Why learn Uyghur?
- To support the Uyghur people. Learning a different language is a way to share in the culture of the people who speak it. It is one of the best ways to break down the fear and stereotypes that result from ignorance. With the Uyghur name most commonly being associated with terrorists since 2001, it is a timely decision.
- To directly stand by your belief in the value of linguistic diversity. Even in Xinjiang, Uyghur schools full of Uyghur children are increasingly teaching directly in Han Chinese (Mandarin). Uyghur people are learning their own language as if it was a foreign one. Even Xinjiang University now teaches all its courses in Han Chinese. There are some ten million Uyghur speakers and it is unlikely to become extinct in our lifetime, but if the treatment and attitude towards it continue, it may well become endangered.
- To get an edge over your fellow polyglots. If you can speak Uyghur you will be able to quickly learn several related languages of central Asia. These languages are rarely spoken in the Western world and will definitely "value-add" in a global job-market more than French or Spanish!
Why is this Wikibook necessary? The only resources that exist to learn Uyghur in English are:
- An Uyghur-English Dictionary by Henry Shwarz (1992 - no Arabic script)
- Spoken Uyghur by Reinhard Hahn (1991)
- Lonely Planet Central Asia Phrasebookby Justin Jon Rudelson (1998)
It's pretty unbelievable that the most recent book to learn Uyghur is a travel phrasebook that is not even solely focused on Uyghur... and it's almost a decade old!
There are more substantial resources available in Chinese and even Russian to learn Uyghur. But for English? Nada. Creating and using this Wikibook is a great opportunity to encourage more people to learn Uyghur (or just learn about it). Because Wikibooks is available under the GNU Free Documentation License, it can easily be copied and distributed (for free, a nominal cost, or whatever you want to charge!) without worry about breaking copyright.