Learning from Uyghur Movies: Alimjan Bolumsizmu? 1-2

The transcript of Disc 1, Scene 2 of the movie Alimjan Bolumsizmu? is now up here. On YouTube, the scene starts here.

If you missed Disc 1, Scene 1 then start here.

In Disc 1, Scene 2 we learn more about Alimjan through his interactions with his mother, Xasiyet, at home. Alimjan likes to sleep in while his elderly mother has long been up and working hard. He bitterly complains that she is being unfair to him as she has to keep at him to get up and start the day’s work. That is until she mentions his late father. Alim then flips the switch and begins to talk about an unrealistic amount of work he is going to get done that day. When it comes to another ongoing conversation, however, Alim is not for turning. He has no interest in heeding his mother’s call to “grow up” and finally get married!

Let’s have a look at some of the interesting sentences we find in this scene.

In the opening speech, Alimjan’s mother says this:

.ئاۋۇ ئۇششاق بالىلارنىڭ تالاغا چىقىپ  ئويناۋاتقىلى نە ۋاخ

The little boys have long since gone outside to play.

If you have taken an Uyghur language course you will probably have learned that the verb suffix–(g/q)ili followed by a time interval is a way of speaking about the amount of time that has passed since the action took place or started. In this case, the word is newax, which is ordinarily a question word. Here it seems to be used on the sense “who knows how long it has been” or simply “it has been a long time.”

When Xasiyet keeps on trying to get Alim out of bed, he complains:

ۋاي، ۋاي، ۋاي، هە! ئادەمنى ئىشلىتىپ ئۆلتۈرەي دەمدىكىن تاڭ؟

For goodness’ sake! All right! I don’t know – does she want to work a man to death or something?

According to Hemit Tömür’s Modern Uyghur Grammar (pp. 497-498) the particle -kin indicates one of three different areas of meaning, all of which have something to with uncertainty about the matter in view. Followed by the word tang (“I have no idea!”) as it is here, it seems clear Alimjan is exaggerating his complaint by canvassing the possibility that his mother is trying to work him to death!

When Alimjan finally starts to get up, his mother says:

   .ئاۋۇ جانىۋارغىمۇ ئۇۋال. ئەتىگەن ئانىسىنى چالا ئەمگەن پېتى

It is bad for that animal too. This morning it hasn’t had enough mother’s milk.

The word pëti here indicates some thing or situation remains in the last known (often unfinished) condition.

Finally, I want to draw attention to the idiom in this line from Xasiyet:

مۇنداق بېشىڭنى ئىچىڭگە تىقىپ يۈرىۋەرسەڭ ھەر قىسما گەپلەر بولىدىكەن  بالام

If you go on with your head in the sand like that there will be all kinds of talk, son.

Here the phrase beshingni ichingge tiqip literally means “jamming your head into yourself.” Given the context it seemed best to translate with the English idiom “sticking your head in the sand.”

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