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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2012, Issue 217


Untying the tongue-tied: Ethnocide and language politics

Uğur Ümit Üngör,
Published Online: 2012-09-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0052


This article addresses Young Turk language policy towards Kurdish in the interwar period. It argues that most Young Turk nationalists treated Turkey's Kurdish minority as assimilable raw ethnic material, as a result of which Kurds became the object of large-scale cultural and linguistic policies aimed at “Turkification”. This article charts how these language policies infringed upon Kurdish life. It will (a) briefly introduce the Young Turk cultural revolution of 1913–1950, (b) discuss how the Young Turk dictatorship perceived the Turkish language as a vehicle for cultural assimilation, and (c) provide a detailed account of one example of a boarding school for Kurdish children. It concludes that there is evidence that a policy of cultural genocide against Kurds was implemented but relativizes its impact by discussing the Kurds' ambivalent reception of those policies.

Keywords: cultural genocide; language policy; Kurds; Turkification

About the article

Published Online: 2012-09-14

Published in Print: 2012-09-13

Citation Information: , Volume 2012, Issue 217, Pages 127–150, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2012-0052.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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