Saturday, January 2, 2016

Regional Uzbek Dialects

About 25 million people speak Uzbek as their native language, it is spoken in Uzbekistan and parts of ; north western and eastern Turkmenistan, northern and western Tajikistan, southern Kazakhstan, northern Afghanistan, and northwestern China. Uzbek belongs to the southeastern, or Chagatai, branch of the Turkic languages (part of the Altaic family of languages).

Uzbek is closely related to both Uyghur and Kazak. Although numerous local dialects and variations of the language are in use, the Tashkent dialect is the basis of the official written language. Especially in the written dialect, Uzbek also has a strong Persian vocabulary element that stems from the historical influence of the Persian language in Central Asia.

Uzbek dialects are diverse and have elements of all three Turkic dialect groups such as Qarluq, Qipchaq, and Oghuz. There are many classifications of Uzbek dialects, based on phonetic and lexical features. The main classifications and their proponents are: Iranised and Non-Iranised dialects (Polivanov), “O” dialect group and “A” dialect group (Borovkov), Qarluq-Uyghur-Chigil, Qipchaq, and the Oghuz dialect groups (Reshetov).
Grammatical Features
The Uzbek language shares most features common to most of the Turkic languages:
  • Uzbek is an agglutinative language;
  • Suffixes are added to a word in a fixed order;
  • Uzbek lacks grammatical gender;
  • Uzbek is a Subject-Object-Verb order language;
  • In Uzbek there are no definite and indefinite articles, instead the word “bir” and the accusative case marker are used to express indefiniteness and definiteness;
  • In Uzbek there are various participles, gerunds, and verbal nouns that replace relative clause structures found in English;
  • In Uzbek modifiers precede the modified head nouns;
  • In Uzbek word roots are mostly monosyllabic;
  • In Uzbek most words carry stress on the final syllable.
In the creation of a new literary language after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a dominant role was first played by the northern dialects and later by the southern dialects. The latter serve as the basis of the current literary language. Vowel harmony is not reflected in modern literary Uzbek as it is not used in either the Tashkent and Ferghana dialects.  Uzbek has been written in the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic scripts.

 In 1993 the government of Uzbekistan officially reinstated a modified Latin alphabet for the Uzbek language. 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.
The term Uzbek as applied to language has meant different things at different times. Prior to 1921 "Uzbek" and "Sart" were considered to be different dialects. "Uzbek" was a vowel-harmonised Qipchak dialect spoken by descendants of those who arrived in Transoxiana with Shaybani Khan in the 16th century, who lived mainly around Bukhara and Samarkand, although the Turkic spoken in Tashkent was also vowel-harmonised; whereas "Sart" was a Qarluq dialect spoken by the older settled Turkic populations of the region in the Fergana Valley and the Kashka-Darya region, and in some parts of what is now the Samarkand Province; it contained a heavier admixture of Persian and Arabic, and had no or only a modified form of vowel-harmony.

Qipchak-Uzbek dialects spoken in southern Kazakhstan, Karakalpakstan and parts of Khoresm are close to both Karakalpak/Kazakh.

In Khiva and northern eastern Turkmenistan the Uzbek dialects are heavily influenced heavily by the neighbouring Oghuz (Turkmen) speaking population.

Other Links:
Orthographic Rules for the Uzbek Language:

Outline of Uzbek Grammar:

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