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History of the Yaghnobi People October 15, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in History, Tajikistan, Yaghnobi.
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The Yaghnobi, who have inhabited the high mountain valley of Yaghnob in west-central Tajikistan for centuries, have been identified as descendants of the ancient Sogdians. The kingdom of Sogdiana existed from before the sixth century BCE until the Arab conquests of the eighth century CE. The Sogdian territory occupied what is now northern Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan (Raspopova and Shishkina, 1999). From the fifth to the eighth centuries, the Sogdians were the main caravan merchants of  the Silk Road which passed through the Sogdian cities of Samarqand (their capital) and Bukhara (Vaissiere, 2004). The Sogdians also established extensive colonies in what is now western China. Their influence was so extensive that Sogdian, an east-Iranian language, was the lingua franca of Central Asia during the seventh century (Dien). The region to the south of Sogdiana, Ustashana (also called Sorushna) was also populated by Sogdian speaking people (Negmatov, 1999). Its capital, Bunjikat, was near present day Istravshan in northwest Tajikistan (Bosworth, 2005). The dialect of Sogdian spoken in Ustrashana in the eighth century has been identified through lexical and phonological similarities as the language from which modern Yaghnobi has descended. (more…)

Yaghnobi texts and a dictionary by Andreyev and Peshchereva July 26, 2007

Posted by آستان in folklore, Tajikistan, Yaghnobi.

Soviet scholars made several expeditions to the Yaghnob valley to document and learn the language. One of the results of their work was a book published in 1957 and was called Yaghnobi texts – Ягнобские тексты. There were published 45 fairy-tales and fokl-stories from different villages of the Yaghnob valley (more…)

Phonology of Yaghnobi July 25, 2007

Posted by آستان in Phonology, Yaghnobi.

Concerning phonology of Yaghnobi language, there are many aspects not clearly solved yet. The only available work about this problematique is an old article by V. S. Sokolova in Očerki po fonetike iranskix jazykov, unfortunately I haven’t seen this work yet. From two main articles by A. L. Xromov I tried to compile the basis of Yaghnobi phonological structure. (more…)

The king and his water-man: Yaghnobi recording and text July 21, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in folklore, Syntax, Tajik, Tajikistan, translation, World, Yaghnobi.
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The Splashcast below is an audio recording of Saifiddin Mirzoev reading a traditional Yaghnogi folk story.  Saifiddin transcribed this story in 1990 in Zafarabad. The storyteller was Muhmadrasul who was originally from the village of Sokan in the Yaghnob valley. (more…)

The Yaghnobi affix /i/ July 17, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Phonology, Semantics, Syntax, Yaghnobi.

The affix /i/ in Yaghnobi appears to be highly polysemous. As a prefix, it can function as an indefinite aritcle, or as the number one (a common set of shared meanings cross lingustically). As a suffix, it can function as a marker for locative, genetive, nominative, or accusative (in perfective aspect) cases. It also appears on any noun that is preceded by a number, functions as a denominalizer, appears on nominal elements in complex predicates, and marks purpose on participles.

The intuition of all three of my language consultants was that /i/ is a single phoneme. Furthermore, in transcriptions of Yaghnobi texts done by other linguists, this morpheme was always transcribed the same way. Since it is so unusual for one phonological segment to have such a wide range of functions I wanted to be sure that this was really a single phoneme (yes, I know this word has been depricated, but how else would you epress this concept?). My language consultant usually interpreted this segment as [i], but sometimes he perceived it as [i:], or [e] so I made acoustic measurements of F1, F2, and vowel length of the /i/ affix uttered in sentences which had each of the different meanings or functions listed above. The results are available in this paper: The Yaghnobi i affix.

(This paper was also origianally an appendix to a longer paper on the Yaghonbi /i/ affix, as was the paper I posted on Yaghnobi Vowels.)

Disclaimer: This is just a preliminary study. The phonetic data presented here is all from one highly fluent language consultant (my teacher, Saifiddin Mirzoev). The grammatical analysis, however, is based on five different sources.

This post was updated 7/22/07

Yaghnobi Vowels July 17, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Phonetics, Phonology, Yaghnobi.
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Earlier this year I made acoustic measurements of stressed and unstressed utterances of the vowels /a, e, i, o, u/. These measurements were based on recordings of one speaker and are very preliminary, but may be helpful to anyone planning to make a more complete phonetic and phonological study of Yaghnobi. The paper is available in Adobe Acrobat format here: Yaghnobi Vowels.

Overview of Yaghnobi grammar June 9, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Linguistics, Science, Syntax, Yaghnobi.
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Today I presented an overview of Yaghnobi grammar at the U of O Linguistics Colloquium. I have uploaded a copy of my handout for the colloquium here: Overview of Yaghnobi Grammar. This handout is an outline of basic clause structure and grammatical relations with parsed and glossed example sentences. If you need an explanation of any part or have questions please don’t hesitate to leave them in a comment here.

6/9/07 Update: I uploaded a corrected version of the Yaghnobi Grammar Overview today.

6/17/07 Update: I fixed a typo in example 23. I changed kap to kar.

11/4/07 Update: I posted the first draft of my thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi Grammar here: https://yaghnobi.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/draft-of-aspects-of-yaghnobi-grammar/

Consider contributing to the new Yaghnobi blog! June 6, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Yaghnobi.

If you have been reading my posts about the Yaghnobi language on Birds’ Word’s, then this blog will look familiar. Since I started posting about Yahgnobi three months ago, I have been delighted to discover others who are also interested in the Yahgnobi people and their language.

Today, I decided it was time to create a new blog dedicated just to Yaghnobi and open to posts from others. I copied all my posts on Yaghnobi from Birds’ Words to this new blog. I invite all of you who are interested in the Yaghnobi people, their language, history, and culture to become authors and post to this blog as well. If you would like to be included as an author on this blog, just leave a comment here. If you would like to add photos, change the layout or do anything else to help maintain this blog you are also most welcome!

Abstract of a Yaghnobi Grammar Sketch May 4, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Syntax, Yaghnobi.

The clock is ticking and I need to finish writing my MA thesis, Aspects of Yaghnobi grammar, this month, if not sooner! I’m posting the abstract here with the hope that you will be so eager to read about these fascinating aspects of the Yaghnobi language that you will leave frequent comments urging me to get busy writing and deliver what I’ve promised! (more…)

Is Yaghnobi an Endangered Language? April 23, 2007

Posted by Bahrom in Endangered Languages, Linguistics, Tajikistan, Yaghnobi.
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The Yaghnobi language is classified as endangered in the UNESCO Red Book of endangered languages. However, an SIL team who conducted a survey of the Yaghnobi language during 2003 and 2004 (Paul, et. al. 2005) concluded that the ethnolinguistic vitality of the Yaghnobi language is strong. Why the differing assessments?