Tofa is a Northern Turkic language spoken in Irkutsk Oblast in the southeast of the Russian Federation. Tofa speakers live in the villages of Tofalar (Тофалар), Nerkha (Нерха) and Verkhnyaya Gutara (Верхняя Гутара) in the Nizhneudinsky district in the southwest of Irkutsk Oblast.
In 2010 there were 760 Tofa people, and fewer than 40 of them spoke Tofa fluently. Another 50 or so had some knowledge of the language. Tofa speakers are all older adults, and younger Tofa people speak Russian. As a result, the language is classified as moribund.
Tofa is also known as Karagas, Kamas, Karagass, Karagassisch, Karagasy, Khotowci, Taiga Sayan Turkic or Tofalar. It is closely related to Tuvan.
Until 1988 Tofa was unwritten, except in the works of scholars, who used the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets to write the language. A version of the Cyrillic alphabet for Tofa was adopted in 1988.
Download an alphabet chart for Tofa (Excel)
Details of the Bolyu alphabet provided by Wolfram Siegel (Word doc, in German)
Чер өғлуғ, неңгес сыстықтығ
Көътүрүп увас, көруп танывас
Чүмесин аэтқан блаа даг hаэрhаннар
Чер өғлуғ чүмесин аэтып берген
Merciful mountain gods gave something
Having an earthen house and a fur pillow,
Something impossible to pick up and know
Gave away something having an earthen house
(A prayer for a successful bear hunt)
Details supplied by Wolfram Siegel and Jin Wei Hii
Information about Tofa | Numbers
Information about the Tofa language
Altay, Äynu, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chagatai, Chelkan, Chulym, Chuvash, Crimean Tatar, Dolgan, Fuyu Kyrgyz, Gagauz, Ili Turki, Karachay-Balkar, Karaim, Karakalpak, Karamanli Turkish, Kazakh, Khakas, Khalaj, Khorasani Turkic, Krymchak, Kumandy, Kyrgyz, Nogai, Old Turkic, Qashqai, Salar, Shor, Siberian Tatar, Soyot, Tatar, Teleut, Tofa, Turkish, Turkmen, Tuvan, Urum, Uyghur, Uzbek, Western Yugur, Yakut (Sakha)
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Page last modified: 02.07.22
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