Research Report on a Middle Eastern Language

Essay #1

Assigned: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 Due: Via Collab & On Paper: by 11:00am, Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Topic: Research Report on a Middle Eastern Language

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Essay #1 asks you to pick a language (use the list below as a guide) that is currently spoken or used in the Middle East (defined broadly), find reference materials about the language, its history, its speakers, its relation to nation-states and ethnic groups, its literature, etc., and write a 5-page report organizing and presenting what you’ve found.

Pick a language from the list below (or suggest one to me – see note below). The idea is to expand your knowledge, explore a new language – so please do not suggest a language that you speak (as heritage or native language), and do not pick one of the major languages that we will be studying in-depth anyway, like Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, or Farsi. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list; if there is a Middle Eastern language that you’d like to write about that does not appear on this list please suggest it to me.)

List of Languages: • Armenian (Armenia) • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijan, Iran) • Balochi (Pakistan) • Bangla (India, Bangladesh) • Berber (Algeria, Morocco) • Circassian • Coptic (Egypt) • Dari (Iran, Afghanistan) • Ge’ez (Ethiopia) • Hassaniya (Morocco, Mauritania) • Judeo-Arabic (Israel, etc.) • Judezmo (Turkey, Israel) • Kabyle (Algeria) • Kashmiri (Pakistan, India) • Kurdish (Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria) • Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzstan) • Mahri (Yemen, Oman) • Maltese (Malta) • Punjabi (Pakistan, India) • Pashto (Afghanistan, Pakistan) • Sindhi (Pakistan) • Soqotri (Gulf States) • Syriac (Syria, Iraq) • Tajik (Tajikistan) • Tamazight (Morocco, Algeria) • Tatar (Russia) • Turkmen (Turkmenistan)

• Uzbek (Uzbekistan)

Resources you might want to consult (at least to start): • Places to Start:

• VIRGO (search for books or articles about your language) • Wikipedia (see the entry itself, but also look at the appended lists of references,

resources, and external links) • Ethnologue (search VIRGO, then follow electronic access link)

• More Indepth Resources:

• Austin, Peter K., (Ed.). 2008. One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost. Berkeley: University of California Press. (seems no longer available)

• Campbell, George L. 1991. Compendium of the World’s Languages. London: Routledge. (on reserve at CLEM)

• Comrie, Bernard, (Ed.). 1987. The World’s Major Languages. London: Croom Helm. (available as e-book through VIRGO; also on reserve at CLEM)

• Comrie, Bernard, et al., (Eds.). 2003. The Atlas of Languages: The Origin and Development of Languages Throughout the World. New York: Facts on File. (on reserve at CLEM)

• Gary, Jane & Carl Rubino, (Eds.). 2001. Facts About the World’s Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Major Languages, Past and Present.New York: H.W. Wilson. (on reserve at CLEM)

• Lyovin, Anatole V. 1997. An Introduction to Languages of the World. New York: Oxford University Press. (on reserve at CLEM)

• Pei, Mario Andrew. 1955. The World’s Chief Languages: Formerly, Languages for War and Peace. New York: S. F. Vanni. (available as e-book through VIRGO)

• Pereltsvaig, Asya. 2012. Languages of the World: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Refer to the chapters assigned; I’ll also post her Bibliography to Collab Resources.)

Be sure to include a bibliography. You should have at least 5 reliable, scholarly sources – Please check with me, or with Tirajeh, if you’re not certain how “reliable, scholarly” a source you find might be!

Things that you might cover (you’ll need to choose what seems most interesting to you or about your language):

• Brief description of the salient features of the language; • Languages it is closely related to; • Where it is spoken, by whom, under what circumstances (i.e., sociolinguistic features the

language and its use); • The history of the language; • Forms of writing (i.e., orthographies) for the language; • Literary forms and literary achievements;

• Relationship to standard languages, or national languages, or nationalist projects; • Poetic forms & genres; • Links to examples of this language online; • Etc. (be creative!)

Please submit your essay electronically through the collab assignments page, AND print out a paper copy that you will turn in at the beginning of class on Wednesday, Feb. 5.


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