Shor language

Шор тили šor tili, Тадар тили tadar tili
Native to Russia
Region Kemerovo
Ethnicity Shors
Native speakers
2,800 (2010 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cjs
Glottolog shor1247[2]

The Shor language (Шор тили) is a Turkic language spoken by about 2,800 people in a region called Mountain Shoriya, in the Kemerovo Province in southwest Siberia. Presently, not all ethnic Shors speak Shor, and the language suffered a decline from the late 1930s to the early 1990s. However, the dissolution of the Soviet Union brought about the Shor lingual revival. The language is now taught at the Novokuznetsk branch of the Kemerovo State University.

Like its neighbor languages, Shor has borrowed many roots from Mongolian, as well as words from Russian. The two main dialects are Mrasu and Kondoma, named after the districts where they are spoken. Differences between these dialects are small.

Shor was first written with a Cyrillic alphabet introduced by Christian missionaries in the middle of the 19th century. After a number of changes, the modern Shor alphabet is written in another modified Cyrillic alphabet.

To highlight the endangered status of the language, Gennady Kostochakov published a book of poems in Shor entitled, "I am the Last Shor Poet".[3]

Morphology and syntax


Shor has seven personal pronouns:

Personal pronouns
Singular Plural
Shor (transliteration)EnglishShor (transliteration)English
мен (men)Iпис (pis)we
сен (sen)you (singular)силер/слер (siler/sler)you (plural, formal)
ол (ol)he/she/itылар/лар, олар/алар (ılar/lar, olor/alar) they (animate?)
пылар/плар (pılar/plar)they (inanimate?)

Writing System


Before the 19th century the Shor language had remained unwritten; in the 1870s Orthodox missionaries made the first effort to create a Cyrillic Shor alphabet. In spite of all the efforts by the missionaries, the percentage of literacy among the native population increased very slowly — by the beginning of the 20th century they constituted only about 1% of the Shors.

The Shor written language had its 'golden age' in the 1920s. In 1927, a second attempt was made to create a Shor alphabet based on Cyrillic. In 1932-1933, Fedor Cispijakov wrote and published a new primer based on the Latin alphabet. This however considerably complicated the process of learning; thus in 1938, the same author together with Georgij Babuskin created a new variant of the primer based on the Cyrillic alphabet, of which several editions have been published since then.[4]

Missionary Alphabet

The first book written in the Shor language was published in 1885. It used a modified Russian alphabet (excluding Ё ё, Ф ф, Щ щ, and Ѣ ѣ) with additional letters Ј ј, Ҥ ҥ, Ӧ ӧ, and Ӱ ӱ.

In 1927 an official alphabet was adopted, being the Russian alphabet (excluding Ё ё and ъ) with additional letters Ј ј, Ҥ ҥ, Ӧ ӧ, and Ӱ ӱ.

Latin Alphabet

A Latin alphabet for the Shor language was introduced in 1930: A a, B в, C c, D d, Ə ə, F f, G g, Ƣ ƣ, I i, J j, K k, Q q, M m, N n, N̡ n̡, O o, Ө ө, P p, R r, S s, T t, U u, V v, Ş ş, Z z, Ƶ ƶ, L l, Ь ь, Y y, Į į.

The order of the letters was later changed to correspond with alphabets for other languages in the Soviet Union, the letter Ә ә was replaced with E e, and the letter Į į was dropped.

Modern Alphabet

In 1938 the Latin alphabet was replaced with a Cyrillic one. It used the Russian alphabet with additional letters Ӧ ӧ, Ӱ ӱ, and Нъ нъ. After reforms in 1980 it reached its present form: А а, Б б, В в, Г г, Ғ ғ, Д д, Е е, Ё ё, Ж ж, З з, И и, Й й, К к, Қ қ, Л л, М м, Н н, Ң ң, О о, Ӧ ӧ, П п, Р р, С с, Т т, У у, Ӱ ӱ, Ф ф, Х х, Ц ц, Ч ч, Ш ш, Щ щ, Ъ ъ, Ы ы, Ь ь, Э э, Ю ю, Я я.

Comparison of Shor Alphabets

Cyrillic Latin Cyrillic
1885 1927-1930 1930-1938 1938-1980 1980–present
А а A a A a А а А а
Б б Б б B в Б б Б б
В в В в V v В в В в
Г г Г г G g Г г Г г
Г г Г г Ƣ ƣ Г г Ғ ғ
Д д Д д D d Д д Д д
Е е Е е Е е Е е
Ё ё
Ж ж Ж ж Ƶ ƶ Ж ж Ж ж
З з З з Z z З з З з
И и, I i, Ѵ ѵ И и I i, Į į И и И и
Й й Й й J j Й й Й й
К к К к K k К к К к
К к К к Q q К к Қ қ
Л л Л л L l Л л Л л
М м М м M m М м М м
Н н Н н N n Н н Н н
Ҥ ҥ Ҥ ҥ N̡ n̡ Нъ нъ Ң ң
О о О о О о О о О о
Ӧ ӧ Ө ө Ө ө Ӧ ӧ Ӧ ӧ
П п П п P p П п П п
Р р Р р R r Р р Р р
С с С с S s C c C c
Т т Т т T t Т т Т т
У у У у U u У у У у
Ӱ ӱ Ӱ ӱ Y y Ӱ ӱ Ӱ ӱ
Ѳ ѳ Ф ф F f Ф ф Ф ф
Х х Х х Х х Х х
Ц ц Ц ц Ц ц Ц ц
Ч ч, J j Ч ч C c Ч ч Ч ч
Ш ш Ш ш Ş ş Ш ш Ш ш
Щ щ Щ щ Щ щ
ъ ъ ъ
Ы ы Ы ы Ь ь Ы ы Ы ы
ь ь ь ь
Э э Э э Ə ə, Е е Э э Э э
Ю ю Ю ю Ю ю Ю ю
Я я Я я Я я Я я


  1. Shor at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Shor". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. "The dying fish swims in water". The Economist. December 24, 2005 – January 6, 2006. pp. 73–74.
    "The dying fish swims in water: Russia finds outside support for its ethnic minorities threatening". The Economist. Dec 20, 2005. Retrieved Apr 5, 2012.
  4. Irina Nevskaya (2006). Erdal, M., ed. Exploring the Eastern Frontiers of Turkic. (Turcologica 60). Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 245–247. ISBN 3447053100.

Further reading

Shor language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator
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