I was reading an article on Registan (which annoyed me by implying–in one paragraph–that nationalising natural resources was a “rightward” and “conservative” idea which indicated “the pendulum” “swinging back” from “semi-democracy”, all terms which I’m sure any political science professor would use to describe Mosaddeq), and came across in the links the website for Rakhat* (which has glorious etymological connections and a site in Russian, Chinese and English, with cute errors), which appears to be the premiere Kazakhstani chocolatier, so just there I’ve given you a great gift idea for the chocoholic** Inner Eurasian studies major in your life.

As you can see on that page, you have a section titled “жаңа” (jaña), which is obviously new products, but just above that is “жаңалықтар” (jañalıqtar), what could the distinction be? It’s “news”! This sort of thing is why I always insist that Kazakhstan is the Öztürkçe capital of the world. But it’s not just them! Indeed, many Turks appear to be trying to replace the Arabic خبر (which of course is still in use in all of these countries as well).

Chinese Türkistan: خەۋەر (xeber), يېڭىلىق (yëñiliq, apparently not in common use), ئاخبارات (axbarat!)

Kazakhstan: хабар (xabar) > жаңалықтар (jañalıqtar)

Kyrgyzstan: кабар (kabar) > жаңылыктар (cañılıktar)

Uzbekistan: xabar > yangilik

Turkmenistan: habar > täzelikler (both words are used on the same page here and here along with maGlumat and Ylymlar***. Note that “täze” is in fact the Persian word for “fresh”, but in Turkmenistan this has totally replaced the native Turkic word for “new”.)

Indeed, the trend is so strong that it appears that in several of these varieties the Arabic word is now used more in the names of sites which themselves offer “yañılık(lar)”. But tragically, Turkey and Azerbaijan seem to be totally dependent on the Arabic word. Inroads must be made for this word into the speech of the Oğuz Turks living West of the Caspian (or the Khazar Sea), and it appears they have already begun.

UPDATE: The Azerbaijani site “yenilik” to which I just linked covers the story that was being covered in the link that started all this madness about the word for “news”. Some dude in Kyrgyzstan is really not pleased with miniskirts. It is interesting that the Russian word for “skirt” is the preferred one in the speech of many Turks today (although “etek” appears in various forms with various meanings in dictionaries). I will avoid the obvious devushka humour and istead add something else about etymology. I cannot find evidence of other words to which “etek” might be related (the verb “et-“? the noun “et”?), according to “Russisches etymologisches Wörterbuch von Max Vasmer” the word is related to jupe (in use in various European languages) ultimately from the Arabic جبة:

So half of Eurasia is using an Arabic word for “skirt”. Deal with that.

*I love Rakhat’s slogan “Бізбен өмір де тәттірек!” (“Bizben ömir de tättirek!”)

**Doesn’t that etymology annoy you? Let’s start saying “chocolatic” instead.

***Why not Gylymlar if we have maGlumat? Inquiring minds would like to know.