Glossary of Eastern Turki

When I was first learning Chaghatay in 2008, I found the lack of a Chaghatay-English dictionary somewhat frustrating. My Russian wasn’t good enough, and neither were my German or French, to use the existing resources, so my classmates and I used the old Redhouse Ottoman-English dictionary and made constant reference to Steingass’ Persian. It was very time-consuming. Fortunately, Modern Uyghur is very close to Chaghatay in nearly every way, much more so than Uzbek, so we never got lost on the basics of grammar, we only drowned in the sea of advanced vocab. Nevertheless, I vowed that someday I would teach Chaghatay, and that when I did, I would give my students something to help them through the early stages of the process.

Years later, a friend working in the Swedish Mission Society archives in Stockholm gave me a partial copy of Gustav Raquette’s 1912-1914 three-volume textbook for Eastern Turki. It was an honest-to-goodness textbook — in English! — for late-model Chaghatay as written and spoken around Kashgar ca. 1910, right in the middle of my research period. Somehow this had never come up before. Later, the third volume popped up — a scan of Raquette’s pre-publication draft of a glossary. This, I decided in my idle moments, had to be made useful to students. In about six weeks of free minutes here and there, I had typed it up.

Here is the Raquette Glossary 2015. I have taken Raquette’s obscure old system of narrow phonetic transcription and replaced it with the one-to-one transliteration system for Chaghatay/Eastern Turki that I favored in Mā Tīṭayniŋ wāqiʿasi. I’ve also noted where Raquette gives a definition I find strange or historically interesting and have supplemented the glossary where it seemed really necessary. Search it, use it, and if you have suggestions, email me.

In the long term, I want to add entries from Pavet de Courteille’s dictionary and other long-since-out-of-copyright sources, since it’s plain that the Raquette glossary isn’t complete enough for the purposes of an active researcher. Watch this space, too, for drafts of my introductory reader for Eastern Turki. Let’s make Central Asian history more accessible. Let’s produce tools to help students prepare themselves to work with these sources without having to learn several years of Russian and a modern language.

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