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Individual papers have a duration of 20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion.




Wednesday, 2 August 2023, 10:00 h CEST


Prof. Dr. Henryk Jankowski

Professor emeritus, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań


Lexical divergence and convergence of Turkic languages

Abstract: Gradual divergence is a typical feature of related languages. It emerges as a result of split, spacial spread, development in time and contact with new languages. Convergence is an opposite process triggered by meeting of once split languages, long neighbourhood, sharing climate conditions, similar social and political background, language dominance, emerging of interethnic and literary languages and common contact languages. Divergence manifests in distinctive features. Distinctive features are the basis of structural classifications. Convergence brings about levelling and common forms. Common forms are established by contact linguistics. Turkic lexicology is far behind the studies in phonology, morphology and syntax. It is also valid for lexical divergence and convergence. This is natural since the study in lexicon is a study of an open set of countless lexical units in contrast to grammatical rules which form a close system. There are a few general problems with lexicology which are discussed in our presentation. Firstly, this is a problem with lexical evidence of historical languages and poorly evidenced modern languages which are on the way of extinction, e.g. Chulym or Fuyü Kyrgyz. Secondly, seemingly clear-cut lexical differences between two languages are often blurred by dialects and enclaves. Among the tasks for lexical studies, there are the following: (1) establishing common vocabulary of each genetic group; (2) establishing distinctive indigenous vocabulary of similar languages, e.g. Kazakh and Karakalpak; and (3) establishing distinctive residual vocabulary of a language which is similar to another, but has a different historical substrate, e.g. Modern Uyghur in relation to Uzbek.


Keywords: Turkic languages, lexis, divergence, convergence