The beautiful language of West Yugur

It is estimated that there are 2600 people who speak the Turkic language of West Yugur in China. There are fifty-six official nationalities in China and Yugur is one of them. Yugurs are known to use three languages; West Yugur is used by people living west of Sunan. When you go to Minghua Distirict you will find that the language is used in the day to day interactions. This is the first language children learn even before they start school. Once they are enrolled in primary school they are taught Chinese as a secondary language. In the entire Yugur community Chinese is used as a secondary language. There is a considerable amount of Chinese influence in West Yugur. Since the dialect is unwritten, its speakers rely on Chinese as their written medium.

West Yugur is not spoken beyond the Yugur County because their compact language communities do not reside there. Therefore, you have to give up the usage of this dialect as a daily language out there. The kinship terms used are a mixture of four etymologies, that is Mongolic, Turkic, Tibetan and Chinese. There are some words that cannot be traced to a particular origin. The oldest and youngest generations use terms that are derived from Chinese. -(ï)ñ is a suffix that is automatically affixed to most of the kinship names. The suffix is used to express first and second person possessive. A good example of this is anañ which can be translated into ‘my mother’, ‘our mother’ or ‘your mother’. It is important for you to remember that the suffix can only be used with kinship terms. It is not meant to show possession but endearment.

When in West Yugur you will encounter people communicating in Chinese. Chinese has a lot of influences on the language. This can be seen in the number of loan words used by the natives. There are some words that are given a West Yugur pronunciation but a majority of them are just pronounced in Chinese. Tones are not used in West Yugur so the Chinese tone is usually disregarded when using loan words.

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