Yaghnobi Orthography March 17, 2007Posted by Bahrom in Linguistics, Orthography, Phonology, Yaghnobi.
Yaghnobi is mainly a spoken language with very little modern written literature. I say very little modern written literature since the Yaghnobi language is a descendant of one of the dialects of Sogdian and there was a rich body of written literature in Sogdian. This ancient Sogdian literature is the literarary heritage of the Yaghnobi people.
The two systems that have been used for transcribing Yaghnobi are a Latin phonetic system which was commonly employed by Russian linguists during the Soviet period, and the modified Cyrillic alphabet which is also used for the Tajik language. A comparison of the two systems is shown in this Acrobat (.pdf) file: Cyrillic-IPA-Latin transcription chart. The Tajik Cyrillic alphabet has been used in the Yaghnobi textbooks printed for use in grades 1 – 4 in public schools in Yaghnobi speaking areas of Tajikistan.
The Latin phonetic system has the advantage that it represents each sound of the language with a different symbol, while the Tajik Cyrillic system does not distinguish all of the vowel sounds or the /v/ and /w/ sounds. The main advantage of the Tajik Cyrillic system is that every literate person in Tajikistan already knows this alphabet. From the perspective of those who are trying to preserve the Yaghnobi language and promote literacy in Yaghnobi, it makes more sense to teach children to read Yaghnobi in the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet, than to expect them to learn another alphabet that would not be used outside the small (less than 15,000) Yaghnobi community.
The font I used for IPA and Cyrillic is Dulos SIL. I used Tavultasoft Keyman to remap my keyboard for typing IPA and Tajik Cyrillic. For typing Tajik Cyrillic, I used a Tajik qwerty phonetic keyboard layout.
Mirzoev, Saifiddin. 1998. Yaghnobii Zivok 4 [Yaghnobi Language for grade 4] (Tajik). Dushanbe: Surushon. (С. Мирзозода, Яғнобӣ зивок 4.)
Mirzoev, Saifiddin. 1993. Khonish Kitob 3 [Reading Book for grade 3] (Tajik and Yaghnobi). Dushanbe: Maorif.
Mirzoev, Saifiddin. 1993. Yaghnobii Zivok 2 [Yaghnobi Language for grade 2] (Tajik and Yaghnobi). Dushanbe: Maorif.
Nematov, G. 2004. Yagnnobii Zivoki Aliphbo [Alphabet of the Yaghnobi Language] (Tajik and Yaghnobi). Dushanbe: Davashtich.