Mahmudkhodja behbudiy and the problems of the national language progress | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

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Рубрика: 5. Общее и прикладное языкознание

Опубликовано в

II международная научная конференция «Филология и лингвистика в современном обществе» (Москва, февраль 2014)

Дата публикации: 18.01.2014

Статья просмотрена: 37 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Сайидов, Ё. С. Mahmudkhodja behbudiy and the problems of the national language progress / Ё. С. Сайидов. — Текст : непосредственный // Филология и лингвистика в современном обществе : материалы II Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Москва, февраль 2014 г.). — Т. 0. — Москва : Буки-Веди, 2014. — С. 107-109. — URL: (дата обращения: 24.10.2021).

This article focuses on the viewpoints of the most prominent representative of Central Asian Jadid movement MahmudkhojaBehbudiy on the progress of national language, the lexicology and commands of Uzbek language. This subject is analyzed by comparative-historical, descriptive, summarizing and biographical methods.

Key words:Turkic language, Uzbek language, Osman Turkic language, purifying and simplifying literal language, ancient Turkic words, dialect, Arabic language, Persian language, adopted words.

Mahmudkhoja Behbudiy (1875–1919) was the first teachers of Central Asia as Osman Turk Ahmad Midhati and Tatar scholar Ismoilbek Gaspirali. He was the leader of Turkistan Jadid movement (the end of 19th — the first quarter of 20th century) and his literal heritage includes a series of articles on the problems of culture, education and literature as well as the problems of Uzbek language. Concerning to writer’s literal language, a number of his articles such as “Four languages are necessary, not two” (1913),”The word sart is not known” (1914), “The problem of the language”, “The word sart is passive” (1914) were published in Jadid’s favorite magazine “Oyna” (The mirror). Evidently, this weekly magazine was issued in Samarkand during 1913–1917 years and Behbudiy was the editor of it. Owing to his initiatives, articles on the problems of the language were regularly published in this magazine and from this fact it can be understood that Behbudiy paid special attention to the language matters feeling the social importance of it (5, p.16). Among his articles on the language matters, “The problem of the language” plays a great role as a source for learning the peculiarities of the history of Uzbek language at the beginning of 20th century. Before analyzing the article itself, firstly, it’s better to give information about the history and reasons for writing it which will be helpful for our further understanding of some points given in the article.

It is known that the crisis in social, cultural and economical life of Uzbek people in 16th century progressed highly in 19th century which influenced the language as well. By the beginning of the 20thcentury nor Uzbek language could have reached the degree of being communicative language with all language commands, neither Persian language could lose its role of being the language of education.(1, p.40). This social event worried the intellectuals of that time, especially, the representatives of Jadid movement as they realized the importance of having one literal language for nation’s development. Therefore, they tried to find the ways of structuring modern literal Uzbek language. In this period nationalism was at its peak and the native language regarded as the main means of self-consciousness and self-knowing. The problems of literal language and the language itself had been considered the most crucial and initial socio-political problem of that time. This matter was seriously considered by Jadids under the leadership of Behbudiy and a group of intellectuals called “Chigatoy guruhgchilari” whose leader was Fitrat. They were affected by the ideas of Turcik Jadids.

It’s known that in Turkey at the beginning of the last century there appeared the concept of purifying and simplifying the language based on the Turkic ideas and movements. The main purpose of those concepts was to get rid of Arabic, Persian and some other foreign lexis in Turkic vocabulary in order to form pure Osman Turkic literal language. The supporters of those ideas realized that without protecting the language from outer influence and forming one literal language which was under strong effects of Arabic and Persian languages, they wouldn’t be able to develop education, culture and to form the national dignity. The concept of purifying and simplifying the language originated in Turkey spread out widely among Russian and Caucasian Turkic speaking intellectual sat the beginning of the 20th century. Central Asian Jadids followed them as well (1, p.48). As a result, the problems of the language had become under their consideration which turned into the main issue for publishing articles discussing the ways of forming one literal language. In general, the following problems concerning the language were debated in that time Uzbek press:

-          Purifying the Uzbek language, that is the necessity to clean the language from adopted Arabic and Persian words;

-          The necessity of including some forgotten Turkic words into modern Uzbek literal vocabulary;

-          To define the main source to form modern Uzbek literal language, that is to base it on Uzbek literal language or local dialects;

-          The necessity of forming the literal language separately for different dialects or to make it general for all dialects;

-          Which dialect should be based on to form modern Uzbek language;

-          To create language rules for simplifying literal and press language;

-          The source to which written language should be based on, that is if it should be based on literal language or street communicative language

The intellectuals of that time expressed their own views on the language problems through their articles published in the papers and magazines as well as their speeches in public. They could not be indifferent to how Uzbek language was regarded by some scholars at that time. For instance, Behbudiy called it “the language of spiritually, financially and scientifically oppressed nations” (2, p.187), Fitrat defined it as “the unhappiest language of the world” (3, p.237) and Chulpon referred to it as “rather poor and not well-formed” (4, p.64). They also thought over the matter “if Turkic languages, especially, Uzbek language could save itself from Arabic and Persian effect” (3, p.240)

The theory of purity of the ethnic language was put forward and there were expressed different views on purifying the language as a group of intellectuals such as Fitrat, Chulpon, Elbek and Botu assured the idea that it was necessary to clean the Uzbek language from Arabic and Persian words completely. From the beginning of their socio-political and literal activity, they understood that they should interfere into the process of the language development and therefore they brought the problems of the language up to a political degree identifying the objectives and tasks to form the native language. They brought about reform on language policy and made a number of changes in linguistic ethics. It is known that in the development of a literal language socio-political and economical conditions are considered as outer factor whereas linguistic ethics is inner. They paid special attention to inner factor, i.e. linguistic ethics and tried hard to form social linguistic ethics of the language by putting forward their views as well as by squeezing out Arabic and Persian words from Turkic vocabulary.

Another group of intellectuals such as Behbudiy and Hoji Miun claimed that Uzbek language needed a reform but it shouldn’t be carried out in a hurry as it required centuries to reform it completely; that it would be better to learn more developed languages such as Arabic, Russian and English in order to develop science and culture rather than purifying the language. Though Behbudiy was a supporter of Jadid’s views, he had his own ideas as well (1, p.40). He didn’t agree with the idea of squeezing out Arabic and Persian words from Uzbek vocabulary and he considered the best way was to adapt those words to the structure of Uzbek words saying “Gathering Arabic nouns, reform it into Turkic, for example, instead of the words as ‘funun’,’ulamo’, ‘quzzot’ use the words ‘ilmlar’(science), ‘olimlar’(scientists), and ‘qozilar’(judges).” (2, p.183)

Behbudiy had also noted that Turkic nations had been under the influence of Arabic language for twelve centuries which was also the language of Islamic religion and its holy book Koran; most words adopted from this language had a great role and place in Turkic vocabulary. He considered it illogical to get rid of them pointing out that Persian words had also gone so deeply into Turkic nation’s minds, lifestyle and that it would be impossible to throw them out from Turkic speaking nation’s dialect. Supporting his views, he claimed that some adopted words such as the names of weekdays had lost their Turkic synonyms in the literal language. Also, the Tajik-Persian word ‘mehmon’(guest) has Turkic synonym ‘qo’noq’. Which of these words can be used in the literal style. Answering this, he said that some foolish people suggested to say ‘qo’noq’. Yet, it would be understandable only for Turkic speaking person whereas ‘mehmon’ is understood only by Persian speaking person. In this case Behbudiy didn’t consider the ethic character of the language as in his views he saw the relationship between religion and nationality. According to him, the nation should be identified through its religion and he named Uzbek, Tajik people living in Central Asia with one name ‘Muslims’ as well as their language as ‘Muslim language’. He was against of using Turkic and Persian terminology in the language criticizing the policy of separating nations according to their languages. Time proved the truthfulness of his ideas as Russian government managed to split up the nations living in this area which had been in close relationship for many centuries (1, p.36). Behbudiy stated out the difficultness of realizing the idea of purifying the language in his articles many times saying that the dream of squeezing out Arabic and Persian words from our language is easy but unrealistic dream.

He was also against of using forgotten Turkic words such as ‘qo’nuq’(guest), ‘qapug’(a door, a gate)’, ‘yag’i’(enemy), ‘pamuq’(cotton) instead of Arabic and Persian equivalents and wrote that there wasn’t any necessity for introducing these old words as there wasn’t any science using these old languages such Ancient Chagatai, Mugul,Urkhun languages. Obviously, he openly supported the idea of bilingualism and blamed the supporters of one language calling them “purists” and emphasized that Turkic and Persian languages should be the mother tongue as well as the language of communication for the people of Central Asia. He regarded those languages as the ‘language of Muslims (1, p.42), that’s why he had the magazine “Oyna” (The Mirror) published in those languages. Besides, he urged to learn Arabic and Russian languages as foreign languages considering them the language of science. One more important problem concerning language was forming modern literal language which was considered by intellectuals of that time. A group of scholars suggested forming a separate literal language for each dialect; the other group of intellectuals (Fitrat, Chulpon) supported ancient Uzbek language (Chigatai) to continue Uzbek literal language traditions. Yet, Behbudiy’s views also differed in this point. He struggled against dialects and came up with the idea of uniting all dialects to form one single literal language.

To the question why it is necessary to have simplified language, Behbudiy answered it was needed to communicate with people around you, and he noted that literal language was demanded for understanding science. From these ideas it can be understood that he was against language simplicity but again supported the idea of forming literal language. He listed the following factors to develop the literal language:

-          To develop the literal language through science

-          To attract the nation, especially mothers to read scientific, literal, religious and historical books in order to develop the literal language

According to Behbudiy, dialect shouldn’t be used in press, especially scientific, literal, educational and religious literature. He was strongly opposed the idea of introducing simple street language into literal one.

In conclusion, in the above mentioned article Behbudiy expressed his views on the simplifying the literal language and using dialects. It should be noted that as a result of the initiatives of Behbudiy and other Jadids the Uzbek literal language had been formed.


1.     Ingeborg Baldauf. Sketches to 20th century Uzbek literature. -Тashkent: Ma`naviyat, 2001.

2.     Mahmudkhoja Behbudiy. Selected works. -Тashkent: Мa`naviyat, 1999.

3.     Fitrat. Our language // Real love.-Тashkent: Ma`naviyat‚ 1996. P.p. 124–128.

4.     Chulpon. What is literature. -Tashkent: Ma`naviyat‚ 1994.

5.     Qosimov B and others. The literature of National development peroid.-Tashkent: Ma`naviyat, 2004.

Ключевые слова

Тюркский язык, Узбекский язык, Османский тюркский язык, Очистка и упрощение буквального языка, Древнетюркские слова, диалект, арабский язык, Персидский язык, Принятые слова., Turkic language, Uzbek language, Osman Turkic language, purifying and simplifying literal language, ancient Turkic words, dialect, Arabic language, Persian language, adopted words., adopted words