ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS
THE ZAZA PEOPLE:
HISTORY, LANGUAGE, CULTURE, IDENTITY
October 28-30, 2011
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ZAZA STUDIES,
In commemoration of the 155th anniversary of the great German-Armenian scholar, pioneer of the Zaza Studies, Academician FRIEDRICH CARL ANDREAS (BAGRATOUNI) (1846-1930)
In the Framework of the Celebration of its 15-th Anniversary, the International Journal Iran and the Caucasus (BRILL, Leiden-Boston), in cooperation with Modus Vivendi Center, Yerevan; Caucasian Centre for Iranian Studies, Yerevan; International Society for the Study of Turkey, Iran and the Caucasus (ISSTIC), and ARMACAD, is organising a Conference “The Zaza People: Language, Culture, Identity” (supported by Hyksos Foundation).
Religion, Social Anthropology, Culture
Tereza Amryan (Armenia)
Some Parallels of the Alevi Zaza Religion and Other Non-Dogmatic Systems of the Region
The fact that most of the heterodox religious groups of the region share specific common features seems to become a locus communis in the academic scholarship. However, multiple striking parallels in some of the mentioned religious systems, particularly those concerning folk beliefs and the so-called characters of the folk pantheons, have never been in the focus of a general analysis. The paper tries to trace some of those common clichés, elements of Weltanschauung, as well as parallels in popular traditions (patron-deities, saints, etc.), which are attested in the religious systems and folk beliefs of the Alevi-Zazas, the Yezidis and the Ahl-i Haqq.
Nadire Güntaş Aldatmaz (Turkey)
The System of Folk Beliefs among the Dersim Population
The paper based exclusively on the author’s field materials collected in the rural area of Dersim region (from people over 80 years old), focuses on the unique folk beliefs of the Zaza people. The aim of the research is to demonstrate those specific features of the Zaza folk beliefs, which cannot be found in other traditions and represent the authentic culture typical to the region.
Raisa Amirbekyan (Armenia)
The Zaza Weaving Tradition as a Phenomenon of the Iranian – Mesopotamian – Caucasian Cultural Contact Zone (Preliminary Analysis)
The Zaza people have a long and distinguished applied arts tradition. In their mostly mountainous homeland, the Zazas have employed a colourful repertoire of traditional motifs in the rugs, bags, and covers that accompanied their everyday life through history. The Zazas’ homeland borders a number of modern political entities: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, the countries of the Caucasus, and Syria. This ethnos is justifiably proud of its rich oral literature—poems, tales, songs, proverbs and legends, many of which have achieved popularity among other peoples of the region. The paper aims at the preliminary overview and analysis of the Zaza weaving tradition’s phenomenon on the background of the cultural contact zone concept, using the materials from public and private collections of Europe and America.
Victoria Arakelova (Armenia) and Christine Grigorian (Armenia)
The Halvory Vank: An Armenian Monastery and Zaza Sanctuary
Among the Armenian monasteries, churches and sacred places worshipped also by Zazas, the Halvori Vank seems to be the most popular. Through the centuries, this monastery has been famous in the region as one of the main pilgrimage centres and a healing shrine, where people used to bring diseased in body and mind. Today, despite the absence of the Armenian population in Central Anatolia, even the ruins of the Halvori Vank have almost the same significance for the local population. Another illustrative argument of its sacredness is the fact that, among the elder generation it is still forbidden to take its name in vain. The paper is an attempt to generalize information on this phenomenon; the analysis being based on multiple historical sources, including those marginal and not available to wide academic audience – notes of travellers, scholars and local Armenian intellectuals primarily of the 19th century.
Garik Grigorian (Armenia)
Pre-Islamic Elements in the Alevi Zaza Religion
The religion of the Alevi Zazas has always attracted the attention of researchers. Being non-dogmatic, the Zaza syncretic religious system has absorbed a lot of non-Islamic elements. They are not homogenous and seem to have different background. There is rather sensible presence of the Armenian substratum in the religion of Zazas, and it can be explained by the many-century neighbourhood, as well as by the evidence that some Armenians have been assimilated in the Zaza milieu.
Besides, many travellers and experts in the field have attested a number of old Iranian elements in the Zaza folklore, which are the main topic of my presentation. The paper also examines the folklore of some other Iranian ethnic groups, particularly Mazandaranis, Gilanis and Gurans, who, despite a vast territory lying between these ethnic groups, share certain common elements.
Johnny Cheung (The Netherlands)
The Zazaki Verbal System vis-à-vis Kurdish and the Other Neighbouring Languages
Despite the fact that Zazaki has been in close contact with Kurdish for centuries, the Zazaki grammar shows many unique features that set it apart from this more dominant language. This can be observed in for instance in the verbal morphology. To quote a well known feature: the Zazaki present is constructed with a suffix in -en-: (North.) k-en-une ‘I do, make’, k-en-a ‘you do, make’, etc. In contrast, Kurdish has a construction de-ke-m , de-ke-y , etc. consisting of a pres. marker de-, pres. stem ke- and the pers. ending, that is similar to Persian mí-kon-am, mí-kon-i, etc. As already stated by Henning long ago (Henning, TPS1954: 175; Paul, Proceedings SIE 1998: 172 f.), this en-suffix may derive from the pres. participle in *-ant-. The use of such a present suffix would also be attested in Taleshi, ancient Azari, some Semnani and Caspian dialects, including Gorani (cf. Paul, l.c.). More verbal features or isoglosses will be presented here that would connect Zazaki to these North Western dialects more closely.
Adriano Rossi (Italy)
Once again on Iranian *kund
When in 2000-2001 I wrote my study on Middle Iranian gund [= Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 26 (2002), pp. 140-171], I did not know that Garnik Asatrian and Victoria Arakelova were treating a connected issue in the 5th volume of Iran & the Caucasus [2001, pp. 201-206]. The two articles complement each other, because I decided to leave out of my study (and from my subsequent one on Pahl.kundāg, Fst F. Pennacchietti, 2006) the series ‘blunt, obtuse, foolish’ of Prs. kond, Taj. kund etc., leaving open the question of its belonging to the main series of Prs. kond, konde ‘stump’ (also in modern Arm. dialects), and Prs. gond‘testicle’ and gonde ‘lump of dough/meat’.
Asatrian and Arakelova, on their part, started from an alleged hapax in late classic Armenian (Oskipcorik) kund, a clear Iranian borrowing meaning ‘sorceress’, and investigated on four homonymouskund-forms, among which still in usage in Arm. dialects seems to be kund ‘sluggish’, while kund ‘bald’, attested in the Bible translations, is continued in modern Armenian in some denominative formations. Their conclusion is that, since “Iranian kund(-) has no convincing etymology”, a phonosymbolic interpretation may be suggested, hinting at the pattern kV(n)d/t, g(γ)V(n/m)d/t.
In the present paper the author – not excluding a possible pressure of phonosymbolic structures on the whole lexical family or some members of it – will argue that (1) some forms and meanings are also represented in languages from surrounding areas and different families (Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Afroasiatic, especially gund ‘stump’), with the original/core meaning being ‘globular, circular’; (2) while there are many inexplicable alternances of g°/k°, *gund represents basically the globular/circular meanings, and *kund the ‘stump’ ones; (3) some meanings are restricted to Iranian alone; (4) the group ‘blunt, sluggish, defective’ (present in Iranian, Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) could be a separate development.
Mesut Keskin (Germany)
Notes on Zaza-Armenian Language Contact
Although there can be found many aspects of comonness between Zazas and Armenians which is to reduce to the direct neighbourly contact along the centuries, very few researches on this subject have been done yet. Languages are one of the most concrete evidence for mirroring these contacts. Apart from that Armenian somehow has a huge of Iranian (mostly Parthian) superstrate of loanwords, in Zazaki, especially on the Nothern Dialect (Dersim, Erzincan, Varto etc.), the Armenian influence is obvious already by a superficial look. Besides, the high amount of Armenian loanwords in Zazaki especially in the agricultural domain, the influence on the most Nothern-Zaza vernaculars (especially Dersim) is also visible at the phonem inventory, as observed in the presence of alveolar affricates [tsh], [ts] and [dz] which led to renewal in phonology in the occurence of the post-alveolar sibilants [ʃ], [ʒ], [tʃh], [tʃ] and [dʒ] as complementary distributed allophones, as well as existence of aspirated and unaspirated pairs of the voiceless plosives /č, k, p, t/ like in Armenian and Georgian and last but not least the syntactical position of the separable preverbs in Zazaki comapared with Armenian negation copula, which behave in both languages prepositional i.e. preceding the verbal or noun phrase.
Ardashir Zolfaghari (Iran)
Kurdish, Zazaki and Awromani
The paper is an attempt of the linguistic evaluation of the relations between Kurdish, Zazaki and Awromani. I argue that judging by all the main linguistic parameters and criteria, Kurdish, Zazaki and Awromani are separate languages; Zazaki and Awromani being closer to each other.
Bläsing Uwe (The Netherlands)
An Enigmatic Name for Wild Pears in Zazaki
Anatolia and the southern Caucasian area are famous for their richness of pears. Therefore, hundreds of names are to be found. In the conference paper, a pear name prominent in Zazaki and its distribution in some of the surrounding languages will be discussed under etymological considerations.
Memet Ali Demirdağ (Turkey)
Zazaki – the Language in Danger: Socioliguistic Approach
According to available written resources, Zazas are living in their current territory approximately for 700-800 years. Their basic income is based on agriculture and livestock. This way of living also affects their language seriously. Zazaki has been for centuries developed in this problematic geography and gained its certain current characteristics. Unfortunately, the natural development of Zazaki stopped in the midst of 20th century. Due to losing of resistance points Zazaki is facing the danger of extinction. When we took written resources into consideration it can be seen that Zazaki, a North-Western Iranian language, especially during the last two centuries, has been influenced, culturally and linguistically, Kurmanjes, Armenians and Turks.
In this work it will try to explain the position of Zazaki in the historical context, with regard to relations with these three languages by means of sociolinguistic concepts and theoretical framework. On the other side, the Zazaki dialects and local variants will be discussed, taking into consideration religious and cultural diversities.
Vardan Voskanian (Armenia)
A Note on Zazaki “Partridge”
The present contribution will focus on the discussion of an exclusive lexical isogloss between Zazaki and other Northwestern Iranian languages of the so-called Caspian group. Despite its present-day geographical remoteness, the Zazaki shares a considerable number of important lexical isoglosses mainly common for the Iranian languages spread on the Caspian shores and the neighbouring areas. This fact, parallel with other linguistic evidences, once again comes to prove the Daylamite origins of the Zazaki.
Nazmi Çiçek (Turkey)
The Effect of Turkish as Official Language on Bilingualism in the Village of Êxê Bulgurcuk
Êxê ( the official name is Bulgurcuk) is a village with 300 dwellings in (locally called) Oxi region in Karakoçan district of Elazig Province (east of Turkey). The village has a population of about 1500. The residents of the village speak both Kurmanci and Zaza. Yet, multilingualism experience of the village has not been always limited to Kurmanci and Zaza only. About 100 years, Armenian was also spoken in this place, since the village was also populated by Armenians. However, despite this rich experience of multilingualism, today the multilingual life of residents is changing dramatically. Among new generations in Êxê, the role of Turkish is constantly growing, not only because it is the official language in Turkey, but also because it is the language of education in school and the language of daily economical relations in vicinity towns and cities. As a result of this situation, the new generation of Êxê is gradually losing Zazaki. In this paper, I will try to discuss the prevalence of Turkish, particularly among the new generation, as well as its influences on multilingualism in Êxê. The main point to be focused son, is the change in rates of speaking Kurmanci and Zazaki among the new-generation Zazas of village.
Bilal Zilan (Turkey)
The Work on Standartization of the Vate Group. Çalışma Grubu’nun Standartlaşma Çalışmaları
The paper presents the project of a group of intellectuals (the Vate group), initiated in 1996, on the standardization of the Zaza language. The article examines the methods of the works on standardization, linguistic norms, word-formation, etc. One of the main accents of the work is made on the written standards of the Zazaki.
Adnan Oktay (Turkey)
Melaye Ehmede Xasi’s Mevlid: One of the Zaza Books’ Evaluation with the Techniques Of Classic Literature
Melayê Ehmedê Xasî is one of the pioneers of the Zaza literature. The paper focuses on Ehmedê Xasî’sMevlid, one of the earliest works in Zaza. The work will be examined in terms of techniques of classical literature and its literary value. We will discuss such concepts as Mevlid’s world of thought and imagination, the literary art, poetic features and the verse. Besides, the relationship of Melayê Ehmedê Xasî with the Islamic Classical Literature will be revealed.
Nezvat Anuk (Turkey)
The Chronological Analysis of Zazaki Tales
The main purpose of this study is to give a panorama of the works on Zazaki (Kirdkî) tales, which constitute an important part of the oral literature in Zazaki. Zazaki tales have been subject of various academic studies. My paper concentrates on multiple written tales; it is an attempt of classification of the Zazaki tales, from the first fixed texts to our time. It will be based on the journals and books containing Zazaki tales, as well as on the academic researches related to the subject. My aim is to give a wide overview of the published tales in the light of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic debates.
Lorin Demirel (Turkey)
The Genre of Novel in the Zaza Literature
The paper is an attempt to trace the development of the genre of novel in Zazaki, its main concepts, trends and its place in the modern Zaza literature.
Ahmet Kirkan (Turkey)
Osman Efendi from Siverek and his poem on Mewlidi“BİYİŞE PEXEMBERİ”
Mewlit (lit. “birth, coming to life”), the term referring to the birth of prophet Mohammad, denotes the celebration of this particular event as well as some other significant fests and rituals in the Muslim calendar. The same term is applied to a literary genre – that of long poems written in the mesnevi form and praising prophet Mohammad’s birth, life, etc. The recitations of the Mewlits have become an essential part of the above mentioned celebrations among many people of the region.
The paper discusses the significance of the Mewlids for the development of literature in Zazaki. The Mewlids were among the first literary works written by the Zaza intellectuals themselves and published in Zazaki. The paper analyses several Mewlidi works, written by different authors.