Tatar – The official language of Tatarstan

The Office for Muslims’ Religious Affairs announced the publication of a 3 volume Quran in the Tatar language. This announcement was made in May 2013. This was a project that was began in 2012, otherwise known as the Year of the Holy Quran in Tatarstan. The Quran was published by he Center for Quran Researches and Studies in Kazan. Copies of the Quran were expected to be distributed by the research center, in collaboration with the mosques in Tatarstan and other religious centers all over Russia.

Tatar is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Canada, Turkey, Finland and Central Asia. It is also spoken in Siberia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Tatar is also known as Khazan Tatar and it should not be confused with Crimean Tatar, a language which it is not intelligible with, even though they are closely related. About 6 to 7 million people speak Tatar. Most linguists propose that the Tatar language belongs to the Kipcak branch of Turkic languages. Other linguists disagree with this classification, and some of them have classified it as a Uralian Western Turkic language or a Bulgar-Kip?ak language. The Tatar language has different dialects, which are classified under 3 main groups. These include Central, Western and Eastern dialects. The Arabic alphabet was used to write Tatar from the 9th century until the 20th century. Between 1927 and 1939 the Latin alphabet was adopted. In 1939, Stalin imposed the use of the Cyrillic alphabet. In 2001, the Tatarstan authorities chose to revert back to a modified version of the Latin alphabet that was previously used.

Tatar is the official language spoken in Tatarstan, alongside Russia. Primary and Secondary school education in Tatarstan is carried out using the Russian and Tatar language. However, the predominant language that is mostly used in most urban schools is Russian. There are several newspapers and radio stations which broadcast using the Tatar language. Russian is often viewed as a more prestigious language than Tatar, especially in urban areas. This has resulted in Russian being the preferred language of use, even among people who understand and speak Tatar well. Most young people speak Russian better than Tatar. Tatar is mainly spoken by the rural populations.

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