Uzbek
Oʻzbekcha, oʻzbek tili,
Ўзбекча, ўзбек тили,
اۉزبېکچه, اۉزبېک تیلی
Uzbek.svg
Uzbek in Latin, Arabic Nastaliq, and Cyrillic scripts.
Native toUzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Xinjiang
EthnicityUzbeks
Native speakers
44 million (L1+L2) (2021)[1]
Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1uz
ISO 639-2uzb
ISO 639-3uzb – inclusive code
Individual codes:
uzn – Northern
uzs – Southern
Glottologuzbe1247
Linguasphere44-AAB-da, db
A map, showing that Uzbek is spoken throughout Uzbekistan, except the western third (where Karakalpak dominates) and Northern Afghanistan.
Dark blue = majority; light blue = minority
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Uzbek (Oʻzbekcha, Ўзбекча or Oʻzbek tili, Ўзбек тили) is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks is spoken by 44 million people around the world (L1+L2), having some 34 million speakers in Uzbekistan, 4.5 million in Afghanistan,[4] 1.65 million in Pakistan[5] and around 5 million in the rest of Central Asia, making it the second-most widely spoken Turkic language after Turkish.

Uzbek belongs to the Eastern Turkic or Karluk branch of the Turkic language family. External influences include Arabic, Persian and Russian.[6] One of the most noticeable distinctions of Uzbek from other Turkic languages is the rounding of the vowel /ɑ/ to /ɔ/, a feature that was influenced by Persian. Unlike other Turkic languages, vowel harmony is nigh-completely lost in mod modern Standard Uzbek, though it is (albeit somewhat less strictly) still observed in its dialects, as well as its sister Karluk language Uyghur.

In February 2021, the Uzbek government announced that Uzbekistan plans to fully transition the Uzbek language from the Cyrillic script to a Latin-based alphabet by 1 January 2023.[7][8] Similar deadlines had been extended several times.[9]

Classification

Main article: Turkic languages

Uzbek is a member of the Karluk languages, a sub-group of Turkic languages, belonging to the western branch, while the eastern variety carrying the name Uyghur. Since the family is classified to be a dialect continuum, it can be noted that it is found to be the most suitable variety or dialect to be understood by the most number of various Turkic language speakers, despite it being heavily Iranized,[10] excluding the Siberian Turkic languages.[11]

The Altaic language family, which includes the languages of Mongolic, Japonic, Koreanic and Tungusic[12] descent, has classified modern Uzbek to be originally descended from today's East Asia spanning from Mongolia to Northwest China, like every other member of the Turkic language family.[13] Initially, linguists have grouped Altaic languages and Uralic languages together, making a hypothesis that the two language families are related. The theory is controversial.[14] It was based mostly on the fact these languages share three features: agglutination, vowel harmony and lack of grammatical gender.[15]

A high degree of mutual intelligibility, found between certain specific Turkic languages, geographically located close or sometimes further from the area where Uzbek is spoken, has allowed the speakers of Uzbek to (with ease) comprehend various other distantly related languages.

Etmyology and background

Main article: Uzbek people

Historically, the language under the name "Uzbek" was referred to a totally different language of Kipchak origin, brought to the region by the nomad tribes from the north by the Uzbek Khanate (16th century).[16] The language was generally similar to the neighbouring Kazakh, more or less identical lexically, phonetically and grammatically and almost dissimilar to the area's more indigeneous and native language, that carried the name Turki, and was changed to Chagatai by western scholars due to its origins from the Chagatai Khanate.[17]

The modern Uzbek language is believed to be a modified version of a form of Turki(as referred to by its native speakers). Since as of 1921, the name of the language was not yet renamed to "Uzbek", it was dissimilarly seen as a form of Turki which was heavily Persianised in pronounciation and carried the name Sartian.[18] Similarly, today's sister language of Uzbek - Uyghur was referred to as Turki or Eastern Turki, due to its geographicly more east-ward location.[19]

By the 1920s the semi-nomads' Uzbek language (notice: not today's Uzbek) was seen as only a dialect of Turki, where it was almost appropriate to be classified so, since the semi-nomad Uzbeks have adopted Turki (16-17th centuries), replacing their less governmentally developed Uzbek, due to Turki's socially higher status in literature and politics. Though their native language has influenced their own variety of Turki in some areas (e.g. the mutation of [j] to [ʑ] as in modern Kazakh and Kyrgyz). The Uzbek variety of Turki was still vowel-harmonised and referred to as Fergana Kipchak language in Ferghana. Today this dialect continues to exist within the modern Uzbek language and is spoken from Surxondaryo Region through north-central Uzbekistan into Karakalpakstan.

Both Sartian and Uzbek(notice: not modern Uzbek) were forms of Turki in 1921. However as an ethnic group, Sarts (were a majority in 1921) and Uzbeks (majority only in Samarkand and Bukhara) claimed to be different in background, since Sarts would with no problem intermarry with Tajiks but the Uzbeks would not marry a Sart nor a Tajik. The Russians with a purpose of National delimitation in the Soviet Union however, saw no difference between the two ethnic groups, and along with the jadidist movements that found the name "sart" offensive, the two ethnic groups would unite under the name "Uzbek".

In 1921, Turki has gone through a large reform, and more unerringly has fallen out of use (died out). A new National delimitation in the Soviet Union movement was declared, on a purpose that a written national language (if it had been lacking), national language planning, native-language press, and books written in the native language came with the national territory, along with cultural institutions such as theaters.

Linguists initially having chosen a more vowel harmonised form (Turkistani) of Turki, based in the city of Turkistan, eventually declared to plan a national language based on the Sartian variety of Turki, spoken in the Ferghana valley and Tashkent in the view of the fact that 'Turkistani' was less intelligible to the majority of now called Uzbeks.

The new planned, descended from the "Sartian form" of Turki, language was now to be called the Uzbek language, from the etymology of its native speakers - Uzbeks.

Number of speakers

Uzbek, being the most widely spoken language of the whole of Central Asia[citation needed], is also spoken by smaller ethnic groups in the country and in neighbouring countries. As the language remains the only declared official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan the language is taught at schools along their native language Karakalpak. Besides, ethnic Karakalpaks are exposed to the Uzbek language through media. Majority of the TV channels are regulated in the Uzbek language, thus, consequently causing the ethnic group's understanding of Uzbek, excluding the mutual intelligibility, to ameliorate.

The language moreover, is spoken by other ethnic groups outside Uzbekistan. The popularity of Uzbek media, including Uzbekfilm and RizanovaUz, has spread among the Post-soviet states, particularly in Central Asia in recent years. Since Uzbek is the dominant language in the Osh Region of Kyrgyzstan[20] (and mothertongue of the city Osh), like the rest of Eastern, Southern and South-Eastern Kyrgyzstan (Jalal-Abad Region), the ethnic Kyrgyzes are, too, exposed to Uzbek, as well as some speak it fluently. This is a common situation in the rest of Central Asian republics, including: the Turkistan region of Kazakhstan, northern Daşoguz Welaýat of Turkmenistan,[21] Sughd region and other regions of Tajikistan.[22] This puts the number of L2 speakers of Uzbek at a varying 1-5 million speakers.

Uzbek language has a special status in countries that are the common destination for immigration for the Uzbekistani citizens. Other than from Uzbekistan, from other Central Asian Republics, the ethnic Uzbeks most commonly choose the Russian Federation[23] in search of work. Most of them however, are seasonal workers, whose numbers vary greatly among residency within the Russian Federation. According to Russian government statistics, 4.5 million workers from Uzbekistan, 2.4 million from Tajikistan, and 920,000 from Kyrgyzstan were working in Russia in 2021, where around 5 million being ethnic Uzbeks.[24]

Estimates of the number of native speakers of Uzbek vary widely, from 35 up to 40 million. Ethnologue estimates put the number of native speakers at 35 million across all the recognized dialects. The Swedish national encyclopedia, Nationalencyklopedin, estimates the number of native speakers to be 38 million,[25] and the CIA World Factbook estimates 30 million. Other sources estimate the number of speakers of Uzbek to be 34 million in Uzbekistan,[26] 4.5 million in Afghanistan,[27] 1,500,000 in Tajikistan,[28] about 1 million in Kyrgyzstan,[29] 600,000 in Kazakhstan,[30] 600,000 in Turkmenistan,[31] and 300,000 in Russia.[32]

History

Main article: Uzbek people

Turkic speakers probably settled the Amu Darya, Syr Darya and Zarafshan river basins from at least 600–650 CE, gradually ousting or assimilating the speakers of Eastern Iranian languages who previously inhabited Sogdia, Bactria and Khwarazm. The first Turkic dynasty in the region was that of the Kara-Khanid Khanate in the 9th–12th centuries,[33] who were a confederation of Karluks, Chigils, Yaghma and other tribes.[34]

Uzbek can be considered the direct descendant or a later form of Chagatai, the language of great Turkic Central Asian literary development in the realm of Chagatai Khan, Timur (Tamerlane), and the Timurid dynasty[35] (including the early Mughal rulers of India). The language was championed by Ali-Shir Nava'i in the 15th and 16th centuries. Nava'i was the greatest representative of Chagatai language literature.[36][37] He significantly contributed to the development of the Chagatai language and its direct descendant Uzbek and is widely considered to be the founder of Uzbek literature.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44] Ultimately based on the Karluk variant of the Turkic languages, Chagatai contained large numbers of Persian and Arabic loanwords. By the 19th century it was rarely used for literary composition, but disappeared only in the early 20th century.

Uzbek ruler Shaybani Khan wrote poetry under the pseudonym "Shibani". A collection of poems by Shaybani Khan, written in the Central Asian Turkic literary language, is currently kept in the Topkapi manuscript collection in Istanbul. The manuscript of his philosophical and religious work: "Bahr ul-Khudo", written in the Central Asian Turkic literary language in 1508, is located in London.[45] Shaybani-khan's nephew Ubaydulla Khan skillfully recited the Koran and provided it with commentaries in the Turkic language. Ubaydulla himself wrote poetry in Turkic, Persian and Arabic under the literary pseudonym Ubaydiy.[46]

The term Uzbek as applied to language has meant different things at different times. In some sources prior to 1921 Uzbek and Sart were considered to be different dialects:

In Khanate of Khiva, Sarts spoke a highly Oghuz Turkified form of Karluk Turkic. Edward A. Allworth argued that this "badly distorted the literary history of the region" and was used to give authors such as the 15th-century author Ali-Shir Nava'i an Uzbek identity.[47] All three dialects continue to exist within modern spoken Uzbek.

Writing systems

A 1911 text in the Arabic alphabet
A 1911 text in the Arabic alphabet

Main article: Uzbek alphabet

Uzbek has been written in a variety of scripts throughout history:

Despite the official status of the Latin script in Uzbekistan, the use of Cyrillic is still widespread, especially in advertisements and signs. In newspapers, scripts may be mixed, with headlines in Latin and articles in Cyrillic.[50] The Arabic script is no longer used in Uzbekistan except symbolically in limited texts[50] or for the academic studies of Chagatai (Old Uzbek).[48]

In the western Chinese region of Xinjiang and in northern Afghanistan, where there is an Uzbek minority, the Arabic-based script is still used.

Modern Latin alphabet
А а B b D d Е е F f G g H h I i J j K k
L l М m N n О о P p Q q R r S s Т t U u
V v X x Y y Z z Oʻ oʻ Gʻ gʻ Sh sh Ch ch Ng ng
Cyrillic alphabet
А а Б б В в Г г Д д Е е Ё ё Ж ж З з И и
Й й К к Л л М м Н н О о П п Р р С с Т т
У у Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Ъ ъ Ь ь Э э Ю ю
Я я Ў ў Қ қ Ғ ғ Ҳ ҳ

Phonology

Words are usually oxytones (i.e. the last syllable is stressed), but certain endings and suffixal particles are not stressed.[which?][citation needed]

Vowels

Standard Uzbek has six vowel phonemes.[51] Contrary to many Turkic languages, Uzbek no longer has vowel harmony.

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open æ ~ ɑ ɔ

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive/
Affricate
voiceless p (t͡s) t͡ʃ k q (ʔ)
voiced b d͡ʒ ɡ
Fricative voiceless ɸ s ʃ χ h
voiced w~v z (ʒ) ʁ
Approximant l j
Rhotic ɾ


Grammar

As a Turkic language, Uzbek is null subject, agglutinative and has no articles and no noun classes (gender or otherwise). The word order is subject–object–verb (SOV).

In Uzbek, there are two main categories of words: nominals (equivalent to nouns, pronouns, adjectives and some adverbs) and verbals (equivalent to verbs and some adverbs).

Nouns

Plurals are formed by suffix -lar. Nouns take the -ni suffix as an definite article, unsuffixed nouns are understood as indefinite. The dative case ending -ga changes to -ka when the noun ends in -k, or -qa when the noun ends in -q or -g‘ (notice *tog‘qatoqqa). The possessive suffixes change the final consonants -k and -q to voiced -g and -g‘, respectively (yurakyuragim).[52] Unlike neighbouring Turkmen and Kazakh languages, there is no irregularity on forming cases after possessive cases (uyida "in his/her/its house", as opposed to Turkmen öýünde).[53]

Cases
Suffix Case Example Translation
-∅ nominative uy house
-ning genitive uyning of (the) house
-ga dative uyga to the house
-ni definite accusative uyni the house
-da locative uyda in the house
-dan ablative uydan from the house
Possessive cases
Possessor
number
Singular Plural
1st -(i)m -(i)miz
2nd -(i)ng -(i)ngiz
3rd -(s)i

Verbs

Uzbek verbs are also inflected for number and person of the subject, and it has more periphrases. Uzbek uses some of the inflectional (simple) verbal tenses:[54]

Non-finite tense suffixes
Function Suffix
Infinitive -moq
Finite tense suffixes
Function Suffix
Present-future -a/y
Focal present -yap
Momentary present -yotir
Progressive present -moqda
Definite past -di
Indefinite past -gan
Indirective past -ib
Definite future -(y)ajak
Obligatory future -adigan/ydigan
Imperative -∅
-ing (formal)

Pronouns

Pronoun Translation
men I
biz we
sen you
(informal singular)
siz you
(formal singular and plural)
sizlar you
(plural)
u he/she/it
ular they

Word order

The word order in the Uzbek language is subject–object–verb (SOV), like all other Turkic languages. Unlike in English, the object comes before the verb and the verb is the last element of the sentence.

Men

1SG

subject

kitobni

book

direct object

koʻrdim

see-PRES.IND

transitive verb

Men kitobni koʻrdim

1SG book see-PRES.IND

subject {direct object} {transitive verb}

I see the book

Influences

The influence of Islam, and by extension, Arabic, is evident in Uzbek loanwords. There is also a residual influence of Russian, from the time when Uzbeks were under the rule of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Most importantly, Uzbek vocabulary, phraseology and pronunciation has been heavily influenced by Persian through its historic roots. Uzbek has in turn also influenced Tajik (a variety of Persian).[55][56] Of the Turkic languages, Uzbek is perhaps the one most strongly influenced by Persian.[57]

Dialects

A man speaking Uzbek

Uzbek can be roughly divided into three dialect groups. The Karluk dialects, centered on Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and the Ferghana Valley, are the basis for the standard Uzbek language. This dialect group shows the most influence of Persian vocabulary, particularly in the important Turkic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand. The Kipchak dialect, spoken from the Surxondaryo region through north-central Uzbekistan into Karakalpakstan, shows significant influence from the Kipchak Turkic languages, particularly in the mutation of [j] to [ʑ] as in Kazakh and Kyrgyz. The Oghuz dialect, spoken mainly in Khorezm along the Turkmenistan border, is notable for the mutation of word-initial [k] to [g].

By country

Turkmenistan

In Turkmenistan since the 2000s the government conducted a forced "Turkmenization" of ethnic Uzbeks living in the country.[58][59][60] In the Soviet years and in the 1990s, the Uzbek language was used freely in Turkmenistan. There were several hundred schools in the Uzbek language, many newspapers were published in this language. Now there are only a few Uzbek schools in the country, as well as a few newspapers in Uzbek. Despite this, the Uzbek language is still considered to be one of the recognized languages of national minorities in this country. Approximately 300,000–600,000 Uzbeks live in Turkmenistan. Most of the Uzbek speakers live in Dashoghuz Velayat, as well as in Lebap Velayat and partly in Ashghabad.[61]

Russia

Uzbek is one of the many recognized languages of national minorities in Russia. More than 400 thousand Uzbeks are citizens of the Russian Federation and live in this country. Also in Russia there are 2 to 6 million Uzbeks from the Central Asian republics (mainly Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) who are immigrants and migrants. Large diasporas of Uzbeks live in such large cities of Russia as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan, Volgograd, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk, Vladivostok, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Krasnodar, Voronezh, Saratov and Tyumen. Signs in Uzbek are often found in these cities. Signs refer mainly to various restaurants and eateries, barbershops, shops selling fruits, vegetables and textile products. There is a small clinic, where signs and labels in the Uzbek language. There are also illegal signs in Uzbek on the streets of these cities with underground sex services ("Call girls"). Uzbeks in Russia prefer to use the Cyrillic Uzbek alphabet, but in recent years Uzbek youth in Russia are also actively using the Latin Uzbek alphabet. Small newspapers in Uzbek are published in large cities of Russia.[62][63][64] Some instructions for immigrants and migrants are duplicated, including in Uzbek. Uzbek language is studied by Russian students in the faculties of Turkology throughout Russia.[citation needed] The largest Uzbek language learning centers in Russia are located in the universities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. There are also many Russians who are interested in and love the Uzbek language and culture and who study this language for themselves. Uzbek is one of the most studied languages among the many languages of the former USSR in Russia. Native speakers of Uzbek in Russia usually use in their vocabulary a lot of words from Russian.[65]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Used in Afghanistan and China
  2. ^ Third official language in areas where Uzbeks are majority[3]

References

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    Northern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Southern at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
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  3. ^ [1] From amongst Pashto, Dari, Uzbeki, Turkmani, Baluchi, Pachaie, Nuristani, Pamiri and other current languages in the country, Pashto and Dari shall be the official languages of the state. In areas where the majority of the people speak in any one of Uzbeki, Turkmani, Pachaie, Nuristani, Baluchi or Pamiri languages, any of the aforementioned language, in addition to Pashto and Dari, shall be the third official language, the usage of which shall be regulated by law.
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  58. ^ memohrc.org — "Туркменизация" руководящих кадров в Дашогузе
  59. ^ iamik.ru — Туркменизация узбеков
  60. ^ vb.kg — В Туркмении завершается принудительная туркменизация
  61. ^ 365info.kz — Туркменские узбеки тихо ликуют и следят за Мирзиёевым
  62. ^ fergananews.com — В Москве начинает выходить газета на узбекском языке
  63. ^ vesti.kg — В Москве начинает выходить газета на узбекском языке
  64. ^ caravan.kz — В Москве начинает выходить газета на узбекском языке
  65. ^ the-village.ru — Москвичи, изучающие узбекский, таджикский и молдавский языки

Sources

  • Mamatov, Jahangir; Kadirova, Karamat (2008). Comprehensive Uzbek-English Dictionary. Hyattsville, Maryland: Dunwoody Press. ISBN 978-1-931546-83-6. OCLC 300453555.
  • Csató, Éva Ágnes; Johanson, Lars (1936). The Turkic Languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-41261-7. OCLC 40980286.
  • Bregel, Yu (1978). "The Sarts in The Khanate of Khiva". Journal of Asian History. 12 (2): 120–151. JSTOR 41930294.
  • Bodrogligeti, András J. E. (2002). Modern Literary Uzbek: A Manual for Intensive Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses. München: Lincom Europa. ISBN 3-89586-695-4. OCLC 51061526.
  • Fierman, William (1991). Language Planning and National Development: The Uzbek Experience. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-085338-8. OCLC 815507595.
  • Ismatullaev, Khaĭrulla (1995). Modern literary Uzbek I. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies. ISBN 0-933070-36-5. OCLC 34576336.
  • Karl, A. Krippes (1996). Uzbek-English Dictionary (Rev ed.). Kensington: Dunwoody Press. ISBN 1-881265-45-5. OCLC 35822650.
  • Sjoberg, Andrée Frances (1997). Uzbek Structural Grammar. Richmond: Curzon Press. ISBN 0-7007-0818-9. OCLC 468438031.
  • Waterson, Natalie (1980). Uzbek-English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-713597-8. OCLC 5100980.
  • Republic of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Higher and Middle Eductation. Lotin yozuviga asoslangan oʻzbek alifbosi va imlosi (Latin writing based Uzbek alphabet and orthography), Tashkent Finance Institute: Tashkent, 2004.
  • A. Shermatov. "A New Stage in the Development of Uzbek Dialectology" in Essays on Uzbek History, Culture and Language. Ed. Bakhtiyar A. Nazarov & Denis Sinor. Bloomington, Indiana, 1993, pp. 101–9.
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