How the Kyrgyz language became “Russian” and why it is natural

6 min


“In the course of history, we see that languages ​​only stifle according to certain laws of life, in sound and formal relations. The languages ​​in which we now speak are, like all the languages ​​of historically important peoples, cinematic linguistic products. All languages ​​of the cultural peoples, as long as they are known to us, are to a greater or lesser extent in the state of regression. “
August Schleicher

Salaam to all! My name is Tilek, I am 32 years old, I work as a communications engineer in Kyrgyzstan. I recently purchased The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in Kyrgyz for my six year old daughter to read to her at night. And I was a little shocked when in a children’s book I did not understand a good quarter of the words of my native language, it was read “with a gnash” and did not continue beyond the fourth chapter (this work of Mark Twain is still great, even with a “crooked” translation of the episode with painting the fence looks funny). I decided to experiment and leafed through the classical works of Kyrgyz authors (Ch. Aitmatov, A. Tokombaev, K. Bayalinov) and made sure I didn’t know the meaning of about 20% of the words.

Let’s begin with that Kyrgyz one of the most ancient peoples and as an ethnos formed on the vast territory of Central and Inner Asia and South Siberia, and not on the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan. The early medieval Yenisei Kyrgyz were one of those Eastern Turks who invented and used Orkhon-Yenisei rune-like alphabetic writing… From that period, only folklore texts remained, the processing of which is far from complete.

Then, for tens of centuries, there was a struggle to maintain independence from other nomadic peoples and khanates. In the 18th century, the Tengir-Too (Tien Shan) Kyrgyz formed as a Muslim people, and until the 19th century they used the late Chagatai languagewhich was based on Arabic script and Uyghur script.

Only in Soviet times were the actual Kyrgyz alphabets developed (first in Latin, and then on the Cyrillic basis), this laid the foundation for the elimination of mass illiteracy and formed a modern written culture in the Kyrgyz language. On September 23, 1989, the Kyrgyz language acquired the status of the state language (Kyrgyz SSR). Most of the internationalisms penetrated the Kyrgyz language through the Russian language and are written in accordance with the phonetics of the Russian language.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Russian speech has been increasingly used together with Kyrgyz and has become practically the native language for the Kyrgyz (as well as for most of the peoples of the USSR). But still there was a clear division, where is the national language, and where is the spoken language. In official events, at speeches, officials, artists, scholars did not find it difficult to speak “pure” literary Kyrgyz, and it did not look fake. After the collapse of the USSR, the government of Kyrgyzstan continued its Soviet education. Foreign works were competently translated, historical and educational films were produced, and all this was regulated at the state level. Today, half of the Kyrgyz speech consists of Russian words and phrases (including mat). Include any speech by deputies, the president, interviews of any local celebrities, and if they do not have a memorized text, then their speech will be an alternation of Kyrgyz and Russian words. For example, at a meeting of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic, a speaker speaking in Kyrgyz can afford to speak on national television: “Public speaking, no experience of jock” (no experience in public speaking), “as soon as the sunushtarda arrives” (I will approve decisions as they become available), “өзүнүн official powers the son to abuse etkendigi үchүn” (well, you probably understood what was meant). In fact, Kyrgyz speech is Russian words with Kyrgyz prefixes, endings, prepositions, unions, etc.

Ernst Curtius wrote that “the convenience is and remains the main reason for the audible change at all the facilities“, A tak kak ctpemlenie to ydobctvy, ekonomii pechi and vmecte c tem nebpezhnoct govopyaschix vce yvelichivayutcya, verily” ybyvayuschee zvykovoe izmenenie “(ie. An e. Ynifikatsiya gpammaticheckix fopm) vyzvannoe ykazannymi ppichinami, ppivodit language to pazlozheniyu. The Russian language is very convenient for the Kyrgyz. We study it since childhood, watch films in Russian, read books, young people meet and communicate in Russian. And given the fact that there is no funding from the state for the development of culture and at least some effective attempt to arouse interest in the native language, plus to this add the fact that all available educational and entertainment resources are primarily in Russian, it is logical that Kyrgyz people know Russian more and better than Russian. My daughter knows how to count to one hundred in Russian, but does not understand when I call numbers in Kyrgyz, and I have to translate for her. Likewise with sizes, colors, days of the week, months, etc. There is a whole category of people, whom the Kyrgyz themselves call “Kyrgyz” (in a negative way), people who prefer to speak (mainly because of ignorance of Kyrgyz) in Russian than in their “native” (Russian is still a native language).

Kyrgyz has analogs for loan words. For instance: car – unaa… Let’s say the seat, wheel, motor, glass have also been transferred. But who will translate the instructions for replacing the carburetor? And is it necessary when there is a ready-made instruction in Russian, which the majority speaks? As a result, a local resident who speaks poorly in Russian can explain everything about car repairs using Russian words.

But the Russian language is also changing. Attention has already been paid to the replenishment of the vocabulary of the Russian language, which is primarily felt in journalistic texts: Englishisms, including the formation of Russian words according to the English model (I am fond of yachting, streaming, hypanul), vocabulary that is slang in origin (cool, cool), the revival of old words, the expansion of the meanings of words, etc. Many linguists and philologists believe that the peak of the development of the Russian language has already passed, and now there is a decline. I disagree with this opinion. A feature of the current state of the Russian language is a sharp increase in the number of borrowings. With the development of science, economics, in connection with the course towards modernization, the Russian language is literally “doomed” to borrowing. Terms and concepts of computer science, economics, politics, etc. are pouring into the Russian lexicon in a wide stream as the above-mentioned industries are formed and developed on domestic soil (leasing, merchandising, nanotechnology, innovation, innograd, website, portal, web designer, user, hacker, marketing). They are included in the language along with the development of the corresponding branches of science and technology, which are quickly reflected in new dictionaries. New trends in popular culture, postmodernism are also accompanied by the replenishment of the dictionary (tribute, single, sequel, prequel, suspense).

The Russian lexicon is expanding significantly. This process is actively continuing. And it would be wrong to complain about this, or even more so to try to look for Russian equivalents for new words. We are witnessing a powerful and productive process of enrichment of the Russian dictionary.

Foreign language borrowings not only significantly expand the vocabulary, increasing the possibilities of nomination, expanding the national linguistic picture of the world. They have a significant impact on internal linguistic development – on the enrichment of the semantics of many Russian words. Thus, under the influence of foreign words (semantic tracing), new shades of meaning acquired such words as nail (season), challenge (to humanity), successful (man), etc. Thus, borrowing foreign words is a very productive and progressive process. The activation of this process is one of the features of the modern language situation. Borrowings contribute to the expansion of verbal resources, the development of semantics, the intellectualization of the language (the number of concepts increases), the laconicism of speech (Russian equivalents, if possible, turn out, as a rule, longer than foreign language neologisms).

Jargon and vernacular also have a generally positive impact on the literary language. They bring expression, evaluativeness into it, liberate the official speech, relieving it of excessive pretentiousness, solemnity, and bookishness. It is no coincidence that many jargonisms have entered the literary language (for example, get-together, lawlessness, thugs), while others are on the way to enter it (hitting, roofing, protection, arrow, throw). In any case, this source of enrichment of the literary language remains open. Of course, here too there is a danger of oversaturation, therefore, the language taste of the writer (speaker) and the assessment of specific texts are very important. In the process of the development of the literary language, the selection of the most relevant lexical units that satisfy social needs is taking place.

So, so far everything is in order with the Russian language. How bad is it with the Kyrgyz language? In the Kyrgyz language, in comparison with Russian, it is mainly not borrowing that occurs, but the replacement of words. Jargon and vernacular in Kyrgyz are also based on Russian. Even in Kyrgyzstan, science is not developing, education is lame, there are no high-quality translations into Kyrgyz for anything, widespread corruption. As a result, the status of the Kyrgyz language as a state symbol and attribute was damaged. The language stopped developing, as a result weakened and lost its, albeit a little rough, but still beauty. If this continues, then in the near future the Kyrgyz will pass that point of no return when it will be too late to restore the language and the question of the existence of the language itself will become.

The language can be found only in the state of development, out of sight and it follows that the very form of life (living, but not dead) language is its development.
BA 3veginzev. Essays on general linguistics – Moscow, 1962

Kөnүl burganyңyzdarga choң rakhmat!


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