If Shakespeare were a journalist in Tajikistan right now, he’d most likely be in very big trouble. Because, let’s face it, there are a LOT of words in his plays that would confound you… and that, according to news reports, is a finable offence in the central Asian state.
Reportedly, the Tajik government will start fining journalists who are caught using incomprehensible words in their writings. “There are cases when journalists use as many as 10 words in one day that the simple reader, viewer or listener cannot comprehend,” said Gavhar Sharifzoda, the head of state language committee, in comments carried by Russia’s Interfax news service, and then reported by The Guardian.
“This grossly violates the norms of state language.”
The move, apparently, comes in a bid by the Tajikistan government to give a boost to the Tajik language. Much like other countries across the world, the Tajik language is also being influenced by the encroachment of Farsi and Dari, which are spoken in Iran and neighbouring Afghanistan respectively. According to various Russian news sites, the ban on ‘incomprehensible’ words is basically meant for the imported Farsi words.
The attempt to save the local language has been on for quite a while. In 2009, the country’s veteran president Emomali Rahmon made Tajik the sole language. Thus, ending the use of Russian for any official purpose. It has long since been trying to defend its national identity from “what are seen as unhelpful foreign influences”, says the Guardian report.
Other measures to protect and save its culture and identity have included the banning of Russia’s version of Father Christmas and opting for non-Tajik names for newborns. According to an AFP report, reports of bans on the sale of Islamic clothing in certain cities and forced beard shavings by police in the secular country are also widespread.