YAKUT BLOGGER.

John Emerson has alerted me to the existence of Katerina Potapova, who at My Polyglot Dictionary says “During my study of the Mongolian language I’ve noticed that a lot of words in Mongolian and in my mother tongue – Yakut (a Turkic language in Eastern Siberia) – are of the same origin. And now I’ve decided to make a list of them.” Now, that’s my kind of project! There aren’t many words yet, but you can see them in Yakut (саха тыла), Classical Mongolian in its beautiful original script (UM) and in transliteration, and Khalkha Mongolian, with Russian, German, and English translations. The page has a bibliography and a set of links, and she also has an Online library with materials on Yakut (Sakha) language (Сахалыы-нууччалыы онлайн-библиотека) with links to materials in Russian and Yakut and audio for Pronunciation guide, Yakut proverbs, and Music sample. Good work, Katerina!

Comments

  1. Alas, the Classical Mongolian words are shown as images.

  2. You wonder whether the “Sakha” name has some connection to the Sakas, who were Northern Iranians. The Yakut are the northernmost Turks and are also east of almost all of China, so it seems unlikely, though I believe that the Sakas may have been in Mongolia at one time.

  3. Siganus Sutor says:

    You wonder whether the “Sakha” name has some connection to the Sakas, who were Northern Iranians.
    I’d rather think that it comes from the name of a Zulu king, no?
     
     
    Classical Mongolian in its beautiful original script (UM)
    A pity we can’t see a whole page in this script, which has someting of a vertical Devanagari. (Some interior decorators might like it.)

  4. Yes, this beautiful script is still in use in China, but although it is again recognised in Mongolia it doesn’t appear to be taken seriously as an alternative to Cyrillic (I once asked a Mongolian colleague about the script and got a contemptuous snort and a curt dismissal of the script as not being of any use).

  5. Also, I discovered another (Outer) Mongolian colleage working with us here in China using Roman letters in preference to Cyrillic on MSN messenger. This was despite the fact that she had Cyrillic on her computer.

  6. I’m sure most of you know this already, but I’ve always loved the fact that classical Mongolian script is based fairly directly on Syriac; turn it sideways and this becomes clear.

  7. I don’t have it at hand but an archaeology book I was looking at recently mentioned that 1) the Central Asian culture known to the Ancient Greeks as the Scythians were the same as the culture known to the Iranians as Saka, and 2) archaeological remains predating Greek influence and identifiable as belonging to this culture extended up to the territory of the current Republic of Tuva (the subject of the study in the book). The Sakha, I think, are supposed to have originated around Lake Baikal, I think? Which is just a step to the right.
    Old Mongolian script is now taught in a couple schools in Buryat areas.
    I don’t have it any more, but I used to have a cd of Yakut “throat singing” – nothing at all like the Tuvan/Mongolian style, though it did prominently feature the jew’s harp.

  8. The old Mongolian script is graphically wonderful, but it’s phonetically underdetermined so it’s sometimes impossible to know which sound is being represented (“t” or “d”, for example), and furthermore, the sounds represented are not today’s spoken sounds, with a lot of silent letters as in English.
    I’d still love to be able to write Old Mongol inscriptions and graphics.

  9. David Marjanović says:

    Yes, this beautiful script is still in use in China,

    Been there, seen it — but I wonder how many people are actually literate in it?

    but although it is again recognised in Mongolia it doesn’t appear to be taken seriously as an alternative to Cyrillic (I once asked a Mongolian colleague about the script and got a contemptuous snort and a curt dismissal of the script as not being of any use).

    Well, firstly, it doesn’t distinguish ö and ü. Secondly, the orthography that is used in it is Genghis Khan’s, so you write Medieval Mongolian and pronounce it the modern way; the result is not unlike English. For example, you are still supposed to write the voiced “velar” (I bet it was uvular) fricative, which has disappeared from the modern language, producing a contrast between short and long vowels that the Mongolian script doesn’t have. The Cyrillic script has its Russian-based quirks, but apart from that it seems to be beautifully phonemic for modern Halha (at the very least). And thirdly, it’s difficult, being full of ligatures, separate initial and final forms for letters, letters distinguished only by dots (like Arabic), and so on.

    Also, I discovered another (Outer) Mongolian colleage working with us here in China using Roman letters in preference to Cyrillic on MSN messenger. This was despite the fact that she had Cyrillic on her computer.

    Was she just afraid that the Cyrillic wouldn’t come through? Though MSN, these days, should be able to display everything correctly… is there an MSN for Mac?

  10. David Marjanović says:

    Wow, we had the same idea in the same minute…
    Here http://www.linguamongolia.co.uk/index.html you can learn everything you ever maybe wanted to know about the script. If that’s too much, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_script.

  11. David Marjanović says:

    OK… I wanted to close the i tag behind “maybe”. Grmpf.

  12. Fixed that for you!
    –The God Behind the Curtain

  13. “…letters distinguished only by dots (like Arabic)….”
    Dots which are sometimes left out in practice, so that many words have been passed down in two different forms.

  14. Wolfgang Kuhl says:

    Just wanted to let all of you know that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous children’s book “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince)was translated into Mongolian in December 2006 using the beautiful vertical Old Uyghur script along with the original French text.
    http://fotodesignerin.de/prinz/uigurisch.html
    You might contact the translator:
    Prof. Dr. Tsegmediyn Suukhbaatar, Ulaanbaatar-13, P.O. Box-24, Mongolia, E-mail address:
    tsegdmid_sukhbaatar@yahoo.com.
    Бяцхан Хүн тайж in Cyrillic Mongolian was translated by him as well.
    http://fotodesignerin.de/prinz/mongolisch.html
    http://www.petit-prince.at/pp-mongol.htm

  15. Wow, I never cease to be delighted at the depth of knowledge in the readership of this blog!
    As for the MSN thing, I’m not really sure. Of course Cyrillic letters would come through. If Chinese can come through, anything can! I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but in modern Mongolia there seems to be a bit of a reaction against Russia and past Russian control of Mongolia. The older people learnt Russian; the young ones know English. Is it possible that it’s trendier to write in Roman letters than Cyrillic? (We are, after all, talking about the Internet!) I’ll ask her.
    Yes, there is an MSN for the Mac. It’s always been very feature-poor compared to its cousin on Windows, but recently it got better and it supports a lot more functions.

  16. Well, I asked her and she said that all young Mongolians use Roman letters when using messenger services. (Presumably older Mongolians don’t use MSN!) She first said it was troublesome (mafan) to type Cyrillic letters, but when I pressed her she admitted it wasn’t particularly troublesome; it’s just that everyone in Mongolia does it that way.

  17. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but in modern Mongolia there seems to be a bit of a reaction against Russia and past Russian control of Mongolia. The older people learnt Russian; the young ones know English. Is it possible that it’s trendier to write in Roman letters than Cyrillic? (We are, after all, talking about the Internet!)

    Wouldn’t surprise me. Concerning the Internet, maybe there’s now a tradition left over from the days when only ASCII got through — I’ve come across people who don’t use ä, ö, ü in German e-mails or use them only occasionally when they forget to avoid them, and here we’re talking about ISO-8859-1, not to mention German keyboards (QWERTZUIOPÜ+ ASDFGHJKLÖÄ#).
    Wikipedia has something on the corresponding Tatar (!) tradition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaŋalif#Inalif

    mafan

    Ha! I know why I have my Chinese pocket dictionary standing here next to me!
    (Apparently that words translates a bit better into German than into English. I’ll try to remember it.)

  18. No, just a bad top-of-the-head translation. It might have been better to say it was too much bother to type Cyrillic, or a pain to type Cyrillic. ‘Mafan’ is a very useful word in Chinese 🙂

  19. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous children’s book “Le Petit Prince” (The Little Prince)was translated into Mongolian in December 2006 using the beautiful vertical Old Uyghur script along with the original French text.
    http://fotodesignerin.de/prinz/uigurisch.html

    Except that the website seems to suggest that the book was translated into Uigur….

  20. The German page seems terribly confused. Mongol script can be called Uighur script (it was borrowed from the Uighurs around 1200) but, as the German page says, the actual Uighurs of today (whose relationship to the Uighurs of the past may be rather slight) use a version of Arabic script. It’s highly unlikely that a Uighur book in Uighur script would be published in Ulaan Bataar, though it would be possible to do so.

  21. Wolfgang Kuhl says:

    Except that the website seems to suggest that the book was translated into Uigur….
    I have got a copy of above book. The German website lists the book erroneously under Uyghur. The fact is that the book was translated into Mongolian language by using the Old Uyghur script. I transcribed the title as
    “Bacqan qün taiiji” (c=tch)(I am no expert though).

  22. Wolfgang Kuhl says:

    In case you are interested in writing and printing Mongolian texts in the Old Uyguric Script please download the following program at:
    http://members.aol.com/ayuu/download.html

  23. Wolfgang Kuhl says:

    A pity we can’t see a whole page in this script, which has someting of a vertical Devanagari. (Some interior decorators might like it.)
    Have a look at the following website: http://www.mongolbible.com/index.html
    This page provides you with the New Testament (NT) and Genesis in vertical Mongolian script.
    http://www.mongolbible.com/html/IMNT/index.html
    http://www.mongolbible.com/html/john.html
    http://www.mongolbible.com/html/genesis.html
    http://www.mongolbible.com/html/the_vertical_script.html

  24. Siganus Sutor says:

    Thanks Wolfgang! That’s amazing: you can select whole passages or just part of a word (the cursor becomes horizontal) and paste them in Word (it is then transformed into Latin characters, with seemingly some Icelandic influence here and there… It looks as if Word also has something called “MongFont” — dunno what it is, though).
    By doing this, I realised that the text should apparently be read from the bottom to the top of the column. However strange at first thought, it is more logical to do it this way as the hand turning the nearly-finished page then doesn’t clash with the reading.

  25. David Marjanović says:

    No, just a bad top-of-the-head translation. It might have been better to say it was too much bother to type Cyrillic, or a pain to type Cyrillic. ‘Mafan’ is a very useful word in Chinese 🙂

    Umständlich. 🙂

    By doing this, I realised that the text should apparently be read from the bottom to the top of the column.

    Um… no…

  26. Siganus Sutor says:

    Really, no? But when you select a few columns it works better if you start from the bottom.
    Maybe Muslim Mongolians are the ones starting from the bottom… 😉

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