In Russia, in the Volga river basin, southeast of Moscow, is Kazan. This June, Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, will be hosting the 2018 FIFAWorld Cup; however, the games’ playby-play will not be in Russian, but in Tatar, a language spoken by millions in Central Asia, and a Taos resident plans to be there peddling his field guide to the international football fans.
Taos resident Samuel BurkeFaveros released “The Football Fanatic’s Guide to Tatarstan” April 18. The book contains cultural insight and phrases in Tatar, the language of the descendants of the Bulgar and Kipchak tribes. Kazan is located within their autonomous region within the Russian Federation.
After Turkish-speaking BurkeFaveros’ met Taos dweller and Kazan native Aygul Ahmetova, and the World Cup was announced to take place in Kazan, they rose to the occasion.
“That’s the perfect opportunity,” said Burke-Faveros. “We can write a little phrase book and translate it into four languages for all the soccer hooligans and spread some Tatar culture because most people have never even heard of the tribe much less speak the language,” he said.
Further research revealed that Tatar language books hardly exists and that there is a new resurgence of the Tatar language and culture. Post the formation of the Soviet-Union nearly 100 years ago, the Russian language dominated the area in schools and employment, but nowTatar is more sought out Saturday (Dec. 10), 7-10 p.m. Old Martina’s Hall, 4140 State Road 68, Ranchos de Taos Tickets $25 advance, $30 at the door (575) 776-4245 from “The Football Fanatic’s Guide to Tatarstan” and accepted.
“Now it’s like Tatars are coming back to their culture. Young people like to wear the traditional outfits and speak the language. They are coming back to their roots,” Ahmetova said. “The last 10 years people want to speak Tatar and the Russian people are encouraged to learn Tatar. Now, you are most likely to get the job if you speak Tatar,” she smiled.
Kazan is home to 1.1 million people and has before hosted famous sporting events and contains the Kazan Kremlin, a world heritage site. Illustrated on the cover of “The Football Fanatic’s Guide to Tatarstan” by JasonWolfgang Hicks is the massive sandstone citadel. It serves as a cultural center and homage to the Catholic, Muslim, European and Asian influences in the region. It is also a temple for all religions.
“It has been a model for people living peacefully together,” said Burke-Faveros, discussing the citadel and the city that serves as the border between the Christian
and Islamic religions.
“It’s an interesting thing about Kazan. It’s an older capital than Moscow,” he said. “It’s also right on the border of the Christian world and the Muslim world. Tatars are Muslim,” Burke-Faveros said.
Burke-Faveros hopes to fundraise for the trip to Kazan as well to initiate understanding in a day when U.S. and Russian relations are tense. “The idea behind the book [is that] right now there is so much animosity and misunderstood paranoia between America and Russia, it’s really a good time for people to learn basic phrases, so we can communicate together,” Burke-Faveros said.
Within the approximately 40 pages, the perfect travel and field guide size, readers will find a dedication to Burke-Faveros’ three daughters and Ahmetova, an introduction, instruction for the language and various categories for Tatar along with slices of the culture. The multilingual translation would serve the greater international presence with English, romantic (Spanish) and Slavic (Russian) tongues that could be easily translated for regional diversity.
“The Football Fanatic’s Guide to Tatarstan” begins with a bit of grammar. Tatar is an agglutinative language. that means suffixes are used to change the infinitive form of the verb. “All the Turkic languages have vowel harmony, so all the vowels in the word have to rhyme basically, so if it’s a front vowe,l then every other vowel in the word is going to be a front vowel. If it’s a back vowel, then it’s going to be all back vowels,” said Burke-Faveros.
In this same section you’ll find the subject-object-verb formula and the Tatar alphabet.
From this point readers will find categories such as “making friends,” which translates various greetings and introductions. Beyond that is the “in the market” portion, where one can find clever ways to bargain as well as numbers. Other categories include words to discuss victory and defeat for football, directions and even a cursing section with a comical story from Ahmetova and an advanced warning: the Russians do not take kindly to foul language.
While the Tatars are a Muslim demographic, they do have creation myths and folklore, such as the first Khan’s birth from Asena, a wolf mother, the guide includes an illustration. One can also find a little Tatar poetry, song, proverbs and even the lore of the tickle-torture master Shurale.
To conclude the guide, the author lists his education in language and tells the story of how Ahmetova and he met.
The guide is to be released independently through Amazon (ISBN 978-1987564990) and will be available in E-format and paperback. Don’t miss the opportunity to give a little Tatar to Taos.