Dying member of Persian language family

Ari Siletz
by Ari Siletz

A Disappearing Language from NYU News & Documentary on Vimeo.

Bukhori is classic Persian mixed with a lot of Hebrew, and some Uzbek, Arabic and Russian. Hebrew alphabet is normally used to write it. Speakers now live mostly in the US and Israel with a few hundred still living in Tajikestan. The language is still mutually intelligible with Tajik Persian. A young Bukhari Jew, Imanuel Rybakov, is trying to keep this variety of the Persian language alive with his Bukhori language school in the US. Israel Radio (Kol Yisrael)  broadcasts in Bukhori fifteen minutes a day.


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Anahid Hojjati

Ari, thanks for youtube video comedy clip.

by Anahid Hojjati on


Ari, I watched the video.   I have not heard much Hebrew or Uzbek but the Russian, Arabic and Persian, I could hear elements of all these languages as the grandmother spoke in the video.  Thanks for the blog and also the video clip.



not sure about the analogy to yiddish

by pas-e-pardeh on

Living in New York, and interacting with both Yiddish & Bukharan cultures, I beg to differ. 

Maybe there are cultural similarities between the two, especially the part about having lived among somewhat hostile majorities.  But, Yiddish, linguistically, is far more complex than Bukharan Persian.  

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

Ari khan thank you for the Info. and sorry for some derailments  from your original blog and intention .

I've some uzbek & turkemen friends ,And the beautiful part of our minglings IS when we'all speak FARSI to each others.         

shad zee                          Maziar

Ari Siletz

Nobel literature prize

by Ari Siletz on

Immortal Guard:

Also, Yiddish has a Nobel prize in litertature (Isaac Bashevis Singer).

It would be nice to have a Literature Nobel for a writer who writes in the Persian language family. Simin Behbehani was twice nominated for Farsi, but who knows, the first Persian literature Nobel may be for Bukharian, Tajik (mostly written in the Cyrillic alphabet) or Dari. The race is on!

Immortal Guard

Yiddish of Middle-East?

by Immortal Guard on

This Bukhari language could be construed as a Persian equivalent of Yiddish. In other words Yiddish is to German as Bukhari is to Persian. In that case we also need to have a Bukhari theater like there is a successful Yiddish theater.

Look what I found on the Internet on Yiddish theater:


More information on Bukharan Jews;



Thanks for the post

by pas-e-pardeh on

very interesting people.  I enjoy their music alot in NY.

Hopefully it won't die out.  Looks like there are caring people guarding it 


live informants

by humanbeing on

it's a holiday today tomorrow, everything is closed. then weekend bridge. the first chance i get, i'll try to get the guys at the beauty salon to do a little conversation greeting or something. i checked the website for voi, and it could be they didn't take account of summer time clock change or something. or from incompetence the site has local time rather than gmt (so you add 2 hours i think).

good luck!

Ari Siletz

Some replies

by Ari Siletz on

Divaneh: Yes, to different degrees all languages are Ajil. To use a technical term the "Ajil index" of Bukhori seems to be high.

 humanbeing: Glad to hear that Bukhori is doing well in Israel. I tried to find the Bukhori program on the Kol-Israel website, but I'm having a tough time navigating the site. Supposedly the program is on at 12:45-13:00 GMT.

 Anonymouse: As kids we used to think that Hafez was proposing marriage to the gal with the khaal e hendoo, offering  her gifts of a samaavar ghand set and a bokhari.

Anahid, in this youtube comedy clip grandma is speaking Bukharian with an Americanized young Bukhori girl. Of course I'm trusting the caption and the comments that this is actually Bukharian as I don't speak it myself. Which is one reason it is hard for me to interchange the language family name "Persian" for the English word "Farsi."





Anahid Hojjati

Ari, interesting blog on a disappearing language

by Anahid Hojjati on

Thanks Ari for your blog. I don't know about Bukhori language any more than you wrote but now I am interested to hear how it sounds.


When you say Bukhari, do you mean the "heater" bukhari?!

by Anonymouse on

Most bukharis are now gas bukharis and the kerosene version are only for smaller town and villages where they don't have piped gas line.  The gas bukharis are actually very efficient but they have the good and bad/chearp brands and the cheap ones leave a cloud of smoke on your wall! 

Everything is sacred.


osh palo

by humanbeing on

thanks ari.

of course where i live there are many bukharis. many have been here since the mid 19th century while my ancestors were still climbing trees picking berries in southern poland. there is still a bazaar/souq here called the 'bukhari market', and the more recent wave of newcomers have opened restaurants where you can get a delicious osh palo.

they keep their traditions and language very much alive.


It reminded me of Alou Bukhara

by divaneh on

Pity, but it sounds more like Aajil (mixed nuts) than a language.