Khakas (Khakas: Хакас тілі Khakas tili) is a Turkic language spoken by the Khakas people, who mainly live in the southern Siberian Khakas Republic, or Khakassia, in Russia. The Khakas number 78,500, of whom 60,168 speak the Khakas language; most people are bilingual in Russian.
Traditionally, the Khakas language is divided into several closely related dialects, which take their names from the different tribes:
In fact, these names represent former administrative units rather than tribal or linguistic groups. The people speaking all these dialects simply referred to themselves as Tadar (i.e. Tatar). Shor, which was later on recognised as a Khakas dialect, is spoken by people who originally came from Shoria, currently the Kemerovo region.
The first major recordings of the Khakas language originate from the middle of the 19th century.
The Khakas literary language, which was developed only after the Russian Revolution of 1917, is based on the central dialects Sagay and Kacha; the Beltir dialect has largely been assimilated by Sagay, and the Koybal dialect by Kacha.
In 1924, a Cyrillic alphabet was devised, which was substituted by a Latin alphabet in 1929, and replaced by a Cyrillic alphabet again in 1939.
The Khakas language is part of the northeastern conglomerate of Turkic languages, which includes Shor, Chulym, Tuva, Tofa, Sakha (Yakut), and Dolgan.