Names Of Birds Of Prey In The Altai Language


The words denoting birds are an integral part of material and spiritual culture of any people. These words reflect processes associated with language contacts, as a result of which language is enriched. This article deals with zoomorphisms of the Altai language naming birds of prey. Zoo images of wild birds are one of the most widespread characteristics, since birds have always played a leading role in language and culture. The interaction of man and birds is reflected in language. A bird is an expression of freedom, soul separated from the body. Birds often became symbols of divinity, power, victory. In addition, in the Altai culture, birds (crows or vultures) are considered harbingers of diseases. However, birds are an auspicious sign. Another group of symbols is based on the idea that birds interact with divine realms, or deliver messages from there. We have analysed the most common zoomorphisms: мӱркӱт " golden eagle "; тейлеен~теелен~телген " kite "; шоҥкор “ falcon ”; and кускун " raven ".

Keywords: Altai languagezoomorphismethnospecific featuresmanbird


Scientists began to study the Altai language in the 19th century. Grammar books were published, dictionaries were compiled, the dialects were studied. According to Rassadin, “along with its phonetics and grammar, the vocabulary of any language is one of the main elements of its structure, which determines the language and reflects cultural and economic conditions in which the vocabulary was developing and exists. The history of vocabulary development is of great scientific importance” (2018, p. 161). It is important to study the “the lexical composition of specific lexical semantic groups” (2017, p. 97), since “... the lexical semantic group are a product of the development of lexical semantics of the language” (Erlenbaeva 2008, p. 33). Changes are taking place in the economic, social and cultural life of society, which changes everyday life. All these changes are immediately reflected in the language, its vocabulary. Therefore, the studies on the vocabulary seem relevant. Altai zoomorphisms correlated with birds of prey have not been studied by linguists. Some zoomorphisms were studied by Tybykova (2006; 2007; 2008), Kuchin (2007), Erlenbaeva (2018), since this group of vocabulary belongs to the most ancient layer, which formed the basis of any preliterate language. Birds play an important role in the mythologies of all the peoples (Tenishev, 2001). Siberian folk culture has embroidery with zoomorphic images (Fursova, 2008).

Problem Statement

The image of man is an important fragment of the linguistic picture of the world, and an attempt to create the concept of “man” on the basis of zoomorphic components allows us to distinguish universal and ethnospecific features.

Zoomorphisms are metaphorical lexical semantic variants of zoosemisms, names of animals projected onto a person, characterizing him from different angles of view: “fox” – a cunning, hypocritical person (Tybykova, 2006).

Zoomorphisms have all the features of the expressive vocabulary: imagery, expressiveness, emotionality. Zoomorphism are based on visual representations of animals, birds and insects: eyes like a golden eagle – sharp vision. The phrase "white crow" negatively characterizes a person.

The article studies Altai zoomorphisms correlated birds of prey.

Research Questions

The zoo-image куш "bird" is widely used in literary texts. The lexeme куш “bird” has different meanings. In most cases, this zoo image is used in comparisons.

1. The emphasis is on such qualities as freedom, flight, beauty. For example, freedom of flight: bis, kanattu kushtyj, koby-jikter, tajgalar azhyra cyr јӱgӱrkle baradyrys. – Like birds we fly over mountains and valleys.

According to informants, the zoo-image куш “bird” is associated with “freedom”. For example: kush chylap jajym sӱӱr ulus (like a bird, we love freedom), sanaazy telkem (wide soul); kushtyj jajym jӱrӱmdӱ (like a bird with free life); kush chylap јajym ucharga amadaar ulus (people who strive for freedom like a bird).

2. As a bird of heaven live, live without caring for anything. For example: Emil Ediskinovichtiҥ, aj-kanattu јajym kush chylap, uchup-kӱjӱp јӱrgen bojdoҥ tuzhy kajda bardy ne? – Emil Ediskinovich lived like a bird, free and nonchalant life?

Јakshynak atka minele, kanattu kushtyj shuҥup јӱrerineҥ artyk ne bar? – There is nothing better than riding a good horse like a bird.

3. CHaҥkyr kush "blue bird" is a symbol of elusive happiness. Both the Russian people and the Altai people have this symbol, and the designation of these peoples is the same. The symbol of CHaҥkyr kush “blue bird” is found only in the texts by the Altai writer Adarov:

– Men ӧskӧ chaktyҥ kizhizi. A chaҥkyr kuzhym ta kajda? Kajran chaҥkyr kuzhym. “I am a man from a different century.” Where is my blue bird? My poor blue bird.

4. This zoomorphism compares individual parts of the human body: eyes, chest, etc. For example:

Orus kizhi temir sogor us, teҥerige chygar kushtyҥ kӧstӧrindij – yraaktaҥ kӧrӧr – Russian man is good at forging iron, like a bird in high flight sees from afar.

Tarkrash terdeҥ ӱlӱsh chamchazyn ushtyp, ӧlӧҥgӧ tӧzhӧjlӧ, јadyp aldy. Ap-apagash «kush» tӧzhin kӱnge tӧgӧp berdi. – Tarkrash laid his shirt wet with sweat on the grass. He exposed his white as a bird chest to the sun.

The comparison of blisters on a hand:

Oҥ kolynyҥ ergeginiҥ chike le ӱstinde syraҥaj la kushkashtyҥ kӧzinche bir bolchok bodyr sӧӧl bolgon. – At the very top of the finger of his right hand, there was a blister from the bird's eye.

In most cases, the zoomorphism kush "bird" is used for comparisons. It is also associated with fun, fear, sadness:

Onoҥ bu la kush chylap, јӱregi kӧdӱrilip. – Then the heart rose like this bird.

Bojynyҥ sanaalaryn sӱrӱzhӱp, Arina kanattu kushtyj bolgon. – Arina was like a winged bird.

The zoo-image kanattu kushtyj "like a bird" has developed as a stable comparison. This is used to characterize a male hero:

Јuuchyl attu baatyr јuuzy јok bolbos, ady јok baatyr kanady јok kushla tӱҥej. – There cannot be a warrior with a war horse without war, and a warrior without a horse is like a bird without a wing.

Kanady јok kush – kush ta emes, ady јok er – er de emes. – A bird without a wing is not a bird, a man without a horse is not a man.

These examples confirm the fact that the horse and the hero are closely related, and without each other they do not represent powerful strength, victory and friendship.

The zoo-image kush "bird" has all the features of the expressive vocabulary: imagery, expressiveness, appreciation.

The zoo-image mӱrkӱt "golden eagle". This lexeme can be found in 12 Turkic languages Tenishev (2001), Sevortyan (1978), Tatarintsev (2000) and Rassadina (2007). The phonetic version мӱркӱт is presented in the modern Altai language. In this position, the replacement of occlusal-explosive b with the sonorous occlusal-fissure nasal m does not change the meaning of the word and does not form a meaningful opposition.

This image has a national-cultural specificity based on religious beliefs and lifestyle of this ethnos: golden eagle – in the Altai culture, falcon – in the Russian one.

The image of golden eagle is a symbol of masculine beauty, fearlessness. This is a totem bird of Irkits. Sacred birds are helpers in the shamanistic tradition, help shamans to see what is happening in Altai. The image of a golden eagle symbolizes beauty.

The image of a golden eagle carries one of the best male virtues – fearlessness. This image characterizes fearlessness and beauty: Јaan borozymak kӧstӧr, buurajyp јӱrgen kalyҥ chach, chala korkok tumchuk ony mӱrkӱtke tӱҥej edip јat. Јelber kara kabaktu, korkok tumchuktu, mӱrkӱt oshkosh bӱdӱmdӱ kizhi – Big gray eyes, gray hair, and a nose with a hump make him look like a golden eagle. A man with black eyebrows, a nose with a hump like a golden eagle.

The Altai image is regularly used to describe external features. The most commonly used combination is mӱrkӱt kӧrӱsh "look of a golden eagle": Ol bisti mӱrkӱt chilep shirtep algan oturyp јat. – He looks like a golden eagle.

The zoo-image mӱrkӱt "golden eagle" is associated with the seme "wise, strict, fearless." For example: mÿrkÿttij ojgor "like a smart / wise golden eagle"; mÿrkÿttij kÿchtÿ, kapshuun, nedeҥ de јaltanbas "like a golden eagle strong, fast / agile, afraid of nothing"; emesh katu kylyk-јaҥdu, kazyrlanyp ajdyp ta, tudup ta ijer, bojynyҥ kӧrӱm-shӱӱltezin, јajymyn bijik tudar kizhi "a person of strict morals and rules, who values his freedom."

When characterizing appearance, the following comparisons were made: mÿrkÿttij tumchuktu: “a nose like a nose of the golden eagle”; mÿrkÿttij koҥzhok tumchuktu: "a golden eagle nose"; mÿrkÿttij tozyrak köstörlÿ: "bulging eyes like eyes of a golden eagle"; körgir, kurch "a person who sees everything / person with a sharp look mÿrkÿttij uchushtu: "flies like a golden eagle . "

Words chilep, tӱҥej, oshkosh are used for comparison.

Thus, the image of a golden eagle is used to describe the male appearance

The zoo-image tejleen~teelen~telgen "kite". It is a large bird of prey. It can be used only in one meaning – to attack somebody like a kite. It carries negative characteristics.

The semantics of this zoo-image is comparative, expressed with the help of analytical words bolup, chilep, etc.

The comparative image of the kite is most often used to describe human behavior.

The core of the zoomorphism kite (tejleen~teelen~telgen) is the seme "rapid, strong", used in relation to a male. This zoomorphism is focused on greatness of his action: Kezikte tejlegen emeze shonkor, emeze mӱrkӱt bolup, eki kolyn tarpajtyp alala, uchup јӱrgen kush bolup ojnop, јӱgӱrip turatan. – Sometimes, like a kite or a falcon, or like a golden eagle, he ran and played.

The kite (tejleen~teelen~telgen) is associated with the seme "theft, visual acuity:

1) telgen chylap bosh lo јatkan nemeni ala sogor (like a kite he grabs everything);

2) telgen chylap bosh lo јatkan nemeni ala sogor (like a quick kite), telgendij kajuchyl, ajlandyra oncho kajyr, kajdaҥ neni alaryn shӱӱr (like an attentive kite, looking around it goes towards its goal);

3) when congratulating, wishing success in business, career: телгендий учужы бийик болзын (let him rise high like a kite).

The zoomorphism kite (tejleen~teelen~telgen) is used for comparisons.

The zoo-image shoҥkor "falcon". This is a bird of prey characterized by fast soaring flight. It symbolizes superiority, a strong desire for light and freedom.

It is mainly found in literary texts. The core of this zoomorphism is the seme “soaring fast flight, fast”.

The zoomorphism is used with analytical and synthetic indicators.

This zoo-image is used in the Altai language as a metaphor: SHireege јedip oturarga mege ozo bashtap bu eki shonkordy јogoltor kerek. – In order to reach and occupy the throne, I need to destroy these two falcons.

One more negative zoo image is raven. This zoomorphism is characterized by a high degree of expressivity with a negative characteristic. It refers to males.

The most frequent model is comparative semantics expressed using synthetic and analytical indicators (affixes = dyy, = diy), auxiliary words chylap, bolup, oshkosh.

This zoomorphism is one of the most common characteristics of a male, since this bird is associated with death, war and misfortune. A lot of zoomorphisms can be found in historical novels, stories of Altai writers.

Kuskun "raven" is an omnivorous bird. These birds can be characterized only from the negative side.

Since “raven” is associated with war, misfortune, it is constantly used in texts, and this image carries the main semantic load:

Emdi bashchyzy јok јon artkan dep, oshtÿler, sek sesken kuskundar chylap, anan-mynaҥ kujtyldazhyp јetkilep keler – dep, Töödökö ermektendi. “Now when the people did not have a leader, enemies will fly like ravens from all sides,” says Toodoko.

The raven has always meant "peck out the eyes", this is a direct meaning. This comparative image “pecking out the eyes” can be attributed to fixed comparisons:

Karyndazhymnyҥ sol köziniҥ chogyn nemecterdin kuskundary öchÿre chokyp kojgon ine, dep, Syrga bu la bolchoktyҥ ÿstine oturyp alala, kaҥzazyn taryj-taryj azyp oturdy. “The German ravens pecked my brother’s left eye,” said Syrga.

The zoomorphism kuskun “raven” characterizes a male based on the actions and lifestyle of these birds.

Since the kuskun “raven” is a bad black bird, this image is used in curses when a person is angry.For instance:

Pejtke Karabash la Kojlony ta nenin de uchun altaj chörchöktördin söstörile keјiri kyrlajgancha la kargap turdy:

T'fu – uu!!! Kӧziҥdi kuskun chokyzyn, kardyҥdy kargaa chokyzyn! T'fu – uu!!!

The kuskun “raven is mainly associated with the seme “greedy, with an unpleasant voice and with“ black thoughts:

1) kuskundyj achyna, kyjgas, toro – greedy, hungry like a raven;

2) karazy јaan kizhi – a person with bad thoughts; kalaktush kizhi, oozy јabylbas – grouchy person, talker;

3) kuskun kara chachtu kizhi – like a kite with black hair.

Thus, the kuskun "raven" is a common image. It is a comparison, metaphor associated with the male.

Purpose of the Study

The article aims to identify and describe zoomorphisms correlated with birds of prey in the Altai language.

Research Methods

The following methods were used: the synchronous and diachronic analysis, the comparative method, the component element analysis; the synchronous-descriptive method; the structural-morphological method, the survey method.


The zoo -image mӱrkӱt “golden eagle” has a national-cultural specificity based on both religious ideas and lifestyle of the ethnos. In the Altai language, the image of the golden eagle carries one of the best masculine qualities of a male warrior – it is fearlessness. In the Altai language, the combination mӱrkӱt kӧrӱsh "look of the golden eagle” is often used.

The zoo image tejleen~teelen~telgen "kite" is used to describe someone that is swiftly and angrily attack somebody. The core of this zoomorphism is the seme “fast-moving, strong”, it is used mainly in relation to man

The zoo -image shoҥkor "falcon" is found in literary texts. The core is seme “soaring fast flight”, it is used in relation to a male as a metaphor.

The zoo-image kuskun “raven” is characterized by a high degree of expressivity and a negative color.


As a result of the analysis of zoomorphisms correlated with birds of prey in the Altai language, we can conclude that these images possess all the features of the expressive vocabulary: imagery, expressiveness, appreciation. Humanity and the animal world are interconnected. This relation is reflected in language.

This article is an attempt to look into the world beyond the zoonony of the Altai language. A comparative study reveals various connotations of these zoonyms (Parihar, 2015).

Zoomorphisms correlated with birds of prey are used as comparisons, stable combinations, and metaphors.

They are used with analytical and synthetic indicators. The most frequent model of using these zoo images is comparative semantics (affixes = dyj, =dij), auxiliary words chylap, bolup, oshkosh.

Thus, each zoomorphism correlated with birds of prey is unique, as it causes certain associations and reflects only a fragment of a holistic picture of the Altai world.


The study was funded by the RFFR within project “The names of birds in the Altai language and its dialects”, No. 18-012-00475 / 18”.


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31 October 2020

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Viktorovna, E. N., & Menkenovna, T. S. (2020). Names Of Birds Of Prey In The Altai Language. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 3629-3635). European Publisher.