Abstract of an Upcoming Publication of Mine

The following is an abstract of a long paper that will be published in one of three or four books of the series The Handbook of Endangered Turkic Languages which will be published in late September by the Turkish-Kazakh Joint University in Ankara, Turkey. The article is 88 pages along and is one of the most important articles in the series. I will also be the official English editor for all of the English articles in the series which total ~500 pages.

Mutual Intelligibility Among the Turkic Languages

By Robert Lindsay

Abstract: The Turkic family of languages with all important related dialects was analyzed on the basis of mutual intelligibility, with the following goals: (1) To determine the extent to which various Turkic lects can understand each other. (2) To ascertain whether various Turkic lects are better characterized as full languages in the own right in need of ISO codes from SIL or rather as dialects of another language. (3) The history of various Turkic lects was analyzed in an attempt to write a proper history of the important lects. (4) An attempt was made at classifying the Turkic languages in terms of subfamilies, sub-sub families, etc.
The results were: (1) Rough intelligibility figures for various Turkic lects, related lects and Turkish itself were determined. Surprisingly, it was not difficult to arrive at these rough estimates. (2) The Turkic family was expanded from Ethnologue‘s 41 languages to 53 languages. (3) Full and detailed histories for many Turkic lects were written up in a coherent, easy to understand way, a task sorely needed in Turkic as histories of Turkic lects are often confused, inaccurate, controversial, and incomplete. (4) A new classification of Turkic is proposed that rejects and rewrites some of the better-known classifications.

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17 thoughts on “Abstract of an Upcoming Publication of Mine”

  1. Wow, sounds like “real” science..I am not a linguist, but have been to Turkey several times, so I will be most interested to read the whole paper one fine day!

  2. Sorry for raising doubts, but how many Turkic languages do you know thoroughly and in detail? How long have you been into serious academic Turkologic studies? I’ve never heard your name around Turkological circles. Are you really capable of writing such an article? I’m saying this because I perfectly know how this comparative stuff is difficult, you must be really a smart polymath polyglot guy to do something really worthy and interesting. Otherwise it will be a worthless science-like trivia “for dummies”. I’ve read your articles at academia.edu about comparison of Slavics (my first priority area) and Turkics (my another area among many others) and I was disappointed, I saw no science there, just some senseless textual empty talk (quite good for petty blogs but not for scientific journals). I hope you will write something much better if you say it has 88 pages.

    1. None of this matters. I just dove into it. I wrote a short article on mutual intelligibility among the Turkic languages, and a major Turkologist noted it, liked it a lot, and asked me to write up a longer version for their journal.
      I met the guy and talked to him. Then I started doing a lot of research on all of the Turkic lects. The piece is just about mutual intelligibility. It’s not that hard to figure out. You just ask native speakers if Lect A can understand Lect B and at what percentage. Or you ask experts the same question. Or you do research that answers the question.
      I also attempted to tease apart the various names of the lects and figure out exactly what everyone was referring to. That also involved some linguistic history. All of that was just basic research into previously published stuff along with a lot of intuition.
      I didn’t deal with phonology, morphology, syntax, reconstruction, or any of that stuff as it wasn’t necessary. The article is basically sociolinguistic in nature.
      As far as classification, I simply researched the classification of Turkic and came up with my own ideas about it.
      I have an MA in Linguistics.
      You don’t have to be a major Turkologist to write an article like this. Anyway, top linguists are capable of writing great articles in many different language families. Joseph Greenberg wrote expert articles on every language family known to man.
      It made it through a really hard peer review two times and needed a lot of revisions. The reviewers were big Turkologists.
      If it’s not a quality piece, it will be torn apart upon publication.
      One more thing jerk, I am going to ban you. Reason: Hostile tone. You have had an ugly tone since the very first day you showed up here for some reason. It seemed you were biased against me from Day One. You bashed me one too many times. I am really getting tired of you slamming me all the time.
      The Turkic article that you said had no science in it was lauded as great by a major Turkologist. However, it needed references and massive expansion.
      I think the Slavic piece is pretty good too. I have quite a few Slavic linguists following me on Academia.

  3. Coming from a family of “Azeri” speakers, I’d really like to read this…The Turkic languages are freaking perplexing to get one’s head around. I’m mean, is their even a clear theory as to the Turkic languages origins? Is they notion of an “Altaic” family of languages scientifically valid?
    Are say Mongolian and Turkish related, as a lot of Turks like to claim?

    1. Yes we have reconstructed Old Turkic and it’s homeland is probably on the steppes of Eastern Kazakhstan or thereabouts. There are also the Orkhon Transcriptions which are carvings like runes that have been found over in that same area that appear to show a language like Old Turkic. Turkic probably only goes back 3,000 years.
      The oldest and most archaic Turkic language of all is Chuvash. I would change the whole family around and call it Bulgaro-Turkic. Bulgar and Turkic are equivalent nodes. There is Bulgaric and then there is Turkic Proper in my opinion. Chuvash is the sole remaining language left from the Bulgar family. Khalaj in Iran is also very archaic though it’s placement is very controversial. I do not think it is Oghuz at all. Instead it is up there with Kharakanid among the first nodes branching off Turkic Proper.
      I believe that Altaic is true of course. However there is a lot of resistance to the idea. Altaic is Turkic, Mongolic and Tungusic. Some also add Japonic and Korean. If borrowing link the first three, then this is startling is it is the most incredible case of mass borrowing between three separate language families that the world has ever seen.
      You speak South Azeri, correct? That is the Azeri dialect spoken in Iran. North Azeri is what is spoken to the north up in Azerbaijan.

      1. I myself do not speak Azeri, as I was brought up in a “Farsi Only” environment. My Mother speaks Azeri, but which dialect I do not know. Her Mother, i.e my Grandmother was from Baku, while my Grandfather was from Tabriz. I would imagine that’s the north/south divide in the language?
        If you have any questions you might want to ask my Mother, feel free. I literally can pick up the phone an call her.
        On a side not, Korean always sounded strangely like Azeri to me for some reason. Maybe I’m crazy, but then again…Maybe, as you said, it really is the most incredible case of mass borrowing between three separate language families that the world has ever seen. I actually kinda like the idea, if only because it’s a really cool concept to ponder.

        1. Maybe, as you said, it really is the most incredible case of mass borrowing between three separate language families that the world has ever seen.
          Well that is what DIDN’T happen if you ask me. Which is why Altaic is correct and the anti-Altaicists are wrong.
          Tabriz is South Azeri and Baku is North Azeri, yes. Ask her which one she speaks and how well North and South can understand each other.

    1. Of course there is. People have been talking about this forever now, all the way back to the early 1800’s. But is the link between Altaic and Uralic any greater than the link between Altaic and say Indo-European?

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