Uyghur language


Uyghur language
Uyghur[1][2]
ئۇيغۇرچە / ئۇيغۇر تىلى
Uyghurche / Uyghur tili
Uyƣurqə / Uyƣur tili
Уйғурчә / Уйғур тили
Pronunciation [ʔʊjˈʁʊrtʃɛ]
Spoken in China, Kazakhstan; also spoken in Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and Uzbekistan[3]
Region Xinjiang
Native speakers 8–11 million[3][4]  (2000–2005)
Language family
Turkic
Writing system Uyghur alphabet
Official status
Official language in China (Xinjiang)
Regulated by Working Committee of Ethnic Language and Writing of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ug
ISO 639-2 uig
ISO 639-3 uig
Uyghur language
Kasgarlimahmut.jpg

Uyghur language
Uyghur dialects
Uyghur phonology
Uyghur grammar

Uyghur alphabet
Sogdian · Old Uyghur · Old Turkic
Arabic · Latin · Yengi Yeziⱪ · Cyrillic
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Uyghur (Uyĝur), formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other countries have Uyghur-speaking expatriate communities. Uyghur is an official language of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and is used as a lingua franca and in some cases even as a first language by other ethnic minorities in China. Uyghur is widely used in both social and official spheres, as well as in print, radio, and television.

Uyghur belongs to the Uyghuric branch of the Turkic language family, which also includes languages such as Salar and the more distantly related Uzbek. Like many other Turkic languages, Uyghur displays vowel harmony and agglutination, lacks noun classes or grammatical gender, and is a left-branching language with subject–object–verb word order. More distinctly Uyghur processes include, especially in northern dialects, vowel reduction and umlauting. In addition to influence of other Turkic languages, Uyghur has historically been influenced strongly by Persian and Arabic, and more recently by Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

Uyghur began being written in the fifth century. Uyghur may be written in a number of different orthographies, the Arabic-derived system being the most common. Unlike most Arabic-derived scripts, the Uyghur Arabic alphabet has mandatory marking of all vowels. Two Latin and one Cyrillic alphabet are also used, though to a much lesser extent. The Arabic and Latin alphabets have 32 characters, while the Cyrillic alphabet adds two characters ⟨Я⟩ and ⟨Ю⟩ to represent the sequences /ja/ and /jo/.

Contents

History

The Old Turkic language is an ancient Turkic language used from the 7th to 13th centuries in Mongolia and the Xinjiang region, and is especially found among the Orkhon inscriptions and Turpan texts. It is the direct ancestor of the Uyghur Turkic languages, including Uyghur and the Uzbek language. By contrast, the Western Yugur language, although in geographic proximity, is more closely related to the Siberian Turkic languages in Siberia.[5]

Probably around 1077,[6] a scholar of the Turkic languages, Mahmud al-Kashgari from Kashgar in modern-day Xinjiang, published a Turkic language dictionary and description of the geographic distribution of many Turkic languages, Divān-ul Lughat-ul Turk (English: Compendium of the Turkic Dialects; Uyghur: تۈركى تىللار دىۋانىTürki Tillar Divani). The book, described by scholars as an "extraordinary work,"[7][8] documents the rich literary tradition of Turkic languages; it contains folk tales (including descriptions of the functions of shamans[8]) and didactic poetry (propounding "moral standards and good behaviour"), besides poems and poetry cycles on topics such as hunting and love,[9] and numerous other language materials.[10]

Old Turkic, through the influence of Perso-Arabic after the 13th century, developed into the Chagatai language, a literary language used all across Central Asia until the early 20th century. After Chaghatai fell into extinction, the standard versions of Uyghur and Uzbek were developed from dialects in the Chagatai-speaking region, showing abundant Chaghatai influence. Uyghur language today shows considerable Persian influence as a result from Chagatai, including numerous Persian loanwords.[11]

The historical term "Uyghur" was appropriated for the language formerly known as Eastern Turki by government officials in the Soviet Union in 1922 and in Xinjiang in 1934.[12][13] Sergey Malov was behind the idea of renaming Turki to Uyghurs.[14]

Classification

The Uyghur language belongs to the Uyghur Turkic (or Uyghuric) branch of the Turkic language family. It is closely related to Western Yugur, Salar, Aini, Lop, Ili Turki, the extinct languages Old Turkic and Chagatay (the East Uyghuric languages), and more distantly to Uzbek (which is West Uyghuric).

Early linguistic scholarly studies of Uyghur include Julius Klaproth's 1812 Dissertation on language and script of the Uighurs (Abhandlung über die Sprache und Schrift der Uiguren) which was disputed by Isaak Jakob Schmidt. In this period, Klaproth correctly asserted that Uyghur was a Turkic language, while Schmidt believed that Uyghur should be classified with Tangut languages.[15]

Dialects

It is widely accepted that Uyghur has three main dialects, all based on their geographical distribution. Each of these main dialects have a number of sub-dialects which all are mutually intelligible to some extent.

  • Central: Spoken in an area stretching from Kumul towards south to Yarkand
  • Southern: Spoken in an area stretching from Guma towards east to Charqaliq
  • Eastern: Spoken in an area stretching from Charqaliq towards north to Chongköl

The Central dialects are spoken by 90% of the Uyghur-speaking population, while the two other branches of dialects only are spoken by a relatively small minority.[16]

Vowel reduction is common in the northern parts of where Uyghur is spoken, but not in the south.[17]

Status

Uyghur is spoken by about 8-11 million people in total.[3][4][18] In addition to being spoken primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China, mainly by the Uyghur people, Uyghur is also spoken by some 300,000 people in Kazakhstan as of 1993, some 90,000 in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as of 1998, 3,000 in Afghanistan and 1,000 in Mongolia, both as of 1982.[4] Smaller communities also exist in Albania, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.[3]

The Uyghurs are one of the 56 recognized ethnic groups in China, and Uyghur is an official language of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, along with Standard Chinese. Today the Uyghur language is also used as a lingua franca by many non-Han minorities in Xinjiang, such as among the Xibe, Tajiks of China, Daurs, and even Russians.[19] Some ethnic minorities in China have even adopted Uyghur as a first language; these peoples include the Tatars, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.[4]

The language can be heard in most social domains, and also in schools, government and courts.[4] About 80 newspapers and magazines are available in Uyghur; five TV channels and ten publishers serve as the Uyghur media. Outside of China, Radio Free Asia and TRT provide news in Uyghur.

Phonology

Vowels

Front Back
UR R UR R
Close ɪ ʏ (ɯ) u
Mid e ø o
Open æ~ɛ ɑ

Uyghur vowels are by default short, but some phonologists[who?] have argued that long vowels also exist because of historical vowel assimilation (above) and through loanwords. Underlyingly long vowels would resist vowel reduction and devoicing, introduce non-final stress, and be analyzed as |Vj| or |Vr| before a few suffixes. However, the conditions in which they are actually pronounced as distinct from their short counterparts have not been fully researched.[20]

Official Uyghur orthographies do not mark vowel length, and also do not distinguish between /ɪ/ (e.g., بىلىم/bɪlɪm/ 'knowledge') and back /ɯ/ (e.g., تىلىم/tɯlɯm/ 'my language'); these two sounds are in complementary distribution, but phonological analyses claim that they play a role in vowel harmony and are separate phonemes.[21] /e/ only occurs in words of non-Turkic origin and as the result of vowel raising.[22]

Uyghur has systematic vowel reduction (or vowel raising) as well as vowel harmony. Words usually agree in vowel backness, but compounds, loans, and some other exceptions often break vowel harmony. Suffixes surface with the rightmost [back] value in the stem, and /e, ɪ/ are transparent (as they don't contrast for backness). Uyghur also has rounding harmony.[23]

Consonants

Labial Dental Post-
alveolar
Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m ŋ
Stop p b t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k ɡ q ʔ
Fricative f (v) s z ʃ ʒ x ʁ h
Trill r
Approximant l j w

Uyghur voiceless stops are aspirated word-initially and intervocalically.[24] The pairs /p, b/, /t, d/, /k, ɡ/, and /q, ʁ/ alternate, with the voiced member devoicing in syllable-final position, except in word-initial syllables. This devoicing process is usually reflected in the official orthography, but an exception has been recently made for certain Perso-Arabic loans.[25] Voiceless phonemes do not become voiced in standard Uyghur.[26]

Suffixes display a slightly different type of consonant alternation. The phonemes /ɡ/ and /ʁ/ anywhere in a suffix alternate as governed by vowel harmony, where /ɡ/ occurs with front vowels and /ʁ/ with back ones. Devoicing of a suffix-initial consonant can occur only in the cases of /d/[t], /ɡ/[k], and /ʁ/[q], when the preceding consonant is voiceless. Lastly, the rule that /g/ must occur with front vowels and /ʁ/ with back vowels can be broken when either [k] or [q] in suffix-initial position becomes assimilated by the other due to the preceding consonant being such.[27]

Loan phonemes have influenced Uyghur to various degrees. /d͡ʒ/ and /x/ were borrowed from Arabic and have been nativized, while /ʒ/ from Persian less so. /f/ only exists in very recent Russian and Chinese loans, since Perso-Arabic (and older Russian and Chinese) /f/ became Uyghur /p/. Perso-Arabic loans have also made the contrast between /k, ɡ/ and /q, ʁ/ phonemic, as they occur as allophones in native words, the former set near front vowels and the latter near a back vowels. Some speakers of Uyghur distinguish /v/ from /w/ in Russian loans, but this is not represented in most orthographies. Other phonemes occur natively only in limited contexts, i.e. /h/ only in few interjections, /d/, /ɡ/, and /ʁ/ rarely initially, and /z/ only morpheme-final. Therefore, the pairs */t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/, */ʃ, ʒ/, and */s, z/ do not alternate.[28][29]

Phonotactics

The primary syllable structure of Uyghur is CV(C)(C).[3] Uyghur syllable structure is usually CV or CVC, but CVCC can also occur in some words. When syllable-coda clusters occur, CC tends to become CVC in some speakers especially if the first consonant is not a sonorant. In Uyghur, any consonant phoneme can occur as the syllable onset or coda, except for /ʔ/ which only occurs in the onset and /ŋ/, which never occurs word-initially. In general, Uyghur phonology tends to simplify phonemic consonant clusters by means of elision and epenthesis.[30]

Orthography

A signboard in front of the Military Museum of Xinjiang written in Uyghur (using Ereb Yëziqi) and Standard Chinese
A sign in Ghulja, Xinjiang, written in Uyghur (using Ereb Yëziqi) and Chinese (both Hanzi and Pinyin)

Since the beginning of the literary tradition of Uyghur in the 5th century it has been written in numerous different writing systems and continues to be. Unlike many other modern Turkic languages, Uyghur is primarily written using an Arabic-derived alphabet, although a Cyrillic-derived alphabet and two Latin-derived alphabets also are in use, but to a much lesser extent. Unusually for an alphabet based on the Persian, full transcription of vowels is indicated. (Only Kashmiri and Kurdish similarly indicate all vowels.)

The four alphabets in use today can be seen below.

In the table below the alphabets are shown side-by-side for comparison, together with a phonetic transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

# IPA UEY ULY USY UPNY   # IPA UEY ULY USY UPNY
1 /ɑ/ ئا A a А а A a 17 /q/ ق Q q Қ қ Ⱪ ⱪ
2 /æ/ ئە E e Ə ә Ə ə 18 /k/ ك K k К к K k
3 /b/ ب B b Б б B b 19 /ɡ/ گ G g Г г G g
4 /p/ پ P p П п P p 20 /ŋ/ ڭ Ng ng Ң ң Ng ng
5 /t/ ت T t Т т T t 21 /l/ ل L l Л л L l
6 /d͡ʒ/ ج J j Җ җ J j 22 /m/ م M m М м M m
7 /t͡ʃ/ چ Ch ch Ч ч Q q 23 /n/ ن N n Н н N n
8 /x/ خ X x Х х H h 24 /h/ ھ H h Һ һ Ⱨ ⱨ
9 /d/ د D d Д д D d 25 /o/ ئو O o О о O o
10 /r/ ر R r Р р R r 26 /u/ ئۇ U u У у U u
11 /z/ ز Z z З з Z z 27 /ø/ ئۆ Ö ö Ө ө Ɵ ɵ
12 /ʒ/ ژ Zh zh Ж ж 28 /y/ ئۈ Ü ü Ү ү Ü ü
13 /s/ س S s С с S s 29 /v/~/w/ ۋ W w В в V v
14 /ʃ/ ش Sh sh Ш ш X x 30 /e/ ئې Ë ë Е е E e
15 /ʁ/ غ Gh gh Ғ ғ Ƣ ƣ 31 /ɪ/ ئى I i И и I i
16 /f/ ف F f Ф ф F f 32 /j/ ي Y y Й й Y y

Grammar

Uyghur is an agglutinative language with a subject–object–verb word order. Nouns are inflected for number and case, but not gender and definiteness like in many other languages. There are two numbers: singular and plural; and six different cases: nominative, accusative, dative, locative, ablative and genitive.[31][32] Verbs are conjugated for tense: present and past; voice: causative and passive; aspect: continuous; and mood: e.g. ability. Verbs may be negated as well.[31]

Lexicon

The core lexicon of the Uyghur language is of Turkic stock, but due to different kinds of language contact through the history of the language, it has adopted many loanwords. Kazakh, Uzbek and Chagatai are all Turkic languages which have had a strong influence on Uyghur. Many words of Arabic origin have come into the language through Persian and Tajik, which again have come through Uzbek, and to a greater extent, Chagatai. Many words of Arabic origin have also entered the language directly through Islamic literature after the introduction of the Islamic religion around the 10th century.

Chinese in Xinjiang and Russian elsewhere had the greatest influence on Uyghur. Loanwords from these languages are all quite recent, although older borrowings exist as well, such as borrowings from Dungan, a Mandarin dialect spoken by the Dungan people of Central Asia. A number of loanwords of German origin have also reached Uyghur through Russian.[33]

Below are some examples of loanwords which have entered the Uyghur language.

Origin Source word Source (in IPA) Uyghur word Uyghur (in IPA) English
Persian افسوس [efˈsus] epsus ئەپسۈس /ɛpsus/ pity
گوشت [ɡoʃt] gösh گۆش /ɡøʃ/ meat
Arabic ساعة [ˈsæːʕɐ] saet سائەت /saʔɛt/ hour
Russian велосипед [vʲɪləsʲɪˈpʲɛt] wélsipit ۋېلسىپىت /welsipit/ bicycle
доктор [ˈdoktər] doxtur دوختۇر /doxtur/ doctor (medical)
поезд [ˈpo.jɪst] poyiz پويىز /pojiz/ train
область [ˈobləsʲtʲ] oblast ئوبلاست /oblast/ oblast, region
телевизор [tʲɪlʲɪˈvʲizər] téléwizor تېلېۋىسور /televizor/ television set
Chinese 凉粉 liángfěn [li̯ɑŋ˧˥fən˨˩] lempung لەمپۇڭ /lɛmpuŋ/ agar-agar jelly
豆腐 dòufu [tou̯˥˩fu˩] dufu دۇفۇ /dufu/ tofu

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ In English, the name of the ethnicity and its language is spelled variously as Uyghur, Uighur, Uygur and Uigur, with the preferred spelling being Uyghur. Many English speakers pronounce it as /ˈwiː.ɡər/, though the native pronunciation is [ʔʊjˈʁʊr]. See Mair, Victor (13 July 2009). "A Little Primer of Xinjiang Proper Nouns". Language Log. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1576. Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Its name in other languages in which it might be often referred to is as follows:
  3. ^ a b c d e Ethnologue: Uyghur
  4. ^ a b c d e Dwyer 2005, pp. 12–13
  5. ^ Hahn 1998, pp. 83–84
  6. ^ Dankoff, Robert (March 1981), "Inner Asian Wisdom Traditions in the Pre-Mongol Period", Journal of the American Oriental Society (American Oriental Society) 101 (1): 87–95, doi:10.2307/602165, http://jstor.org/stable/602165, retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Brendemoen, Brett (1998), "Turkish Dialects", in Lars Johanson, Éva Csató, The Turkic languages, Taylor & Francis, pp. 236–41, ISBN 9780415082006, http://books.google.com/?id=TdsOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA236, retrieved 8 March 2010 
  8. ^ a b Baldick, Julian (2000), Animal and shaman: ancient religions of Central Asia, I.B. Tauris, pp. 50, ISBN 9781860644313, http://books.google.com/?id=JhQtVH4-fW8C&pg=PA50, retrieved 8 March 2010 
  9. ^ Kayumov, A. (2002), "Literature of the Turkish Peoples", in C. E. Bosworth, M.S.Asimov, History of Civilizations of Central Asia, 4, Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 379, ISBN 9788120815964, http://books.google.com/?id=ELrRr0L8UOsC&pg=PA379, retrieved 8 March 2010 
  10. ^ "تۈركى تىللار دىۋانى پۈتۈن تۈركىي خەلقلەر ئۈچۈن ئەنگۈشتەردۇر (The Compendium of Turkic Languages was for all Turkic peoples)" (in Uyghur). Radio Free Asia. 11 February 2010. http://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/tepsili_xewer/turki-dillar/diwani-02122010022941.html. Retrieved 15 February 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ Badīʻī, Nādira (1997), Farhang-i wāžahā-i fārsī dar zabān-i ūyġūrī-i Čīn, Tehran: Bunyād-i Nīšābūr, p. 57 
  12. ^ Brown, Keith; Ogilvie, Sarah (2009), Uyghur, Elsevier, p. 1143, ISBN 9780080877747. 
  13. ^ Hahn 1998, p. 379
  14. ^ Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (1991). Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, Volumes 12-13. King Abdulaziz University. p. 108. http://books.google.com/books?id=kd22AAAAIAAJ&q=uighur.+This+designation+of+the+Turkic+language+spoken+in+Xinjiang+was+introduced+in+1921+at+a+meeting+in+Tashkent+in+the+Soviet+Union.+Its+originator+was+the+Soviet+turcologist+SE+Malov.+It+should+thus+be+borne+in+mind+that+the+modem&dq=uighur.+This+designation+of+the+Turkic+language+spoken+in+Xinjiang+was+introduced+in+1921+at+a+meeting+in+Tashkent+in+the+Soviet+Union.+Its+originator+was+the+Soviet+turcologist+SE+Malov.+It+should+thus+be+borne+in+mind+that+the+modem&hl=en&ei=25zyTYTWPIaCgAevx7i4Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  15. ^ Walravens, Hartmut (2006), His Life and Works with Special Emphasis on Japan, Japonica Humboldtiana, 10, Harrassowitz Verlag, http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/japonica-hu/10/walravens-hartmut-178/PDF/walravens.pdf 
  16. ^ Yakup 2005, p. 8
  17. ^ Hahn 1991, p. 53
  18. ^ Omniglot: Uyghur
  19. ^ Dwyer, Arienne (2005), The Xinjiang Conflict: Uyghur Identity, Language Policy, and Political Discourse, Policy Studies, 15, Washington: East-West Center, pp. 12–13, ISBN 1-932728-29-5, http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/stored/pdfs/PS015.pdf 
  20. ^ Hahn 1998, p. 380
  21. ^ Hahn 1991, p. 34
  22. ^ Vaux 2001
  23. ^ Vaux 2001, pp. 1–2
  24. ^ Hahn 1991, p. 89
  25. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 84–86
  26. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 82–83
  27. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 80–84
  28. ^ Hahn 1998, pp. 381–382
  29. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 59–84
  30. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 22–26
  31. ^ a b Engesæth, Yakup & Dwyer 2009, pp. 1–2
  32. ^ Hahn 1991, pp. 589–590
  33. ^ Hahn 1998, pp. 394–395

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