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AccueilAbstracta IranicaVolume 252. Linguistique2.2. Langues vivantes et dialectesLutz Rzehak. Vom Persischen zum T...

2. Linguistique
2.2. Langues vivantes et dialectes

Lutz Rzehak. Vom Persischen zum Tadschikischen. Sprachliches Handeln und Sprachplanung. Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag, 2001, pp. XX + 456.

Tchanguiz Pahlavan

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1An interesting and important contribution to Iranian Studies in general and to that of the Persian language in particular. The author intends to study and analyse the history of Persian-Tajik language in Transoxiania in the period during which this language appeared at the outset as Persian and ended up as the Tajik language. According to him, these terms are not only different names, but are also two symbols for the variations of the same language at two different times. Despite their commonality they show considerable differences.

2This study covers the period between 1900 and 1956. The year 1900 indicates the beginning of a new century when the Persian language clearly marks the functions and qualities of a standard Islamic language in a multilingual environment in Transoxiania. The year 1956, according to the author, clearly marks the end of a development whereby the function of this language is reduced to the level of a national language in Tajikistan.

3The book is divided into four parts. In the first part, the author deals with the pre-Soviet era. Under Russian rule the Turkish language was favoured, but until the establishment of Soviet rule, the Tajik- language was always called “Persian”. This Pre-Soviet period shows how colonial rule can change the language environment, as happened during the British rule in the subcontinent.

4In the second part, the author deals with the question of language and revolution and the nationalization of the language concerned. This part of the book covers the period of 1917 to 1929 in which we face a new name for the Persian language: the Tajik-language.

5The third part is devoted to aspects of construction of a language. In other words, it deals with language planning. This is a period covering the years 1926 to 1930. The introduction of the Latin alphabet and the situation of the Jews are among the themes discussed in this part.

6Part Four is about language of construction, language of dictatorship and the Tajik language in the Stalin era. The influence of the Russian language, problems of internationalism and Sovietism, translations from the Russian and the obligation to use Russian political, administrative and military words are dealt with in this part.

7Although this study ends in 1956, one may conclude that because of the collaps of the Soviet-system, the introduction of new media and the cultural awareness among Persian speakers in the region, Persian is undergoing a revival. A very important question regarding this valuable study still remains to be answered: Are we facing two different languages or do we have two developments of the one and the same language with the same grammatical structure and the same basic vocabulary. It is obvious that both people (Tajik speaking people in Tajikistan and Persian speaking people in Iran, (and beside then, even the Dari speaking population in Afghanistan)) use the same traditional scripts and literature, are able to make use of them in the same way and have similar understandings of these manuscripts and are even able to communicate with each other at the present time.

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Tchanguiz Pahlavan, « Lutz Rzehak. Vom Persischen zum Tadschikischen. Sprachliches Handeln und Sprachplanung. Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag, 2001, pp. XX + 456. »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 25 | 2004, document 34, mis en ligne le 15 mars 2006, consulté le 28 mai 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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