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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(New-Uighur), the language of the Uighurs, spoken in the Sinkiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China by 5.5 million people (1975, estimate). Uighur is also spoken in certain regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India and in the Kazakh, Uzbek, Kirghiz, and Turkmen SSR’s by more than 150,000 people (1970 census). Uighur belongs to the southeastern (Middle Asian, or Karluk) group of Turkic languages.

Uighur comprises three dialects: the northwestern or central dialect, the eastern, or Lop Nor dialect, and the southern, or Hat’-ang dialect. The northwestern dialect includes ten subdialects, of which the Hi subdialect forms the basis for the modern Uighur literary language. The characteristic phonetic features of Uighur include ten vowels and 26 consonants, including ж[d3], K [q], H [B], and h. Synharmony is inconsistent. The language shares morphological features with the other Turkic languages.

The literary language of the Uighurs in the USSR is a unified national language. In the USSR, the writing system was based on Arabic script until 1930; in Sinkiang this script is still in use. The Latin alphabet was used in the USSR from 1930 to 1946, when the Cyrillic alphabet was introduced, with additional symbols for special phonemes.

The term “Uighur” was adopted for this language in 1921 at the suggestion of S. E. Malov, although Uighur is not a linguistic continuation of the Old Uighur language.


Kaidarov, A. T. “Uigurskii (novouigurskii) iazyk.” In lazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
Uigursko-russkiislovar’. Alma-Ata, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"We call upon Urumqi public security and relevant departments to cautiously deal with cases that involve our Uighur compatriots who participate in social and public welfare activities," it said.
The Uighurs are Muslims from the broad Central Asian border region of Xinjiang, some of whom have long sought independence from a Chinese government that has brutally oppressed them.
Some nine million Uighurs live in Xinjiang but constitute a minority in the region, which is dominated by the Han Chinese ethnic group.
"The only reason this is labeled a terrorist incident is because the passengers happened to be Uighurs."
Human Rights Watch, Devastating Blows: Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, 1 April 2005, (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/42c3bcf20.html).
The attack is also unusual because--as both the Chinese government and pro-Uighur groups agree--it began as a protest, with the World Uighur Congress alleging that the protestors were calling for the release of Uighurs who were already detained at the police station.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uighur Congress, said they were planning protests around the world to mark the day, and repeated a call for Beijing to allow an independent probe of the riots.
Even last July's massive race riot in Urumqi -- which were set off by rumors that a Uighur woman had been raped and several Uighur men killed by Han Chinese in far-away Guangdong -- was labeled an "organized, violent action against the public" and an act of terrorism.
Han Chinese retaliated and hundreds of Uighurs have since been detained.
government has said it could not return the Uighurs to China because they would face persecution, and it has searched for more than a year for any nation willing to accept them.
They also say that the authorities were too slow in punishing Uighur rioters involved in ethnic violence on July 5.