Ossetian or Ossetic is a member of the Northeastern Iranian branch of
Indo-European languages. About 500,000 people speak Ossetian in Ossetia, a
region that straddles the border or Russia and Georgia. The majority of
Ossetian speakers live in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania
in Russia. The Ossetic-speaking region of Georgia is called South Ossetia
There are also some Ossetian speakers in Turkey.
There are two main dialects of Ossetian, Iron (Ирон)
and Digor (Дигор). Iron is the most
widely-spoken dialect and the basis for written Ossetian. Another dialect,
Jassic, used to be spoken in Hungary.
Ossetian is an official language in North and South Ossetia. There are
a couple of Ossetian newspaper, and the language is taught in schools.
Ossetian was first written during the 18th century with a version of the
Arabic script. Then in 1844, a method of writing Ossetian with the Cyrillic
alphabet was developed by Sjoegren. Between 1923 and 1937 a version of the
Latin alphabet was used to write the language, and since 1938 the Cyrillic
alphabet has been used, though from 1938 to the 1950s, a version of the Georgian
alphabet was used to write Ossetian in South Ossetia.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)