Registan, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Henrik Berger Jørgensen.
Registan, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Henrik Berger Jørgensen.

Uzbek at The University of Chicago

Uzbek is available at Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced levels at the University of Chicago, since the year 2000. Students in Elementary Uzbek can expect to learn Modern Standard Uzbek in both the Cyrillic and the Latin Script versions, and become conversant within the year. The class teaches conversational skills, basic grammar, and situational vocabulary, while also gradually introducing excerpts from Uzbek literature & film. The instructor, Kagan Arik, is a Turkic languages specialist, language pedagogue, and an anthropologist of Central Asia and Turkic-speaking cultures, who has been at the University of Chicago since 2000. He teaches Turkish language and literature, Uzbek, Kazakh, Old Turkic, and courses on the anthropology, folklore and ethnomusicology of Central Asia.

Uzbek is the second most-widely spoken Turkic language after Turkish, with close to 30 million speakers. It is the official language of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and is also spoken by minority populations in the neighbouring Kazakh and Kirghiz republics, and by 3 million people in northern Afghanistan. It is mutually intelligible with the very closely-related Uyghur language, spoken in the neighbouring Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region of the PRC. Knowledge of Uzbek also allows quick access to other Turkic languages such as Kazakh, Kirghiz, or Tatar. It is also areally (but not genetically) related to the Iranian Tajik language, spoken in Tajikistan and also in parts of Uzbekistan itself. It is currently written in the Latin alphabet, though most literature from the Soviet period uses a modified Cyrillic alphabet. Uzbek may be one of the easier Turkic languages to master, as it dispenses with many of the complex rules of vowel harmony that we encounter in other Turkic languages. It descends directly from the Chagatai Turkic literary language of Central Asia, which was used after the 13th century, though it is also connected to older forms of Turkic, written for the past two millennia in Central Asia. Uzbek, like other Turkic languages, is SOV, agglutinative, genderless, and makes uses of noun cases, verb aspect, and participle clauses instead of relative clauses.

Related Faculty

Related Courses

KAZK 10501 Intro to Turkic Languages I

(UZBK 10501; TURK 10501)

The first quarter of a two-section course in which Elementary Kazakh and Elementary Uzbek will be offered as one class, with the option for students to study one or the other, or both simultaneously.

2019-2020 Autumn
Central Asia