The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan: Using Dialectisms in The Text

At a time when the world is developing fast, it is easy to forget the past. People easily access the latest news as it happens. In the internet era, it can be hard to draw the line between history and current news. All that an individual needs is available online. 

However, the big question may arise as to whether everything is available online today. “The Silk Roads” book by Peter Frankopan takes the reader on an extensive historical journey. It connects the reader through a wide range of modern historical networks while pooling it to the past. It reminds the reader where they are in history and where they are coming from lest they forget. 

What is the book “The Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan all about?

Author Peter Frankopan’s choice of the title “The Silk Roads” was strategic. The modern historian might easily forget where everything started. The word Silk Roads remind the reader of sandy roads meandering through hot deserts. 

It reminds them of the beasts of burden carrying loads of cargo. They travel from green Europe to dry North Africa, the Middle East to the Far East. These are the ancient routes the traders followed. Unfortunately, much of the information about them has slowly faded. 

Today, the silk roads are modern roads that serve towering cities. They interconnect strong states, failing regimes, and places full of conflicts. Some of the issues that happen here are never reported. According to Peter Frankopan, the ancient roads are rising again. 

Silk Roads was known for its large groups of caravan traders who traversed it every year. It was important to the birth of modern cultures and history. Modern-day traders have their roots along the Silk Roads. There are a lot of essay topics you can develop from the history of the Silk Roads. To get a better idea of the different topics you can write about, read the numerous essay topics on the Silk Road on EduZaurus, and you will get many inspiring ideas. With the ideas you get, you can write a great college essay on this topic. The silk roads are now shaping a new modern global history. This is history the West has long forgotten. Fortunately, it is the very history from which the globe spun. Peter Frankopan begins with the Persian empire, which the Greeks and Romans moved to when they wanted to expand. According to the book, everything modern history enjoys spun from the Silk Roads – from silk to food, slaves, diseases, and violence. 

Use of different dialects in the book “The Silk Roads” book by Peter Frankopan

The use of DIALECTISM is common in the art of book writing. Writers use it to show how different cultures are interrelated. Some writers use it to show how the languages of the world originated from one language. 

In his book, Peter Frankopan comes across different languages and religions. Throughout the book “Silk Roads,” the reader will encounter different cultures. They will encounter Russian, European, Armenian, Persian, Arab, and Chinese cultures. 

There are also major world religions. There is Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism spread along the Silk Roads. The writer also looks deeper into different languages found throughout the Tarim Basin. These are languages such as Chinese, Khotanese, Sogdian, and Tocharian. Due to this, Peter Frankopan has used a lot of ethnographic dialectisms throughout the book. 

Understanding dialectism

Dialectism in books is used by authors as a tool to help them give life to their created characters. Sometimes they combine dialect with an accent to give distinctions between characters. The use of dialects in the book “Silk Roads” is unique. 

The example of using specific dialectism in the text is clearly seen in the book “Silver Roads.” The writer has, from time to time, used Sogdian. This is the commonest language used in the book. It is an Iranian language that was probably the most used by various Silk Roads cultures. 

Dialectism in linguistics is the use of words or phrases in a specific dialect. It can be used to explain things that seem conflicting, yet they have the same meaning. This is how language developed in the Silk Roads. 

The commonest examples of dialectism words in the book “The Silk Roads”

In Silk Roads, a new history of the world review, different reviewers have identified significant use of dialectism. A traveler along the Silk Roads needed to learn a mix of different languages depending on how long their journey would be. 

The further they went, the more dialects they encountered. The Silk Roads might have covered more than 13,000 kilometers. The records left behind by travelers give clues of the languages used – many of which the author has mentioned in the text. 

The Akkadian

The languages in the Silk Roads didn’t follow the grammar and spelling rules as it is done today. What matters most is people understand what the speaker said. The Akkadian was a dialect commonly used in the Mesopotamia regions. It uses words such as si to mean she, su for he. 


In his book The Silk Roads, Peter describes the Romans as a “tall and regularly featured” population. At that time, it was called Da Qin. Although the words are used differently, the meaning of each dialectism word is closely related. 


Peter Frankopan describes Emperor Valerian of Persia as being humiliated after he was held in “the abject form of slavery,” to mean incarcerated. He further says, “his body was eventually flayed,” meaning freed for execution. 

The Sumerian

Sumerians occupied the lowlands of Mesopotamia. Peter Frankopan calls it “ Fertile Crescent” and a “band of highly productive land.” He uses these words to mean it was a low land, an extensive land that was fertile and well-watered. 


The Greeks were known to be intelligent people. Peter Frankopan describes them as a land where Dionysus “set dancing” and a “fabulously wealthy east.” which in literary language

He meant they were very wealthy people. 


The Silk Roads book by Peter Frankopan takes the reader through modern history while reflecting on ancient history. The Silk Roads were the main route used by ancient merchants during their trade, yet modern society seems to have forgotten. Peter has used a lot of dialectism in the book to describe how cultures and languages developed. Some of the dialectisms used are si to mean she and su to mean he. 


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By Susan Barlow

Dr. Susan Barlow is retired from academia after teaching business administration, project management, and business writing courses for over 20 years.

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