Central Asian Turkish languages

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I write to announce an exceptional opportunity to learn the Turkish languages of Central Asia.

There is a new Turkic course at Penn: TURK 1050.
This is a survey course that introduces students to the main languages spoken in Central Asia: Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Azeri. The language study will facilitate student research in topics like politics, history, and cultural events. This course aims at generating interest in the languages and studies of Central Asia spanning different periods of its history, with main focus on the linguistic forms and cultural activities.
Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:15 PM-6:45 PM

Note from the instructor:
This is an exploratory first-year friendly course. This is not a pure language course. It has deep content about cultural diversity in Central Asia. Moreover, it offers access to professional diplomatic networks. The course will host events with the embassies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The embassies of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan might also participate. Negotiations are being held.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Vito Acosta]


  1. Peter B. Golden said,

    September 1, 2023 @ 9:54 am

    I would be a little uncomfortable in labeling Azeri as a "Central Asian Turkic language." Rather, it is spoken in Transcaucasia, which is not part of Central Asia (as generally understood). Azeri is part of the Southwestern (Oghuz) grouping of Turkic languages. It is very close to the Turkish of Turkey (Türkiye Türkçesi), indeed it would not be a stretch to consider them dialects of the same language. As one moves eastward from Ankara, the spoken language takes on many of the phonological features of Azeri. A Turkey Turkish-speaker can read an Azeri text without difficulties. The eastern branch of Oghuz is Türkmen, which is spoken in Central Asia. The Turkic spoken in western Uzbekistan shows a strong Oghuz (and Qïpchaq/ northwestern Turkic) substratum. Official Uzbek, is based on the southeastern Turkic languages, in particular the Iranized dialect of Tashkent. It is related to the Uyghur dialects of Xinjiang (with a high degree of mutual intelligibility). The actual Uzbeks (Özbek), concentrated more in the northern part of the country, speak a Qïpchaq Turkic language.
    Nonetheless, it is a wonderful course. Bravo to Penn for offering it!

  2. Rick said,

    September 1, 2023 @ 10:44 am


    Just dropping this here for reference. The languages offered here can vary, but currently include Kazakh, Uzbek, Tatar and Turkish.

    I took the Tatar course nearly 20 years ago, so I'm impressed that it's still being offered. I wouldn't want to spend summer in the Phoenix area again, but otherwise…

  3. David Marjanović said,

    September 1, 2023 @ 11:49 am

    The Turkic spoken in western Uzbekistan


    I wouldn't want to spend summer in the Phoenix area again

    In Navajo it's called Hoozdo, which is simply how you say "is hot" of a place.

  4. Andreas Johansson said,

    September 4, 2023 @ 6:15 am

    The strikes me as a bit weird that the Turkmen embassy may participate, but Turkmen isn't on the list of languages offered?

    (That the Tajik one may participate but Tajik isn't offered is presumably something to do with Tajik not being Turkic.)

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