Karaim language

Spoken in


Does ( other Altaic languages)


The Karaim language ( karaim. Къарай тил / Qaraj til ) is a Western Turkic language of the Pontic- Caspian subgroup. She is the mother language of the Jewish sect of the Karaites and is now considered almost extinct. This language belongs to the family of Turkic languages ​​, and the short form is Karaim.

The language is more akin to the Tartar than with the Turkish language. As closer relatives applies the Crimean Tatar.

Alternative names

The Karaim language is also known by other names. Thus, the terms " Karay tili " and the Hebrew word לשון קדר Lashon Kedar be " language of the Karaites " used.

In the Turkish Turkish Studies ( Karay Türkçesi ) is mainly the term " Turkish karaimisches " used.

Main distribution area

Karaim is spoken by only a few people in Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. In the 20th century, the language was still in small enclaves in Trakai and Panevėžys (Lithuania ) and in the areas of Lutsk and Halych ( Western Ukraine ) and spoken in the Crimea. Smaller minorities that language group are also found in Turkey and in Israel again.

Of the 2,602 Karaim gave at the last census of the USSR at only 503 Karaim as their native language, while still disclosures 52 as a second language. Today there are only two dialects of the Karaim: " Trakay " and " Galit ".

Classification options

The Karaim language is sometimes classified differently. So lists the " Fischer Lexicon languages ​​" (1987) Tatar within the Turkic languages ​​as follows:

  • Turkic languages western branch Bulgarian group
  • Oghusische group
  • Kipchak group Kipchak - oghusische group Karaim

In contrast, the lists " Metzler Lexikon Sprache " (1993), the Karaim as described below to:

  • Turkic languages Southwest Turkish ( Oghusisch )
  • Osttürkisch ( Karlukisch )
  • West Turkish ( Kiptschakisch ) Uralic ( Kipchak - Bulgarian)
  • Uralic ( Kitptschak - Oghusisch ) Karaim

The current classification is listed in the article Turkic languages ​​.


Since medieval Karaite is a major literary language, which was written mainly in Hebrew letters. Your speakers belonging to (t ) s of the small religious community of Karaites, which had split around the 8th century Judaism and still in the Baltics, Eastern Europe, Turkey and also in Israel has some followers.

In the first half of the 20th century there was a phase in which non-religious texts were published on Karaim. So in Warsaw magazine Karaim aivazy appeared (?). Today, the language is in danger of extinction. In Trakai and Lithuania's capital Vilnius are still alive, some people who can speak fluent Karaim. However, there are written records predominantly religious content.

The voice tag is KDR.