315 entries in lexical database. Click here for all forms in the database.


  • Forms marked with an asterisk (*) are from Quanlin et al. and are written in a native Pinyin-based writing system.
  • Forms in Quanlin et al. appear to contain a number of suffixes. It is unclear whether words ending in -i, -ou, -eira are contain possessive suffixes or forms of the copula, or whether they are bare roots.
  • Salar has three main varieties: Gaizi, Mengda, (the Eastern or Qinghai varieties) and Ili (the Western or Xinjiang variety). Gaizi is the best documented; Ili is treated separately here.

Writing System with Transcription

b (b)p (p)m (m)f (f)d (d)t (t)n (n)l (l)
ḻ (ð)*g (g)g̱ (ɣ)k (k)h (x)j (ǰ)q (č)x (š)
zh (j̣)sh (ṣ)ch (c̣)r (r)z (dz)c (ts)s (s)y (y)
w (w)v (v)a (a)o (o)e (ǝ)i (i)u (u)ai (ay)
ei (ey)ui (uy)ao (å)iu (yu)ie (ye)an (an)en (ǝn)in (in)
un (wǝn)ang (aŋ)eng (ǝŋ)ing (iŋ)ong/ung (uŋ)
*similar to "th" in though
A line under a letter indicates it is voiced clearer and somewhat longer than a letter without such a line. Bold face indicates it is voiced softer and shorter.
Because Pinyin is not designed for non-Sinitic languages, it is unclear exactly what values certain letters are intended to represent. A best guess has been made on the basis of the description in Quanlin et al. 1993.


Dwyer, Arienne. 1998. “The Turkic strata of Salar: an Oghuz in Chagatay clothes?” Turkic Languages 2: 49-83.

Dwyer, Arienne. 2000. “Consonantalization and Obfuscation.” In Goksel, Aslı & Cecilia Kerslake, eds. 2000. Studies on Turkish and Turkic Linguistics. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Turkish Linguistics. Lincoln College, Oxford, 12-14 August 1998 (Turcologica 46). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 423–432.

Dwyer, Arienne. 2007. Salar: a study in inner Asian language contact processes. Part I: Phonology. Turcologica 37.1. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Kakuk, S. 1962. "Un vocabulaire Salar." Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 14.2:173-196.

Quanlin, MA, MA Wanxiang, and MA Zhicheng. 1993. Salar language materials. Sino-Platonic Papers 43. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia.

Native name:Salar gahča
Spoken in:China: Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang
Number of speakers:70,000
ISO 639-3 code:slr