Reviews

Two tendencies can be observed in the ethnic development of peoples commonly denominated ‘Tatars’. On the first hand, since the early twentieth century intellectuals from Kazan, on the Volga River, have been promoting the concept of a trans-regional Tatar nation (natsiia). On the other hand, one can observe regional tendencies to strengthen territorial identities of the Tatars, like those of Crimean Tatars, of Siberian Tatars, etc. Each of these two visions presupposes the construction of a specific history and language (common or separate). In Western Siberia, Tatar-background ethnologists and historians have been endeavouring to formulate historical features of a Siberian Tatar people (sibirskotatarskii narod), notably through the history of Islamicisation and through the study of sacred places (astanas). In parallel linguists have been concentrating on the definition of a proper language distinct from the Tatar language of the Volga-Ural region. It is in this line that linguist Maksim Sagidullin has tried to standardise the language of Siberian Tatars. A first step in this work has been the description of phonetics and graphic (see his Fonetika i grafika sovremennogo sibirsko-tatarskogo iazyka [The Phonetics and Alphabet of Modern Siberian Tatar], Tiumen: Isker, 2008). The following stage of this task has been the collection of a specific lexicon. In this work, the author had several predecessors whose works are for long used by Russian specialists of Turkic studies, namely the first Russian-Tatar dictionary by Iosif Giganov and dialectological dictionary by Diliara Tumasheva (notably: Iosif Giganov, Grammatika tatarskogo iazyka, sochinennaia v Tobolskoi glavnoi shkole Iosifom Giganovym i mullami iurtovskimi svidetel’stvovannaia, St Petersburg, 1801; ibid., Slovar’ rossiisko-tatarskii, sobrannyi v Tobol’skom glavnom narodnom uchilishche uchitelem Tatarskogo iazyka sviashchennikom Iosifom Giganovym i mullami iurtovskimi svidetel’stvovannyi, St Petersburg, 1804; much more recently: D. G. Tumasheva, Slovar’ dialektov sibirskikh tatar, Kazan: KGU, 1992). However, the reviewed dictionary is the first one where an ‘independent’ Siberian Tatar language is represented.

Alfrid Bustanov, University of Amsterdam
CER: II-5.3.A-468