Trakai Karaim

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  • Because the speakers of Karaim belong to the same ethno-religious group, there is a general consensus that speakers of the Trakai, Halych-Lutsk, and Crimean varieties all speak the same language.
  • The Trakai dialect of Karaim is unusual in that it exhibits consonant harmony, rather than vowel harmony. That is, all consonants in a word are either palatalized or not. The result is that there is no front back distinction in vowels aside from the first syllable, for example:
    • suv-dan "water-abl"
    • kʼuń-dʼań "day-abl"

Writing System with Transcription

Аа (a)Bb (b)Cc (ts)CHch (x)Čč (č)Dd (d)Dʼdʼ (dʼ)DŽdž (ǰ)
Ee (e)Ėė (e)Ff (f)Gg (g)Hh (ɣ)Ii (i)Yy (ï)Jj (j)
Kk (k)Ll (l)Lʼlʼ (lʼ)Mm (m)Nn (n)Ńń(ń)Oo (o)Öö (ö)
Pp (p)Rr (r)Ss (s)Śś (ś)Šš (š)Tt (t)Tʼtʼ (tʼ)Uu (u)
Üü (ü)Vv (v)Zz (z)Žž(ž)Źź (ź)
Ö and ü occur only in initial position for phonological reasons. Ė occurs only in initial position for orthographic reasons.
When there is no dedicated letter for indicating a palatalized consonant, this is indicated by placing i between the consonant and the following vowel, e.g. kiečia (kʼečʼa) 'night'.


Csató, Éva and David Nathan. 2006. Karaim Multidictionary: Karaim to Russian.

Kocaoğlu, Timur, and Mykolas Firovičius. 2006. Karay: the Trakai dialect. Muenchen: Lincom.

Nevins, Andrew and Bert Vaux. 2004. “Consonant Harmony in Karaim.” In The Proceedings of the Workshop on Altaic in Formal Linguistics (MITWPL 46), edited by Aniko Csirmaz, YoungDoo Lee, and MaryAnn Walter, 175-194.

Polinsky, Maria. 1992. “Crimean Tatar and Krymchak: classification and description.” In Howard I. Aronson (ed.) The non-Slavic languages of the USSR: linguistic studies: new series, 157-188.

Баскаков, Н. А., А. Зайончковский, С.М. Шапшал, eds. 1974. Караимско-Русско-Польский Словарь. Москва: Изд-во «Русский Язык».

Trakai Karaim
Native name:Qarayče, Qaray tili
Alternate names:Karay, Karaite, Northwestern Karaim
Spoken in:Lithuania, Trakai
Number of speakers:20-50
Writing system:Cyrillic, Latin, Hebrew occasionally used