Kazak Contacts with Imperial Russia: Linguistic Data from the 18th Century

Talant Mawkanuli (University of Washington)

This paper provides an overview of the corpus of historical Kazak language data gleaned from interactions with the Russian Empire, and evaluates its relevance for studying historical and present-day Kazak. This body of archival materials represents one of the major sources of linguistic data available from the Kazak Steppe in the 18th century, and is therefore vital to research on the phonology and morphosyntax of the Kazak language in both diachronic and synchronic perspectives. The data reveal broad and highly variable use of loan words and structures in the Kazak language, thus highlighting its extensive contact with its neighbors. Examples from the language data will illustrate how these sources can be used to investigate historical language contact, regional and social variation, and change over time. This paper seeks to contextualize the scope and nature of the corpus, to provide an overview of the contents of the linguistic data, and offer background on the ongoing linguistic analysis research project and its future directions.