Hello! This is the personal web portfolio of Nicholas (Niko) Kontovas.
Click on any of the links above to view the different sections of this site.
My name is Nicholas Kontovas, but I generally prefer to be called Niko.
I am a linguist, Turkologist, Iranologist, language teacher, programmer, and language materials developer.
I am currently employed as a lecturer in the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul, Turkey.
I spend most of my time on various projects related to the teaching, learning, research, and documentation of Turkic and Iranic languages both modern and historical. Check out my Projects page to find out more about my work.
I received by BA in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 2008, and my MA in Central Eurasian Studies with a focus on Turkic an Iranic Languages from Indiana University in 2012.
When I'm not working on language-related things (which is almost never) I'm usually cooking, winemaking, or reading up on historical medical and culinary practices of Europe and the Middle East.
If you are interested in working with me on a project, or just want to learn more about me, you can download a PDF of my CV here.
Eastern Turki Glossary
Eric undertook the painstaking work of writing out a glossary of the language variety often called Eastern Turki based primarily on the third volume of the work Eastern Turki Grammar: Practical and Theoretical with Vocabulary (Berlin: Reichsdrückerei, 1912-1914) by Gustav Raquette.
In Eric's words: "“Eastern Turki” is a convenient shorthand for the varieties of Southeastern Turkic spoken and written in Xinjiang and Central Asia through the mid-twentieth century."
Nenapuna.net: The Laz Dictionary Project
Based off Lazika Yayın Kollektifi's 2014 Temel Lazca Sözlük, this online searchable Laz-Turkish-English Dictionary is intended to fill the needs of those looking for a functional basic dictionary for the Laz language.
In the future, in addition to cleaning up existing entries I would like to expand the dictionary greatly, account for different dialect forms, provide English translations for examples, and perhaps begin on a thorough etymology section. For now, this is a good reference for learners; let me know if you see any problems!
My special thanks go to the author of the original dictionary (and my Laz instructor and friend) İsmail Avcı Bucak'lişi, and to Eylem Bostancı who provided the English translations for it.
Dilki: Turkish Grammar and Vocab Modules
In order to help my modern Turkish language students keep up with the fast pace entailed by intensive language learning, I have developed these Turkish Grammar and Vocab Modules.
The idea behind the Dilki is that students can select specific grammar or vocab topics with which they feel they practice and go over them at their own leisure as many times as they want without the need for instructor grading.
Dilki is slowly growing, and we expect a lot more functionaity in the future. All the same, we are happy to report that initial feedback from students is unanimously positive.
The overall look and layout of the Modules site was designed by the wonderful Murat Kolçalar.
Feel free to email me for a login and password in order to access the site and test the modules out for yourself!
Bilingual Uyghur-English Poetry Reader for Students
This project combines three longstanding passions of mine: poetry, the teaching of less commonly taught languages, and the language and culture of the Uyghurs.
It was these passions which compelled me to compile a Bilingual Uyghur-English Poetry Reader for Students.
In 2011, I received funding for an Advanced Directed Language Study in Modern Uyghur from the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. With the help of my good friend and Uyghur Instructor Dr. Gülnisa Nazarova, we were able to use that time to put together what will hopefully prove a useful tool for students and instructors of intermediate- to advanced-level Modern Uyghur.
Though the Reader is a bit rough around the edges, please feel free to use it -- and don't forget to provide feedback!
Reflexes of Proto-Iranic *w- as evidence for language contact (2012)
An essay I wrote trying to tease apart the reason behind the development of word-initial /w/ in various Iranic (Iranian) languages. You can read a PDF of the essay here.
Contact and the diversity of noun-noun subordination strategies among West Iranic Languages (2011)
Another essay, in which I try to explain why various West Iranic (Iranian) languages form their possessive and other nominal subordination-related structures the way they do. Click here for a PDF.
An analysis of recent loans into the Standard Uyghur Lexicon (2008)
My undergraduate honors thesis from the University of Chicago Linguistics Department relating the form and distribution of Russian and Chinese loans into Uyghur to the environments in which they were likely transmitted. You can find a PDF of the article here, but keep in mind I was a wee lad when I wrote this.
Kurmancî Kurdish "Smart" Verb Conjugator
Coming soon! Stay tuned...