Kyrgyz is a bridge language in terms of historical-comparative linguistics, the geographical territory of which is located between different groups of Turkic languages on the one side, and Turkic and Mongolian languages on the other. From the perspective of Turkic-Mongolian linguistic contacts, the Kyrgyz language is unique in that it has not only simple vocabulary transfers represented by lexical borrowings which in varying degrees can be seen in other Turkic languages, but it also shows influences from a Mongolian substrate. This substrate influence, usually defined with the terms “interference” or “imposition”, reveals itself not only in the phonological, morphological and syntactic levels of Kyrgyz but also in regional borrowings, something that is rarely the case in other Turkic languages.
The question of the influence of Turkic-Mongolian language contacts on the formation of these two language groups has already been discussed in relevant linguistic and historical studies. However, the subject of borrowings and/or Mongolian-based contact-induced change in Kyrgyz has never been studied in detail, even though the existence of large-scale Mongolian influence on Kyrgyz vocabulary has sometimes been commented upon in certain studies.
The project aims to determine the degree and depth of influence of the Mongolian languages on the formation of Kyrgyz owing to the age-long, intense linguistic contact among the Turkic- and Mongolian-speaking tribes that eventually formed the basis of Kyrgyz ethnicity. The project seeks to expand our knowledge about the nature, scope, and mechanisms of linguistic contacts in general and of Turkic and Mongolian languages in particular. These aims will be achieved by studying not only borrowings but also those features in Kyrgyz that appeared through the influence of the Mongolian substrate. The research will be mainly based on the comparative-historical, comparative-typological and etymological methods of linguistic analysis.
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