Michael Korotkow, the author of the language learning book Kirgisisch Wort für Wort mentions in the introduction of that book that there was a Turkic Esperanto used by people of different Turkic backgrounds in the Soviet army to communicate with each other.

Is there a specific name for that contact language (suitable as a search handle)? Are there scholarly publications and/or corpora of that contact language?

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    It sounds like an urban legend. Most probably everybody spoke their own Turkic language and they understood one another simply due to the similarity of the modern Turkic languages. Needless to say that no scholarly studies of the relationships among different national minorities within the Soviet Army were possible or even allowed, everybody spoke Russian in the Soviet Army, everybody belonged to the Soviet people, questioning that or stating that in the Army there was a national faction with their own secret language was absolute heresy.
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 29, 2023 at 14:33
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    I've never heard even a mention of such a language and I'm afraid your question will remain unanswered. What you can do is to contact the author of that course, Michael Korotkow.
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 29, 2023 at 14:36
  • That must have been true too during the Ottoman Empire. Their gigantic army came from all over Turkic-speaking Asia, and coped with language problems every day.
    – jlawler
    Aug 29, 2023 at 15:04
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    @jlawler did the Ottoman army really include Karluk, Siberian, or Oghur-speakers? Geographically we'd expect it to be almost exclusively Oghuz-speaking, maybe with some Kipchaks and Khalajes, whereas the Soviets held territory inhabited by speakers of all Turkic branches except Khalaj, making it much more diverse. Seeing as the state language of the Ottomans belonged to the same language as the vast majority of the recruits, I doubt a specific contact variety was needed and people likely just used Ottoman Turkish coloured by their native variety
    – Tristan
    Aug 29, 2023 at 15:12
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    @jlawler - In those times the differences were much less noticeable, besides, there already existed official supra-dialectal languages like Karakhanid since 11th cent. or Chagatai since 15th cent., so there was actually no need to create some additional pidgins. Also, army is a thing that now it's here, now it's gone, and a language needs some continuity to take shape.
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 29, 2023 at 15:16


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