Sarikoli language

Sarikoli language

Infobox Language
nativename="tujik ziv"
speakers=approximately 20,500 (1990)
script=None, Arabic,

The Sarikoli language (also Selekur, Sarikul, Sariqul, Sariköli) is a member of the Pamir subgroup of the Southeastern Iranian languages spoken by Tajiks in China. It is officially referred to in China as the "Tajik language"; however, it is actually from a different subgroup within the Iranian family than the language which is official in Tajikistan.


Sarikoli is officially referred to as "Tajik" (塔吉克语/unicode|Tǎjíkèyǔ) in China, as the ethnic group who speak it identify themselves as Tajiks and not Pamiris (just as their Wakhi do in Pakistan). [A wide variety of alternative transcriptions of the name "Sarikoli" are also used in linguistic discussions, such as 萨里库尔语/unicode|Sàlǐkùěryǔ, 萨雷阔勒语/unicode|Sàléikuòlèyǔ, 色勒库尔语/unicode|Sèlèkùěryǔ, or 撒里科里语/unicode|Sǎlǐkēlǐyǔ.] However, it is no more closely related to Tajik as spoken in Tajikistan (a Western Iranian language) than the other Pamir languages.cite book
last=Gawarjon (高尔锵/Gāo Ěrqiāng)
title=Outline of the Tajik language (塔吉克语简志/Tǎjíkèyǔ Jiǎnzhì)
publisher=Nationalities Publishing House
] It is also referred to as Tashkorghani,cite book
first=Justin Jon
title=Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebook: Languages Of The Silk Road
publisher=Lonely Planet Publications
date=January 2005
] after the ancient capital of the Sarikoli kingdom (now a county of Xinjiang); however, this usage is not widespread among scholars.

The earliest written accounts in English, from the 1870s, generally use the name "Sarikoli".cite journal
title=On the Ghalchah Languages (Wakhi and Sarikoli)
journal=Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal
publisher=Asiatic Society of Bengal

Distribution of speakers

The number of speakers is in the tens of thousands; most reside in the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County in southern Xinjiang Province, China. Speakers in China typically use Uyghur and Chinese to communicate with people of other ethnic groups in the area. It is mutually unintelligible with the related Wakhi language, also the mother tongue of a minority of Tajiks in China.cite book
title=An Acoustic, Historical, and Developmental Analysis of Sarikol Tajik Diphthongs.
publisher=The University of Texas
location=Arlington, Texas


The language has no official written form. Gawarjon, publishing in China, used IPA to transcribe the sounds of Sarikoli in his book and dictionary,cite book
last=Gawarjon (高尔锵/Gāo Ěrqiāng)
title=塔吉克汉词典 (Tǎjíkè-Hàn Cìdiǎn)
publisher=Sichuan Nationalities Publishing House
] while Pakhalina, publishing in Russia, used an alphabet similar to that of the Wakhi language in hers.cite book
first=Tatiana N.
title=The Sarikoli Language (Сарыкольский язык/Sarykol'skij Jazyk)
publisher=Akademia Nauk SSSR
] [cite book
first=Tatiana N.
title=Sarikoli-Russian Dictionary (Сарыкольско-русский словарь/Sarykol'sko-russkij slovar')
publisher=Akademia Nauk SSSR
] Because the majority of Sarikoli-speakers attend schools using Uyghur as the medium of instruction, some may be able to write their language using the Uyghur alphabet.



Sarikoli vowels as used in Russian works (IPA values in bracelets):

a [a] , e [e] , εy [ɛi̯] (dialectal ay or ay [æi̯ / ai̯] , εw [ɛu̯] (dialectal æw or aw [æu̯ /au̯] , ə [ə] , i [i] , o [o / ɔ] , u [u] , ы [ɯ] (dialectal ů [ʊ] ) In some dialects also long variants of those vowels can appear: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, ы̄, ǝ̄.


Sarikoli has 29 consonants:

Sariqoli consonants according to Russian Iranologist transcription (IPA values in bracelets):p [p] , b [b] , t [t] , d [d] , k [k / c] , g [ɡ / ɟ] , q [q] , c [ʦ] , ʒ [ʣ] , č [ʧʲ] , ǰ [ʤʲ] , s [s] , z [z] , x̌ [x] , γ̌ [ɣ] , f [f] , v [v] , θ [θ] , δ [ð] , x [χ] , γ [ʁ] , š [ʃʲ] , ž [ʒʲ] , w [w] , y [j] , m [m] , n [n / ŋ] , l [l] , r [r]


Most words receive stress on the last syllable; however, a minority receive stress on their first syllable. Also, several noun declensions and verb inflections regularly place stress on their first syllable, including the imperative and interrogative.


The Sarikoli lexicon is quite close to those of other Eastern Iranian languages, and exhibits some similarities and some differences with Western Iranian languages such as Persian or Tajik.


External links

* [ Ethnologue report for Sarikoli]
* [ The Tajik Ethnic Group in China]
* [ An Acoustic, Historical, and Developmental Analysis of Sarikol Tajik Diphthongs] , Pamela S. Arlund, The University of Texas at Arlington.

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