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Mongolian Alphabet Derived From Syriac (i.e. Aramaic)
Shlama all,

Here is an interesting article on Mongolian alphabet that I found at

Quote:Intermediate between these is the Mongolian script proper, in 12-13 centuries derived from the Uighur alphabet , descendant of Sogdian alphabet which came from Syriac alphabet (Aramaic was for a long time (between the later Assyrian empire and the Abbasid Caliphate) a lingua franca in the Middle East; its alphabet, though itself derived from the Phoenician alphabet, therefore superseded the Old Hebrew alphabet that had been independently descended from the Phoenician alphabet. It is no longer the case that Aramaic has a single alphabet; rather, just as Aramaic).

Perhaps its two most notable features are that it is a vertical script, and that it is the only such script that is written from left to right. (All other vertical writing systems are written right to left.) In fact, the Uighurs changed the orientation of their script from horizontal to vertical to emulate the Chinese writing system. The visual effect is that of Syriac rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. This alphabet is reasonably accurate with respect to the representation of consonants, but fails to distinguish several vowels. The situation is somewhat comparable to the various dialects of English, which must represent 10 or more vowels with only 5 letters.

It is interesting to note that the Jacobite Bar-Hebraeus and the ecclesiastical chronicler of the Assyrian Church recorded the story of the conversion of the Mongol tribe of the Keriats to Christianity around the year 1,000 AD. The tribe numbered over 200,000 men.

John of Plano Carpini (1180-1252) traveled to the Mongols capital in the1240s. He was the first papal envoy to travel to Mongolia. Upon his return he wrote Historia Mongolarum in which he describes the Mongol???s culture, character and history. Most of his information came from interviewing Russians and Turkish Nestorian Christians during his travels. He mentions the Uighurs who he says were ???Christians of the Nestorian sect.??? He says, ???The Mongols took their alphabet, for they had no written characters; now, however, they call it the Mongol alphabet??? The Uighur alphabet and the Mongolian alphabet are altered forms of the Syriac alphabet. These adaptations of the Assyrian???s alphabet are still used in Mongolia and in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia in China. (Source: Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies)
One of the first owners of the facsimile of <a href=""><b>Codex Leningrad</b></a>

Messages In This Thread
Mongolian Alphabet Derived From Syriac (i.e. Aramaic) - by Dan Gan - 12-19-2004, 01:47 PM
[No subject] - by gbausc - 12-19-2004, 09:10 PM
[No subject] - by Dan Gan - 12-20-2004, 02:30 PM
Sogdian - by gbausc - 12-20-2004, 10:38 PM

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