Frame 4b. Byzantium-Istanbul: Linguistic codes in Istanbul after 1453

Aims 1, 2 and 3

Professor Eva Csato Johanson, Uppsala University, Department of Linguistics and Philology; Professor Lars Johanson, Universität Mainz, Department of Oriental Studies; Professor Claudia Römer, Universität Wien, Department of Oriental Studies; Dr. Heidi Stein, Universität Mainz, Sonderforschungsbereich 295, Kulturelle und Sprachliche Kontakte. Prozesse des Wandels in historischen Spannungsfeldern Nordostafrikas/Westasiens; Professor Bernt Brendemoen, Universitetet i Oslo, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages; Johan Heldt, Uppsala University, Department of Linguistics and Philology.


•to describe the relation of Istanbul to the cultural parameters language and identity
•to use of vatious documentary sources to analyse the linguistic and cultural structure of the capital
•to provide new materials on the topic
•to describe the roles of the languages of the minorities and their religious orientation
Benefit of achieved aim

•to highlight cognitive aspects of the linguistic and cultural organization of the city
•to describe communicative structures that kept the city and the identity of its population together
•to model ecological aspects of a multilingual urban environment

Scope of study
The chronological frame comprises the period 1453-1850. The focus in the first project period is on the situation 1453-1700. Geographical setting: the city of Istanbul with comparisons with the situation in other cultural centres, such as the urban centre Isfahan and the urban centres of Mamluk Kipchak rule (Syria, Egypt).

Intellectual background – previous research
There is a comprehensive literature dealing with role of history, languages and religion in the Ottoman capital. Some of the outstanding Turcologists engaging in this discussion are Andreas Tietze, György Hazai, Walter Björkman (Uppsala). The participants of this project have also made substantial contributions to this discussion and are interested in creating a synthesis of the findings and developing ideas to be addressed in subsequent research.

Linguistic and philological methods as applied in Turkic studies.

Written sources, to a great extent existing in the libraries in Uppsala, Vienna and Istanbul, especially so-called transcription texts in non-Arabic scripts.

Expected results
A chapter to be included in the book The Urban Mind. Cultural and Environmental Dynamics. The chapter will deal with all the aspects indicated above and define fruitful topics for further research. The main issues will include study of the cognitive dimensions of various parts of the population, both the predominant part of the ruling groups and linguistic subcultures, also from a sociolinguistic perspective. The lower sociolects of Turkish and the role of minority languages partly mirrored in sources such as transcription texts reflecting spoken language and written by Europeans will be investigated. The linguistic minorities who also mastered Turkish include Greeks, Armenians, Jews, different sociolinguistic levels.

In cooperation with the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, a symposium will be held in Istanbul in 2009 on the evidence of transcription texts. A proceedings of the symposium will be edited and maybe published during this project period. (Contacts have also been established with the Orient Institute of the German Oriental Society.)