Ragıp MUHAMMED1, Nazlı M. ÜMİT2

İstanbul Kültür Üniversitesi Sanat ve Tasarım Fakültesi Sanat ve Kültür Yönetimi Bölümü

Keywords: Turkish, Arabic, Karagöz, Puppet theatre, Syria.


The traces of cultural interaction between Turks and Arabs can be observed in various written and oral cultural elements. Karagöz, a form of Turkish puppet theatre which is registered in the Intangible Cultural Heritage list of UNESCO, is one of the significant representatives of this interaction. In the Arabian geography dominated by the Ottomans, Karagöz shows became an indispensable part of the society. The first scholarly compilations of Karagöz plays performed in different languages in a wide geography began to be produced by European orientalists in the second half of the nineteenth century. In this study, ArabicKaragöz plays discovered and recorded between 1850s and 1950s by Enno Littmann, Johann Gottfried Wetzstein, Wilhelm Hoenerbach and Edmond Saussey are analysed. Arabic Karagöz plays which were mostly performed in the local vernacular languages, are very rich in elements from different Arabic dialects. On the other hand, the frequent use of Turkish words and expressions did not escape the attention of aforementioned orientalists. They suggested that there could be several reasons why Karagöz masters used Turkish in their performances. For instance, the first Karagöz shows were brought to Arabic speaking regions by Turks and/or Turkish speaking performers, and there were periods during which the authorities allowed only Turkish performance. What is more, there were several plays in which certain characters represent Turks and Ottoman authorities. This study examines eighteen Arabic Karagöz play texts and identifies Turkish words and phrases in addition to words that the Arabic language acquired through Turkish. The Arabic parts in which such words and phrases exist are given both in the original recorded and in the transcribed forms. In addition, all identified samples are translated into Turkish.