The introduction to the "Concise Grammatical Dictionary of the Modern Uighur Language"

Mt Zunun

The introduction to the "Concise Grammatical Dictionary of the Modern Uighur Language" represents a brief overview of the scholarly endeavours and historical developments surrounding the Uyghur language. This discourse delves into the short etymology and linguistic evolution of the term "Uyghur," which has been the focal point of extensive scholarly inquiry, documented in numerous studies and scientific articles dedicated to unravelling its origins.
Drawing on linguistic analysis within Uyghur and other Turkic languages, the discussion highlights the significance of the verb root "Uy," as elucidated in the 11th-century "Compendium of Turkic Languages" and further defined in the "Explanatory Dictionary of Uyghur Language" as "Uyghur." The linguistic root's derivation from the term "clump, assemble" suggests nuanced connotations of rigidity and hardening, enriching the understanding of the term's historical and cultural context. Moreover, the Uyghur language's classification within the Turkic language group, specifically within the Altai language branch of the Ural-Altaic language system, is contextualized as the progenitor of Turkic languages.
The introduction further engages with historical perspectives, notably, Mahmut Kashgari's 11th-century affirmation of the Uyghur people's name and geographical location, challenging prevailing notions of migration and asserting their ancient residency. This historical clarity contributes to a consensus among scholars regarding the developmental stages of the Uyghur language.

The narrative then expands to underscore the Uyghur language's multifaceted legacy across various developmental stages, spanning the ancient Turkic, medieval Uyghur, recent Uyghur, and modern Uyghur periods. This legacy is palpable in tangible forms such as permanent stones and written monuments, establishing the Uyghur language as a literary, scientific, and educational medium with an inseparable connection to its historical evolution. The contributions of researchers, both Uyghur language specialists and foreign linguists, are acknowledged for their significant role in comprehending various linguistic aspects, including phonetics, lexicon, grammar, morphology, and syntax.
The scholarly exploration extends to the systematic study of diverse dialects within the modern Uighur language, leading to a consensus on dialect boundaries and categorising three main types: Central, Hotan, and Lopnur. This systematic endeavour has resulted in numerous research works and specialized dictionaries, attesting to the scholarly commitment to understanding the linguistic nuances of the Uyghur language.
The section on scripts underscores the influence of political, geographical, and religious factors on the Uyghurs throughout history, leading to the adoption of various scripts. The modern Uighur script, based on the Arabic-Persian alphabet and resembling the Khaqanade script, is established as the official script, preserving a historical continuum.

The evolution of the Uyghur language over the past century, including language reform, writing changes, and orthographic developments, is detailed, reflecting global linguistic trends. The collaborative effort initiated in 2005 to unify pronunciation rules and compile the "Modern Spelling Dictionary of Modern Uighur Literary Language" is highlighted, emphasizing the involvement of linguists, intellectuals, educators, translators, editors, reporters, announcers, presenters, and voice actors in this monumental project.

The culmination of these collective efforts is presented through the publication of the "Concise Grammatical Dictionary of the Modern Uighur Language," marking a significant milestone in the scholarly exploration and standardization of the Uyghur language. This introduction serves as a comprehensive prelude to the academic contributions and advancements encapsulated within the aforementioned dictionary, shedding light on the Uyghur language's rich linguistic, historical, and cultural tapestry. 


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  Zunun, M.T. (2021). The Dictionary of Uyghur Grammar: An Indispensable Resource for Scholars and Linguists. Uyghur Language Studies. London.