Intangible Cultural Heritage of Asia and the Pacific

ICH inventory making expedition © Alisher Navoi Institute of Language and Literature

Alisher Navoi Institute of Language and Literature

Aliisher Navoi Institute of Language and Literature of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan was formed in 1934 based on the Philology Department of the Scientific Research Institute for Cultural Transformation (1931—1933).

The institute’s main scope of activities includes the following:

  • Conducting research covering such areas as folklore studies, history of Uzbek literature, literature of the twentieth century, contemporary literary processes, theory of literature (theory of translation and literary connections), and Uzbek language (history of Uzbek language, dialectology, terminology, lexicography, and contemporary Uzbek language)
  • Publishing multi-volume and single-volume dictionaries (i.e. explanatory, orthographical, and foreign language) as well as examples of Uzbek folklore
  • Developing manuals and textbooks of Uzbek language and literature for secondary and higher educational institutions.

During its more than seventy years of operation, the institute has become the center and coordinating body for the scientific study of folklore, literature studies, and linguistics. And it has contributed to developing the basics of folklore studies, literature studies, and linguistics in Uzbekistan.

Notably, the institute has priceless examples of Uzbek folklore that were recorded from folk storytellers. These records cover the period from 1926 to the present. Along with the restoration of archive records, the institute uses them frequently as original sources for developing new publications (books and monographs). For example, based on archive documents and records, examples of ‘Uzbek Folk Art’ have been published in thirty-seven volumes, including Gorogli Dostonlari (Dastans of Gorogli), Ozbek Halq Maqolalari (National Proverbs of Uzbekistan), and Navruz Qoshiqlari (Navruz Songs). Also thanks to the archive materials, a monograph called Navruz Bayrami (Navruz Festivity) was compiled to explore the history and the present state of affairs of this centuries-long tradition.

The institute achieved significant results in a study of Uzbek folklore (publishing heroic epics, folk tales, proverbs and sayings, etc.) and recently started developing a fifteen-volume History of Uzbek Literature and Folklore, which traces the evolution of Uzbek literature and folklore from ancient times to today.

Throughout last two decades, the specialists of the institute conducted studies on phonetics and grammar, lexicology and lexicography, terminology and onomastics, and graphics and orthography and introduced the results of their work (in the form of more than thirty books) to a wide readership, including linguists, researchers, students, and teachers. Parallel work conducted at the institute has served as the basis for establishing and implementing state policy in the field of culture and promoting study of history and literary traditions of Uzbekistan.

Since gaining national independence, studying Uzbek folklore, literature, and linguistics at the institute has regained momentum: uncovered or little explored features of Uzbek literature have been comprehensively studied and the lives and activities of prominent Sufi literature members, such as Yassaviy, Bakirgani, Mashrab, Khuvaydo, and Sufi Allayar have been introduced to general readership. In addition, studies were conducted on the creative activities of poet-rulers such as Husseyn Bayqara, Ubaydi, Feruz, and Umarkhan, resulting in publication of complete sets of their poems.

Thanks to the research and new approach to the study of works by Alisher Navoi, the founder of Uzbek literature, the institute published Complete Collection of Works of Alisher Navoi in twenty volumes from 1987 to 2004. Later, based on the first publications a ten-volume of Complete Works was published.

Since 2012, the linguists of the institute have been conducting studies on the development of vocabulary and terminology of the Uzbek language, of concise explanatory dictionary, and of social and political terms. In addition, phraseological dictionaries for the works of Alisher Navoi and orthographical dictionaries of toponyms of Uzbekistan have also been published.

Studies conducted at the institute also serve as the basis for creating textbooks and teaching aids for secondary and higher education. So far, the institute’s specialists have authored books and readers such as Literature for Fifth to Eleventh Grades, Theory of Literature, Uzbek Literature of the Twentieth Century, Uzbek Folk Poetry, Uzbek Language, Introduction to Folklore Studies, Essentials of Folklore Studies, and Reader of Uzbek Folk Poetry.

At present, the institute undertakes studies on fundamental programs (four themes), state scientific and technical programs (two themes), innovative programs (one theme) and young scholars programs (one theme) The institute also has links with scientific and educational centers of Germany, Japan, Korea, the United States of America, Russia, Slovakia, Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. Thanks to the fruitful cooperation several joint monographs and collections, academic works, and translations of works have already been published, which includes brightest examples of Uzbek literature and folklore and dastans, such as Alpamysh, Nurali Batir.

The institute has its own journal named Ozbek Tili va Adabiyoti (Uzbek Language and Literature), which has been published six times per year since 1957. The authors of the journal articles represent leading linguists, literary critics, and folklore experts of Uzbekistan and foreign scholars.