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Thread: Turkic Linguistics thread

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    Turkic Linguistics thread

    Following is a quick summary from Discoveries on the Turkic Linguistic Map;

    [Link]

    Written by Lars Johanson of the Swedish Institute In Istanbul, this publication is insightful for a number of reasons:

    • Provides a historical backdrop to which the Turkic languages were established in academia
    • Fills in demographic or linguistic data that is shaky on places like Wikipedia (i.e. status of the Salars as an Oghuz/SW Turkic branch)
    • The etymology of several names definitively given


    What I learned from reading portions of this publication:

    1. Didn't expect the non-Azeri Turkic languages in Iran to also be heavily influenced by Persian and other surrounding Iranic languages
    2. The Salars of China do indeed belong to the Oghuz branch
    3. Furthermore, the Salars' linguistic placement as Oghuz matches their oral tradition of being displaced from their homeland in Transoxania in the 13th century
    4. The Orkhon script discovered in Mongolia was initially thought to be Finno-Ugric in character, prompting a research team being sent from Helsinki, Finland
    5. Turkic speakers can be found in Manchuria
    Last edited by DMXX; 02-16-2015 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Broadening thread scope

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    New paper on the Turkic language family brought to us via Dienekes.

    Detecting Regular Sound Changes in Linguistics as Events of Concerted Evolution
    Daniel J. Hruschka et al. Current Biology Volume 25, Issue 1, 5 January 2015, Pages 1–9
    Background

    Concerted evolution is normally used to describe parallel changes at different sites in a genome, but it is also observed in languages where a specific phoneme changes to the same other phoneme in many words in the lexicon—a phenomenon known as regular sound change. We develop a general statistical model that can detect concerted changes in aligned sequence data and apply it to study regular sound changes in the Turkic language family.

    Results

    Linguistic evolution, unlike the genetic substitutional process, is dominated by events of concerted evolutionary change. Our model identified more than 70 historical events of regular sound change that occurred throughout the evolution of the Turkic language family, while simultaneously inferring a dated phylogenetic tree. Including regular sound changes yielded an approximately 4-fold improvement in the characterization of linguistic change over a simpler model of sporadic change, improved phylogenetic inference, and returned more reliable and plausible dates for events on the phylogenies. The historical timings of the concerted changes closely follow a Poisson process model, and the sound transition networks derived from our model mirror linguistic expectations.

    Conclusions

    We demonstrate that a model with no prior knowledge of complex concerted or regular changes can nevertheless infer the historical timings and genealogical placements of events of concerted change from the signals left in contemporary data. Our model can be applied wherever discrete elements—such as genes, words, cultural trends, technologies, or morphological traits—can change in parallel within an organism or other evolving group.
    [Original Link][Featured Diagram]

    The phylogenetic trees seem to match the geographically oriented division within the language family (i.e. Anatolian and Azeri Turkish, Gagauz, Khalaj and Turkmen clustering together).

    What interested me (and Dienekes apparently) the most was the author's conclusion that the mean divergence time between the Chuvash (most distant language) from the others was 204 B.C., which agrees nicely with the idea that the Turkish languages are more intelligible* with one another than older families (i.e. Indo-European).

    * It's this sort of internal contradiction I personally find hilarious with the pan-Turanist crowd; can understand 10-20% of what a Sakha speaker says when a Hindi speaker can't naturally deduce more than 1% of native German words, yet argue for thousands of years of continuity in locales near to West Asia.

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    I am not well-read on the topic of Anatolian Turkish linguistics. Is there evidence of substrata? For example, Armenian and/or Greek?

    EDIT:

    Turkic Languages in Contact

    Hendrik Boeschoten, Lars Johanson
    Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006


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    Yes, that passage is correct: the most extensive non-Turkic influences on the modern Turkish language spoken in Turkey are lexical borrowings from Arabic and Persian. I do not think there is any more Armenian or Greek influence on the Turkish language than there is French or English influence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebizur View Post
    Yes, that passage is correct: the most extensive non-Turkic influences on the modern Turkish language spoken in Turkey are lexical borrowings from Arabic and Persian. I do not think there is any more Armenian or Greek influence on the Turkish language than there is French or English influence.
    I'd like to point out that after the revolution in the last century, when the Sultanate was abolished, Atatürk employed linguists to "purify" the Turkish language, to de-clutter it from foreign (i.e. Arabic, and ?) elements.

    Arabic, as a liturgical language, was quite intercalated into the educated, upper-class vocabulary of Istanbul's elite. (And vice-versa: with Turkish as an administrative language, the upper classes of Sarajevo, Cairo, Damascus, and Aleppo integrated much Turkish into their vocabulary.)

    Listening to a recorded speech by Atatürk is somewhat incomprehensible to younger Turks, or so I've heard.

    It is interesting that Turks may not have borrowed from, or been influenced by, the Greek language, despite centuries of contact (Pontic Greek, Cappadocian Greek, and Rumeli Greek). Because Greek has been influenced by Turkish for sure.
     
    My avatar is the Turkic-Bulgar symbol of the Mamluk sultan, Baybars, whose name means "chief leopard." He transplanted the steppe-style comitatus and postal system to the sultanate, and installed his secret couriers to operate it. (My surname is a relic of these Kipchak-Cuman couriers.) This leopard symbol is often found on structures he commissioned throughout Palestine. A similar one is used as the emblem of the Kazan Tatars, and is portrayed as a snow leopard, Aq-Bars.

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    An excellent piece of work by Anna Dybo regarding the nature of proto-Turkic. Spent a good evening going through the various cognates. Well worth a full read if you're interested in the possible contacts the proto-Turkic speakers had with other groups.

    EARLY CONTACTS OF TURKS AND PROBLEMS OF PROTO-TURKIC RECONSTRUCTION

    The article presents the results of our studies of loanwords in the Turkic languages and borrowings
    from the Turkic languages that can be classified as borrowed in Proto-Turkic and Common Turkic
    times. The classification is based on the availability of these words in different groups of the Turkic
    languages and in Ancient Turkic texts. The classification is based on the presence of these words in
    different groups of the Turkic languages and ancient Turkic texts. The data collected can testify both
    in favor and against the decisions taken during the development Proto-Turkic reconstruction.
    [Full Article]

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