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Steps being taken to reverse language shift in the Wakhi language in Tajikistan
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2018 (English)In: Endangered Iranian Languages / [ed] Gholami, Saloumeh, Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2018, p. 93-109Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Wakhi, an Eastern Iranian minority language in the Pamir area, spread across Tajikistan, Afghanistan,Pakistan, and China, has been classified as an unwritten endangered language. The degree of endangerment varies depending on the country and on the method of evaluation. This paper briefly outlines the history of Wakhi language documentation and the attempts to set up a writing system preceding the creation of the Wakhi alphabet in Tajikistan in 2011. It discusses in detail the key questions related to the creation of the alphabet, such as the phonetic and phonological complexity of the Wakhi language, arguments for choosing the Cyrillic script, and definition of the basic orthography rules. These topics were discussed at length with the principal Wakhi linguists (Wakhi native speakers) in Tajikistan, and the resulting alphabet proposal was tested during a field trip through the Wakhan area in the summer of 2011. The final form of the alphabet and basic orthography rules is therefore the result of detailed phonological analysis, grammar study, sociolinguistic factors, linguistic observations and advice by Wakhi scholars, and intuitions of non-linguist Wakhi native speakers. These activities followed by the first publications in the Wakhi language in Tajikistan represent a hopeful step towards reversing language shift of this endangered language.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2018. p. 93-109
Keywords [en]
Wakhi, endangered language, alphabet creation, reverse language shift
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Iranian Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-365804ISBN: 9783954903290 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-365804DiVA, id: diva2:1263036
Available from: 2018-11-14 Created: 2018-11-14 Last updated: 2019-04-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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