Department of Turkic Philology

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Department of Turkic Philology © FAAS

The Head of the Department: Telitsin Nikolay N.

Languages taught:

  • Azerbaijani, Old Uighur, the Language of Orkhon-Yenisey Inscriptions, Osmanli, Old Osmanli, Turkish, Uzbek, Chagatai.


  • Comparative Grammar of Turkic Languages
  • Conventional Poetics of Ottoman Verse
  • Culture and Lifestyle of Ottoman Turks
  • Development of the Turkish Novel
  • Elements of Classical Turkic Poetics
  • Fundamentals of Functional Grammar of Turkic Languages (Morphology and Syntax)
  • Fundamentals of Ottoman Diplomacy
  • Grammar of Modern Turkish
  • Grammar of Old Turkic Languages,
  • History of Medieval Turkic Literature of Central Asia
  • Medieval Turkic Poetry of Central Asia
  • Medieval Turkish Literature
  • Modern Azerbaijani
  • Modern Kyrgyz
  • Modern Turkish
  • Modern Uzbek
  • Modern Turkish Literature
  • Old Ottoman Language (Phonology, Morphology, Syntax)
  • Old Turkic Languages
  • Old Uzbek (Chagatai)
  • Political and Cultural Relations between the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia in Modern Times
  • Russian-Turkish Translation
  • Spoken Turkish
  • Structure of Old Turkic Runic Writing
  • Theoretical Grammar of Turkish
  • Theory of Turkic Grammar with a Special Reference to the Language of Runic Writing
  • Turkish Language (Grammatical and Historical Analysis of Literary Samples).

The study of Turkic philology in Saint-Petersburg University can be traced back to 1822. Initially, it took the form of a Turkish (Ottoman) language course intermittently read at the Section of Oriental philology by O.I. Senkovsky, a prominent orientalist, journalist, and author. In 1835, the Department of Turkic Language was established, and Turkish was recognized as an official field of study. A.O. Mukhlinsky, who headed the department from 1839 until 1866, is credited with helping Turkic studies mature into an independent discipline. In 1855, following the inauguration of the Faculty of Oriental Languages, the newly formed Department of the Turkish-Tatar Language began offering courses in other Turkic languages and literatures, too.

From 1873, the Department was headed by V. D. Smirnov, the father of the Russian school of Ottoman studies, headed the Department. P. M. Melioransky, the founding father of Turkic linguistics, taught at the Department from 1894. Before the Faculty of Oriental Languages was abolished in 1919, the teaching staff at the Department of Turkic-Tatar philology had included distinguished scholars Prof. A. N. Samoylovich (from 1907) and Prof. P. A. Falev (from 1915). After the Faculty of Oriental Languages was re-established in 1944, the Department was headed by: Prof. N. K. Dmitriev, corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences (1944-1947); Prof. S. E. Malov (1947-1949), Academician A. N. Kononov (1949-1972), Prof. S. N. Ivanov (1972-1988), and Prof. Viktor G. Guzev, DrSc (Philology) (1988-2013). The acting head of the Department is Assoc. Prof. N. N. Telitsin, PhD (Philology).

Over the years, the name of the Department changed several times:

  • 1835-1855 — Department of the Turkish Language;
  • 1855-1863 — Department of the Turkish-Tatar Language;
  • 1863-1919 — Department of Turkish-Tatar Philology;
  • From 1944 — Department of Turkic Philology.

The Department of Turkic Philology of FAAS is a recognized centre of Turkic studies and training in Russia, CIS, and Europe. Over the course of study, undergraduates acquire thorough theoretical knowledge and practical skills in Turkish, Ottoman, ancient Turkic languages, the history of Turkish and Central Asian Turkic literatures, and history of Turkey.

Since the time of V. D. Smirnov, the founder of Russian Ottoman studies, the Department has maintained unique traditions of teaching Ottoman Arabographic texts using textbooks prepared by faculty. Senior undergraduates and post-graduate students are now taught a number of additional Turkic languages (in particular, modern Uzbek and Azerbaijani), Arabic and Persian.

The Department successfully fosters international partnerships. It regularly engages native speakers of Turkish, citizens of Turkey who graduated from various universities in their country. For instance, husband and wife Özlem and Fehmi Yilmaz, members of academic staff from Marmara University, Istanbul, worked at the Department between 1997 and 2004 as, respectively, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor. Engaging native speakers enhances the language skills of not only undergraduate and postgraduate students, but also faculty of the Department of Turkic philology and other FAAS Departments.

At present, the Department maintains and develops close research and creative ties with Marmara University (Marmara Üniversitesi) as well as other educational and research institutions of Istanbul. It hosts visiting scholars and students from Russian and foreign universities and research institutions; in 2006-2008, three Master’s students from Turkey studied here. Students of the Department of Turkic Philology go on annual summer study trips to Turkey, including training at the Center for Turkish Language within Ankara University (TÖMER).

The Department of Turkic Philology regularly trains doctoral and postdoctoral students. From late 1990s, every year there have been between three to five students pursuing doctoral and postdoctoral degrees at the Department. Over the past ten years, five PhD theses have been prepared and defended at the Department of Turkic Philology.

The most talented and successful students participate in the work of the FAAS Student Society, giving talks at its sessions as well as department meetings. On recommendation of the Department, the authors of the best talks give speeches at annual conferences of young scholars of the Faculty and travel to conferences at affiliated universities. The most accomplished student works are published in FAAS collections of research papers.

Among the current academic staff at the Department of Turkic Philology are seven full-time faculty members: Prof. V. G. Guzev, DrSc (Philology), Associate Professors A. V. Obraztsov, PhD, A. I. Pylev, PhD, N. N. Telitsin, PhD; Associate Professors M. E. Dubrovina (neé Gubaidullina), PhD, A. S. Suleimanova, PhD, and L. M. Ulmezova. Various courses are also taught by Associate Professor S. G. Klyashtorny, PhD (History), Associate Professor K. A. Zhukov, PhD (History) and others. The Department organizes Turkish language training for students of other departments within the University: the Department of History of the Countries of Middle East, the Department of Central Asia and Caucasus, the Department of General Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology, etc.

The Department’s secretary is A. V. Zheveleva, graduate of the Department of History of the Countries of Middle East.

Current Research Activity at the Department of Turkic Philology

Staff of the Department of Turkic Philology organize annual conferences. In late October, the Department hosts the Kononov Memorial Lectures, an international scientific conference dedicated to the memory of Academician A. N. Kononov, and in April-May the Ivanov Memorial Lectures, a conference honouring the memory of Prof. S. N. Ivanov.

In 2006, the faculty of the Department, jointly with the Division of Asian and African Literatures of the Library within the Russian Academy of Sciences, organized the Russia and the Turkic World section of the international scientific conference titled “Oriental and African Studies at the Universities of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Europe: Current Challenges and Future Prospects”. The conference was held as part of scientific events commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the FAAS and the 290-year anniversary of the RAS Library.

Assoc. Prof. AI. Pyle

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