Mishär Tatar

I’ve added yet another language to the list: Mishär Tatar. I’ve found a good German language source and have been adding a few forms. I’m up to 16,800 entries, so 17,000 isn’t too far off.

I have had a bit more time to work on this project, so updates will be fairly continuous.

Xyzyl

I’ve been tipped off to some data on a new variety: Xyzyl. Xyzyl is often considered a dialect of Khakas, but because it is so divergent from the standard, some authorities consider it a distinct language. I’ve created a page for it and added it to the map. I should have some lexical data added to the database in the next few days.

New job, future unknown!

I’ll be starting up at a new institution soon, so I will likely have significantly fewer resources available. I’m pleased with amount of data I have made available, and will likely be adding more as I have the time, but at a much slower pace.

News item no.1: Tehlikedeki Dil Dergisi, a journal that was an excellent source for several varieties, seems to have disappeared. It’s now become the website Son Sesler. With any luck the journal will be re-uploaded and added to.

New item no.2: I am working on adding search suggestions to the search box. Sometimes it works, sometimes it crashes the entire site. Once I’ve made this work, it will likely be the last update for some time.
Edit: It works! I’m still shaky on PHP, and I think I was trying to re-use an array without resetting it or something…

No new content for a while…

I’ve been a bit burned out as of late. In addition to the many projects I have my hands in, I’ve been working on job applications and home improvement. I hope to have some new content sometime in the near future, maybe mid-April.

More on site updates…

I’ve gotten sorting and sticky headers to work on all of my tables. What needs to be done now is figure out how to sort each column individually. On the Doerfer page, for example, we need to sort by English, German, Persian, and Doerfer’s Persian transliteration. Also, Azerbaijani (for example) sorts differently from English, with <x> following <h> and <q> following <k>. And, of course, the various Cyrillic alphabets have their own idiosyncrasies.

I’ll further have to figure out how to sort my transcribed forms. I think I’ll base it on character shape and try to be as consistent as possible. Whatever I figure out will be available on the Transcription page.

After that, I’ll look into introducing filters on the Language Forms page and maybe on the Compare page to enable filtering by lexical class and things like numerals, colors, animals, etc.

Site updates

I’ve been working on making my tables more interactive. This has required a lot of Javascript, something I’m not completely comfortable with. I’ve learned a ton, though, so it’s been worth it.

I’ve mostly been testing on two of the less vital pages: Doerfer and Missing. So far, I’ve been able to make things sort with a degree of relative success. Ideally, each column would have it’s own sort order so that Azerbaijani, say, would sort differently from English. This is going to require a lot more research. Right now, I’m using the tablesorter and sugar libraries.

Two more things I’d like to do are to set long tables to be sticky – that means that the headers scroll down the page with you – and to introduce filtering options on the language-specific pages. It would be nice to be able to filter out nouns or pronouns or numerals or even colors or animal names.

I’m only at 16050 entries right now. Part of the reason for creating the Doerfer page is to make it easier to navigate his materials. I’d like to get more Southern Oghuz data entered, but it can be challenging without a separate index. This page will remedy that.

New glosses!

It is not trivial to add new glosses to this database. It basically means I have to go back and consult all of my sources again. Some are only available via interlibrary loan, which means it could be some time before I obtain them.

At any rate, I’ve decided to add 8 more, to bring my total to 350. I had previously had 340, then added cat in memory of my cat, and grape because I received some questions about it. Here are the 8 I have selected, and why:

honeyLanguage Log has had some interesting discussions about Wanderwörter, and one of them was honey. I don’t expect any surprises here, just forms based on Old Turkic *bal.

wool – I chose this because it’s likely to be found in most Turkic languages as it is a culturally salient material. Also, it’s phonologically interesting. Doerfer reconstructs the Old Turkic form as *yuŋ. This leaves a lot of room for sound changes to occur as the combination of a palatal initial, back rounded vowel, and velar nasal should do interesting things to each other.

dream – This is one of those words that comes up a lot in the reconstruction of Proto-Turkic. It ends in an /š/ sounds (PT *tǖš?) and has a long vowel, so it’s got a lot to say about the Bolgar-Common split and the development of long vowels.

copper – Copper is another major Eurasian Wanderwört. This is one where I don’t know what to expect, so I’m excited. For most of the rest of the entries I have some idea as to the Proto-Turkic form; here I have no idea. Maybe it’s just a bunch of borrowings…who knows! At least now it can join gold and silver in the pantheon of precious metals.

crane – I chose crane because it’s a culturally salient bird and because I believe it’s got a palatal nasal after a consonant (PT *turńa?). I’m taking a chance on this one…

onion – Mostly because I’m curious. Sometimes it’s exciting when a common word can’t be traced to common proto-form. I suspect there’s been a lot of borrowing. We’ll see.

most – This is a grammatical particle that I should have had from the beginning. Central Turkic can be reconstructed as *eŋ. I’m curious about Siberian and Bolgar. I don’t think it’s in Doerfer, which is a bummer.

navel – This is another form commonly seen in Turkic reconstructions, as it’s a common two-syllable word.

There are so many more I could add. We’ll see whether I end up adding them. I’m still tempted to add words for genitals and bathroom stuff, as well as needle, dawn, eyelash, learn, frog, hammer, axe, fly, footprint

I’ll have a few entries for each of these forms later in the day. I expect this will boost my numbers very quickly.

Grape

I recently received an inquiry as to the form of ‘grape’ in a certain Turkic language, so I decided to add it to the database.

It has been interesting doing this research, as I cannot find a single native (i.e. not Russian vinograd) form in any Siberian language. You would think that grapes might be able to grow in the Altay region, but apparently not.

It is very difficult to reconstruct the proto form. Wiktionary gives *jüŕüm, as does Siemieniec-Gołaś. This reconstruction is appropriate for Central Turkic (i.e. non Siberian and non-Bolgar). Interestingly, Khalaj exhibits an initial /h/ (hüzüm). This might explain why some languages in the Common group have initial /y/ and others do not. I’m still not sure what to make of Khalaj initial /h/…

Where is gets weird is when we look at Chuvash and Western Yugur. Chuvash has iśĕm, which is unexpected. Any intervocalic /z/ should change to /r/ in Bolgar (word final /z/ is another matter for another time…). In Western Yugur, the forms are öǰüm, öčüm, üčüm. The Western Yugur forms neatly matches the Chuvash form and points to a proto-form like *ečüm, which is very strange. There’s not way to reconcile Common Turkic *(h/y)izüm with that.

A couple more notes: Mongolian үзэм refers to raisins, while усан үзэм (literally wet raisins…ugh…) refers to grapes. The Western Yugur forms may apply raisins only as well. Also, Russian изюм refers to raisins as well. It’s clearly derived from Turkic, but it’s unclear what language it’s from.

I suspect that all of the Turkic forms are borrowings from some other language, but it is unclear which one. Chinese uses pútáo (or something like that), the Persian languages all use angur… It is tempting to try to link it to Persian raz, meaning vine, cognate with Greek rháx, Latin racemus (whence raisin). However, the origin of these words is unknown, and we still have to account for the rounded vowels and the –üm at the end of the word.

Site updates

I’ve completely overhauled the website’s architecture. This shouldn’t result in any visible changes, but should ensure that there are no more broken links. Please let me know if you encounter any.