Old Turkic script

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The Old Turkic script (also Göktürk script, Orkhon script, Orkhon-Yenisey script; Turkish: Orhun alfabesi, Orhun yazısı) is the alphabet used by the Göktürk and other early Turkic Khanates from at least the 8th century to record the Old Turkic language[1]. It was later used by the Uyghur Empire. Additionally, a Yenisei variant is known from 9th-century Kyrgyz inscriptions, and it has likely cousins in the Talas Valley of Turkestan and the Old Hungarian script of the 10th century. The alphabet was usually written from right to left.

The script is named after the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia, where early 8th century inscriptions were discovered in an 1889 expedition by Nikolay Yadrintsev.[2] These Orkhon inscriptions (Turkish: Orhun Yazıtları) were published by Vasily Radlov and deciphered by the Danish philologist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893. These inscriptions are the earliest known texts in any Altaic language.[2]

Examples of the Orhon-Yenisei alphabet are depicted on the reverse of the Azerbaijani 5 manat banknote issued since 2006.[3]

Contents

Origins

Mainstream opinion derives the Orkhon script from variants of the Aramaic alphabet, in particular via the Pahlavi and Sogdian alphabets, as suggested by V.Thomsen, or possibly via Karosthi (cf., Issyk inscription).

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