Tuesday, 15 June 2021

durgan script

The always engrossing Language Log of the University of Pennsylvania acquaints us with a endangered and diffuse language—spread across Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Mongolia—in the Sinitic (Chinese) family but written with Cyrillic and uniquely not Sinographic characters (see also). The continuum of Gansu, Mandarin and Dungan (Kansu) is mutually intelligible to a large extent. Tones are marked with the glyphs front yer and back yer (ะฌ / ะช) from the Old Church Slavonic (see above and here too) and the current orthography is a compromise dating back to the 1920s when the Soviet Union banned Arabic and Persian-based writing systems, looked on disfavourably from the beginning as merchants along the Silk Road could conduct trade deals in a language that was secret to their neighbours.