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Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are traditionally considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family. Turkic languages are spoken by some 180 million people as a native language; and the total number of Turkic speakers is about 200 million, including speakers as a second language. The Turkic language with the greatest number of speakers is Turkish proper, or Anatolian Turkish, the speakers of which account for about 40% of all Turkic speakers.

Early written records
The first established records of the Turkic languages are the 8th century Orkhon inscriptions by the Göktürks, recording the Old Turkic language, which were discovered in 1889 in the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia. The Compendium of the Turkic dialects ( Divânü Lügati't-Türk), written during the 11th century by Kasgarli Mahmud of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, constitutes an early linguistic treatment of the family. The Compendium is the first comprehensive dictionary of the Turkic languages and also includes the first known map of the Turkic speakers' geographical distribution. It mainly pertains to the Southwestern branch of the family.

Geographical expansion and development
With the Turkic expansion during Early Middle Ages (c. 6th - 11th centuries), Turkic languages, in the course of just a few centuries, spread across Central Asia, stretching from Siberia (the Sakha Republic) to the Mediterranean (Seljuk Turks). Various elements from the Turkic languages have passed into Hungarian, Persian, Urdu, Russian, Chinese and to a lesser extent, Arabic. Many of the Turkic peoples have their homelands in Inner Asia, where the Turkic peoples originated from, but since then Turkic languages have spread, through migrations and conquests, to other locations including present-day Turkey. While the term Turk may refer to a member of any Turkic people, the term Turkish usually refers specifically to the people and language of Turkey.

Turkic People
Turkic PeopleThe Turkic peoples are Eurasian peoples residing in northern, central and western Eurasia who speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. These peoples share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds. The term Turkic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people and includes existing societies such as the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, Azerbaijani, Turkmen, and Turkish people, as well as historical societies such as the Xiongnu, Kipchaks, Eurasian Avars, Bulgars, Huns, Seljuks, Khazars, Ottomans and Timurids. Many of the Turkic peoples have their homelands in Inner Asia, where the Turkic peoples originated from, but since then Turkic languages have spread, through migrations and conquests, to other locations including present-day Turkey. While the term Turk may refer to a member of any Turkic people, the term Turkish usually refers specifically to the people and language of Turkey.

Migrations
The Turkic peoples and the related groups migrated west towards Eastern Europe, Iranian plateau and Anatolia. Turks or Turkish people are among those who migrated early from what is known today as Mongolia to modern Turkey but also among the late-arrival peoples; they also participated in the Crusades. After many battles they established their own state and later created the Ottoman Empire; their tactics were all-out sieges and invasions.

History
It is generally believed that the first Turkic people were native to a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia. Some scholars contend that the Huns were one of the earlier Turkic tribes, while others support Mongolic origin for the Huns. Otto Maenchen-Helfen's linguistic studies also support a Turkic origin for the Huns. The main migration of Turks, who were among the ancient inhabitants of Turkestan, occurred in medieval times, when they spread across most of Asia and into Europe and the Middle East.

The precise date of the initial expansion from the early homeland remains unknown. The first state known as "Turk", giving its name to many states and peoples afterwards, was that of the Göktürks (gog = "blue" or "celestial") in the sixth century AD. The head of the Asena clan led his people from Li-jien (modern Zhelai Zhai) to the Juan Juan seeking inclusion in their confederacy and protection from China. His tribe were famed metal smiths and were granted land near a mountain quarry which looked like a helmet, from which they were said to have gotten their name (tujué). A century later their power had increased such that they conquered the Juan Juan and set about establishing their Gök Empire.

Later Turkic peoples include the Karluks (mainly eighth century), Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Oghuz (or Guz) Turks, and Turkmens. As these peoples were founding states in the area between Mongolia and Transoxiana, they came into contact with Muslims, and most gradually adopted Islam. However, there were also (and still are) small groups of Turkic people belonging to other religions, including Christians, Jews (Khazars), Buddhists, and Zoroastrians.

Turkic soldiers in the army of the Abbasid caliphs emerged as the de facto rulers of most of the Muslim Middle East (apart from Syria and Egypt), particularly after the tenth century. The Oghuz and other tribes captured and dominated various countries under the leadership of the Seljuk dynasty and eventually captured the territories of the Abbasid dynasty and the Byzantine Empire.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz and Uyghurs were struggling with one another and with the Chinese Empire. The Kyrgyz people ultimately settled in the region now referred to as Kyrgyzstan. The Tatar peoples conquered the Volga Bulgars in what is today Tatarstan, following the westward sweep of the Mongols under Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century. The Bulgars were thus mistakenly called Tatars by the Russians. Native Tatars live only in Asia; European "Tatars" are in fact Bulgars. Other Bulgars settled in Europe in the seventh-8th centuries, and were assimilated into the Slavic population after adopting what eventually became the Slavic Bulgarian language. Everywhere, Turkic groups mixed with the local populations to varying degrees.

The Ottoman Empire c. 1683As the Seljuk Empire declined following the Mongol invasion, the Ottoman Empire emerged as the new important Turkic state, that came to dominate not only the Middle East, but even southeastern Europe, parts of southwestern Russia, and northern Africa.

The Mughal Empire was a Muslim empire that, at its greatest territorial extent, ruled most of the South Asia, then known as Hindustan, and parts of what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan from the early 16th to the mid-18th century. The Mughal dynasty was founded by a Chagatai Turkic prince named Babur (reigned 1526–30), who was descended from the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane) on his father's side and from Chagatai, second son of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, on his mother's side.[38][39] The Mughal dynasty was notable for the ability of its rulers, who through seven generations maintained a record of unusual talent, and for its administrative organization. A further distinction was the attempt of the Mughals to integrate Hindus and Muslims into a united Indian state.

The Ottoman Empire gradually grew weaker in the face of maladministration, repeated wars with Russia and Austro-Hungary, and the emergence of nationalist movements in the Balkans, and it finally gave way after World War I to the present-day republic of Turkey.

Chagatai language
Chagatai belongs to the Uyghur branch of the Turkic language family. It is descended from the Old Uyghur that served as a lingua franca in Central Asia, with a strong infusion of Arabic and Persian words and turns of phrase. It was developed as a sophisticated written language using the Perso-Arabic alphabet. It can be divided into three periods:

Pre-classical Chagatai (1400-1465)
Classical Chagatai (1465-1600)
Post-classical Chagatai (1600-1921)

The first period is a transitional phase characterized by the retention of archaic forms; the second phase starts with the publication of Mir Alisher Navoi's first Divan and is the highpoint of Chagatai literature, followed by the third phase, which is characterized by two bifurcating developments. One is the preservation of the classical Chagatai language of Navoi, the other trend is the increasing influence of the dialects of the local spoken languages. The Chagatai Turkic language lived its heyday in the Timurid Empire. Chagatai remained the universal literary language of Central Asia until the Soviet reforms of the early twentieth century.

Uzbek and modern Uyghur are the two modern languages most closely related to Chagatai, and Uzbeks regard Chagatai as an earlier form of their language and claim Chagatai literature as their own. In Uzbekistan, then a part of the Soviet Union, Chagatai was replaced by a literary language based on the local Uzbek dialect in 1921. The so-called Berendek, a 12th century medieval nomadic Turki people possibly related to the Cumans, seem also to have spoken a language which ultimately was identified as Chagatai.

Ethnologue records the use of the word "Chagatai" in Afghanistan to describe the "Tekke" dialect of Turkmen. Up to and including the eighteenth century Chagatai was the main literary language in Turkmenistan as elsewhere in Central Asia, and had some influence on Turkmen, but in fundamentals the two languages belong to different branches of the Turkic family.

Baburnama (written Chagatai Turk) literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur") are the memoirs of Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire and a great-great-great-grandson of Timur. It is an autobiographical work, originally written in the Chagatai language, known to Babur as "Turki" (meaning Turkic), the spoken language of the Andijan-Timurids. It also contains many phrases and smaller poems in Persian. It is also known as Tuzk-e-Babari.

Tuzk e Babari or Babar Nameh
Babur was a highly educated Central Asian Muslim and his observations and comments in his memoirs reflect an interest in nature, society, politics and economics. His vivid account of events covers not just his life, but the history and geography of the areas he lived in, and their flora and fauna, as well as the people with whom he came into contact.

The Baburnama begins with these plain words:

“ In the province of Fergana, in the year 1494, when I was twelve year old, I became king. ”

After some background, Babur describes his fluctuating fortunes as a minor ruler in Central Asia - in which he took and lost Samarkand twice - and his move to Kabul in 1504.

There is a break in the manuscript between 1508 and 1519. By the latter date Babur is established in Kabul, now in Afghanistan, and is campaigning in northwestern India. The final section of the Baburnama covers the years 1525 to 1529 and the establishment of the Mughal empire in South Asia, which Babur's descendants would rule for three centuries.

Babur also writes about his homeland, Fergana:

“ The Domain of Fergana has seven towns, five on the south and two on the north of the Syr river. Of those on the south, one is Andijan. It has a central position and is the capital of the Fergana Domain. ”

He also wrote:

“ A man took aim at Ibrahim Beg. But then Ibrahim Beg yelled,"Hai!Hai!"; and he let him pass, and by mistake shot me in an armpit from as near as a man on guard at the Gate stands from another. Two plates of my armour cracked. I shot at a man running away along the ramparts, adjusting his cap against the battlements. He abandoned his cap, nailed to the wall and went off, gathering his turban sash together in his hand. ”

The Baburnama is widely translated and is part of text books in no less than 25 countries mostly in Central, Western, and Southern Asia.

Tuzk-e-Taimuri
Tuzk-e-Taimuri is considered by many as the autobiography of Amir Timur. Timur's generally recognized biographers are Ali Yazdi, commonly called Sharaf ud-Din, author of the Zafarnama in Persian , translated by Petis de la Croix in 1722 , and from French into English by J. Darby in the following year; and Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdallah, al-Dimashiqi, al-Ajami (commonly called Ahmad Ibn Arabshah) translated by the Dutch Orientalist Colitis in 1636. In the work of the former, as Sir William Jones remarks, "the Tatarian conqueror is represented as a liberal, benevolent and illustrious prince", in that of the latter he is "deformed and impious, of a low birth and detestable principles." But the favourable account was written under the personal supervision of Timur's grandson, Ibrahim, while the other was the production of his direst enemy.

Among less reputed biographies or materials for biography may be mentioned a second Zafarnama, by Nizam al-Din Shami, stated to be the earliest known history of Timur, and the only one written in his lifetime. Timur's purported autobiography, the Tuzk-e-Taimuri ("Memoirs of Temur") is a later fabrication,[need quote] although most of the historical facts are accurate.



 








 

 

  Page last updated: Sunday, August 10, 2008 05:59:27 PM -0700