Friday, August 27, 2010

"Tadzhik is Persian-Farsi transliterated with Russian letters," Safar replied. "But nothing good ever came of it. They took away the old alphabet and thus cut the Tadzhik people off from their ancient history and culture. This monstrously sly Bolshevik act did terrible damage to the national culture of the Tadzhik people. Why? Because letters are culture-producing for a Tadzhik. Can you imagine Pushkin writing in Russian but with Arabic ligatures? That would be crazy, wouldn't it? But this nightmarish experiment was conducted in the U.S.S.R. on many peoples, Tadzhiks among them. I believe that it was a cunning policy."
Languagehat on Marat Akchurin's Red Odyssey: A Journey Through the Soviet Republics, the rest here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was taking Persian, my instructor, a native speaker, talked a little about this. He acknowledged all the here-mentioned downsides but noted that Cyrillic was actually a better system for denoting the individual sounds of Persian. That's overlooking the political dimensions.

Somewhat similar to what happened when the original script of Persian (whose name escapes me) was supplanted by the Arabic script. Arabic script was a vast improvement over an ancient script that no one has ever considered anything but unwieldy.