If you are wanting to study the Uyghur language, nothing beats spending time in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. It isn’t that the language schools are great – you may be lucky enough to get one of the better teachers but the overall teaching quality is not high, and none of the programs lead to any kind of certification. It is, of course, the immersion experience that would be the biggest boon to your Uyghur language learning.
However, if you cannot make it to Xinjiang but are fortunate enough to be able to study in the USA, there are some options. Here is a brief introduction to the handful of universities offering courses in Uyghur, listed in no particular order.
An undergraduate program with three levels of Uyghur language study is offered through the Department of Central Eurasian Studies.
IU also hosts the Center for Languages of the Central Asia Region (CeLCAR), which offers Uyghur language learning material online as well as distance and intensive courses.
University of Kansas
KU’s Uyghur program is offered by its department of East Asian Language and Cultures. This university has also published what is widely regarded as the best first-year Uyghur textbook and grammar, Greetings from the Teklimakan: a Handbook of Modern Uyghur, by Tarjei Engesæth, Mahire Yakup and Adrienne Dwyer, which is available for download at no cost here.
This university has a fairly comprehensive Turkic department, including elementary, intermediate and advanced Uyghur courses. The courses in comparative grammar of Turkic languages look really interesting too. If you have an historical bent you can even study Old Uyghur!
If you have always wanted to be able to put Harvard on your CV, you could try taking the Uyghur courses at the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
An 8-week intensive summer program with first- and second-year Uyghur instruction is run by the Center for Russia, East Europe and Central Asia (CREECA) providing there are a sufficient number of enrollments.
Is there anywhere else to study Uyghur in the English language?
To date I have not found any information about courses being offered in other English-speaking countries. Please leave a comment or contact me if you know of any.