Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PDF version for the language Tuvan *
*Disclaimer: OHCHR is not responsible for the
contents of external links.


Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Russian Federation


Native Name

Total Speakers

Usage By Country
Republic of Tuva in south-central Siberia in Russia.

Tuvan (Tuvan: Тыва дыл Tyva dyl), also known as Tuvinian, Tyvan or Tuvin, is a Turkic language spoken by around 200,000 people in the Republic of Tuva in south-central Siberia in Russia. The language borrows a great number of roots from the Mongolian language and more recently from the Russian language. There are small diaspora groups of Tuvan people that speak distinct dialects of Tuvan in the People's Republic of China and in Mongolia.

Tuvan is linguistically classified as a Northeastern or Siberian Turkic language, closely related to several other Siberian Turkic languages including Khakas and Altai languages. Tuvan, as spoken in Tuva, is principally divided into four dialect groups:

  • Western
  • Central
  • Northeastern
  • Southeastern

Central: forms the basis of the literary language and includes Ovyur and Bii-Khem sub-dialects.

Western: can be found spoken near the upper course of the Khemchik River. It is influenced by interaction with the Altai language.

Northeastern, also known as the Todzhi dialect, is spoken near the upper course of the Bii-Khem River. The speakers of this dialect utilize nasalization. It contains a large vocabulary related to hunting and reindeer breeding that not found in the other dialects.

Southeastern: shows the most influence from the Mongolian language.


Other dialects include those spoken by the Dzungar, the Tsengel and the Dukha bands of Tuvans, but currently these uncommon dialects are not comprehensively documented.

Tuvan vocabulary is largely Turkic in origin but marked by a large number of Mongolian loanwords. The language has also borrowed several Mongolian suffixes. In addition, there exist Ketic and Samoyedic substrata.

Received 11/23/2009
Posted 11/30/2009
Checked 11/29/2009