed to become Yaña imlâ and remained in use until it was replaced by the Latin Yañalif alphabet. However, Tatars in China still use İske imlâ.

Since 2012, it is possible for people and organizations to write to the Tatarstan government in either the Latin or Arabic scripts, but the government has to answer in Cyrillic.

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