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Index / Languages / Turkic /
Iran / Languages /
Other spellings: Torkomani, Turkomans, Turkmenler, Turkmanian, Trukhmen, Trukhmeny, Turkmani

By country
Figures in 1000.
% to inhabitants in country.
1,800 2.5%
230 0.8%
130 0.6%
2,150 0.4%

Total calculated to the MENA, with 490 million inhabitants.

Turkic language spoken by 1.8 million in Iran, in all countries 7 million. Turkmen is the main, and official, language of Turkmenistan (about 4 million), but has also sizeable groups in Afghanistan (600,000) and Iraq (230,000).
Sources disagree upon whether Turkmen is a language of size in Turkey, estimates differ extremely, from 1 thousand to 1 million. In Iran, Turkmen is spoken principally in the Mazadaran province, by the Yomut and Goklan ethnic groups. Turkmen can be undestood by Turkish and Azerbaijani speakers.
There are several dialects to Turkmen: Anauli, Khasarli, Nerezim, Nokhurli (Nohur), Chavdur, Esari (Esary), Goklen (Goklan), Salyr, Saryq, Teke (Tekke), Yomud (Yomut), Trukmen.
In Turkmen there is vowel harmony, the language is agglutinative, and with no grammatical gender or irregular verbs. Word order is Subject Object Verb.
In Iran, Turkmen is not a literary language, but in Turkmenistan it g has through the 20th century been written by no less than 3 alphabets. Originally Arabic script was used, shortly Latin, then through the Soviet era, Cyrillic before the reintroduction of Latin in 1991. The present writing system is based on the Turkish, but there are a few differences (below shows Turkmen compared to Turkish).

j instead of c for the phonetic sound [dʒ]
ž instead of j for [ʒ]
instead of y for [j]

Turkmen also introduces two new letters:
for []
ň for [ŋ]

In other countries, other writing system have been used. In present-day Afghanistan, Arabic script is still used for the country's Turkmen speakers.
The most famous literature of Turkmen is the 18th century poetry of Magtymguly Pyragy.

1928: Arabic script is replaced by Latin for writin Turkmen.
1940: Cyrillic replaces Latin, in correspondence with the main writing in the Soviet Union.
1991: With the establishment of the new, independent republic of Turkmenistan, Latin writing is reintroduced, corresponding with the writing in Turkey.

By Tore Kjeilen