Memtimin Aminem


The contact between the Mongolic and Turkic languages, unlike the other contact issues of Turkic with Semitic, Chinese and Indo-European languages, is subject to many debates. Two schools, one representing the Altaic theory and the other arguing for similarities only resulting from language contact, have been trying to prove their beliefs for many decades. It will not be easy to solve this problem soon, but it is worth continuing research on the general subject of the relationships between the two language groups and certainly to carry out descriptive research on connected matters.

Our topic here is mainly the lexemes transferred directly or indirectly from Mongolic into Modern Uyghur dialects, and the grammatical influences which be-gan to come already during the Chaghatay period. The semantic domains of Mon-golic loans which differ from those of other contact languages will be presented, comparing them to those from Chinese, Russian and Arabic-Persian, and the impli-cations of these differences will be discussed.

KEY WORDS: Language Contact, Uyghur, Mongolian, Semantic domains.

Historical background Chinggis khan had, by 1208, united all the Mongolian tribes and subjugated the Qirghiz in South Siberia. The Uyghurs were, at this time, under Qara Khitay rule but, in 1209, The Uyghur Iduq Qut Barčuq Art Tegin killed the Qara Khitay governor and submitted to the Mongols; thereupon Chinggis khan declared him to be “his

fifth son”. The Qarakhanids, the first Turkic Islamic state, was de-feated in 1212 by the non-Muslim Qara-Khitays under the Naiman Küčülüg and their territory was conquered. In 1218, Chinggis khan’scampaigns against the Qara Khitay ended with the death of Küčülüg and the incorporation into the Monghol Empire of the Tarim depres-sion, Kāshghar, the Ili area and the whole territory of what had been the East Qarakhanid state. At this stage, a great part of this area had already converted to Islam.

Mongolian rule contributed to the mixture of people in Central Eurasia. When Chinggis khan divided his empire among his sons in 1225, his second son Chaghatai was awarded the land of Yättä Su south of the Balkhash lake, Maweraunnehir between Sir Darya and Amu Darya, Xorasan (eastern Iran), the west of Afghanistan, the west of the Junggar depression and the south of the Tengri Moun-tains or Tian Shan, i.e. the whole Tarim basin. The capital of Cha-ghatai Ulus was Almaliq in the Ili valley, now on the Chinese side of the Kazakh-Chinese border. The Chaghatai Ulus was divided into three sections: Turkistan in the south-west – the Sir Derya-Amu Derya area, the Iduq Qut realm in the east, covering, among others, the Turpan depression, and, in the center, the Manglay-söyä realm with Bügür and Kuča in its north-east, Čärčän in its south-east, the Issiq Köl lake in its north-west and Ferghana and Badakhshan in its south-west. The Manglay-söyä area was ruled by the Doghlats.

There seem to have been strong inroads of Mongol tribes into Xinjiang, getting the area to be called Mogholistan; part of the Uy-ghur population of Xinjiang would presumably consist of Turki-cized Mongols. Mogholistan comprised Southeastern Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and present-day Xinjiang.*1

At the time of Muhammäd khan, who ruled Mogholistan be-tween 1408 and 1416, Islam was spread even more vigorously. As the Ta’rikh-i Reshīdī writes, “if a Moghol did not wear a turban, a horseshoe nail was driven into his head, and treatment of this kind was common” (see Golden 1992: 314-315).

From the 15th century on, the Oirat or western Mongols strength-ened, moved towards the north of the Tengri Mountain, defeated the Qirghiz and forced them to move to the Tengri Mountain area. In the 16th century they weakened and had to move to the Ili area and to the northern part of Xinjiang, later called Junggaria. About 1620 they united and in 1635, during the reign of Baatur Khong tayji, again strengthened. In 1640 Baatur Khong tayji announced the foundation of the Junggar kingdom in Tarbaghatai, northern Xinji-ang. When Baatur’s son Galdan (1644-1697) got to power, he con-quered the north of the Tengri Mountain and moved his capital from Tarbaghatai to Ghulja on the Ili River in north-western Xinjiang. Ghulja became an important political center and the Junggars trans-ferred some population from southern Xinjiang to the Ili district to be engaged in agriculture and develop the area. This population was called Taranchi, the Mongolian term for ‘farmer’.

Since 1680, Xinjiang was ruled by the Junggars after they de-feated the Yarkend kingdom *2in cooperation with Apaq Ghoja, the local ruler who contributed to the defeat of the Yarkend dynasty. After that, Galdan invaded the north of the Tengri Mountain in mod-ern Kazakhstan and defeated the Kazakhs under Täükä Khan. He conquered Turfan and Qumul the next year, and all of Mogholistan became a tribute-paying (albatu) vassal state of the Oirat Junggars.

In 1696 the Qing defeated Galdan and chased him away from Outer Mongolia; he died soon thereafter. In 1750-57 the Qing took advantage of a civil war among the Junggars and conquered Jung-garia. Mongolic influence practically ended with the defeat of the Oirat Junggars by armies of the Chinese Qing dynasty.

Language Influence

As mentioned, Ghulja (on the north part of Xinjiang) was the main political center under Junggar control. This why there is a rath-er stronger impact on the Ghulja dialect than on some other places in Xinjiang. The Mongolic particle je, e.g., exists in the Ghulja dialect and not elsewhere, e.g. in the Uyghur sentence Jä, boldi, ämdi ‘Well, that’s enough now’.

Three other areas where we find Mongolic words not attested elsewhere are Qumul, Turpan (on the northeast part of Xinjiang) and Lopnor. In these areas the impact of Islam was felt latest and Buddhism subsisted much longer than elsewhere.

Much basic vocabulary and even some function words pene-trated into different Uyghur dialects; investigating them is not only important as a linguistic survey: The results may also help us to observe the historical, cultural contact scenarios between Turkic and Mongolic.

In the copied words, some phonetic features of Mongolic, such as vowel length also have been preserved:

Length coming from written Mongolian ege / aɣa often gets preserved in Uyghur open syllables as ä: and a: respectively: In the first syllable we have Uyg. pä:läy ‘glove’, Lessing 1960: 94 begelei ‘glove, mitten’; Pavet de Courteille 1870: 180 بهلى ‘mitten of fal-coner’ Ramstedt 1935 bēlɛ̄‘mitten’.

We have second-syllable long vowels in širä: ‘table’ and sala: ‘the space between fingers’, and jala: ‘tassel on carts; artificial hair of woman’ (Qäšqär dialect) from Mo. jalaɣa, discussed in Nugteren 2011: 381 (a.o. Lessing 1960: 1028 jalaɣa ‘tassel, crest, thick silk thread’, jongxur jalaɣa ‘silk tassels on the hat of an official’).

Semantic domains of nouns of Mongolic origin

The part of speech borrowed directly or indirectly from Mon-golic to Modern Uyghur in greatest numbers are the nouns; but there are also quite a number of adjectives and verbs. The nouns appear in different semantic domains: terms for family relationships, body parts, animal names, plants, clothes, household, social relations, administration, feature and character, natural phenomena and sub-stances. We will here just take some of the identified Mongolian loans in Modern Uyghur.

nilqa ‘baby, innocent, immature’ is used in the Qumul dialect,e.g. nilqa bala ‘innocent child’. This word existed in the Secret His-tory (SH 117) as nilḥa ‘the youngest, the smallest’, as nilqa in Writ-ten Mongolian (Lessing 1960: 584). Nugteren 2011: 457 translates it as “the youngest child of a family, baby” and quotes it from most Mongolic languages.

märgän ‘marksman, sharpshooter’ comes from its Mongol-ic homophone signifying ‘smart, wise, talented; good marksman’ (Nugteren 2011: 443 quoting SH109 mergan ‘skilful’, Lessing 1960: 537 ‘good marksman, wisdom, wise, learned, sage, experi-enced, apt’ etc.’. According to Doerfer 1963-1975 § 363, Persian also borrowed the word specifically in its ‘sharpshooter’ meaning. The word was taken up already by Chaghatay and is found in a num-ber of modern Turkic languages.

xamar ‘nose, the facial area including the nose and mouth’comes from Mo. qabar / qamar, SH qabar, dealt with in Nugteren 2011: 396 (quoting Lessing 1960: 895 xabar ‘nose, snout, trunk of an elephant’, Lessing 1960: 923 xamar; Kalm. 573 xamr, Kh 609 xamar a.o.). The Uyghur -m- goes with the great modern languagesbut against the early sources and against, a.o., Mogholi.böjän ‘young hare or rabbit’ comes from Mongolic; Nugteren 2011: 287 documents the second vowel of this word (same meaning) as e in the Muqaddimatu ’l-Adab (pre-classical) and Eastern Yugur; and Ordos böjöŋ, he writes, also supports e. The Written Mongolian (Lessing 1960: 128) transcription böjün is hypothetical as it can also be read as böjön in Uyghur writing, and Khalkha writes the word as böjin. In Kalmuck the word has the shape bö:jn. gögi ‘fishhook’ is another Lopnor dialect word; fishing was themost important economical activity among that population and it is noteworthy that these terms are of Mongolic origin. Written Mongo-lian (Lessing 1960: 386) has gögi ‘hook, fishhook’.

širdaq ‘embroidered felt mat’ comes from a Mongolic lexemewhich has front harmony: Written Mongolian (Lessing 1960: 716) sirdeg ‘saddle pad’, Kalm. (Ramstedt 1935: 359) širdəG ‘felt blan-ket, felt carpet’ < širi- ‘to quilt, stitch’ with the common deverbal suffix -dAG. For Chaghatay we have širdaɣ in the Şeyḫ Süleymān 2003 dictionary and širdaq as quoted by Schönig 2000: 167 from Radloff, and also from Ottoman. The back harmony of the Turkic words may come from sırı-, the Turkic cognate of Mo. širi-asqa ‘stones falling from mountains through rain’ was bor-rowed from Mongolic into the Qumul dialect. It appears in Written Mongolian as asqa, translated by Lessing 1960: 57 as ‘schist, slate, boulder rocks’. Kalm. has asxɒ, which Ramstedt (1935: 16a) trans-lates as ‘stones rolling down from a mountain; heaps of stones at the foot of mountains’.

Turpan dialect japsar ‘a narrow place of a mountain’ comes from Mo. jabsar ‘gap, crack; space or time between; interval’ (Nugteren 2011: 379). Written Mo. (Lessing 1960: 1019) has jabsar ‘gap, interstice, slit, crevasse, fissure, hiatus’. The Qäšqär dialect has dropped the coda r in japsa ‘gap’, e.g. Män ešikniŋ japsisidin qarap, taladiki hämmini körüp olturdum. ‘I was sitting seeing everythinglooking through the gap of the door.’ (Qasim 2014).

ada ‘mental disease, insanity’ in the Turpan dialect, e.g. U tola yiɣlap ada bolup kätti. ‘(S)he cried a lot and became mentally ill.’(Qasim 2014: 35); in Qumul dialect ada bol / adal bol— ‘to suffer, exhaust’. e.g. Ana baliɣa ɣiza yedüralmay adal wokätti. ‘The moth-er suffered a lot because she could not get the child eat something.’ From Classical Mongolian ada ‘evil spirit, demon, devil, object of aversion, obstacle, hindrance’ (Lessing 9) which is a borrowing from Old Uyghur. Had the Uyghur word been inherited, it would have been ‘aya’.salwar / salwa: ‘untidy, ragged’, e.g. salwar čač ‘scattered hair,untidy hair’ comes from Classical Mongolian salba-ɣar, documented in Kalm. (Ramstedt) as salwɒɣɒr ‘tattered, rubbed up, in rags’, or from salba-r, Kalm. salwr̥ ‘torn, in rags’. An expansion in Uy-ghur, salwaraŋ ‘scattered’, comes from Written Mongolian (Lessing 1960: 664) salbaraŋ ‘old (of things), ragged, dilapidated’.

Xolemataŋ / xolumattaŋ ‘mixed’ < Mongolian: xoli- ‘to mix,mingle, blend’; xolima, n. and adj. ‘mixture, mixed’ (Lessing 959), with taŋ ‘broth, liquid’ (ultimately from Chinese) (Lessing 776).

Mongolian Verbs

Uyghur borrowed foreign verbs in different ways. Clearly, only Mongolic was considered structurally similar enough to allow verb stems to get taken up as verb stems. Verbs from other languages were either borrowed synthetically, with the suffix -lA- and expan-sions such as -lAn- and -lAš-, or analytically, most commonly with qil- ‘to do’, rarely bol- ‘to be, become’.

dapšun- appears in the Qumul dialect with the meaning ‘todemonstrate one’s power and courage’; WM. dabši— ‘to advance, to be aggressive or over-demanding’ (Lessing 213).

lapčay- ‘to have one’s legs stretched out’ < Mongolian labtai-‘to sprawl, stretch oneself’ (Lessing 514).

salwara— ‘to split, to splinter; to become untidy’ comes fromClassical Mongolian (Lessing 1960: 664) salba-ra— ‘to split, to be splintered’ but the meaning ‘to become untidy’ is in Classical Mon-golian rather connected to salba-yi- (Lessing 1960: 664).

The Modern Uyghur verbs maxta— ‘to praise’, učra— ‘to encoun-ter’, jüdä— ‘to become thin’, jütirä— ‘to suffer from cold, and famine’, čida— ‘to bear’, čoqčay- ‘to loom up, to tower’ hi:jay- (< hirjay-) ‘togrin’, ilɣa— ‘to choose’, jori- ‘to order, speak repeatedly, be angry’, ɣämlä— ‘to prepare, set aside’; jabdu— ‘to prepare, get ready’, jala- / ja:la— ‘to lead, to control, steer’, jönti- ‘to be senile’, jowa- / juwa-‘to be troubled’, apčira— ‘to shrink’ (apči— in the Qumul, Turpan and Ili dialects), poltay— ‘to protrude’, pürkü— ‘to cover’, širi- ‘to stitch’, hiŋgay- ‘to open the mouth, showing one’s teeth’, mölkü- ‘to clam-ber, to creep’, saŋqa- ‘to defecate (of animals, birds)’, ɣoŋši— ‘to complain by making some sound through the nose’, dora— ‘to imi-tate’ and dorday— ‘to become thick (referring to the lips)’ are also all borrowed from Mongolic.

We also find some Mongolian non-content words adopted by Uyghur dialects: Uyghur čiray ‘face’ (< Mo.) can, beside its literal, physical meaning. express likelihood when added to verb forms: U kelidiɣan čiray (turidu). ‘It seems (s)he will come.’; Bügün yamɣur yaɣidiɣan čiray. ‘It seems it is going to rain today.’ The content of the second sentence can also be expressed by Bügün yamɣur yaɣidiɣandäk turidu. with the simulative postposition däk. Mo. čidaxu čiraytai ‘appearing able to do’ expresses exactly the samemeaning; Lessing 191 translates ciraitai / ciraitu as ‘being likely to’ (the suffixes -tAi and -tU corresponding to Turkic -lXg).

adali ‘similar, looking like’ has been detected in the Qumul di-alect, e.g. säk-kä adali ‘like a dog’ (Qasim 2014: 31); Written Mon-golic adali is an adjective, adverb and postposition signifying ‘the same, identical, equal, resembling, analogous, equally, in the same way, just as’.

Semantics of Mongolian loans compared to lexemes from other sources

It is useful to look at the semantic domains of the lexemes which different languages contributed to Uyghur; one might expect this matter to be connected to what the cultural connections were between the peoples.

The linguistic influence of Mongolian is different from the in-fluences of all the other languages also because the typological fea-tures of Arabic, Persian, Russian and Chinese are extremely differ-ent from those of Uyghur (and also from each other!). Mongolian, however, is typologically quite similar to Uyghur (whether this is linked to genetic relationship or caused by early convergence). This means 1) that many Mongol borrowings have phonological features similar to Turkic and 2) that many verb stems are borrowed as verb stems and not as verbal nouns.

The Russian influence was not only ideological, as evidenced by the cultural breadth of the borrowings: For the Uyghurs the Rus-sians (also through the mediation of Tatars) were in fact the first transmitters of European culture and of the wide world in general, of rationalism, enlightenment, modernism and the scientific method. The semantics of the influence turned political only after the revo-lution, in the 1920s.

The direct and indirect influence of Chinese has been growing since the middle of the 20th century in every register and semantic domain, going as far as the attrition of Uyghur in some (relative-ly small) parts of Uyghur society. With the great enhancement of physical mobility on the one hand and the rise in education and the penetration of electronic media and communication on the other, this influence has been getting more prominent than all others, with widespread bilingualism.

Since, however, the contacts took place at different times, the semantics will, of course, also reflect their period: One cannot ex-pect computer terms to have come from Mongolic. Loans of Arabic origin, e.g., contain lexemes in the educational and scientific do-main, literature, religion, social titles and professions, feelings and abstract terms, but very few related to food and animal husbandry. Religious education as a social factor having continued till the 20th century and honor towards Islam presumably stimulated this influ-ence. Though the direct influence from Arabic has essentially ceased, some intellectuals who are educated in this domain have supported the matter. Some words of Arabic origin, and some Persian ones as well, were reactivated in advertisements, now giving the impres-sion of freshness, attractiveness and elegance. Catering firms have used such names massively in view of their antiquity, attractiveness and splendor and some intellectuals also suggested them for abstract concepts such as häzarät ‘culture’ (suggested in 2003).

Copies from Persian – incorporating Arabic – are an indispens-able part of the Uyghur literary language. Long-term contact and strong literary influence brought basic vocabulary into the Uyghur lexicon, and also elements which went into prefixation and com-pounding. Among basic words, there are words which are for every-day life as göš ‘meat’ and nan ‘bread’. Russian is also the source of food terms, e.g. bolka, a special type of bread, exotic fruit such as banan ‘banana’, and of course piwa ‘beer’ and wodka. Interestinglyenough, many names of plants and of domestic and wild animals were borrowed from Mongolic, but not a single one for food items in our corpus. Religion might be the reason for this: Meat, which was central to Mongolic cooking, has to be halal, i.e. chosen and pre-pared according to Islamic doctrine, if Uyghurs are to eat it. Many vegetable and dish names were borrowed from Chinese, but that is the language also of the Hui, the Muslim Chinese. We find very few Arabic terms for food in Uyghur as the Arabic kitchen was not adopted in the east; haraq ‘alcoholic drink’ and qähwä ‘coffee’ are wide-spread terms found in many languages, halwa ‘a sweet dish made from sugar with flour’ is an Arabic specialty and the zäytun ‘olive’ is exotic in Xinjiang. The semantic breadth of the Persian borrowings is very wide, but reflects, of course, the fact that they were borrowed a long time ago. Among Persian borrowings, much of the vocabulary is related to the semantics of elegance and litera-ture. Comparing the semantics of Persian and Russian lexemes, it is not difficult to see that the former are not involved in the technical vocabulary of the modern world whereas the latter are. One striking difference between them is that Persian loans are still popular in

literary expressivity, whereas Russian supplied the analytical terms.

Persian is for the soul, as it were, while Russian is for the head.

Words of Mongolian origin often denote non-elegant action or features like salwaŋ ‘scattered, untidy long hair hanging in an ugly manner’, salpaŋ ‘droopy’, alčaŋ ‘bowlegged’, yadaŋɣu ‘thin, poor looking’, jüdäŋgü ‘exhausted’, ɣaljir ‘insane’ and the like; no liter-ary terms came from Mongolic and we have, outside the Qumul and Lopnor dialects, hardly been able to find abstract terms copied from Mongolic. The semantic domains of the copied Mongolic elements show that there must have been an interpenetration of everyday life between the communities speaking these languages; furthermore, part of the Mongolic population might have been of Turkic origin as part of the Turkic population was of Mongolic origin. The Turks and Mongols set out into the period studied with similar life styles; they would not have been ‘foreign’ to each other as others who also influ-enced the Uyghur language (e.g. the venerated but distant Arabs). Due to the structural similarity between the languages, it was also linguis-tically ‘easy’ to adopt and integrate Mongolic language material into their language – if they had not already inherited it from Chaghatay.

As to Russian copies, they mainly represent all the domains of science and technology as well as all academic terminology – gener-ally concepts related to the modern world. Terms for transport, west-ern dressing and grooming, sport, the modern home, economy, law, finance and public administration came from Russian. And of course a prominent part of Russian borrowings consists of ideological, politi-cal and military terms, about which there is no refinement. Important-ly, the pan-European words were conveyed into Uyghur via Russian.

Chinese borrowings are related to many aspects of current life, and mainly penetrated the spoken language. The names of dishes have already been mentioned. Education, social titles (especially the official ones), technical terms and the like are the main domains of Chinese lexical influence. Russian-origin terms related to the modern world are gradually being replaced in the spoken language by words coming from Chinese.

The semantics of words borrowed from Mongolic do not at all give the impression of coming from a superstrate. It has been said that the Uyghurs were the culture bearers even from the time preced-ing Chinggis khan on. To use the terminology of van Coetsem 2000, the influence of Mongolic on Uyghur was more likely to have been one of SL (source language) agentivity, not RL (recipient language) agentivity.

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