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Türkçe degil, Qırımtatarca!*

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Avatar for Izjaslaw.Katsumijovich.Naoki
7 months ago

*Not Turkish, Crimean Tatar!

Crimean Tatar flag

It is annoying as fuck how Turks are always haranguing me over my decision to learn Crimean Tatar. I love Crimean Tatars, they are my 4th favorite nation and I love the history of their people and decided to learn their language for this reason. But for years I've had to deal with scores of moronic Turks from Turkey bothering me about this. These fools are constantly trying to "suggest" I learn Turkish instead of Crimean Tatar, which I'm actually learning. They also rudely send me messages in Turkish after I write a comment or post in Crimean Tatar, on grounds that they think it's the "same language" when this has been proven wrong many times. Even so-called "Turkologists" from Turkey do this shit, and can't even refute actual citations I show them that prove Crimean Tatar is a completely different language. I've also had Russians say similar shit about me learning Belarusian, Mongolians in regards to me learning Kalmyk, and even Lithuanians in regards to me learning Old Prussian. Paraguayans sometimes say it about my Guarani efforts too but they usually stop and help me with Guarani when I make it clear I have absolutely no knowledge of or even interest in Spanish. But the Turks are still the worst and the most frequent when it comes to people harassing me over my linguistic preferences.

I'm sick of these Turks who always shove in my face the same tired arguments like "it's just (a dialect of) Turkish" (when Crimean Tatar isn't even in the same branch of Turkic), "it's 90% intelligible with Turkish" (similar to Spanish and Portuguese or Czech and Slovak but no one pressures speakers of one of those to learn/respond to the other instead), "I love Japan" (and I love Crimean Tatars so I want them approaching me, not Turks), "Turkish has more speakers" (do you think I fucking care about the number of speakers?), "I'm just trying to help" (if I encounter someone learning Japanese, I wouldn't "suggest" another Japonic language to learn nor would I try writing/responding to them in a different Japonic language), and "I have Crimean ancestry myself and I think they are the same" (literal centuries of actual Turkology proves you wrong). These people are in retrospect the main reason I have no interest in learning Turkish. Especially arrogant how they message me in Turkish after I make a post or comment in Crimean Tatar, expecting me to understand; the fact that I don't shows their claim of 90% intelligibility is bullshit too.

I have dozens of friends who are native or non-native speakers of Spanish and Portuguese or Czech and Slovak. According to Ethnologue the mutual intelligibility rate between the former pair is 89% and numerous Slavologists have proven that the intelligibility rate between the latter pair can be as high as 97%. Yet when one of my Czech friends or non-native Czech-speaking friends makes a post or comment in Czech or speaks Czech, no Slovaks would harangue them and demand that they learn Slovak nor do they arrogantly start messaging them in Slovak and expect them to understand; Slovak and Slovak-speaking friends of mine also don't experience any of this from Czechs. Similarly, when any of my Lusophone friends say or write something in Portuguese, no Hispanophone would arrogantly respond to it in Spanish nor degrade Portuguese as a mere "dialect of Spanish" as these Turks often do to me in regards to Crimean Tatar. Especially hypocritical given how the gap between Spanish and Portuguese (586 million speakers for Spanish and 274 million speakers for Portuguese; a difference of 312 million speakers) is MUCH greater than the gap between Turkish and Crimean Tatar (88 million speakers for Turkish and 540,000 speakers for Crimean Tatar for a difference of 87.46 million speakers).

Ottoman muhacirs from Bulgaria arriving in Anatolia in 1912; could possibly be Crimean Tatars from the Bulgarian side of Dobruca; image in Public Domain

And on this particular issue with idiot Turks trying to push their language on me in contrast to Crimean Tatar, it's just happened SO often that my tolerance has truly thinned. It also makes my blood boil because Turkey has the largest Crimean Tatar population in the world at an estimated 6 million of Crimean descent, more than every other Crimean Tatar population combined. But only about 2000 of these people can actually speak fluent and actual Crimean Tatar. What's the reason for this? The attitude of these Turks who pushed their language on Crimean Tatar muhacirs who fled to Turkey in the 18th and 19th Centuries (due to persecution in Crimea itself and subsequent expulsion from Dobruca where they were settled afterwards) as well as their descendants and forced them to assimilate into mainstream Oghuz Turkish society, causing them to lose their ancestral language because Turks on the whole call it a "dialect" of Turkish. To add insult to injury, on the language exchange site Tandem, where Crimean Tatar is actually listed as an option (and I've listed it on my profile as a language I'm actively learning), whenever I search for Crimean Tatar speakers, half the time what I find is just a Turk who listed the language on their profile as one they know fluently despite not knowing it at all, assuming it's merely a dialect (especially irritating given how rare Crimean Tatar speakers are to begin with).

Screenshot taken from Wikipedia article on Crimean Tatar

Admittedly, the Yalıboyu dialect of Crimean Tatar IS extremely close to Turkish as it's the one with the most Oghuz influence and developed in the parts of Crimea under direct Ottoman rule. But I speak a mixture of the Çöl and Tat dialects. And the former is the least similar to Turkish (and much closer to Nogay) while the latter is the de facto standard and in between Çöl and Yalıboyu but ultimately more Kypchak than Oghuz. There's also the issue of people confusing Crimean Tatar with the (Kazan) Tatar language. Even though those two are both Kypchak Turkic, Crimean Tatar is in the Ponto-Caspian sub-group and closer to Nogay, Karachay-Balkar, and Kumyk; Tatar is in the Uralo-Caspian sub-group and closer to Bashkir. There are vast and obvious lexical differences between both languages as well (e.g. "hello" in Crimean Tatar is "meraba" while in Tatar it's "исәнмесез"). Nevertheless, as annoying as the confusion between these 2 different Kypchak languages is, it's more tolerable than the constant stupidity of Turks assuming Crimean Tatar is the same as Turkish and audaciously expecting me to know Turkish.

Cuman statues in Kiskunhalas, Hungary, that I photographed in 2018

Sometimes I wish I went with Chuvash or Tuvan as my Turkic language (or chose to put more effort in Kyrgyz back in 2015) so that way the Turks would be forced to shut up since there's literally NO significant mutual intelligibility between these languages and Turkish and I've even considered Khakass for the same reason but at the end of the day the Crimean Tatars are the only Turkic nation I truly love. The Cumans come close but their language is extinct and the vast majority nowadays identify as Hungarian (my favorite nation overall and a language I speak MUCH better than Crimean Tatar) so the only thing about Cumans I want is their traditional clothing.

Nevertheless, certain people's need to jump in with their suggestions when nobody asked for it when it comes to learning languages is simply rude and inane. It shows their inability to respect personal decisions that don't have any impact on them, especially since my decision has zero connection to their own ethno-linguistic identity. Moreover, why shove your inefficacious suggestions when you weren't asked to give any? Why do you refuse to provide proper citation or proof on Crimean Tatar being the same as Turkish if that's what you believe, especially if I provide evidence to the contrary? Why write or speak to me in Turkish when I never wrote or spoke anything in Turkish to begin with?

My favorite word in Crimean Tatar, written in the Crimean Tatar Arabic alphabet: Qırımtatarlaştırılamağanlardansıñızmı?


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Avatar for Izjaslaw.Katsumijovich.Naoki
7 months ago
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