UChicago Uzbek in the NYT!

CMES alumna Lydia Kiesling has written a glowing Letter of Recommendation for the Uzbek language, which she studied right here at the University of Chicago. Take a look at this defense of “less commonly taught languages,” and consider registering for the many Central Asian languages which we continue to offer here, including Uzbek!

To use Lydia’s own words:

“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler. Uzbek is the main inheritor of the Chagatai language, which with Persian was used in the great courts of Samarkand and Bukhara, Silk Road cities that have long represented the inscrutable East in foreign imagination. The history of Turkic languages is tied inextricably to the history of Islam, and thus with Arabic and Persian (both from different language families). Uzbek in particular is packed with Persian — important words like farzand (child) and jon (soul) and xudo (god) — and employs its commanding vowels; salom (‘‘hello’’) requires you to make the roof of your mouth high and round, unlike the flat ‘‘a’’ of the Arabic salaam. The plucking nasal ‘‘qa’’ and a gravelly ‘‘g’a’’ add a lovely burbling quality to rapid-fire Uzbek. It does warble.”