Rutul is a language that is spoken by the Rutul people, who live in Dagestan Russia and in some parts of Azerbaijan. The name Rutul was derived from the name of one of the villages in Dagestan. Currently, the Rutul language has been classified as an endangered language by UNESCO. There are about 47,400 people who speak the Rutul language worldwide. Most Rutul speakers are bilingual or multilingual. Other languages that they speak include Russian, Azeri and Lezgian languages. The language is mostly used at home and is spoken by different age groups of people in the community. The Tsashakur language is closely related to Rutul.
Rutul is a North Caucasian language that falls under the Lezgic group of languages. Alternate names for Rutul include Rutuly, Rutultsy, Rutal, Chal, Myhynnynydy-ch’el and Mukhad. The Rutul language has various dialects, which some linguists classify as separate languages. This includes the north Rutul dialects and the south Rutul dialects. North Rutul dialects include Asar-Kala, Luchek, Ixrek, Muxrek, Shinaz and Vrush. South Rutul dialects include Khnov and Borch. Before the 1930s, the Arabic script was used to write the Rutul language. Throughout the Soviet period Rutul was not a written language. A writing system was developed in the 1990s. Azerbaijan, Russian and Lezgian are also used for written communication. This was based on the Cyrillic alphabet. The Rutul language is taught in schools in areas where there is a huge number of Rutul speakers in Russia.
Most Rutuls are involved in sheep and cattle breeding. They also grow some food crops, which include wheat, rye, millet and barley. Most Rutuls prefer their traditional foods, which include meat, dairy products such as butter and cheese, flour based foodstuffs, fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the traditional crafts they are engaged in includes leather, pottery and footwear making.