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The Language of Risale-i Nur

12 Nisan 2019, Cuma 11:31
Language is one of the most important factors in the construction of a nation.

It is a social and natural entity providing for the communication between people. Men need to live in social milieus due to his nature and in order to set up similar values, to share and to transmit them to further generation, language is also needed.

The emergence and progress of any culture depend also on the language which we can define as the whole set of the material and spiritual accumulations of a nation. When we think the "culture carrier" function of the language in which it leads the societies to transmit material and spiritual values from one generation into another, we can grasp its significant role in the continuation of the existence of a nation. The culture and civilization crisis of a nation, the decadence in the ideological and literary areas are closely linked to the corruption of the language of that nation.

We can see the richness of the Turkish language that deserves the definition of the "imperial language" in the literary works. Nevertheless, we should accept that this richness of our language is diminishing due to the some break points and we have to show sensitivity to this fact. We need to notice that our language is damaged today, our literature becomes unproductive. Also the new generations could not understand the classical works of our culture which reflect on our spirit and world view and the bridges between old and new came to the ground. We have to identify this situation and should take some measures against it in order to establish steady ties with the next generation.

Even though the discussion about the language started with the Reform Edict, a separate discussion should be done on the impacts of the Letter Revolution in 1928 and following to that the "pure Turkishism" movement upon our language and culture. The language of Risale-i Nur will give us many hints on this aspect which were authored in such a period in which a rapid alienation to our historical, religious and cultural values were in due. Nevertheless, the language of Risale-i Nur is worth to investigate because of its meaning and the values it expresses. We should accept that the works as "Risale-i Nur" are representing a certain "spirit and character". A thorough investigation of such works will give us many healthy hints on the language that is an implication of the character of that nation. If the new generations could not understand such characteristic works of a nation, then this problem is a significant indication of the wearing off this spirit and character. This is a very big problem in its own right.

Today, the need to establish an Islamic language and inventing a new discourse is felt in every sphere. Thus, the language of Bediüzzaman could be accepted as a key at this point, because he established his thought in the transitory process from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic and he witnessed all of the ruptures on language, culture and civilization. Another peculiarity which makes the language of Risale-i Nur worth to study is its attempt to transmit the terminology of Qur'an and Prophet.

In the discussions about the language of Risale-i Nur, some questions need to be answered: "Whether the language of Risale-i Nur should be analyzed from the point of view of literary language, or should we discuss it from the aspect of 'New Turkish' emerged after the change of alphabet? Instead of an editorial study of the language of Risale-i Nur, the world view founding aspect of this language should be studied in detail.

Bearing the above mentioned points in our mind, we decide to investigate "the language of Risale-i Nur" in our 102nd issue. We look for answers to the questions mentioned below discussing the issue around the main concepts as "language, religion, culture, civilization, nation, literature, rhetoric, style, meaning, alphabet revolution, pure Turkishism, language of Risale-i Nur.

What is language? What is the relationship between language and culture? What are the impacts of the culture and civilization change upon the language and culture? To which culture and world view belong the language of Risale-i Nur and which one does it express? What are the sources of this language? What are the main features of the dominant language of Risale-i Nur? Which aspects of the language of Bediüzzaman distinguish him from his contemporaries? Compared to the modern Turkish, what are the differences of this language? What is the literary value of this language? Is this language a sufficient one in the expressions of the religious feelings and scholarly concepts? How can we draw the conceptual map of Risale-i Nur? What are the stylistic features of Risale-i Nur? How should we evaluate the discussions on the commentaries and simplification of Risale-i Nur? How did the language of Risale-i Nur impact the Turkish language and to which direction?

There is not any comprehensive study on the language of Risale-i Nur until today. We hope that this issue will pioneer such studies.

Keywords: Civilization crisis, language, metalanguage, plasticity, modernity, postmodernity, Western civilization, Islamic civilization

Source: This article is the editorial writing of the akademic magazine Köprü / Spring 2008

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