Remains of older Turkic languages preserved in the Amdo region

Hans Nugteren

Remains of older Turkic languages preserved in the Amdo region

(66th Annual Meeting of the PIAC Göttingen, 2024)

The Gansu-Qinghai Area in China is home of the so-called Amdo Sprachbund named after the old Tibetan province. Here, Turkic, Mongolic, Tibetan and Chinese idioms are spoken, influencing one another in the fields of lexicon, phonology, and grammar.

Two Turkic languages only found in China are found in the Gansu-Qinghai Area: Salar and Western Yugur. Salar is based on an offshoot of Turkmen, an Oghuz Turkic language, but also contains elements from other Turkic subgroups. Western Yugur combines features of Old Uyghur and South Siberian Turkic.

The various Mongolic languages of the area, such as Eastern Yugur (Nggar), Monguor (Tu) and Dongxiang (Santa) contain Turkic loanwords that cannot be demonstrated to come from their present Turkic neighbours, because the forms are either not attested there, or too different in shape or meaning.

The paper will discuss the features and possible origins of these Turkic words.