Languages in Tsarist Kazan.

Robert Geraci’s Window on the East: National and Imperial Identities in Late Tsarist Russia looks good but too specialized for me to want to read the whole thing; looking through the Google Books preview, however, I found a few bits worth quoting here:

The word “Tatar” was also used far more inclusively than it would be later. Muscovite officials often referred to all local peoples in this way, regardless of their religion or language. The word was associated with the Mongol invaders of the thirteenth century and therefore with all the Golden Horde’s successor states. In reality, though, by the time of the Kazan khanate the Horde had become a mixture of Mongol, Turkic, and Finnic peoples originating in disparate parts of Eurasia. Only later—when Russian scholars and officials began to use a more specific vocabulary for the indigenous peoples of the region—the word “Tatar” came to refer primarily to the Turkic-speaking people who had dominated the Kazan khanate. Yet the erroneous assumption that they were essentially Mongols persisted for centuries. Later ethnographers would also decide that many of the people referred to as “Tatars” in earlier Russian documents had really been—regardless of their religion—Chuvashes, Cheremises, Votiaks, Mordvins, or members of some other ethnic-linguistic group. […]

In the mektebs, or Koranic elementary schools, boys were taught to memorize the holy book. Traditionally the schools used only Arabic, the sacred language of Islam. The “syllabic” method of teaching Arabic in the schools enabled pupils to pronounce the language but not understand it; they learned to read Arabic phrases without ever actually learning the alphabet systematically. (Typically, the mullah’s wife would teach local girls in her home in a similar fashion.) The mektebs had no set curriculum or schedule, and most of their pupils did not finish the course of study. Those boys who did finish the mekteb usually advanced to a medresse, or higher school. These schools often kept students (shakirds) well into their adult lives, and many of their graduates became mullahs. Medresses were not as numerous or widespread as mektebs; they existed mainly in cities, where wealthy benefactors were available to fund them. They taught a wider range of subjects than the mektebs, but only within the rubric of ancient Islamic learning. As in the mektebs, the colloquial Tatar language was not used. […]

After Catherine’s death, her son Paul I continued her policy of religious toleration, in 1799 legally depriving the Russian church of its prerogative of seeking new converts to Orthodoxy. In 1800 the government responded to Tatar petitions by by allowing the establishment of an “Asian publishing house” (Aziatskaia tipografiia) in Kazan and sending the necessary typefaces from St. Petersburg. Placed under the control of Kazan University’s press in 1829, the publisher produced books in Tatar, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. Formerly books in such languages had mostly been imported from Bukhara and Istanbul. Until the twentieth century, the university press and one private Russian press in Kazan together produced nearly all books sold to Muslims in the Russian empire. Members of Kazan University’s Department of Eastern Languages served as censors, and when the department moved to St. Petersburg University at mid-century, so did the censorship.

Anybody know this word “shakird”? I can’t google up anything useful. (By the way, if you’re wondering about the name Geraci, I learned from this YouTube clip that it’s pronounced /dʒəˈræsi/, like “Jurassic” without the final -c and rhyming with “classy.”)

Also, via Lev Oborin’s Лучшее в литературном интернете: 10 ссылок недели, a terrific new resource, Mandelstam Digital: it’s got texts from eight different editions, with links to critical essays, commentaries, and other good things (eventually they’ll have a concordance as well).

Comments

  1. Dmitry Pruss says:

    Arabic Wiki insists that it is a Persian borrowing, ultimately from Farsi shadh “young, uninformed”. But I don’t think that Farsi has literally such a word.

  2. Yeah, it’s not in my Persian dictionary or in Platts.

  3. David L. Gold says:

    See here for the family of words to which shakird belongs: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D8%B4%D8%A7%DA%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF#Persian

  4. D. Gold says:

    Geraci (sic recte) is Italian.

  5. Woops, thanks — typo fixed. I assumed it was Italian, but I could think of several plausible ways an American bearer might pronounce it.

  6. Brandon Stone says:

    “Shakird” should be equivalent to Persian “shāgerd” (شاگرد): “A scholar, student, apprentice; a disciple, pupil; a boy, servant, groom; a copier of records” (Steingass). It’s a common word in Persian.

  7. See here for the family of words to which shakird belongs

    “Shakird” should be equivalent to Persian “shāgerd” (شاگرد)

    Thanks to both of you! I guess I didn’t think of looking under šā-.

  8. Brandon Stone says:

    In old Modern Persian manuscripts (a seeming oxymoron meaning that the Arabic script is used to write Persian, but had not yet been thoroughly adapted for use with the Persian language, maybe 1000-1700 CE; I made a quick search but could find no discussion of this) there was no distinction between s and sh; both were written the same, without dots. Same with k and g; the extra slash for the g is a later invention and they were both written alike originally.

  9. Brandon Stone says:

    One more thing: you will often see the same word transcribed with short e and short i. My understanding is that the i was used more in the Indian sphere and the e in the Persian sphere proper. Steingass, for instance, uses the i for that short vowel sound, and he was working in an Indian context as far as I know. In Iran, the e is more common. This comes up a lot, as that sound is used for ezafe, the vowel that links nouns to following adjectives and possessives.

  10. John Cowan says:

    Which in Ottoman Turkish was called izafe, because i is the connecting vowel.

  11. Muscovite officials often referred to all local peoples in this way, regardless of their religion or language. Only later—when Russian scholars and officials began to use a more specific vocabulary for the indigenous peoples of the region—the word “Tatar” came to refer primarily to the Turkic-speaking people who had dominated the Kazan khanate.” – just to avoid confusion (because it sounds a bit ambiguous): of course, there were other words for other peoples. He speaks about one region specifically. Of course, “Tatar” is applied widely to Turkic Muslim people elsewhere. “Refer primarily” means : “as opposed to other Kazan peoples” and not “”as opposed to Tatars elsewhere”.

  12. I am extremely curious about Chagatay langauge, literacy and literature, but can’t find time to study it. I think it reached Kazan, did not it? He does not mention it though, and paints Arabic-only picture. Is it accurate? And the typography: Ottomans forbade printing in Arabic letters until Catherine’s times I think (Armenians and Jews were allowed to print and did print). Emir of Bukhara banned many things but I am not sure if printing press even reached them.

  13. Benveniste offers an etymology for Iranian family of Persian šāgird beginning at the bottom of page 69 in “Etudes Iraniennes III. Emprunts iraniens en armenien” Transactions of the Philological Society volume 44 (1945):

    https://archive.org/details/transact194200philuoft/page/n379/mode/2up

    (Apologies for the brief comment, done with voice recognition and one index finger because of shoulder surgery.)

  14. Get well soon!

  15. Benveniste derives hašā-krta- from *hašiyā-krta- ‘that has been rendered true (i.e., accomplished),’ based on hašiyā- (=Av. haiθyā-) ‘true.’

  16. About education. Two travellers visited Bukhara in 1833-4 and 1835 respectively, a Russian traveller Jean Jacques Pierre Desmaisons and a Russian traveller Jan Prosper Witkiewicz.

    The former, Pyotr Ivanovich, travelled undercover as a mullah Jafar. He wrote about people with some sympathy, particularly about the Shaykh ul-Islam, whose poems were known in other cites, who was searching for the philosopher’s stone and elixir of life, like everyone, and who wouldn’t bow to kings because he would only bow to God.

    The latter, Yan Victorovich, came as on officer and wrote with more arrogance (or I remembered it this way, see below).

    The former mentioned that maktabs are much more numerous than madaris and described what studying in both looks like. The latter gave some numbers: there are up to 70 (!!!) madaris and in a famous madrasah there are 80 rooms, each occupied by a mullah and his several studens, “from this you can see how many idlers/parasites there are in Bukhara”.

  17. Both texts can be found here (Central Asian collection of vostlit, in Russian). Madaris, schools and sheykh ul-Islam can be found in the part 1 of Desmaisons’s account (from the word “aspirans”). Witkiewicz is here starting from медресов.

  18. This hatter salutes the valiant Xerîb.

  19. Yes, few people in his condition would use their last remaining reserves of strength to research words and post the results on LH. Truly a Hero of Hattic Labor.

  20. @drasvi: As far as I know, the use of Chaghatay was mostly limited to Central Asia. So it would surprise me if Kazan would have produced any significant amount of Chaghatay literature.

  21. Thank you to the other Hattics for your wishes turning away ḫa=šaḫ, “the evil”, from me.

    Which in Ottoman Turkish was called izafe, because i is the connecting vowel.

    I think Turkish izafe “addition, attachment” with i is just the normal shape that Arabic ’iḍāfa إضافة “addition, attachment” (root ḍyf) would take in Turkish, just as ezâfe is the normal shape in modern Iranian Persian (Tajik изофа). The Arabic pattern ’iC₁āC₃a is the regular pattern for the verbal noun of form IV (causative) of Arabic hollow roots, and it shows up with a general shape of iCāCe in Turkish (sometimes -et). Sometimes the final in Persian is -a (modern Iranian -e) and sometimes the final is -at.

    Compare:

    Arabic إدارة ’idāra “turning, setting in motion, operation, management, administration” (root dwr), Turkish idare “management, administration”, modern Iranian Persian اداره edâre “administration, bureau”

    Arabic إدامة ’idāma “continuation” (root dwm), Turkish idame, modern Iranian Persian ادامه edâme

    Arabic إرادة ’irāda “will, intention, inclination” (root rwd, Turkish irade “will, decree, edict”, modern Iranian Persian ارادت erâdat “will, inclination, devotion”

    Arabic ’iʕāda إعادة “restoration” (root ʕwd), Turkish iade “restoration”

    Arabic إهانة ’ihāna “lowering, demeaning, insult” (root hwn), Turkish ihanet “betrayal, treason” (with peculiar Turkish semantic development influence by other forms of the root involving low behavior and treason), modern Iranian Persian اهانت ehânet “insult”

    etc. etc.

    Apologies for any typos and mistakes.

  22. @Hans, honestly, I thought I read about it in Wikipedia or on a site similar to it. It was not a detailed text: I have somewhere a collection of texts in and about it, but as I said, I haven’t even began seriously making sense of the language and its use.

    I can’t find any information about its use outside of the region (it would have made some sense to check tatars of the Volga delta and maybe even Siberia) in Wiki. But Iranica will do:

    https://iranicaonline.org/articles/chaghatay-language-and-literature

    Of all the Turkic languages Chaghatay enjoyed by far the greatest prestige. Ebn Mohannā (Jamāl-al-Dīn, fl. early 8th/14th century, probably in Khorasan), for instance, characterized it as the purest of all Turkish languages (Doerfer, 1976, p. 243), and the khans of the Golden Horde (Radloff, 1870; Kurat; Bodrogligeti, 1962) and of the Crimea (Kurat), as well as the Kazan Tatars (Akhmetgaleeva; Yusupov), wrote in Chaghatay much of the time. Even Old Ottoman literature is characterized by many attempts, not always successful, to write in Chaghatay, for instance, a decree of Mo­ḥammad II Fāteḥ (Mehmet II Fatih, 855-86/1451-81) dated 878/1473 (Arat), the “Taḵmīs” of Fożūlī (ca. 885-­963/1480-1556; Fuzûlî, pp. 462-64), and the works of many lesser authors (Sertkaya, 1970-76). Chaghatay exerted a strong influence on Kipchak and Oghuz, whereas grammatical forms from these two languages occurred more rarely in Chaghatay, being limited mainly to poetry, where they were adopted in order to satisfy the constraints of the ʿarūż meters (e.g., qalmïš-am, long-short-long, instead of qalmïš-man, long-long-long).

    Central Asian cities exerted some influence up the Volga river. Merchants form there stayed even in medieval Russian cities. And it is from there Islam spread to Siberia, as I understand. It would be very strange if a Turkic-speaking Central Asia-trading nation was unfamiliar with Turkic literature:/

    Also the author portrays Turkic language as spoken vernacular exclusively, and I have doubts*. The way he described schools is very simplistic, it seems he understands more in identities than philology.


    *especially knowing that old Belorussian texts are ajami:)

    P.S.
    I did not speak about significant amounts, though. It is just the way he described local literary landscape, I have doubts here.

  23. Also Kazan has this. But it’s a different story.

  24. Well, Kazan is mentioned, so colour me surprised. The only open question would then be whether Chagatay literature was still produced there in the period that Geraci centers on.

  25. Hans,

    1. there is my suspicion about the author, because he does not mention Turkic literature and literacy anywhere.

    2. there is my curiosity about Central Asian / Chaghatay influences (not necessary “local production”).

    3. there is a claim in Iranica and a claim in Russian Wikipedia that “Turki” is based on Karluk and “Old Tatar” (literary) is a continuation of “Turki” and other similar claims I have not made sense of yet.

    4. and there confusion of terminology. I mean, people who live in Uzbekistan are Uzbeks and speak Uzbek, you know. I am ironizing.

    In Russian Wikipedia “Old Tatar” has such a Tatar piece as Muhabbat Nama by an author with a Tatar name “al-Khwarizmi” (they mean this guy) and I do not even think it is nationalism, it is just terminology:(


    I can explain about my curiosity. I think we see it a bit differently, because, as I said elsewhere, Volga is a highway. For me they are neighbours and if Central Asian Turkic literature did not influence Tatars, I would be surprised (especially given other influences: import from Bukhara is mentioned by Geraci too). Also yes, I think about Chaghatay (in more or less wide sense) as a big thing.

    Actually “khans of the Golden Horde (Radloff, 1870; Kurat; Bodrogligeti, 1962) and of the Crimea (Kurat), as well as the Kazan Tatars (Akhmetgaleeva; Yusupov), wrote in Chaghatay much of the time” is more than mentioned, but what I mean is “mentioned”. I do not know how they use “Chaghatay” and I have not seen Akhmetgaleeva and Yusupov yet.

  26. there is my suspicion about the author, because he does not mention Turkic literature and literacy anywhere
    You mean Geraci? But he mentions Tatar and Turkish books in the text quoted by LH:
    Placed under the control of Kazan University’s press in 1829, the publisher produced books in Tatar, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian
    If you refer to where he says that colloquial Tatar wasn’t used, he says this only about the situation in the mektebs and medresses, where only Arabic was used. As I have read similar descriptions of the situation in current medresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that sounds plausible.
    there is my curiosity about Central Asian / Chaghatay influences
    I think that such influences, including on written Tatar, mostly happened during the early and peak times of Chaghatay use, i.e. before the 17th century and therefore ca. 200 years before the period covered by Geraci. From what I have read, in the 19th century, the influence went the other way round. At least for the nomadic peoples like Kazakhs and Kyrghyz, medresse teachers mostly were Kazan Tatars in that period.

  27. Regarding Mandelstam: most major Mandelstam editions (as well as books published in his lifetime and some important secondary literature) are available as pdf files from imwerden.de: https://imwerden.de/razdel-202-str-1.html . They also have the surviving recordings of Mandelstam reading his own poems.

  28. Yes, imwerden.de is an invaluable resource.

  29. @Hans, yes, maybe I misunderstood him:(

    If after reading this text people unfamiliar with the region think that before 1800 both the large Turkic region (Volga – Caspian sea – Central Asia) and Kazan did not have written literature and a literary register of its own and were passive recepients for external influences — and also that Tatar literature was created from scratch in 1800 — then I am right.

    If readers don’t think that, then I am wrong. After the frist reading I thought that his readers may think exactly that, now I am less sure.

  30. This is a book for scholars rather than the general public, so I suspect he expects his readers to be familiar with the historical/cultural situation in the region.

  31. @LH, I am not criticizing him. If I am right, then it is worth noting here that Turkic (written) literature existed.

    I do not think that a linguist can criticize an archaeologist or an astronomer for linguistic naïveté, not any more than the latter can criticize linguists. History and philology are interconnected and it is good when you are good at both, but many are not.

  32. Very true.

  33. The Chaghatay literature of the 11th­-14th/17th-20th centuries seems largely epigonic; so far, however, little research has been done on this literature (cf. Eckmann, 1964b, pp. 377-402; Ḵāleṣ).

    хм

  34. Bathrobe says:

    Kazan is, of course, known as the location of Kazan Federal University, at one time Kazan Imperial University.

    From Wikipedia I note that “Since the first half of the 19th century Kazan University has been the largest center of Oriental Studies in Europe and the birthplace of the world-famous Kazan Linguistic School founded by Jan Baudouin de Courtenay.”

    In studying the history of Mongolian linguistic studies, I was quite surprised to learn that a number of Mongols who played a role in Mongolian studies in the 19th century studied at Kazan. (Sorry I can’t name names; my memory is like a sieve these days.)

  35. It is still a good university… or it was in USSR and I have no idea if it is good as a place for studying now. It is weird in Russia. But in terms of research and reputation it is still a good university. And I do not mean Oriental studies specifically. Hopefully, familiar to you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinth_(Bichurin) studied in Kazan, but in a seminary. (As I recently mentioned Desmaisons, the agent in Bukhara he studied and taught in Kazan too)

    Kharkiv university (ruined by Stalin, but still famous) was also an important centre for, say, Arabistics.

    But the only Chagatay course in Russia is (or was when I checked) offered in SPb, not Kazan:)

  36. David Marjanović says:

    And I do not mean Oriental studies specifically.

    I have colleagues working there ^_^

  37. Brandon Stone says:
    there was no distinction between s and sh; both were written the same, without dots.

    The distinction between sin and shin via dots goes back to at least the 7th century in Arabic. It’s been the norm to differentiate between them since the beginning of the New Persian manuscript tradition. Here is an early 14th century example.

    you will often see the same word transcribed with short e and short i. My understanding is that the i was used more in the Indian sphere and the e in the Persian sphere proper. Steingass, for instance, uses the i for that short vowel sound, and he was working in an Indian context as far as I know. In Iran, the e is more common.

    This has more to do with the person doing the transliterating than the source of the material being transliterated. Historically the British favored a system that cleaved more closely to that which they’d developed for Arabic, so they used ‘i’ to represent the kasra, whether transliterating a Persian text from India or from Iran. The Germans (and to some degree the French) tended to prefer ‘e’ for this.

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