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Old Uyghur alphabet

Old Uyghur alphabet
Languages Old Uyghur, Western Yugur
Time period
ca.700s AD – 1800s AD
Parent systems

The Old Uyghur alphabet (回鹘文字母 Huíhúwénzìmǔ) was used for writing the Old Uyghur language, a variety of Old Turkic spoken in Turfan, which is an ancestor of the modern Yugur language. The term "Old Uyghur" used for this alphabet is misleading because the Uyghurs of Mongolia used the runic Orkhon (Old Turkic) alphabet, and only adopted this script used by the local inhabitants when they migrated into Turfan after 840.[1] It was an adaptation of the Sogdian alphabet, used for texts with Buddhist, Manichaean and Christian content for 700–800 years in Turfan. The last known manuscripts are dated to the 18th century. This was the prototype for the Mongolian and Manchu alphabets. The Old Uyghur alphabet was brought to Mongolia from Tata-tonga.

Like Sogdian writing but to an even greater extent, Old Uyghur writing tended to express with matres lectionis not only the long vowels but also the short ones. The practice of leaving short vowels unrepresented was almost completely abandoned in Uyghur.[2] Thus, while ultimately deriving from a Semitic abjad, the Uyghur script can be said to have been largely "alphabetized".[3]

File:Uighur vert.gif


See also


  1. ^ Sinor, D. (1998), "Chapter 13 - Language situation and scripts", in Bosworth, C.E., History of Civilisations of Central Asia, 4 part II, UNESCO Publishing, p. 333, ISBN 81-208-1596-3 
  2. ^ Clauson, Gerard. 2002. Studies in Turkic and Mongolic linguistics. P.110-111.
  3. ^ Houston, Stephen D. 2004. The first writing: script invention as history and process. P.59

External links

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