Intro to Uzbek Dialects

This year for the Association of Central Eurasian Students annual conference I put together a series of teaser videos introducing the concept of Uzbek dialectology. I recorded three short interviews with native speakers from three separate regions of Uzbekistan, transcribed them, and identified the words or construction which were non-standard and specific to the dialect. There were no Xorezmians in Bloomington so I found a clip on Youtube and used that for the Xorezm dialect. Part of the problem of studying Uzbek is the lack of good materials. It would be great if there were an al-Kitab-esque textbook which had good videos in standard Uzbek, but with the option to re-watch the video, but this time in dialect. One day…

We looked at four dialects: Tashkent, Samarqand, Margilon/Ferghana, and Xorezm. We only looked at Uzbekistani Uzbek, no Afghan or Kazakhstani Uzbek.

Here are the videos, the dialect is yellow. I mention the present continuous marker because it is kind of the litmus test for what dialect you’re dealing with, given that it changes with all of them.


Tashkenti is defined by (among other aspects):
•High prevalence of Russian loanwords given the fact that it was the capital and thus the influx of Russian speakers
•Low Persian/Tajik Influence
•Dropping of final ‘-r’ on suffixes.
•-vot as present continuous marker
•High prevalence of Persian loanwords
•High Persian/Tajik Grammar Influence
•Dropping of final ‘-r’ on suffixes.
•-ov/op as present continuous marker
Note how he says: “Aytishim mumkinki, Amrikada hayot yamon emas” putting the Persian relative pronoun -ki on the end of ‘mumkin’. That is 100% Persian grammar, and completely reverses the normal order of the sentence. Standard Uzbek would say, “Amrikada hayot yamon emas deb aytishi mumkin.”
•Closest to standard Uzbek
•High prevalence of archaisms/Arabic
•High influence of Persian/Tajik
•-yap as present continuous marker (same as in standard Uzbek, reflecting the fact that it is the closest to the standard language)
•Most distinct/different of Uzbek dialects
•High Turkmen/Oghuz Influence
•Voicing of consonants
•-jak as future marker
•Dialect of what?
There is some debate as to whether this is a dialect of Uzbek with a huge Turkmen influence, or a dialect of Turkmen with a huge Uzbek influence. It was drawn within the borders of the Uzbek SSR, and many contend that Soviet linguists reinforced the idea that it is a dialect of Uzbek to justify that border (why should it be Uzbekistan if populated by Turkmens). In any case, it is almost entirely different from standard Uzbek in many cases, making it the most challenging dialect for a student to learn.


Hope you enjoyed! Hopefully we’ll see more substantive work on this topic in the future!

~ by Josh on June 9, 2012.

2 Responses to “Intro to Uzbek Dialects”

  1. Great job, Josh! Xorazmcha is my fave, for obvious reasons.

  2. Nazarimda, toshkentlik qiz sal zo’raki uslubda gapirgandek. Tabiiy chiqmagan. Balki amerikaliklar tushunishi uchun dona-dona qilib gapirgandir.

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