Old Uyghur Alphabet
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Old Uyghur Alphabet
Old Uyghur alphabet
Uighur native name.svg
Script type
Time period
Directionhorizontal and vertical writing in East Asian scripts, top-to-bottom 
Vertical (left-to-right);
Horizontal (right-to-left), used in modern printing, especially in multi-lingual publications
LanguagesOld Uyghur, Western Yugur
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Traditional Mongolian alphabet
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Ougr, 143 , ​Old Uyghur

The Old Uyghur alphabet was used for writing the Old Uyghur language, a variety of Old Turkic spoken in Turfan (also referred to as Turpan) and Gansu that is the ancestor of the modern Western Yugur language.[1] The term "Old Uyghur" used for this alphabet is misleading because Qocho, the Tocharian-Uyghur kingdom created in 843, originally used the Old Turkic alphabet. The Uyghur adopted this "Old Uyghur" script from local inhabitants when they migrated into Turfan after 840.[2] It was an adaptation of the Aramaic alphabet used for texts with Buddhist, Manichaean and Christian content for 700-800 years in Turpan. 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 by Tata-tonga.

The Old Uyghur script was used between the 8th and 17th centuries primarily in the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, located in present-day Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. It is a cursive-joining alphabet with features of an abjad and is written vertically. The script flourished through the 15th century in Central Asia and parts of Iran, but it was eventually replaced by the Arabic script in the 16th century. Its usage was continued in Gansu through the 17th century.[3]

Like the Sogdian alphabet (technically, an abjad), the Old Uyghur tended to use matres lectionis for the long vowels as well as for the short ones. The practice of leaving short vowels unrepresented was almost completely abandoned.[4] Thus, while ultimately deriving from a Semitic abjad, the Old Uyghur alphabet can be said to have been largely "alphabetized".[5]

Uighur vert.gif


See also



  1. ^ Osman, Omarjan. (2013). L2/13-071 Proposal to Encode the Uyghur Script.
  2. ^ Sinor, D. (1998), "Chapter 13 - Language situation and scripts", in Asimov, M.S.; Bosworth, C.E. (eds.), History of Civilisations of Central Asia, 4 part II, UNESCO Publishing, p. 333, ISBN 81-208-1596-3
  3. ^ Pandey, Anshuman (2020-12-18). "Final proposal to encode Old Uyghur in Unicode" (PDF). L2/20-191. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Clauson, Gerard. 2002. Studies in Turkic and Mongolic linguistics. P.110-111.
  5. ^ Houston, Stephen D. 2004. The first writing: script invention as history and process (p.59).


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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