Tag Archives: dialects

Language Variation: Kazakh dialects

 

“Languages, like living species, evolve, grow, change, live, and die in relation to other languages and also in relation to their environment” (Hornberger, 2002, p. 33). So, with this word I want to emphasize that one language can be varying in different forms according to different places. The term language variety is also can be understood as a different interpretation of one language, which depends on social, regional or contextual patterns (Jaspers, 2010). Everybody has differences in the way of speaking, including pronunciation, grammar using structure, and vocabulary in one language in a particular place, and this variety of a language is called a dialect (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000).  I am going to analyze a videoclip of Kazakh famous singer Serik Ibragimov with the song “Kazakhpyz barimiz” which can be translated as “All of us are Kazakhs”,  where he clearly illustrates different dialects in different parts of Kazakhstan. According to Coupland (2007),  dialect can be characterized as a perspective of different experience, not just a variation and its styles can be described as a social action, which illustrates a local identity.

Serik Ibragimov in his song illustrates the most common Kazakh dialects such as Northern Kazakh, Southern Kazakh, Eastern Kazakh and Western Kazakh dialects. One of the founders of Kazakh linguistics Sarsen Amanzholov claims that these different types of dialects are determined according to territorial basis, not by tribal structures (Kazakh encyclopedia, 2015). These different dialects are closely related to each another, although it has some regional peculiarities. So, let us take a look at the interpretation of the song’s lyrics and determine some of the dialects there.

At the beginning of the song he claims that there are different language varieties and customs in every region of Kazakhstan ranging from Altai mountains to Atyrau region, from Esyl and Zhaiyk rivers to the shores of the Caspian Sea.
Then, in the first part of the song he added Southern dialect to the song. There are some words which is similar with some Uzbek words, or their pronunciation. It can be impact of Uzbek boundary close to South region of Kazakhstan.

Standard Kazakh language Southern dialect English translation
Ol zhakta Oyakta There, in that place
Erkin Beimaral Feeling free, comfortable
Kai zhakta Kayakta In any place, wherever
Tate Apshe Aunt
Aga Koke Uncle
Oibai! (interjection) Oliaa! Woo!


Then, he continued his song in the second part with presenting the Western Kazakh dialect, the place of the powerful Younger clan (zhuz) of Kazakh tribe, which has a specific pronunciation and vocabulary pattern:

Standard Kazakh language Western dialect English translation
Ne khabar? Ne khayar? What news?
Goi Goo Well (meaning smth.)
Sau bolshy Say bosh Good bye
Nemene? Ne zat? What?
Tynda Tyndashish Listen


In the next part, the singer switched to the Eastern dialect with the specific pronunciation of consonant ‘ch’ instead of ‘sh’. This may be an influence of the Great Silk way road which went through South-Eastern part of Kazakhstan to China and nomadic style of nations and people of that time may had an impact on pronunciation which remain till our time (Kazakh Encyclopedia, 2015).

Standard Kazakh language Eastern dialect English translation
Shygys Chygys The East
Shalkyp zhatkan Chalkyp Wide
Zhatkan Chatkan Laid,  situate

 And the singer in his final part of the song mentioned the Northern dialect with the specific pronunciation of some vowels in soft way. The Northern region is described in the song as cold place with strong windy weather, however the singer enjoys the place of extreme weather and warm people.

Standard Kazakh language Northern dialect English translation
Kulakh Kuliyakh Ears
Tymakh Tymiakh Hat

At the end of the song the singer mentioned all the parts of Kazakhstan, and he strongly believed that Kazakh language with its beautiful various dialects should not be divided into national or regional subgroups. As we can see from this song, there are several language variations, especially dialectical variation (Nordquist, 2017) of four different regions. It can be observed that these dialects were different by grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation in each region. The Kazakh language is rich and wide, and it has lots of variations throughout Kazakhstan.  I have noticed that some of them are extremely different from Standard Kazakh language, others are slightly different. Despite that fact, dialects might be recognized by many Kazakh people. Nevertheless there is an every hope that Kazakh young generation and people from different parts of Kazakhstan might understand each other and accept these dialects with high tolerance and respect. The author and the singer of this song have an explicit objective of ensuring that every Kazakh people or citizen have an access to live in peace and harmony, no matter what ethnicity or culture you belonged to,  wherever you are from, and what dialect you use in ordinary life.

References

Coupland, N. (2007) Style. Language Variation and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Ibragimov,S. (2017).  Kazakhpyz barimiz\ All of us are Kazakhs. Video retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_wijc5hTZc

Jaspers, J. (2010). Style and styling. In Hornberger, N. H., & McKay, S. L. Sociolinguistics and language education (pp. 177-204). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.

Nordquist, R. (2017). Linguistic Variation. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-linguistic-variation-1691242

The American Heritage dictionary of the English language. (2000). Boston :Houghton Mifflin.

The Kazakh encyclopedia, (2015).  Dialekty kazakhskogo yazyka\ Dialects of Kazakh language. Retrieved from: http://ru.encyclopedia.kz/index.php/dialekty_kazakhskogo_yazyka