ELL: Re: indigenous

kebo0002 kebo0002 at STUD.UNI-SB.DE
Thu Jun 21 07:53:12 UTC 2001

Joan Smith/Kocamahhul wrote:

> This is partly my reason for asking - the community I'm interested in
> are Arabic speakers in Turkey. As far as I've been able to find out the
> communities were originally Aramaic- and Greek-speaking (Greek in the
> cities, Aramaic in the rural areas), but there have been Arabic-speakers
> in the Area for approxiamately 1000 years, whereas the Turkish-speakers
> are comparatively newcomers. Is this the Guarani problem again? Somehow
> I think the tendency is to disregard Arabic as an 'indigenous' language
> either because so many people speak it or because it is an 'oppressor'
> language (even though in Turkey it isn't).

There is still an Arabic speaking minority in the region of Hatay ( south
Turkey; near the Syrian border ). Most of them are Alevi´s ( a Shiite group
of Islam ). These people are genuine Arabs. Other Arabic using minorities
are Kurds and Assyrians. In some regions of the Assyrian settlement, Arabic
has replaced Assyrian completely.

Arabic hasn´t a tradition of more than 1.000 years in this region. Only the
south of present day Turkey was influenced by Arabic. Turkish appeared in
the region in 1071.

Arabic has a religious status in Turkey as most prayers pray in Arabic. I
wouldn´t define Arabic as an indigenous language. I would define "an
indigenous" language as a non-governmental language, which has very young
literal tradition or only oral tradition.


Cem Bozdag

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