Can Artwork be Used in the Revitalisation of Language? The Case of Chulym

Fırat Başbuğ

Can Artwork be Used in the Revitalisation of Language? The Case of Chulym

(58th Meeting Dunajská Streda, 2015)

Current estimates put around 4000 languages at risk of extinction over the next century. Several Altaic languages face this danger, including the South Siberian language, Chulym Turkic. According to Ethnologue’s World Languages Book, Chulym Turkic’s degree of danger is ‘8b’. The rating of 8b is for situations in which there are no adolescent speakers and the only remaining speakers of the language are members of the grandparent generation. According to Başbuğ (2014), there are two speakers in Teguldet, two speakers in Novoshumilova and around 5 speakers in Pasechnoe who actively speak Chulym Turkic. The number of people who can understand Chulym Turkic numbers around 40 between the three villages. Further, there are few existing written stories or language learning materials in Chulym, as the language has been an oral language.

The purpose of this study is to create new texts and produce new learning materials for the Chulym language with the help of contemporary artworks. The artworks are specially selected by figurative Turkish painters to let informants create texts to accompany activities such as fishing, playing children, sitting men, bread-sellers, horses, etc.

The artworks will be used to design cards for the informants, who will use them to produce stories based on the images. With this approach, new and original texts as valuable linguistic data will be documented, and described in Latin orthography. These stories will be used for the revitalization and analysis of the Chulym language. This documentation will include video recordings of grammaticalized gestures as well as audio recordings including storytelling and anecdotes.

Keywords: Chulym, Turkic, language revitalization, storybuilding, endangered languages.