I was thinking about the almighty pincer-frog and browsing some Turkic dictionaries when I happened upon the word “leňňeç”, which apparently in Turkmenistan refers either to a crab or a lobster. Its obvious cognate in Turkey (yengeç) and Azerbaijan (yengəc) refers only to a crab.

More noteworthy, however, is the phonology of the word. Where did that “l” come from? Seemingly from the same place as the one in “lades” (I have heard some Kurds in Turkey say “yadest”). Is there some cosmic “l” balance the Turks are trying to maintain? Are they doing this to compensate for the loss of the “l” (replaced by /ʕ/) during the Arabification of the Persian “لشكر” (lashkar, which you know as the Arabic “عسكر”)

This phonological change is more troubling due to its lack of regularity. Nişanyan states that “yengeç” is from the root yan- (to echo), which is fronted in a similar way to “yeni” (ancestrally “yañı”, just as the noun “echo” in Turkmenistan is “ýaň”). But why was “crab” fronted while “echo” was not? Why was “new” fronted in Turkey and Azerbaijan but not in Turkmenistan? And why the initial “l” in “crab” but not in “echo”? Why not “laň”? The world will never know.

What the world will know, right now, is that the TDK gives us shellfish when we ask for “new” in Turkmen, Uyghur and Russian (as I have previously mentioned, in Turkmenistan a Persian word is used for “new”):


It appears to be all the “ye” words, such as “yenge” giving us the cognate (in Turkmen and Uyghur, in Russian we get the translation) of “yen”, which means “sleeve”, not a kind of aunt:


And if we search for “yen”:


We get fruit (in Turkmen, Uyghur and Russian)! And when we look up “yemiş”… Let me assure you, this continues for a while. Apparently all of the “ye”s on the TDK’s “Dictionary of Turkic Dialects” are broken.

Dear TDK: Stop sucking at your only job.