Abstracts of the reports of the consultants
First Panel Part A
Zaza History and Present of a Northwestern Iranian language from a linguistic perspective
Forthis North-western Iranian language, only discovered in the middle of the 19th century, the name „Zaza“ or „Zazaki“ has begun to become a common place. In my presentation I will deal with its research history, hypotheses on the genetic affinity, demarcation against other Kurdish dialects, the process of scriptualization and the problems with establishing a newsupra-dialect as a standard. „Zaza“ proves to be a current challenge for linguistics.
On the standardization efforts for a comprehensive literary language in Zazaki
Despite a scriptualization through culture magazines and books containing mostly folkloristic texts since the 1980’s in the diaspora and since the mid 1990’s in Turkey, Zazaki has not able to develop a standardized literary language. Only isolated dialectics of the three main dialects have been written down, many of which have already been characterized (Paul 1998a, Keskin 2009) however, some have hardly been scriptualized.
Understanding among the various dialects is better in spoken than in written language because the alphabetization in the mother language is not widespread and mostly confined to its own environment and dialect.
UNESCO has labelled Zazaki as an endangered language because it is only spoken in Turkey and to some extent also in the diaspora. In this subject to the repressive language policy of the state that seeks to replace it with Turkish. By now, as a consequence of compulsory education and the dissemination of the media even in secluded villages, most Zaza are bilingual and even multilingual in the diaspora.
Linguistic Landscape and Competing Language Ideologies in Iraqi Kurdistan
This talk is an overview of the current linguistic landscape of Iraqi Kurdistan defined by diverse language ideologies representing socio-political forces that compete for legitimacy in the process of nation building. The ideologies range from regional nationalism, pan- Kurdish nationalism, linguistic rights, and language internationalization/English. The Iraqi Kurdistan context offers an opportunity to consider how the complex interrelationships amongst linguistic, political, historical, and socio-cultural factors that crossnational borders impinge on language management. The talk attempts to illustrate how in the late-modernityera language management in general and officialization in particular is intertwined with issues of nation building, language diversity, language rights, party politics, discourse ofcross-border and interstate ethnonational identities, voices of diasporas, and new communication technologies.
First Panel Part B
Multimediashow - „My Journey Back Home“
Mehmet Emir lives in Vienna since 1981. His father was one of the first guest workers of the 'recruitment agreement' between Turkey and Austria in 1963. Since 1983 Mehmet Emir has been taking photographs every year at the same time in his small Kurdish village in Dersim. By now he has assembled over 20.000 photographs in his archive. Most photographs are black and white slides. Over the course of the last 10 years he has switched to digital photography. This slide show is a combination of black/white and slides and digital photographs. „Kurdish bards“. 1991 Emir began ethnographic research in the area of Dersim in association with the Institute for Folk Music of the University of Vienna. A selection of the musical pieces was released in 1998 with the record label „Extraplatte“. The main focus is on music sung in Zazaki. It contains talks with musicians whose songs deal with the genocide in Dersim. The multimedia show contains a selection from 30 years of photography, examples from Zaza-language and pieces of Zazaki music. Length: ca. 20 minutes.
Music as a factor of identity formation among minorities
Starting points for an applied ethnomusicology
Music can play a fundamental role among minorities regarding the identification with their 'own' community. Active production of music and singing as well as passive consumption of music can be an encouragement to learn anew the already forgotten minority language. Images of the own and the other, mediated via music, can play a role in that process. In any case the political framework exerts a great influence. I have been engaged in such processes in Austria for years and thus I would like to present examples taken from various minority communities, particularly from the Roma community. These shall serve as comparative material for similar processes in which applied ethnomusicology could be fruitful regarding Zazaki.
Dieter W. Halwachs
Models of linguistic education
Of the ca. 7.000 languages existing today only 5% (around 350) have an official status. Only 1% (70) are dominant languages, resulting from their exclusive or primary functionality inpublic-formal spheres at the state level. All other languages used on the territory of a state – whether without status, semi-official or those of officially recognized minorities – are dominated languages. To be competent in dominant languages is a precondition for participation in political and economic power, as well as the unrestricted access to the education system. This entails that communities of speakers of dominated languages are multilingual and under assimilationist pressure. A possible scenario is that they are forced to drop the dominated language in favor of the dominant one. The price minorities 'have to pay' for socioeconomic integration is very often sociocultural assimilation. The threat of the loss of language is a symptom of social change within a community of speakers, which is perceived as a loss of identity. This, in turn, generally leads to activities that seek to preserve cultural autonomy by means of the symbol of language. In the relevant literature such endeavors are labeled Reversing Language Shiftand Language Revitalisation. The presentation deals with strategies of preventing language change, as well as revitalisation measure on the basis of the vitality and functionality of dominated languages.
Zaza in Viennese Educational and Linguistic Biographies
A Sociolinguistic Contribution to Diaspora, Conflict and Belonging
One of the topics broadly discussed in recent social research is the belonging to a social, linguistic historically grown community: does such a belonging constitute a resource or rather pose an obstacle for education and social advancement, or even for transethnical and transnational dialogue?
What are particularly under examined, are questions regarding many of those groups that are smaller and more oppressed and prosecuted than others, or simply lesser known. Belonging to such a group often takes places in relative secrecy. Belonging and its refutation, as an obstacle or as a resource, are the topics of my talk. I will relate to linguistic and educational biographies having Middle and Eastern Anatolia as their starting point and whose life now centers around Vienna. Particular focus will be given to language and its transmission across generations on the one hand; on the other hand a central concern of mine is the importance of individual biographies for collective developments in Central Europe and the Middle East.
Models of linguistic education
In my presentation I want to give an overview of various school models of dealing with minority languages. Some US studies have elaborated on the advantages and disadvantages of the various models and in my presentation I will discuss those models regarding the linguistic situation of Zazaki speakers in Austria and Turkey.
Conference program is available here