Western Yugur

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  • Western Yugur exhibits preaspirated vowels corresponding to Old Turkic short vowels. This feature links it to the Sayan languages, as well as to Salar and the Kalpin dialect of Uyghur.
  • Due to the complexities involved in aspiration, it is consistently represented here. In other languages it is largely predictable. Roos (2000) employs a few difficult-to-enter symbols; these have been replicated as best possible. For example, the retroflex affricate is represented by 𝼝 and the palatal fricative by 𝼞, which most fonts will not display. Cyrillic citation forms are from Malov (1957); all other forms are from Roos (2000).
  • The Western Yugurs are likely the decendants of people living in the Uyghur Khanate who fled to Gansu after the collapse of the Khanate in 840 AD. Linguistically, Western Yugur exhibits enough differences from the rest of the Yenissei group that it may represent an entirely separate group within the Siberian cluster of Turkic languages. On the other hand, it does not seem to be especially close to Old Uyghur, so it may just be the case that the name Uyghur~Yugur has been adopted by many groups throughout the ages.


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.

Nugteren, Hans and Marti Roos. 2006. “Prolegomena to the Classification of Western Yugur.” In Exploring the Eastern Frontiers of Turkic (Turcologica 60), edited by Marcel Erdal and Irina Nevskaya, 99-130. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Roos, Marti. 2000. “The Western Yugur (Yellow Uyghur) Language. Grammar, Texts, Vocabulary.” PhD Diss., University of Leiden.

Roos, Martin. 1997. “Recent Developments in Western Yugur”. Studia Uralo-Altaica 39, 255-67. https://ojs.bibl.u-szeged.hu/index.php/stualtaica/article/view/13594.

Малов, С.Е. 1957. Язык Желтых Уйгуров: словарь и грамматика. Алма-Ата: Издательство Академии Наук Казахской ССР.

Western Yugur
Native name:Yoɣïr lar
Alternate names:Yellow Uyghur, Sarïgh Uyghur
Spoken in:China, Gansu, Sunan Yugur Autonomous County
Number of speakers:4,600
ISO 639-3 code:ybe
Last update:2023-04-14