Bukhori dialect

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בוכארי, бухорӣ Bukhori
Native to Israel, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, United States, Afghanistan
Native speakers
10,000  (ca. 1995)[1]
Hebrew, Cyrillic
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bhh

Bukhori (Persian: بخاریbuxārī, Hebrew script: בוכארי buxori), also known as Bukhari and Bukharian, is a dialect of the Persian language spoken in Central Asia by Bukharian Jews.

Bukhori is based on a substrate of classical Persian, with a large number of Hebrew loanwords, as well as smaller numbers of loanwords from other surrounding languages, including Uzbek and Russian. The vocabulary consists of a mixture of Persian, Arabic, Uzbek, and Hebrew words.[2]

Today, the language is spoken by approximately 10,000 Jews remaining in Uzbekistan and surrounding areas, although most of its speakers reside elsewhere, predominantly in Israel (approximately 50,000 speakers), and the United States.

Like most Jewish languages, traditionally, Bukhori uses the Hebrew alphabet.[3] But throughout the past century, due to Soviet influence, the alphabet used to write Bukhori included Latin (1920s) then the Cyrillic (1940). Additionally, since 1940, when the Bukharian Jewish schools were closed in Central Asia, the use of the Hebrew alphabet outside Hebrew liturgy fell into disuse and Bukharian Jewish publications such as books and newspapers began to appear using the Cyrillic alphabet. Today, many older Bukharian Jews who speak Bukharian only know the Cyrillic alphabet when reading and writing Bukharian.

Among some Bukharian Jewish youth, especially in the New York City area, there has been a revival of using the Bukharian Jewish language written in a modified Latin alphabet similar to the one developed by Bukharian Jewish linguist and writer, Yakub Kalontarov. Today, youths learning the Bukharian Jewish language sponsored by the Achdut-Unity Club in Queens, New York City, New York, USA, using the modified Latin alphabet.

Kol Israel (קול ישראל) broadcasts in Bukhori from 12:45 to 13:00 GMT.[4]

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