Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Turkotek and Ethnicity

A Non-verbal Linguistic Approach to Ethnicity

On Turkotek Richard Larkin raised an interesting question when he wrote: "For example, the competing claims of "Turkomans" and "Anatolians" are asserted, as though each of those groups were monolithic blocks that we fully understand, like chocolate and vanilla. But really, what do we mean in this context by "Turkomans?" What Turkomans, and when?"

What a great question. I use a different system then most people but being alone does not bother me and my system works. Language defines ethnicity. So if we want to know what group wove a type of rugs we go to the milk language of the weaver. Without getting overly complicated Kurdish weavers weave Kurdish rugs. (apologies to Michael Wendorf) and Tekke weavers wove Tekke rugs. When we want to define Turkish rugs we look to the people to narrow down the possible weaving groups. That is why I put together People of (Asian) Turkey by Language. we have 22 ethnic groups in 6 major language groups and two ethnic groups ethnically cleansed in the Massacres and deportations.

3 Afro-Asiatic languages making up less than 1% of the population.

9 Altaic languages making up 88% of the population. 88%.

2 Indo-European languages making up less than 1% of the population.

3 North Caucasian languages making up less than 1% of the population.

2 Kartvelian languages making up less than 1% of the population.

3 Kurdish languages making up 10% of the population.

Formerly about 10% of the population of Asian Turkey was Armenian and about 4% were Greek.

All appreciable quantities of Turkish rugs from Asian Turkey have to be attributed to one of these groups. There were no other significant groups.

I have proposed that Turkish be recodified as a derivative language of Turkmen. Specifically that Turkish descends from what I proposed to be called Ohguz Seljuk and that it be grouped with similar languages such as Turkmen and Northern and Southern Azeri. By the way I have also proposed that Northern and Southern Azerbaijani be renamed Northern and Southern Azeri. Supposedly this is going to be published this year but I am not holding my breath Still I hope to see it out soon. I am basing my conclusions on what I call Non-verbal linguistics. Only now are we seeing that language is more than sounds with meaning. I propose that structure and pattern contain a non-verbal element of language. For instance for us to know that a Kurdish rug is Kurdish by looking at the structure and pattern then the weaver has woven in a way that indicates the language of the weaver. Therefor the weaving is a form of non-verbal language. More later, it is a work night.

Comments on Steve Price on Turkotek

I am getting a kick out of the discussion in Hajji Baba 75th Anniversary. by Patrick Weiler > Central Asian fragment. They picked up on a story I told below on how Harold Keshishian acquired the fragment in question and Ulrich Schurmann acquired another section of the same carpet. Well they got going and they almost had me believing the pieces were from two different carpets. Then Steve Price began comparing elems from opposing ends of the same carpet and I realized what he was getting at. In one case in particular I would not have thought that the two ends were from different rugs. I know some people feel it is a sign of their own erudition to knock Turkotek but at times it is a crackling good read and Steve Price is a big part of it.
I had a chance to drive
Harold up to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore Sunday morning and we discussed the fragment that he bought from Asadorian's. Harold insisted that his piece and Schurmann's were from the same carpet. I asked Harold about the two other fragments from the same carpet. Since there was no attractive way to attach the two to the fragment in the show Harold ended up attaching the two together and he gave the joined piece to McCoy Jones. I wonder if they are published?
I also see that Jim Allen noticed that I was talking about him and added the Azerbaijan carpet, South Caucasus/Northwest Persia Circa 1800 Sotheby's lot 22 into his thread on his yellow ground carpet. Jim has a different way of thinking and processing data than most people. Rather than a linear process Jim's process of discovery tends to take an iterative approach. Early in the process he will float an idea and then he writes it up, then later he revises it. His work gets stronger and stronger as the idea matures. It is good to see Jim on Turkotek since it gives him a forum to work out his ideas.