The first ever Chagatai language textbook published in Europe


The first ever Chagatai language textbook published in Europe

In 1867 Vámbéry prepared the first ever Chaghatay textbook published in Europe that quickly became an acknowledged reference work on the topic and greatly shaped Chaghatay studies in the West for a long time.

The first ever Chagatai language textbook published in Europe

The pioneering volume entitled Ćagataische Sprachstudien (“Chaghatay Language Studies”) was meant as an introductory course for beginners in the field. It consists of an introductory chapter on Chaghatay, a short grammatical description, an introductory chapter on the Chaghatay texts included in the volume, excerpts from these texts, and a short Chaghatay–German vocabulary. 

As the contents of the book indicate the term Chaghatay was used by Vámbéry in a very wide sense meaning both the language of classical literary texts and the spoken dialects of the three Uzbek khanates, Khiva, Bukhara and Kokand. This conviction is reflected by the texts Vámbéry selected, mainly from the manuscripts he brought from Central Asia, as the volume contains excerpts from a wide range of texts: classical poetry by Navāyī, selections from religious and medical texts and passages from Uzbek folk epics. 

Though Vámbéry’s scholarly attention turned mainly towards the origin of the Hungarian nation and its language in the 1870s and 1880s, he never ceased to be interested in the textual traditions of the Central Asian regions he visited.

You can learn more about the topic in the book-album "The Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan in the Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences" (Volume XLII) in the series "The Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan".

The general sponsor of the project is the oilfield services company Eriell-Group.