Lexical Distance between the Khalaj Dialects and the Qom (Couzeh) Dialect of South Azerbaijani Turkic: An Amalgam of Levenshtein and Dijkstra Algorithms
1Artvin Çoruh Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Yabancı Diller Eğitimi Bölümü Yabancı Diller Ana Bilim Dalı
2Artvin Çoruh Üniversitesi Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi
Keywords: Khalaj, Levenshtein distance algorithm, Dijkstra algorithm, dialect, South Azerbaijani Turkic.
This study explores the lexical distance of two Turkic language varieties, namely Khalaj and South Azerbaijani Turkic, spoken in the Markazī and Qom provinces, based on the Leipzig-Jakarta core vocabulary list (Tadmor and Haspelmath, 2009). To this end, all Khalaj dialects spoken in Markazī and Qom provinces, as classified by Doerfer (1998), and the Couzeh variety of South Azerbaijani were compared in the present study. Levenshtein Distance Algorithm (LDA), frequently utilized in the relevant literature among quantitative dialectal measurement as a quantitative method, was used to determine the distance between the mentioned varieties. Using the emergent values, the minimum path between the Couzeh variety and Khalaj dialects was measured, using the Dijkstra Algorithm. The study also investigates whether there is any impact of geographical proximity (areal convergence) between Khalaj (Doerfer, 1971, 1987, 1988; Tekin, 1989) and South Azerbaijani. The data used in the study during the fieldwork carried out between July and September, 2021 were compiled from all Khalaj-speaking settlements in Markazī and Qom provinces in Iran, and from the village of Couzeh, where South Azerbaijani is spoken in the province of Qom. Within the scope of this study, the lexical distance of two Turkic varieties spoken in the same language habitat was measured in an algorithmic framework, and the ratios of the phonological distances of the lexical items were measured. The findings revealed that the lexical distance between Khalaj and Southern Azerbaijani is relatively significant despite the shared common language ecology.