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The Origin of Turkic Script

The Origin of Türkic Script

Kuken Oimoçu and Eleri Bitikçi


There are two main hypotheses about origin of Türkic “runic” script. The most of authors handled with it, supposed a Semitic origin of the script which came to Türks through Iranian or Greek prototypes (loan hypothesis).[1] The rest scholars argued that it had autochthonic invention developed from ideography and pictography including the tamga (autochthonic hypothesis).[2] Both sides do not exclude the mutual influences and path dependence of both roots. Both hypotheses do not provide an explanation of extraction of all letters of the script (table 7).[3]

Without full-length going to previous hypotheses and opinions, we would like to suggest a hypothesis that Türkic “Runic” script genetically traces its roots back to civilization which began to set in its development in the period of Shan-Ying and Zhou (II – I millennia B.C.). The origin of above-mentioned dynasties and cultures is still uncertain, but its cultural clusters spread among many peoples and cultures in the Eastern Eurasia.

In our opinion, Türkic peoples were bearer of (some) Shan-Ying and Zhou traditions (or inherited them through historical intercommunications) and the origin of Türkic script is closely related to the two elements that underlay the ancient Zhou canon Zhouyi (or Yijing), line and abortive line. Line and angle (abortive line turned to angle) constitute all letters of the Türkic alphabet, sometimes with curved varieties: curved line and semicircle (curved angle) and with account of this cause, we would like to name Türkic “runic” script as ‘linearly-angular’.

The raising a new problem of origin of Türkic script from initial elements of Yijing hexagrams requires putting forward two groups of evidences in favour of suggested hypothesis. First group concerns evidences of intrinsic links of extraction of all letters of Türkic alphabet based on technique of operating with two suggested elements connected both language and script. Second one suggests the data retrieval which could help to connect Türkic culture with some main distinctive characteristic features remained from Shan-Ying and Zhou civilization(s). Hence we divided the article into two parts described above-mentioned groups of tasks.

Important Note: In the article we used both the real etymologies and meanings of Türkic words and the popular ones which could be used in the making of legends and mythology in ancient and medieval times.

The article in Word format "The Origin of Türkic Script" (2361Kb)

[1] Thomsen V. Inscriptions de l’Orkon dechiffres // Memoires de la Societe Finne – Ougrienne, Helsingfors 1896; Donner O., Sur l’Origine de l’alphabet turc du Nord de l’Asie // Jornal de la Societe Finno – ougrienne, Vol. 15, № 1, Helsingfors, 1896; Gauthiot R., Note sur la langue et l’ecriture inconnues des documents Stein-Cowley // Journal of Royal  Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 1911; Clauson, G. (1970), The origin of the Turkish “Runic” alphabet. Acta Orientaliae Havniae 32; Лившиц В.А. 1) Происхождение древнетюркской рунической письменности (состояние и пути исследования)   // Всесоюзная тюркологическая конференция: Этнические и историко-культурные связи тюркских народов СССР, Алма-Ата, 1978; 2) О происхождении древнетюркской письменности //Советская тюркология, Москва, 1978, № 4; Аманжолов А.С., Материалы и исследования по истории древнетюркской рунической письменности, Автореферат докторской диссертации, Алма-Ата, 1975; Pritsak O. Turkology and the Comparative Study of the Altaic Languages. The System of the Old Runic Script. Journal of Turkish Studies (4, 1980); Rona-Tas A. On the Development and Origin of the East Turkic “Runic” Script // Acta Orientalia Hungariae (XLI, 1987); Щербак А. М. Тюркская руника (Москва, 2000) et alias

[2] Аристов Н. А., Опыт выяснения этнического состава киргиз-казахов Большой орды и кара-киргизов на основании родословных сказаний и сведений  о существующих  родовых делениях и родовых тамгах, а также исторических  данных  и начинающихся антропологических исследованиях//Живая старина, Вып. 3-4, Санкт Петербург, 1912; Поливанов Е.Д., Идеографический мотив в формации орхонского алфавита // Бюллетень Среднеазиатского Государственного университета, Ташкент, 1929, № 9; Emre A.C. Eski Türk yazısının menşeği, Istanbul, 1938 et al. 

[3] Tables 6 adopted from: Rona-Tas A. On the Development and Origin of the East Turkic “Runic” Script // Acta Orientalia Hungariae (XLI, 1987)

Category: My articles | Added by: elbilge (2008-01-24) | Author: Nazikbek Kydyrmyshev
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