Chaghatay (East Middle Turkic), was a language spoken in Central Asia between the 14th and early 20th centuries, especially in cultural centers such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Herat, Shiraz, Khiva, Kokand and Kashgar. East Middle Turkic included a broad swath of Central Asia from Transoxiana (between the Syr Darya and Amu Darya), Khorasan, Ferghana to the Tarim basin and Ghulja valley.

This course is intended to develop a basic reading knowledge of Chaghatay, the classical antecedent of modern Uzbek and modern Uyghur, and the common literary language of the Central Asian Turks. The course includes a survey of Chaghatay literature as well as a discussion of grammar, the writing system, and lexicographical resources; the class meetings will be devoted to both textbook-based instruction and particularly in the second semester the reading of samples from Chaghatay texts drawn from printed sources and manuscript copies.

In this course learners will be able to (1) read and write Chaghatay, a language written in Perso-Arabic script; (2) distinguish between some of the regional differences found in Chaghatay manuscripts; (3) identify some features of Chaghatay manuscripts and understand basic codicology which includes physical description, paleography, types of documents, identification etc.; and (4) transliterate and transcribe primary sources manuscripts, as well as practice linguistic annotation and translation into English.

Introductory Chaghatay is offered for a full academic year in alternating years, with an intermediate course and additional reading courses available in succeeding years. The Intermediate Chaghatay course aims to develop learners’ reading, transliterating, transcribing, and analyzing skills. Mainly focuses on reading primary source materials.