|Perso-Arabic script (Nastaliq)|
Official language in
Chagatai[a] (چغتای, Čaġatāy), also known as Turki,[b] Eastern Turkic, or Chagatai Turkic (Čaġatāy türkīsi), is an extinct Turkic literary language that was once widely spoken across Central Asia and remained the shared literary language there until the early 20th century. It was used across a wide geographic area including parts of modern-day Uzbekistan, Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Literary Chagatai is the predecessor of the modern Karluk branch of Turkic languages, which include Uzbek and Uyghur. Turkmen, which is not within the Karluk branch but in the Oghuz branch of Turkic languages, was nonetheless heavily influenced by Chagatai for centuries.
Ali-Shir Nava'i was the greatest representative of Chagatai literature.
Chagatai literature is still studied in modern Uzbekistan, where the language is seen as the predecessor and the direct ancestor of modern Uzbek, and the literature is regarded as part of the national heritage of Uzbekistan.
The word Chagatai relates to the Chagatai Khanate (1225–1680s), a descendant empire of the Mongol Empire left to Genghis Khan's second son, Chagatai Khan. Many of the Turkic peoples, who spoke this language claimed political descent from the Chagatai Khanate.
As part of the preparation for the 1924 establishment of the Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan, Chagatai was officially renamed "Old Uzbek", which Edward A. Allworth argued "badly distorted the literary history of the region" and was used to give authors such as Ali-Shir Nava'i an Uzbek identity. It was also referred to as "Turki" or "Sart" in Russian colonial sources. In China, it is sometimes called "ancient Uyghur".
Chagatai developed in the late 15th century.: 143 It belongs to the Karluk branch of the Turkic language family. It is descended from Middle Turkic, which served as a lingua franca in Central Asia, with a strong infusion of Arabic and Persian words and turns of phrase.
Mehmet Fuat Köprülü divides Chagatay into the following periods:
- Early Chagatay (13th–14th centuries)
- Pre-classical Chagatay (the first half of the 15th century)
- Classical Chagatay (the second half of the 15th century)
- Continuation of Classical Chagatay (16th century)
- Decline (17th–19th centuries)
The first period is a transitional phase characterized by the retention of archaic forms; the second phase began with the publication of Ali-Shir Nava'i's first divan and is the highpoint of Chagatai literature, followed by the third phase, which is characterized by two bifurcating developments. One is preservation of the classical Chagatai language of Nava'i, the other the increasing influence of dialects of the local spoken languages.
Influence on later Turkic languages
Uzbek and Uyghur, two modern languages descended from Chagatai, are the closest to it. Uzbeks regard Chagatai as the origin of their language and Chagatai literature as part of their heritage. In 1921 in Uzbekistan, then a part of the Soviet Union, Chagatai was initially intended to be the national and governmental language of the Uzbek S.S.R.. However, when it became evident that the language was too archaic for that purpose, it was replaced by a new literary language based on a series of Uzbek dialects.
Ethnologue records the use of the word "Chagatai" in Afghanistan to describe the "Tekke" dialect of Turkmen. Up to and including the eighteenth century, Chagatai was the main literary language in Turkmenistan and most of Central Asia. While it had some influence on Turkmen, the two languages belong to different branches of the Turkic language family.
15th and 16th centuries
The most famous of Chagatai poet, Ali-Shir Nava'i, among other works wrote Muhakamat al-Lughatayn, a detailed comparison of the Chagatai and Persian languages, in which he argued for the superiority of the former for literary purposes. His fame is attested by the fact that Chagatai is sometimes called "Nava'i's language". Among prose works, Timur's biography is written in Chagatai, as is the famous Baburnama (or Tuska Babure) of Babur, the Timurid founder of the Mughal Empire. A Divan attributed to Kamran Mirza is written in Persian and Chagatai, and one of Bairam Khan's Divans was written in Chagatai.
The following is a prime example of the 16th-century literary Chagatai Turkic, employed by Babur in one of his ruba'is.
Islam ichin avara-i yazi buldim,
I am become a desert wanderer for Islam,
Uzbek ruler Muhammad Shaybani Khan wrote a prose essay called "Risale-yi maarif-i Shayibani" in Chagatai in 1507, shortly after his capture of Greater Khorasan, and dedicated it to his son, Muhammad Timur.   The manuscript of his philosophical and religious work, "Bahr ul-Khudo", written in 1508, is located in London 
17th and 18th centuries
Important writings in Chagatai from the period between the 17th and 18th centuries include those of Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur: Shajara-i Tarākima (Genealogy of the Turkmens) and Shajara-i Turk (Genealogy of the Turks). In the second half of the 18th century, Turkmen poet Magtymguly Pyragy also introduced the use of the classical Chagatai into Turkmen literature as a literary language, incorporating many Turkmen linguistic features.
Bukharan ruler Subhan Quli Khan (1680-1702) was the author of a work on medicine "Subkhankuli's revival of medicine" ("Ihya at-tibb Subhani") which was written in the Central Asian Turkic language (Chaghatay) and is devoted to the description of diseases, their recognition and treatment. One of the manuscript lists is kept in the library in Budapest.
19th and 20th centuries
Prominent 19th-century Khivan writers include Shermuhammad Munis and his nephew Muhammad Riza Agahi. Muhammad Rahim Khan II of Khiva also wrote ghazals. Musa Sayrami's Tārīkh-i amniyya, completed in 1903, and its revised version Tārīkh-i ḥamīdi, completed in 1908, represent the best sources on the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) in Xinjiang.
Dictionaries and grammars
The following are books written on the Chagatai language by natives and westerners:
- Vocabularium Linguae Giagataicae Sive Igureae (Lexico Ćiagataico)
- Muḥammad Mahdī Khān, Sanglakh.
- Abel Pavet de Courteille, Dictionnaire turk-oriental (1870).
- Ármin Vámbéry 1832–1913, Ćagataische Sprachstudien, enthaltend grammatikalischen Umriss, Chrestomathie, und Wörterbuch der ćagataischen Sprache; (1867).
- Sheykh Süleymān Efendi, Čagataj-Osmanisches Wörterbuch: Verkürzte und mit deutscher Übersetzung versehene Ausgabe (1902).
- Sheykh Süleymān Efendi, Lughat-ï chaghatay ve turkī-yi 'othmānī (Dictionary of Chagatai and Ottoman Turkish).
- Mirza Muhammad Mehdi Khan Astarabadi, Mabaniul Lughat: Yani Sarf o Nahv e Lughat e Chughatai.
- Abel Pavet de Courteille, Mirâdj-nâmeh : récit de l'ascension de Mahomet au ciel, composé a.h. 840 (1436/1437), texte turk-oriental, publié pour la première fois d'après le manuscript ouïgour de la Bibliothèque nationale et traduit en français, avec une préf. analytique et historique, des notes, et des extraits du Makhzeni Mir Haïder.
Chagatai has been a literary language and is written with a variation of the Perso-Arabic alphabet. This variation is known as Kona Yëziq, (transl. Old script). It saw usage for Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uyghur, and Uzbek.
|Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial||Uzbek Letter name||Uzbek Latin||Kazakh||Kyrgyz||Uyghur|
|ﺍ||ﺎ||ﺍ||alif||А а (О о)||А а/Ә ә||А а||ئا|
|ﺏ||ﺐ||ﺒ||ﺑ||be||B b||Б б||Б б||ﺏ|
|ﭖ||ﭗ||ﭙ||ﭘ||pe||P p||П п||П п||ﭖ|
|ﺕ||ﺖ||ﺘ||ﺗ||te||T t||Т т||Т т||ﺕ|
|ﺙ||ﺚ||ﺜ||ﺛ||se||S s||C c||C c||س|
|ﺝ||ﺞ||ﺠ||ﺟ||jim||J j||Ж ж||Ж ж||ﺝ|
|ﭺ||ﭻ||ﭽ||ﭼ||chim||Ç ç||Ш ш||Ч ч||ﭺ|
|ﺡ||ﺢ||ﺤ||ﺣ||hoy-i hutti||H h||Һ һ||Х х, ∅||ھ|
|ﺥ||ﺦ||ﺨ||ﺧ||xe||X x||X x||X x||ﺥ|
|ﺩ||ﺪ||ﺩ||dol||D d||Д д||Д д||ﺩ|
|ﺫ||ﺬ||ﺫ||zol||Z z||З з||З з||ﺯ|
|ﺭ||ﺮ||ﺭ||re||R r||Р р||Р р||ﺭ|
|ﺯ||ﺰ||ﺯ||ze||Z z||З з||З з||ﺯ|
|ﮊ||ﮋ||ﮊ||je (zhe)||J j||Ж ж||Ж ж||ﮊ|
|ﺱ||ﺲ||ﺴ||ﺳ||sin||S s||C c||C c||ﺱ|
|ﺵ||ﺶ||ﺸ||ﺷ||shin||Ş ş||Ш ш||Ш ш||ﺵ|
|ﺹ||ﺺ||ﺼ||ﺻ||sod||S s||C c||C c||س|
|ﺽ||ﺾ||ﻀ||ﺿ||dod||Z z||З з||З з||ز|
|ﻁ||ﻂ||ﻄ||ﻃ||to (itqi)||T t||Т т||Т т||ت|
|ﻅ||ﻆ||ﻈ||ﻇ||zo (izgʻi)||Z z||З з||З з||ز|
|ﻍ||ﻎ||ﻐ||ﻏ||ğayn||Ğ ğ||Ғ ғ||Ғ ғ||ﻍ|
|ﻑ||ﻒ||ﻔ||ﻓ||fe||F f||П п (Ф ф)||П п/Б б (Ф ф)||ﻑ|
|ﻕ||ﻖ||ﻘ||ﻗ||qof||Q q||Қ қ||К к||ﻕ|
|ک||ک||ﻜ||ﻛ||kof||K k||К к||К к||ك|
|ﮒ||ﮓ||ﮕ||ﮔ||gof||G g||Г г||Г г||ﮒ|
|نگ/ݣ||ـنگ/ـݣ||ـنگـ/ـݣـ||نگـ/ݣـ||nungof||Ñ ñ||Ң ң||Ң ң||ڭ|
|ﻝ||ﻞ||ﻠ||ﻟ||lam||L l||Л л||Л л||ﻝ|
|ﻡ||ﻢ||ﻤ||ﻣ||mim||M m||М м||М м||ﻡ|
|ﻥ||ﻦ||ﻨ||ﻧ||nun||N n||Н н||Н н||ﻥ|
Ö ö, U u
|ﻩ||ﻪ||ﻬ||ﻫ||hoy-i havvaz||H h
E е/A a
Э э/А а
Е e, І i
|Й й, И и
І і/Ы ы, Е е
И и/Ы ы, Э э
The letters ف، ع، ظ، ط، ض، ص، ژ، ذ، خ، ح، ث، ء are only used in loanwords and don't represent any additional phonemes.
For Kazakh and Kyrgyz, letters in parenthesis () indicate a modern borrowed pronunciation from Tatar and Russian that is not consistent with historic Kazakh and Kyrgyz treatments of these letters.
Many orthographies, particularly that of Turkic languages, are based on Kona Yëziq. Examples include the alphabets of South Azerbaijani, Qashqai, Chaharmahali, Khorasani, Uyghur, Äynu, and Khalaj.
Virtually all other Turkic languages have a history of being written with an alphabet descended from Kona Yëziq, however, due to various writing reforms conducted by Turkey and the Soviet Union, many of these languages now are written in either the Latin script or the Cyrillic script.
The Qing dynasty commissioned dictionaries on the major languages of China which included Chagatai Turki, such as the Pentaglot Dictionary.
The basic word order of Chagatai is SOV. Chagatai is a head-final language where the adjectives come before nouns. Other words such as those denoting location, time, etc. usually appear in the order of emphasis put on them.
Vowel and consonant harmony
Like other Turkic languages, Chagatai has vowel harmony. There are mainly eight vowels, and vowel harmony system works upon vowel backness.
|Back vowels||a||u||o||i, e|
The vowels [i] and [e] are central or front-central/back-central and therefore are considered both. Usually these will follow two rules in inflection: 1. [i] and [e] almost always follow the front vowel inflections. 2. If the stem contains [q] or [ǧ], which are formed in the back of the mouth, then the stem is more likely to sound “back,” so you would choose the back vowels.
These affect the suffixes that are applied to words.
Consonant harmony is relatively less common and only appears in a few suffixes such as the genitive.
Plural is formed by adding the suffix -لار (-lar/lär). There are two pronunciations which exist due vowel harmony rules. If the vowel of the last syllable is a front syllable ([a], [o], [u]) -lar is used. If the vowel is a back vowel ([ä], [ö], [ü]) or [i] and [e], -lär is used. -lar is sometimes written as -لر.
Chagatai has six different cases, however the nominative and sometimes the accusative does not have any special making.
|Nominative Case||-||اوتون otun
|Nominative is unmarked and usually comes first in a sentence.|
|Genitive Case||-نينک -niŋ||اوتوننينک otunniŋ
|The possessed object must be inflected with third person possessive pronouns ‘ى/سى’ (si/i).|
|Accusative Case||-نى -ni
|Accusative case only takes effect in the case that the direct object is “definite”. So ‘a road’ is <yol> but ‘the road’ is <yolni>.|
|Dative Case||-غه/كه -ka/ǧa||اوتونغه otunǧa
...to the firewood...
...to the cow...
|To be noted is that the ending varies from word to word due to consonant harmony, which changes may be included in writing or not, so <inäk> + <ǧa> = <inäkka> but may be written as <inäkǧa>. Vowel harmony is taken into effect if the vowel of the last syllable is a front vowel the suffix attains pronunciation of -ä instead of -a.|
|Ablative Case||-دين -din (/dan/dän)||اوتوندين otundin
...from the firewood...
...from the cow...
|The case marking for ablative is occasionally rendered as -دهن or -دان (dan/dän), and can become -تين (tin) before a voiceless consonants.|
|Locative Case||-ره -da/dä||اوتونده otunda
...in/on the firewood...
...in/on the cow...
|Like the dative the locative works through vowel harmony; of the vowel of the final syllable is a front syllable the suffix turns to -dä.|
There are seven Chagatai personal pronouns, as there are formal and informal forms of the second person singular form. Unlike other languages these pronouns do not differ between genders. Each of these pronouns have suffixes added to end of verbs as conjugation.
|Number||Singular||Conjugational suffix||Plural||Conjugational suffix|
|First person||من män||-من -män||بيز biz||-ميز -miz|
|Second person||سيز siz [informal]||-سيز -siz||سيزلار sizlär||-سيزلار -sizlär|
|سن sän [formal]||سن -sän|
|Third person||او/اول ul/u||-||اولار ular||-لار -lar|
Below are some punctuation marks associated with Chagatai.
|⁘||Four-dot mark||The four-dot mark indicates a verse break. It is used at the beginning and end of a verse, especially to separate verse from prose. It may occur at the beginning or end of lines, or in the middle of a page.|
|❊||Eight teardrop-spoked propeller asterisk||The eight teardrop-spoked propeller asterisk indicates a decoration for title. This mark occurs end of the title. This mark also occurs end of a poem. This mark occurs end of a prayer in Jarring texts. However this mark did not occur consistently.|
|.||Period (full stop)||The period is a punctuation mark placed at the end of a sentence. However, this mark did not occur consistently in Chaghatay manuscripts until the later period (e.g. manuscripts on Russian paper).|
|" "||Quotation mark||Dialogue was wrapped in quotation marks, rarely used for certain words with emphasis|
|___||Underscore||Dash: mostly with red ink, occurs on the top of names, prayers, and highlighted questions, answers, and important outline numbers.|
|Whitespace||Can indicate a stanza break in verse, and a new paragraph in brows.|
|-||Dash||Rare punctuation: used for number ranges (e.g. 2-5)|
|--||Double dash||Rare punctuation: sets off following information like a colon, it is used to list a table of contents|
|( )||Parentheses||Marks a tangential or contextual remark, word or phrase.|
|:||colon||Colons appear extremely rarely preceding a direct quote. Colons can also mark beginning of dialogue|
|…||Ellipsis:||Ellipsis: a series of dots (typically 3) that indicate missing text.|
- ^ Grenoble, Lenore (2003). Language Policy of the Soviet Union. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 1-4020-1298-5.
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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.
- ^ Ayşe Gül Sertkaya (2002). "Şeyhzade Abdurrezak Bahşı". In Hazai, György (ed.). Archivum Ottomanicum. Vol. 20. pp. 114–115.
As a result, we can claim that Şeyhzade Abdürrezak Bahşı was a scribe lived in the palaces of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and his son Bayezid-i Veli in the 15th century, wrote letters (bitig) and firmans (yarlığ) sent to Eastern Turks by Mehmed II and Bayezid II in both Uighur and Arabic scripts and in East Turkestan (Chagatai) language.
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Chagatai Old Uzbek official.
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- ^ "Mabaniul Lughat: Yani Sarf o Nahv e Lughat e Chughatai - Mirza Muhammad Mehdi Khan Astarabadi (Farsi)" – via Internet Archive.
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- Bodrogligeti, András J. E., A Grammar of Chagatay. (Languages of the World: Materials ; 155). München: LINCOM Europa, 2001. (Repr. 2007), ISBN 3-89586-563-X.
- Pavet de Courteille, Abel, Dictionnaire Turk-Oriental: Destinée principalement à faciliter la lecture des ouvrages de Bâber, d'Aboul-Gâzi, de Mir Ali-Chir Nevâï, et d'autres ouvrages en langues touraniennes (Eastern Turkish Dictionary: Intended Primarily to Facilitate the Reading of the Works of Babur, Abu'l Ghazi, Mir ʿAli Shir Navaʾi, and Other Works in Turanian Languages). Paris, 1870. Reprinted edition, Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1972, ISBN 90-6022-113-3. Also available online (Google Books)
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- Russian imperial policies in Central Asia
- Chagatai language at Encyclopædia Iranica
- An introduction to Chaghatay by Eric Schluessel, Maize Books; University of Michigan Publishing 2018 (A self study, open access textbook with graded lessons)