Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Language Ecology: Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism.

Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism:

Central Asia and its major ethnolinguistic groups map go to Central Asian Languages

Source:  University of Texas

The region of Central Asia is highly multilingual: each of the republics of the region is named for a titular nationality, each in turn with its own language, Kazakh in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan, Tajik in Tajikistan, Turkmen in Turkmenistan, and Uzbek in Uzbekistan. Speakers of these languages are found not only in their respective republics, but also in the neighbouring republics.  Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Karakalpak and Uzbek are classified as members of the Turkic language family, while Tajik, an Iranian language, is considered to be a Central Asian variety of Persian. Russian is widely spoken in each. Each displays variation among regional dialects with transitional varieties that may share features with each of the above languages, leaving us with a complex Turkic and Iranian dialect continua with boundaries that may be fuzzier than the sharpness of political frontiers might suggest. This book explores several diachronic stages of Central Asia's language ecology focusing on multilingualism and languages of wider communication and the lenses of diglossia with or without bilingualism, ending with a sample of contemporary language ecology of Central Asia. It argues that an ecological approach to the question of language change in Central Asia gives a greater descriptive analysis, while a comparative diachronic and synchronic approach provides insight into the processes of change and helps to shed light on current language trends in the region.

Language Ecology: Understanding Central Asian Multilingualism. In E. S. Ahn & J. Smagulova (Eds.), Language Change in Central Asia (pp. 11-32). Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton.  Available from: