The first period is a transitional phase characterized by the retention of archaic forms; the second phase starts with the publication of Ali-Shir Nava'i's first Divan and is the highpoint of Chagatai literature, followed by the third phase, which is characterized by two bifurcating developments. One is the preservation of the classical Chagatai language of Nava'i, the other trend is the increasing influence of the dialects of the local spoken languages.
Influence on later Turkic languages
Uzbek and Uyghur are the two modern languages most closely related to Chagatai. Uzbeks regard Chagatai as the origin of their own language and claim Chagatai literature as their own. In 1921 in Uzbekistan, then a part of the Soviet Union, Chagatai was replaced by a literary language based on a local Uzbek dialect. The Berendei, a 12th-century nomadic Turkic people possibly related to the Cumans, seem also to have spoken Chagatai.
Ethnologue records the use of the word "Chagatai" in Afghanistan to describe the "Tekke" dialect of Turkmen. Up to and including the eighteenth century, Chagatai was the main literary language in Turkmenistan as well as most of Central Asia. While it had some influence on Turkmen, the two languages belong to different branches of the Turkic language family.
The most famous of the Chagatai poets is Ali-Shir Nava'i, who – among his other works – wrote Muhakamat al-Lughatayn, a detailed comparison of the Chagatai and Persian languages, in which he argued for the superiority of the former for literary purposes. His fame is attested by the fact that Chagatai is sometimes called "Nava'i's language". Among prose works, Timur's biography is written in Chagatai, as is the famous Baburnama (or Tuska Babure) of Babur, the Timurid founder of the Mughal Empire.
Important works continued to be written in the Chagatai language into the early twentieth century. Among them are Musa Sayrami's Tārīkh-i amniyya (completed 1903) and its revised version Tārīkh-i ḥamīdi (completed 1908), representing the best sources on the Dungan Revolt (1862–77) in Xinjiang.
The following are books written on the Chagatai language by natives and westerners:
Ármin Vámbéry 1832–1913, Ćagataische Sprachstudien, enthaltend grammatikalischen Umriss, Chrestomathie, und Wörterbuch der ćagataischen Sprache; (1867).
Sheykh Suleyman Efendi, Čagataj-Osmanisches Wörterbuch: Verkürzte und mit deutscher Übersetzung versehene Ausgabe (1902).
Sheykh Süleymān Efendi, Lughat-ï chaghatay ve turkī-yi 'othmānī.
Mirza Muhammad Mehdi Khan Astarabadi, Mabaniul Lughat: Yani Sarf o Nahv e Lughat e Chughatai.
Abel Pavet de Courteille, Mirâdj-nâmeh : récit de l'ascension de Mahomet au ciel, composé a.h. 840 (1436/1437), texte turk-oriental, publié pour la première fois d'après le manuscript ouïgour de la Bibliothèque nationale et traduit en français, avec une préf. analytique et historique, des notes, et des extraits du Makhzeni Mir Haïder.
^МОЛЛА МУСА САЙРАМИ: ТА'РИХ-И АМНИЙА (Mulla Musa Sayrami's Tarikh-i amniyya: Preface)], in: "Материалы по истории казахских ханств XV–XVIII веков (Извлечения из персидских и тюркских сочинений)" (Materials for the history of the Kazakh Khanates of the 15–18th cc. (Extracts from Persian and Turkic literary works)), Alma Ata, Nauka Publishers, 1969. (in Russian)
Eckmann, János, Chagatay Manual. (Indiana University publications: Uralic and Altaic series ; 60). Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University, 1966. Reprinted edition, Richmond: Curzon Press, 1997, ISBN0-7007-0860-X, or ISBN978-0-7007-0860-4.
Bodrogligeti, András J. E., A Grammar of Chagatay. (Languages of the World: Materials ; 155). München: LINCOM Europa, 2001. (Repr. 2007), ISBN3-89586-563-X.
Pavet de Courteille, Abel, Dictionnaire Turk-Oriental: Destinée principalement à faciliter la lecture des ouvrages de Bâber, d'Aboul-Gâzi, de Mir Ali-Chir Nevâï, et d'autres ouvrages en langues touraniennes (Eastern Turkish Dictionary: Intended Primarily to Facilitate the Reading of the Works of Babur, Abu'l Ghazi, Mir ʿAli Shir Navaʾi, and Other Works in Turanian Languages). Paris, 1870. Reprinted edition, Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1972, ISBN90-6022-113-3. Also available online (Google Books)
Erkinov, Aftandil. “Persian-Chaghatay Bilingualism in the Intellectual Circles of Central Asia during the 15th-18th Centuries (the case of poetical anthologies, bayāz)”. International Journal of Central Asian Studies. C.H.Woo (ed.). vol.12, 2008, pp. 57–82 .