Geolinguistics, culture, and politics in the development and maintenance of Tajiki

William C. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The importance the Soviet government placed on language and language planning in the creation of identity and space with a view to the ultimate creation of a Soviet culture is here explored through the lens of geolinguistics. Linguists, poets, and politicians were organized to educate each ethnic group and to socialize them within communism. Using the country of Tajikistan as an example, a new language, Tajiki, was created and implemented throughout all education curricula. That this language was never fully embraced by the population shows the difficulty in political language planning as well as the resilience of language as a measure of cultural identity in the face of a government's effort to ultimately supplant it with the more acceptable "international" language of Russian. Given that the current government of Tajikistan is still made up of former Soviet officials, it comes as no surprise that it has continued to use literary Tajiki as one of the primary bases for Tajik culture as expressed in the Republic of Tajikistan. The effort expended on this creation, the continued allegiance to it, and the overall value of using language and geography as a lens for understanding culture will be explored in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-280
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Central asia
  • Cultural space
  • Geolinguistics
  • Language planning
  • Tajikistan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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