Glottocode: kalm1244, ISO 639-2: xal


Kalmyk or Kalmyk-Oirat is a branch of the Oirat language and belongs to the Mongolian group of Altaic languages. It is spoken by Kalmyk people in the Kalmykia Republic of the Russian Federation. The language is definitely endangered: according to the Russian census of 2010, there are 80,500 speakers of an ethnic population consisting of 183,000 people.

In the first half of the XVII century, Central Asian Oirat nomadic tribes of Torgud and Dörvüd origin began their migration towards Europe, occupying a vast tract of steppe around the lower Volga region before establishing The Kalmyk (Torgut) Khanate (1630 – 1771). In 1771, the majority of the Kalmyk community migrated back to Dzhungaria, the homeland of Oirat Mongolian tribes. Those Kalmyk people who remained on the Caspian steppe were integrated into the Russian Empire and today live mainly in the Republic of Kalmykia, Astrakhan and Volgograd regions of the Russian Federation. Small Kalmyk diasporas can be found in USA, France, Czech Republic.

The Republic of Kalmykia is located in the southern European region of the Russian Federation, surrounded by Rostov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Dagestan and the Stavropol region(s).

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