Mongolian script: Wikis

  
  

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Mongolian script
Guyuk khan's Stamp 1246.jpg
Type Alphabet
Spoken languages Mongolian language
Evenki language
Time period ca.1204 – today
Parent systems
Child systems Manchu script
Clear script
Vaghintara script
Unicode range U+1800 – U+18AF
ISO 15924 Mong
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

Mongolian script (Mongolian: Monggol bicig.svg Mongγol bičig, cyrillic: Монгол бичиг, Mongol bichig), or Hudum Mongolian script (in comparison with Todo Mongolian script), was the first of many writing systems created for the Mongolian language and the most successful until the introduction of Cyrillic to Mongolia in 1946. With minor modification, the classic vertical script is used in Inner Mongolia to this day to write both Mongolian and the Evenki language.

Contents

History

The Stele of Yisüngge, possibly the oldest surviving monument, in Uyghur-Mongolian script. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The Mongolian vertical script was developed as an adaption of the Uyghur script to write the Mongolian language. It was introduced by the Uyghur scribe Tatar-Tonga, who had been captured by the Mongols during a war against the Naimans around 1204. There were no substantive changes to the Uyghur form for the first few centuries, so that, for example, initial yodh stood for both [dʒ] and [j], while medial tsadi stood for both [dʒ] and [tʃ], and there was no letter for [d] in initial position. Mongolian sources often distinguish the early forms by using the term Uyghurjin script (Chinese: 回鹘式蒙古文, Mongolian for Uyghur style script). Western sources tend to use this term as a synonym for all variations of the Mongolian script.

Eventually, minor concessions were made to the differences between the Uyghur and Mongol languages: In the 17th and 18th centuries, smoother and more angular versions of tsadi became associated with [dʒ] and [tʃ] respectively, and in the 19th century, the Manchu hooked yodh was adopted for initial [j]. Zain was dropped as it was redundant for [s]. Various schools of orthography, some using diacritics, were developed to avoid ambiguity.

Mongolian is written vertically. The Uyghur script and its descendants—Mongolian, Oirat Clear, Manchu, and Buryat—are the only vertical scripts written from left to right. This developed because the Uyghurs rotated their Sogdian-derived script, originally written right to left, 90 degrees counterclockwise to emulate Chinese writing, but without changing the relative orientation of the letters.[1]

The characters

The word Monggol in the classic script
A KFC in Hohhot. All street signs must be bilingual in Mongol and Chinese.
Coin bears the legend "Struck by Rinchindorji Gaykhatu in the name of Khagan" in Mongolian script. (Minted in Iran.)


Characters take different shapes depending on their initial, medial, or final position within a word. In some cases, there are additional graphic variations which are selected for better visual harmony with the subsequent character.

The alphabet fails to make several vowel (o/u, ö/ü, final a/e) and consonant (t/d, k/g, sometimes ž/y) distinctions of Mongolian that were not required for Uyghur.[1] The result is somewhat comparable to the situation of English, which must represent ten or more vowels with only five letters and uses the digraph th for two distinct sounds. Sometimes, ambiguity is avoided, because the requirements of vowel harmony and syllable sequence usually determine the right choice. Moreover, as there are few words with an exactly identical spelling, actual ambiguities are rare for a reader who knows the orthography.

Characters Transliteration Notes
initial medial final Latin Cyrillic
Mg a initial.png 2mg ae medial.png 3mg ae final.png3mg ae2 final.png a А Distinction usually by vowel harmony (see also q/γ and k/g below)
Mg e initial.png e Э
Mg i initial.png 2mg i medial.png[note 1]

Mongol i middle2.jpg[note 2]

3mg iy final.png i, yi И,Й, Ы, Ь At end of word today often absorbed into preceding syllable
Mg ou initial.png 2mg ou medial.png 3mg ouöü final.png o, u О, У Distinction depending on context.
Mg öü initial.png 2mg öü1 medial.png2mg öü2 medial.png 3mg ouöü final.pngMongol oe tail.jpg ö, ü Ө, Ү Distinction depending on context.
Mg n initial.png 2mg n1 medial.png[note 3]

2mg n2 medial.png[note 4]

3mg ae final.png3mg n2 final.png n Н Distinction from medial and final a/e by position in syllable sequence.
2mg ng medial.png 3mg ng final.png ng Н, НГ Only at end of word (medial for composites).

Transcribes Tibetan ང; Sanskrit ङ.

Mg b initial.png 2mg b medial.png 3mg b1 final.png3mg b2 final.png b Б, В
Mg p initial.png 2mg p medial.png 3mg p final.png p П Only at the beginning of Mongolian words.

Transcribes Tibetan པ;

Mg q initial.png 2mg q medial.png 3mg q final.png q Х Only with back vowels
Mg gh initial.png 2mg gh1 medial.png2mg gh2 medial.png 3mg gh1 final.png 3mg gh2 final.png γ Г Only with back vowels.

Between vowels pronounced as a long vowel.[note 5] The "final" version only appears when followed by an a written detached from the word.

Mg g initial.png 2mg g medial.png k Х Only with front vowels, but 'ki/gi' can occur in both front and back vowel words
Word-finally only g, not k.

g between vowels pronounced as long vowel.[note 6]

3mg g final.png g Г
Mg m initial.png 2mg m medial.png 3mg m final.png m М
Mg l initial.png 2mg l medial.png 3mg l final.png l Л
Mg s initial.png 2mg s medial.png 3mg s final.png s С
Mg sh initial.png 2mg sh medial.png 3mg sh final.png š Ш
Mg td initial.png 2mg td2 medial.png2mg td1 medial.png 3mg td final.png t, d Т, Д Distinction depending on context.
Mg c initial.png 2mg c medial.png č Ч, Ц Distinction between /tʃ'/ and /ts'/ in Khalkha Mongolian.
Mg j initial.png 2mg j medial.png j Ж, З Distinction by context in Khalkha Mongolian.
Mg y initial.png 2mg y medial.png 3mg iy final.png y -Й, Е*, Ё*, Ю*, Я*
Mg r initial.png 2mg r medial.png 3mg r final.png r Р Not normally at the beginning of words.[note 7]
Mg w initial.png 2mg w medial.png v В Used to transcribe foreign words (Originally used to transcribe Sanskrit व)
Mg f initial.png 2mg f medial.png 3mg f final.png f Ф Used to transcribe foreign words
Mg k initial.png 2mg k medial.png 3mg k final.png К Used to transcribe foreign words
Mg ts initial.png 2mg ts medial.png (c) (ц) Used to transcribe foreign words (Originally used to transcribe Tibetan /ts'/ ཚ; Sanskrit छ)
Mg z initial.png 2mg z medial.png (z) (з) Used to transcribe foreign words (Originally used to transcribe Tibetan /dz/ ཛ; Sanskrit ज)
Mg h initial.png 2mg h medial.png (h) (г, х) Used to transcribe foreign words (Originally used to transcribe Tibetan /h/ ཧ, ྷ; Sanskrit ह)
Mg zh initial.png (zh) (-,-) Transcribes Chinese 'zhi' - used in Inner Mongolia
Mg ri initial.png (ř) (-,-) Transcribes Chinese 'ri' - used in Inner Mongolia
Mg ch initial.png (chi) (-,-) Transcribes Chinese 'chi' - used in Inner Mongolia

Notes:

  1. ^ Following a consonant, Latin transliteration is i.
  2. ^ Following a vowel, Latin transliteration is yi, with rare exceptions like naim ("eight") or Naiman.
  3. ^ Character for front of syllable (n-<vowel>).
  4. ^ Character for back of syllable (<vowel>-n).
  5. ^ Examples: qa-γ-an (khan) is shortened to qaan. Some exceptions like tsa-g-aan ("white") exist.
  6. ^ Example: de-g-er is shortened to deer. Some exceptions like ügüi ("no") exist.
  7. ^ Transcribed foreign words usually get a vowel prepended. Example: Transcribing Русь (Russia) results in Oros.

Examples

Historical shapes Modern print type Transliterating first word:
Mclassical mimic.jpg Wikiclassicalmongol.jpg
 
Mongol w head.jpg v
Mongol i middle1.jpg  i
Mongol k middle.jpg k
Mongol i middle1.jpg i
Mongol p middle.jpg p
Mongol a middle 2.jpg e
Mongol t middle.jpg d
Mongol i middle1.jpg i
Mongol y1 middle.jpg y
Mongol a tail 1.jpg a
  • transliteration: Vikipediya čilügetü nebterkei toli bičig bolai.
  • Cyrillic: Википедиа Чөлөөт Нэвтэрхий Толь Бичиг Болой.
  • Transcription: Vikipedia chölööt nevterkhii toli bichig boloi.
  • Gloss: Wikipedia free omni-profound mirror scripture is.
  • Translation: Wikipedia is the free encyclopedia.

Derived scripts

Galik script

In 1587, the translator and scholar Ayuush Güüsh (Аюуш гүүш) created the Galik script (Али-гали), inspired by the 3. Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso. It primarily added extra characters for transcribing Tibetan and Sanskrit terms when translating religious texts, and later also from Chinese. Some of those characters are still in use today for writing foreign names (compare table above).[2]

Clear script

In 1648, the Oirat Buddhist monk Zaya-pandita Namkhaijamco created this variation with the goals of bringing the written language closer to the actual pronunciation and making it easier to transcribe Tibetan and Sanskrit. The script was used by Kalmyks of Russia until 1924, when it was replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet. In Xinjiang, China, the Oirat people still use it.

Manchu script

The Manchu script was developed from the Mongolian script in the early 17th century to write the Manchu language. A variant is still used to write the Xibe language.

Vaghintara script

Another variant was developed in 1905 by a Buryat monk named Agvan Dorjiev (1854–1938). It was also meant to reduce ambiguity, and to support the Russian language in addition to Mongolian. The most significant change however was the elimination of the positional shape variations. All characters were based on the medial variant of the original Mongol script. After a few years, Agvan-Dorjiev ran out of funds to promote his invention further, so that fewer than a dozen books were printed using it.

Mongolian in Unicode

The Unicode Mongolian block is U+1800 – U+18AF.[3] It includes letters, digits and various punctuation marks for Mongolian, Todo script, Xibe, and Manchu, as well as extensions for transcribing Sanskrit and Tibetan.

1800
Birga
1801
Ellipsis
1802
Comma
1803
Full Stop
1804
Colon
1805
Four Dots
1806
Todo Soft Hyphen
1807
Sibe Syllable Boundary Marker
1808
Manchu Comma
1809
Manchu Full Stop
180A
Nirugu
180B
Free Variation Selector One
180C
Free Variation Selector Two
180D
Free Variation Selector Three
180E
Vowel Separator
1810
Zero
1811
One
1812
Two
1813
Three
1814
Four
1815
Five
1816
Six
1817
Seven
1818
Eight
1819
Nine
1820
A
1821
E
1822
I
1823
O
1824
U
1825
Oe
1826
Ue
1827
Ee
1828
Na
1829
Ang
182A
Ba
182B
Pa
182C
Qa
182D
Ga
182E
Ma
182F
La
1830
Sa
1831
Sha
1832
Ta
1833
Da
1834
Cha
1835
Ja
1836
Ya
1837
Ra
1838
Wa
1839
Fa
183A
Ka
183B
Kha
183C
Tsa
183D
Za
183E
Haa
183F
Zra
1840
Lha
1841
Zhi
1842
Chi
1843
Todo Long Vowel Sign
1844
Todo E
1845
Todo I
1846
Todo O
1847
Todo U
1848
Todo Oe
1849
Todo Ue
184A
Todo Ang
184B
Todo Ba
184C
Todo Pa
184D
Todo Qa
184E
Todo Ga
184F
Todo Ma
1850
Todo Ta
1851
Todo Da
1852
Todo Cha
1853
Todo Ja
1854
Todo Tsa
1855
Todo Ya
1856
Todo Wa
1857
Todo Ka
1858
Todo Gaa
1859
Todo Haa
185A
Todo Jia
185B
Todo Nia
185C
Todo Dza
185D
Sibe E
185E
Sibe I
185F
Sibe Iy
1860
Sibe Ue
1861
Sibe U
1862
Sibe Ang
1863
Sibe Ka
1864
Sibe Ga
1865
Sibe Ha
1866
Sibe Pa
1867
Sibe Sha
1868
Sibe Ta
1869
Sibe Da
186A
Sibe Ja
186B
Sibe Fa
186C
Sibe Gaa
186D
Sibe Haa
186E
Sibe Tsa
186F
Sibe Za
1870
Sibe Raa
1871
Sibe Cha
1872
Sibe Zha
1873
Manchu I
1874
Manchu Ka
1875
Manchu Ra
1876
Manchu Fa
1877
Manchu Zha
1880
Ali Gali Anusvara One
1881
Ali Gali Visarga One
1882
Ali Gali Damaru
1883
Ali Gali Ubadama
1884
Ali Gali Inverted Ubadama
1885
Ali Gali Baluda
1886
Ali Gali Three Baluda
1887
Ali Gali A
1888
Ali Gali I
1889
Ali Gali Ka
188A
Ali Gali Nga
188B
Ali Gali Ca
188C
Ali Gali Tta
188D
Ali Gali Ttha
188E
Ali Gali Dda
188F
Ali Gali Nna
1890
Ali Gali Ta
1891
Ali Gali Da
1892
Ali Gali Pa
1893
Ali Gali Pha
1894
Ali Gali Ssa
1895
Ali Gali Zha
1896
Ali Gali Za
1897
Ali Gali Ah
1898
Todo Ali Gali Ta
1899
Todo Ali Gali Zha
189A
Manchu Ali Gali Gha
189B
Manchu Ali Gali Nga
189C
Manchu Ali Gali Ca
189D
Manchu Ali Gali Jha
189E
Manchu Ali Gali Tta
189F
Manchu Ali Gali Ddha
18A0
Manchu Ali Gali Ta
18A1
Manchu Ali Gali Dha
18A2
Manchu Ali Gali Ssa
18A3
Manchu Ali Gali Cya
18A4
Manchu Ali Gali Zha
18A5
Manchu Ali Gali Za
18A6
Ali Gali Half U
18A7
Ali Gali Half Ya
18A8
Manchu Ali Gali Bha
18A9
Ali Gali Dagalga
18AA
Manchu Ali Gali Lha

Issues

Although the Mongolian script has been defined in Unicode since 1999, there was no support for Unicode Mongolian from the major vendors until the release of the Windows Vista operating system in 2007, and so Unicode Mongolian is not yet widely used. In China, legacy encodings such as the Private Use Area (PUA) Unicode mappings and GB18030 mappings of the Menksoft IMEs (espc. Menksoft Mongolian IME) are more commonly used than Unicode for writing web pages and electronic documents in Mongolian.

The inclusion of a Unicode Mongolian font and keyboard layout in Windows Vista has meant that Unicode Mongolian is now gradually becoming more popular, but the complexity of the Unicode Mongolian encoding model and the lack of a clear definition for the use variation selectors are still barriers to its widespread adoption.

However, there are bugs in Microsoft's Mongolian Baiti font.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b György Kara, "Aramaic Scripts for Altaic Languages", in Daniels & Bright The World's Writing Systems, 1994.
  2. ^ Otgonbayar Chuluunbaatar (2008) (in German). Einführung in die Mongolischen Schriften. Buske. ISBN 978-3-87548-500-4.  
  3. ^ Unicode block U+1800 – U+18AF; Mongolian.
  4. ^ Version 5.00 of the Mongolian Baiti font may be displayed incorrectly in Windows Vista

External links








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