Ossetian is a member of the Northeastern Iranian branch of Indo-European languages. About 500,000 people speak Ossetian in Ossetia, a region that straddles the border or Russia and Georgia. The majority of Ossetian speakers live in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (Цӕгат Ирыстоны Аланийы Республикӕ) in Russia. The Ossetic-speaking region of Georgia is called South Ossetia (Республикӕ Хуссар Ирыстон). There are also some Ossetian speakers in Turkey.
There are two main dialects of Ossetian, Iron (Ирон) and Digor (Дигор). Iron is the most widely-spoken dialect and the basis for written Ossetian. Another dialect, Jassic, used to be spoken in Hungary.
Ossetian is an official language in North and South Ossetia. There are a couple of Ossetian newspaper, and the language is taught in schools.
Ossetian was first written during the 18th century with a version of the Arabic script. Then in 1844, a method of writing Ossetian with the Cyrillic alphabet was developed by Sjoegren. Between 1923 and 1937 a version of the Latin alphabet was used to write the language, and since 1938 the Cyrillic alphabet has been used, though from 1938 to the 1950s, a version of the Georgian alphabet was used to write Ossetian in South Ossetia.
Адӕймӕгтӕ се 'ппӕт дӕр райгуырынц сӕрибарӕй ӕмӕ ӕмхуызонӕй сӕ барты. Уыдон ӕххӕст сты зонд ӕмӕ намысӕй, ӕмӕ кӕрӕдзийӕн хъуамӕ уой ӕфсымӕрты хуызӕн.
ადჽჲმჽგთჽ სე 'ფფჽთ დჽრ რაჲგუჷრჷნც სჽრიბარჽჲ ჽმჽ ჽმხუჷ ზoნჽჲ სჽ ბართჷ. უჷდoნ ჽხხჽსთ სთჷ ზoნდ ჽმჽ ნამჷსჽჲ, ჽმჽ ქჽრჽძიჲჽნ ყუამჽ უoჲ ჽჶსჷმჽრთჷ ხუჷზჽნ.
Adæjmægtæ se 'ppæt dær rajguyrync særibaræj æmæ æmxuy zonæj sæ barty. Uydon æxxæst sty zond æmæ namysæj, æmæ kærædzijæn quamæ uoj æfsymærty xuyzæn.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Details of the Georgian alphabet for Ossetian and the sample text in the Georgian alphabet provided by Michael Peter Füstumum
Information about the Ossetian Language
Information about the Digor dialect of Ossetian and the Digor people
Details of the Ossetian alphabets (Russian)
A Grammatical Sketch of Ossetic
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Page last modified: 23.04.21
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