Reviews

Concise grammatical sketches usually come in handy, even if, like in the present case, no linguist would probably find any information in them previously unknown or unavailable to him, nor any student of the language would barter them for didactic textbooks.  That is to say, Ido Shinji’s Tajik grammar does not really add to our understanding of the language—contrary to his book on Bukharan Tajik, see my review below.  As a matter of fact, most of the description (like, actually, the linguistic approach itself) accords almost perfectly with that of the short sketch published by Rastorgueva in 1954, which appeared in English translation for the first time in 1963 and has been reprinted at least once since.  Hence, the author confines himself almost completely to the normative written language and does not indeed attempt to provide the reader with either a challenging description of the verbal system, comparative dialectal data (no information on southern dialects is provided) or hints on recent trends in language use.  The volume opens with basic sociolinguistic information, with a section on the history of the script (for which matter, the author has relied on J. Perry’s article in Central Asian Studies 1997: 1-18, but has obviously ignored L. Rzehak’s Vom Persischen zum Tadschikischen, 2001).  This is followed by a very sketchy chapter on phonology, which focuses mainly on orthography and does not address questions related to the existence of separate phonological systems among the different varieties of Tajik.  The chapter two on morphology makes up the most part of the book (pp. 17-78) and follows a rather conventional description of the language.  Significantly enough, many examples in this chapter and in the following one are borrowed from Arzumanov and Sanginov’s textbook (Zaboni tojiki, 1988).  The much shorter chapter four on syntax concentrates on subordination and explores some of the variations between the standard constructions and those of other northern varieties.  All examples are given in Cyrillic script, with morphemic analysis and translation.  The book ends with a substantial bibliography.  The above mentioned reservations about a lack of innovative approach notwithstanding, the present volume is undeniably a serious and much dependable work, which newcomers to (eastern) Persian studies will certainly find helpful having at hand.

François Ömer Akakça, Humboldt University, Berlin
CER: I-6.2.B-533