Uighur

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Uighur

 

(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.

REFERENCES

Kaidarov, A. T. “Uigurskii (novouigurskii) iazyk.” In lazyki narodov SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1966. (Contains bibliography.)
Uigursko-russkiislovar’. Alma-Ata, 1961.
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